Feature: Dissecting the Creative Process with BATTS

Friday, May 22, 2020
Photo by @re._stacks

Despite the very challenging circumstances that have arisen due to the pandemic, Tanya Batt aka BATTS, has found the drive to create during this trying time. After losing her main source of income and dealing with a series of cancellations (including her appearance at South By Southwest in Austin), she needed to find a new way to help keep afloat financially ⁠— resulting in the start of a new project, which offers custom covers of songs at any price people feel like paying (as long as it's over $20). Since starting the project, BATTS has been inundated with requests, making almost fifty covers within the span of a few months.

One of the requests, 'Space Oddity' by David Bowie, struck a special chord with her, and once she made it, she decided that she wanted to share it with the world. After a series of emails, BATTS was given approval to share her soothing and heartfelt cover.

BATTS took some time to explore and dissect the process of creating the covers with us.

Listen to the Song
Obviously, I’ll just go to Spotify or Youtube and listen to the song, sometimes, if I’m super organised, I’ll work out what I’m doing that day and add them to a little playlist, go for a walk and play the 2 or 3 songs I plan to do that day to try and familiarise myself with the melodies.

Chords and Lyrics 
The internet is quite often wrong so I have to do a bit of checking, I normally copy-and-paste the chords and lyrics into a word doc and try to make it all fit because I can’t be scrolling and recording at the same time. If the charts don’t exist online, I’m very lucky that my partner just writes them all up for me (what a legend).

Learning the Song
Now, the enjoyment factor of this heavily depends on the song, but this is also the part where naturally I learn it in a way that I try to make it achievable for me to pull off, whilst also making it a little more ‘me’. It’s also the part where I decide what guitar to use, luckily we have a plethora of guitars to choose from in this apartment.

Once I’ve successfully played through the song a couple of times, I’ll hit record and hope for the best. I have a basic home studio setup that does the job nicely and I use Logic for anyone that maybe wants to know. I must say though, some songs have a completely different process to this. This is an example of the ‘kind ones’. I hit record, play the whole song through and if it’s a good take, then this main section is done and the fun part begins. I really like to do full takes with everything I do, I’m not a big fan of section by section, although some of the covers have definitely called for that.

All the Fun Stuff
Well, now I get to the part where I get to start producing the track, I get to add all the fun little extra bits, add lots of harmonies, guitar noodles, go through a million different plug-ins and try to make the song sound like something I’m proud of and happy to share. This is the part I enjoy the most and genuinely love doing.

To be quite honest, I kind of mix as I go so this is normally the tidy up, the last go-over before it’s ready for the final test.

The Previewer
Nothing gets sent off until I share it with my partner Lachlan who is a phenomenal musician and has helped me track guitar on some of the trickier covers. He has had to hear every single one before it gets sent off (sorry Lach), I like to have some fresh ears on something before I send it off though to make sure everything sounds a-ok.

I send the covers off and this is always so rewarding, marking them off the list always feels so good and then the responses from people always make it so worth it too. As much as some days I dislike doing this project, looking back now as restrictions are beginning to ease etc, I definitely feel like I’ve accomplished a lot with nearly 50 recorded covers and some new skills I’m grateful for.

Listen to BATTS' cover of 'Space Oddity' below:

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