“It's Rest in Piss for all our friends that have died. It's Rest in Piss for the old Batpiss sound. It's Rest in Piss for the sad times and the dark times. It's about moving on.” Thomy Sloane – bassist and co-vocalist of Melbourne noise-rockers Batpiss – succinctly describes exactly why the band's third album takes the moniker Rest in Piss. Arriving two years after their previous LP, Biomass, Rest in Piss sees the band take a substantial step forward in terms of their sonic ambitions and their approach to songwriting. For Sloane, a lot of that has to do with their engineer and producer of choice – the one and only Gareth Liddiard, frontman of The Drones and acclaimed singer-songwriter in his own right.
“We went on tour with The Drones awhile back,” Sloane explains. “We were hanging out before a show one afternoon, just fucking around. Just as a joke, I said 'You're gonna produce our next album, aren't ya Gaz?' Without missing a beat, he just looks at me and goes 'Yeah, alright.' He called me on my bluff – it was like, 'Fuck, alright – guess we're making a record!' He was absolutely fantastic to work with – he had so many great ideas, and he gave us a lot of insight.”
Rest in Piss was recorded at Liddiard's own studios by Liddiard himself – which technically makes Rest in Piss Batpiss' first studio album. “We recorded our first album [2013's Nuclear Winter] live in the band room of The Tote,” says Sloane. “The whole thing was done in about 10 hours. We did Biomass live at a friend's home studio in about a day, too. We spent about eight days putting this together, which I think is the longest that we've ever worked on anything as musicians.”
“Our goal was to make a weird, cool record. I think, being in a proper studio for the first time, it really allowed us to experiment a lot more. We fucked around with a lot of different tones, amps and pedals. We weren't distracted or preconceived in any way with how we were gonna play it live – we were just like, 'Fuck that. Let's just do what we want to do.' We still didn't wanna waste too much time, though – getting in and out with recording is really how we've always done it. If it takes you three months to do your job, you're probably not doing it right.”
As for Liddiard's contributions, Sloane notes that the studio was essentially mi casa su casa for him and the rest of the band. “We used all of his shit. He said from the outset, 'Don't worry about amps, I've got 'em. All I need you to do is rock up.' That's all it took. Chriso [AKA Christian Strybosch] had a drum-kit set up there, so we used that too. He even took us out to his farm property that he's got all the way out in the Victorian bush, where we recorded another song – one called 'Golden Shower,' which is on the record – and put some finishing touches on the others. He couldn't have been more generous.”
While Nuclear Winter and Biomass were both cutthroat, belligerent and fast-paced records, Rest in Piss takes things down a notch as far as the tempo and the musical environment is concerned. It's no less intense, but it's certainly a lot more rewarding. It's also, as Sloane attests to, a deeply-personal record for him and his bandmates. “The lyrical content was very emotional for all of us,” he says. “A lot if it is to do with quite personal stuff – mates dying, missing them, stuff like that. It's very heartfelt, and that's exactly what I wanted to do. It's weird... I feel like we recorded so long ago that I've had enough time to heal and think it all over by the time the record's actually come out.”