Melbourne singer-songwriter Tanya Batt aka BATTS lifts off with her debut album, a concept record based around the journey of the Voyager I space probe.
NASA launched Voyager I in September of 1977 and is the most distant human-made object from Earth. Its objectives included flybys of Jupiter and Saturn, which it completed in 1980, and in 2012 it became the first spacecraft to enter the interstellar medium.
For Tanya, a self-professed space enthusiast, the Voyager I story provides a deep well of inspiration for her songwriting.
“I have a big obsession with the fact it's got the golden discs on it,” Tanya says, referring to the Golden Records placed in Voyager carrying a selection of sounds and music from Earth selected by a committee chaired by Carl Sagan.
“I'm a really big Carl Sagan fan, so that's where that obsession came from. Also with it being the furthest human-made object in space, I think that's amazing.
"Even when we are all gone on Earth, we have just destroyed it and there's no humans anymore, unless [Voyager] collides with something it's a little time capsule of humanity and I think that's so cool.”
With the album all recorded, mastered and awaiting an official release date, Tanya resists the urge to speak in-depth about the album, but says she spent more time researching the concepts behind the record than actually making it.
“Basically I just did the research around Voyager I's mission, from everything leading up to it and when it left, to everywhere it went, all the facts it sent back and what they discovered along the way, up to when Voyager I crossed over into interstellar space in 2012,” she explains.
Much like Voyager's passage over the past 40-odd years, making her debut full-length album has been an incredible journey of discovery for Tanya.
“I don't think I'll ever quite get the journey like someone else will because I created the album exactly as I wanted it to be, so I know what it is,” she says, “but I really can't wait to hear how other people respond to it and hear what types of journeys they get to go on with it.”
Apart from working on the album, Tanya spent much of 2018 performing live including her first-ever jaunt overseas. “I'm originally from England, I grew up in the UK and I moved to Australia about 15 years ago, so none of my family or friends there had ever heard me play music before.
"I'm pretty sure I was tone deaf when I left England, so it's a very weird transition [to] of all a sudden this is what I do,” she laughs.
“My nan came to one of the shows and requested a chair so she could sit down, then requested I play something faster so she could dance, that was quite funny.”
With her debut album sitting patiently on the launch pad waiting for the final countdown, Tanya prepares for another big year of touring, including her announcement on the second line-up for The Gum Ball at Dashville in the Hunter Valley. “I'm so excited, it's going to be awesome,” she says.
“I've had quite a few friends speak about that festival in the past, so it's going to be such a nice thing to go up to. I'm going to fly up early in the morning and spend the day there, which will be really nice. I'm actually doing the show as a duo – it's just me and my modular synth player, Ross Beaton.”
BATTS 2019 Tour Dates
Sun 17 Feb - Grampians Music Festival (VIC)
Thu 25 Apr - The Gum Ball (Hunter Valley)
Fri 7 Jun - QPAC Concert Hall (Brisbane, supporting Sharon Van Etten)
Tue 11 Jun - Hamer Hall (Melbourne, supporting Sharon Van Etten)