Download Festival – Interview With Battlecross

Photo by Alex Morgan.

Battlecross will be playing at Download 2014 on Friday June 13 on the Red Bull Studio Stage from 20:30-20:55. Ahead of their appearance, we caught up with Don Slater of Battlecross for a chat. Check out what happened below!

Thanks for the interview. Could you introduce yourself and tell me a bit about the band?
My pleasure! Thank you for having me. My name is Don Slater and I play the bass guitar for Battlecross. We’re a five-piece thrash act from Detroit, USA, we work hard touring our asses off, and we’re here to stay (and slay)!

What are you most looking forward to about playing at Download?
It’s tough to just boil it down to just one thing. I can’t wait for the scope of the entire thing, the chaos that is typically the back stage at most festivals, and truly the whole experience of it all. We’ve done a couple festivals back home, but nothing compares to the stigma that European festivals have garnered themselves. We’ve seen in pictures and videos online just how incredible Download can be, and I’m excited to behold the spectacle with my own eyes. Experience aside, it’s going to be fun to introduce a whole new crowd to our brand of music. We like to melt faces; hopefully, they won’t mind having it melted, haha.

Are there any bands you’d like to catch at Download?
Yes, a few! Black Label Society, our mates Miss May I, the Offspring (since I heard they were going to be playing songs off of Smash), Bad Religion, Opeth, and our pals in Huntress. Such a great diversity in music, I’m sure there will be a couple bands that will win me over as a new fan as well. Such is the beauty of these enormous festivals!

Have you got any surprises in store for your Download set?
It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you, haha! Maybe, maybe not. To be perfectly honest, we really don’t have a lengthy enough set time to give any surprises. Most of what chunk of time we’re allowed will be devoted to giving the best show we can.

What’s your best festival memory, either personally attending as a fan or in the band?
My favorite has to be the Tattoo the Earth 2001 tour. I’m not exactly sure of the year, but man.. Okay. So, Slayer was co-headliner with Slipknot. This, as most festivals are, was outdoors. During the change-over to Slayer’s set, a huge thunderstorm rolled in. Thunder rolling in the distance, the scent of oncoming rain wafting across your nose – a storm was coming. As Slayer took the stage, the rain started to fall, the thunder claps almost deafening, but that didn’t stop the moshpit from going absolutely insane. Despite being a bit under the influence, my brain knew it wise to make sure I remembered that event for the rest of my life.

Earlier this year, you embarked on your first ever UK tour – what was that like?
Incredible, to say the least. The near shell-shock of finally playing overseas from the USA was breath-taking alone. As it is with every show we perform, making new fans and showing our appreciation in person is always fun, especially fans you’ve made in new lands to us. Plus, the acts we were supporting (KSE, Trivium), how many can say they’ve seen these bands 4000 miles away, let alone open a gig for them? It’s not for bragging purposes, just purely the experience of it.

What was the best experience about that tour?
Again, meeting new people and fans and finally meeting our fans who have only seen us perform via online videos. The sheer joy and appreciate they had was worth the trip alone!

Any interesting tales from the road?
You know, that’s always been a tough question to answer. Our drummer Shannon Lucas has quoted us as being “one of the most harmless bands I’ve seen”. That’s not to say we’re boring, just implying that we aren’t going to go super crazy, though maybe a little crazy, haha. Well, there was one time during the Mayhem fest that our drummer at the time (who I’ll keep nameless for sake of integrity, haha), after an unfortunate string of events could not make the show. In a hurry, we had to scramble and try to find a drummer to fill in at least for a couple songs. As luck would have it, we found two drummers who said they could split our set. With only three hours to learn a few songs on drums, Carl from Huntress and Charn from Job For A Cowboy filled in. I don’t think any of would deny that is wasn’t the tightest set we’ve ever played, but the fans and the Mayhem crew were happy as hell we somehow made it work. Gotta love it talented musicians, haha!

And finally, what would you say the best festival you’ve ever played has been?
Another tough one. It’s a tie between the touring Mayhem festival, and Metallica’s Orion Fest last year. Mayhem would take the top spot because of it’s longevity as a festival (about six weeks of touring) and intensity of the crowd at an early part (though warmest part) of the day, but we’re talking Metallica here. James Hetfield came to the back of our stage and just chewed the fat with us for a good solid hour before our performance. Also seeing Rob Trujillo head banging some air bass off to the side of the stage during our set can’t be denied as awesome, haha.

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About Natalie Humphries 1798 Articles
Soundscape's editor, who is particularly fond of doom, black metal and folk (but will give anything a chance). Likes to travel to see bands abroad when she can. Contact: or @acidnat on twitter.

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