We Caught Up With Betsy Wright Of Bat Fangs

Formed by singer/guitarist Betsy Wright (Ex Hex) and drummer Laura King (Flesh Wounds/Speed Stick), Bat Fangs are a dynamic, fun-loving duo who have just released their eponymous debut album via Don Giovanni Records – a collection of nine rock and roll anthems who will make you wanna dance and listen to the record non-stop. We talked to Betsy to get to know this exciting new band, and here’s what she had to say!

I know you both had bands before and that you decided to create Bat Fangs after trading demos. Did you immediately hit it off?
We did!! We are both super enthusiastic and obsessed with music. I think both Laura and I get sort of obsessed with things and work in spurts with a lot of energy, like we freak out and get really excited about stuff- that’s kind of how the band happened and how we got the record done kinda fast. We also have the same sense of humor and laugh pretty much the whole time when we hang out.

How did you come up with the name of the band? What’s the story behind it?
We were hanging out playing music one weekend in NC. We woke up in the morning and said “hey let’s get a tattoo of a bat!” So we went and got the tattoos that afternoon in Carrboro. Later that day we started throwing around band names with the word “bat” in them, and Bat Fangs just kind of stuck. We thought it was hilarious but also had a good ring to it.

Looking at your Instagram photos, I noticed you both have the same bat arm tattoo. Why did you do it? Can you share it with us?
Pretty spontaneous – we had a tattoo fit. Like an episode where you just have to get a tattoo- RIGHT NOW.

Some of your t-shirts have a logo pretty much identical to Batman’s. Is that a light-hearted tribute or just a coincidence?
Batman is cool and all but we didn’t mean for it to look like batman. It has a bat but it’s a play on a certain sports brand’s logo.

Who would you say are your biggest influences? Your music is intense and punk-oriented, but also catchy and melodic. In my opinion, it is sometimes similar to The Donnas in terms of atmosphere, although I’m not sure if you enjoy their work.
I haven’t listened to them very much! I will put them on right now after I write this!!! There are so many influences… Jimi Hendrix Bon Jovi, The Ventures, Heart, The Kinks, Black Sabbath, Roky Erickson, Slant 6, The Bangles, Madonna – the list could go on forever.

Lots of female rock bands feel the need to adopt a feminist identity, like punk rock in the 90’s with the riot grrrl movement. Do you share that vision? Also, do you think the music industry is still male-dominated, or have things changed for the better?
There are so many great female musicians out there, but I do think the music world is still very male- dominated – isn’t everything?!?!?! Our lyrics aren’t political or feminist exactly but I just feel like doing what makes you feel big and powerful (for us playing rock and roll) and being bold yourself is a feminist statement. Being a girl and being loud feels good. A lot of the classic rock that I love and listened to my whole life is very male- dominated… I feel like in this band we are kind of taking the pissing contest out of some of that music and putting our own spin on it.

Your self-titled debut record will be released on February 2nd via Don Giovanni Records. Did you get in touch with them or did they find you?
Someone saw us play in NY and sent the record to them (thank you to that person btw!). Amazingly they checked out and liked it! We were psyched because they are an awesome label and have great people working for them… I think we share a lot of the same values.

Bat Fangs were recently interviewed on an episode of the “The Grey Estates” podcast, and one of the topics discussed was the video for the song “Rock the Reaper”; apparently, you are considering reenacting scenes from Rocky. Does the movie mean a lot to you or is this just for fun?
We just thought it would be fun to wear boxing gloves and stuff, and it was! We got really into it. It ended up being less of a Rocky video and turned into something more psychedelic but with some boxing elements.

Who would you like to play live with, if given the chance?
Alice Cooper!

When you aren’t on the road or recording, how do you spend your time? Do you have any special hobbies?
Laura is a runner and rides motorcycles. I’m into my dog and I practice guitar a lot! I teach piano too and listen to a lot of audiobooks…

Are there any current bands you recommend? What music have you been listening to lately?
I love La Luz, Screaming Females, Angel Olsen, Death Valley Girls, Snail Mail, Solange, Kendrick Lamar, M.I.A.

Words: Jorge Alves // Bat Fangs is out now via Don Giovanni Records.
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