If you folks listen to an Everything and the Kitchen Sink Show then, you probably have heard me rant and rave and say I will never shut up about The Ballantynes. The garage, hip shaking, soul, r&b tambourine shimmering, 7 piece band from Vancouver Canada will blow you away.
The Ballantynes are started out in September 2011. Since then, they have been releasing singles (they’re all seriously damn good so do yourself a favour and get ALL of the singles) and had their debut EP Liquor Store Gun Store Pawn Shop Church; which the title of that EP is stumping every radio host I know in a great way. It’s definitely an album that you can’t forget once you listen and say the title!
And this grrrl is lucky enough to get Trevor and Max to answer some questions via email. (More because I would be fangirling and that would be a horrible interview over skype)
Thank you guys for taking some time to chat… err….. answer questions.
Okay, the first question: It’s rare to see 7 piece or larger bands anymore. So wanna tell us a little back history on how this awesome band came to be?
Trevor (Drums) – I met Jarrod during his time in The Tranzmitors. I was a huge fan of that band. They toured my hometown of Calgary pretty often and I would always be in the front row in those days. He mentioned to me that he was leaving the band (Tranzmitors) and starting his own project and asked if I would be interested in playing. I had wanted to move to Vancouver for some time, so I packed up my scooter, records and drum kit in a U-haul and moved. That easy. I didn’t know anyone else in the band for our first jam which was awkward, nor did I know there was another drummer. Somehow things worked.
Max (Bass) – This band was Jarrod’s “big idea” which would hopefully combine the beat and vocal stylings of the gospels and merge somewhere with the music we all grew up listening to. I met Jarrod through my girlfriend, Shawnee. He asked me to join this band, which was still just an idea, and even though we never heard each other play music. I hadn’t played the bass in years and I was worried I would embarrass myself. I had heard about The Parallels and knew that they were breaking up, and that their drummer, Mick, would also be there to “know what to do.”
When we first got together to work on some ideas there was only the one drummer, and the whole thing was pretty much just organ bass and drums. The skeleton. It was just friends jamming, and it was like “I know this guy, cool dude, plays guitar. Let’s invite him.” It was kind of like auditions, but no one ever failed the audition, everyone we tried was perfect. Everyone was skeptical about having two drummers at first, but now we couldn’t imagine it any other way.
I have to say that I fell hard for your sound with your first single that came out in 2011 Railtown Abbey. Everybody is talking about your debut EP from Straight.com, Huffing Post Canada’s Indie list; that’s just to name a few. BUT you also put out a single Faith/Velvet as well. I’m just curious why this wasn’t part of your EP?
Trevor – I think we wanted to have a 45 out that would showcase Jen’s vocals and writing. She has a great voice and that was her first song she brought to the band.
Max – Yeah, we recorded Faith and Velvet during the same session as the songs on the EP at Little Red Sounds (Felix Fung, producer/engineer), and we debated putting all eight songs towards a full length and this option made more sense for a bunch of reasons. Also felt good to put out our first EP on La-Ti-Da Records because they’ve been truly amazing to us.
I love the fun and catchy feel of your music video for No Love. Two part question here, boys! Any reason why you chose to do the video for that song? Are you planning to do anymore videos?
Trevor – I don’t know why. I just showed up to film when and where I was told. We are doing another video with the same Director/Producer Matty Reed fairly soon.
Max – I think we decided before it was even recorded that No Love was going to be our “lead single” off of whatever release it made it to, so it was natural to put it first on the EP and make it the first video. I don’t want to spill the beans, but yes to a second video!
Your band has been getting a lot of press lately, I am gonna ask; are you even close to rock stardom yet?
Trevor – No. I don’t think so. It’s been nice to see some press written about the band, but I wouldn’t call it rock stardom. As well, close friends in other bands have had some really great press with major publishings but that doesn’t change anything. We all still borrow cigarettes from each other.
Max – There aren’t really any rock stars any more. Everyone you see who is doing well musically these days is a product of how much hard work they have done. We work really hard on and off the stage and it’s nice to get noticed occasionally in the press, but none of it will change what you’ve done and it won’t help you make more music worth writing about.
I know that you have done some touring in the States in the past and are doing a west coast tour, but what about a cross Canada tour? Really what I mean to say is when the hell are you coming to Toronto? But answer both anyway.
Trevor – We definitely have intentions on playing Eastern Canada dates and we’ve just acquired our second and hopefully last band vehicle (for a while). So doing cross Canada seems more realistic.
Max – We live in a geographically challenging area for touring in Canada. Have you ever driven to Toronto from Vancouver? It’s really far and there is very little in between here and there (no offence, I swear). It really makes more sense to go south, because really, it’s California! Work visas and lots of paperwork aside, it is much simpler and more rewarding. That being said, I know we are trying to figure that out. Cross your frostbitten fingers.
Are The Ballanytnes planning to put out a new single or a another EP for 2014? Gimmie details you guys!
Trevor – I don’t know. We’ve got some new songs in the bag recently that we haven’t played live yet. And, in my opinion some of the best stuff we’ve done. Either format is fine with me.
Max – Definitely, we are writing new songs and are hoping to start recording them before the summer, always with our man Felix. Ideally, we will try to put out a full length, but I don’t know for sure. There are talks about releasing a split single with The Pack A.D.
Normally, I tell folks to plug their stuff but let’s see if I did my homework here on where to find your music. Your tunes are available on iTunes, Bandcamp, and CBC stream. Am I missing any?
Trevor – Or spend some time in your local record store. You turkeys.
Last question, and yeah it’s gotta be one of those make you think questions. Sorry (not really). What are some of the important messages/feelings you want to leave your fans with about your music or just shit in general?
Trevor – That it’s honest. The way we work together on stage is not pre-planned or thought out. Those shows can really explode, Jarrod goes off and does some really wild stuff. But that, I think, is just triggered from the reactions he gets from the band and the crowd. We all feed off that energy.
Max – I like to dance on stage, or something. Like a bopping. Anyway, I want people to feel like doing the same. It’s not an act though, it’s just how it needs to be played. If I don’t do it, I won’t play it right. I want people to have fun, that’s pretty much it.