There’s something to be said about musicians with creative chemistry and a knack for progression. Pennsylvania natives; Balance and Composure show us how it’s done with the release of their latest album, Light We Made. A new sonic exploration that is nothing short of fresh with dreamy synth chords and harmonious guitar and bass riffs. The first single on the album “Midnight Zone”, is a perfect segue into solid consistency and flow of each track. Have a listen for yourself and be sure to catch them on their latest U.S tour through October and November 2016.
After taking a three year cool-off, you’re back on tour promoting your latest album “Light We Made”. How does it feel?
EP — Well actually, we took 3 years to release this album, but we were touring for the most part of those 3 years. We did make a conscious decision to take a year and write without traveling before recording the record. But now we are out and about, feeling good. Honestly feels like we never stopped.
Speaking of touring, Philly indie pop newcomers; Mercury Girls will be one of the acts on the road with you. I find it very refreshing when established bands give spotlight to fresh faces. How did the opportunity come about?
EP — We have been a fan of them for a minute and like to expose our audience to newer bands that we are into. I think it’s more established band’s duty to do that. It happened to us when we were a younger band, and we like to pay it forward. It’s a cool opportunity for us to be able to do that. Also, we wanted to watch them play every night.
When it comes to releasing an album, new songs are only half of the creation. Album artwork sets the tone for what’s to come. Your latest album artwork is definitely a statement piece. Where did you draw inspiration from?
EP — We knew the artist Dessie Jackson for a bit now, being that she is from Philly. Jon is good friends with her actually. She is super talented and figured it could potentially be a cool marriage. A local artist and local band forming one collective presentation. For awhile we had talked about asking her to do some artwork for us, and this seemed like the perfect opportunity. We went with it and are thrilled with how it turned out.
On your recent single, “Postcard” you experimented with electronic drums as opposed to an acoustic drum kit. What inspired this shift? And are you inspired to experiment more in the future?
EP — We are all big fans of artists that implement different instrumentation. We listen to a lot of electronic based music, and wanted that to show through in some of our new material. Always inspired to push ourselves and attempting to create art out of our comfort zone. There will probably be more of that in the future I would imagine.
You guys are no strangers to stepping outside of comfort zones. Would you say this album is a sonic progression? If so, how?
EP — That’s really for other people to critique. I’m not sure we ever gathered around said “We want to make a sonic progression on this record.” We just made songs we wanted to at that time, and looking back you could say that the style of songs progressed from our older stuff, but it wasn’t calculated. We wanted to use new instruments and tones that we haven’t used before because we thought they would sound cool with the music we were creating. Whatever we thought the songs called for, we tried. Wanted no limitations.
Lyrically, this album seems to be multidimensional in its ability to be both raw and emotional. One song in particular would be “Afterparty”. The lyrics, “Let your feelings show, it’s easier than you would ever know”, speak for themselves. Can you describe the songwriting approach with this album?
EP — I didn’t write any of the lyrics, but Jon and Bailey both played a big part in the melodies and lyrics. The song writing itself was kind of how we always had done it. An individual would come up with an idea and then bring it to practice and expand on that idea. Some songs take longer than others, but we solidified all the ideas in the studio with Will after months of writing and getting the songs to where we thought they should be. Will would give his thoughts on if anything needed to be enhanced or not and go from there.
You were accompanied by Producer Will Yip for the third time. What was your collaborative creative vision, going into the studio?
EP — No limitations. That’s always the case with Will. Let’s try instruments, melodies, tones and see what sticks. He gets us. He knew the lane we were in when we were creating these songs. That’s what’s special about Will. He just gets it, and his knowledge of music is so expansive, that he can add a different voice into the songwriting process. It’s a perfect marriage for us. He pushed us in the exact way we wanted to be pushed.
Tone wise, what was your recording setup like? Amps, pedals, guitars, drums, mics, etc.?
EP — We use a lot of what we used live. A lot of reverb and some chorus to make the guitars shimmer a bit more. I used a Vox AC30 on almost all my parts. Andy used his Deville. We played through some nice Marshall and TopHat cabinets to smooth out the tones a bit. We like to be able to replicate what we did in the studio in a live setting, so we usually use our own gear with Will’s help dialing in tones.
In modern music, it seems as though the rules are slim to none. How do you continue to push the boundaries when it seems like there isn’t any?
EP — Listeners create boundaries for some reason. It almost seems like they enjoy being labeled as a certain type of music consumer. Not exactly sure why that’s the case, but it is. We try and not regulate ourselves to one kind of music we listen to and hopefully that comes through in the art we create. We came from an underground music community, and listeners in that community try and keep our boundaries in that scene. So if we branch out a little more, it appears that we’re “pushing boundaries” but really we never had any to start with. We just create the art we create.
What is your artistic outlook on life?
EP — I guess I see things in a creative way more than a functional way. How things are created and not really why they are and for what purpose.
Musical influence is very individual and constantly changing. What is one artist at the top of each of your current playlists?
EP — Love the artist, Porches. Pool is a perfect record in my eyes. I haven’t even worn it out yet and listen to it every day. Radiohead never ceases, and is probably my all time favorite act. Love Travis Scott as far as hip hop is concerned. Isiah Rashad as well for hip hop. Warpaint as well. All of which are staples in a lot of my playlists.
What constitutes a good live performance in your opinion? What’s your approach to performing onstage?
EP — Playing cleanly, obviously. But actually connecting with the audience is a pretty indescribable feeling. You can’t really describe a good performance, but you know it when it happens. Some nights you play clean and just feel the crowd in the same space. That’s a good performance.
If there is one message that Light We Made conveys what would it be?
EP — That’s up to interpretation. It conveys what anyone wants it to convey. I think that’s why I like the record as much as I do, because it really hits in a multiple ways and can be taken however you want it too.