The Balconies – Excited to revisit their roots with a benefit show for Canterbury High School

November 20th, 2013 by  |  Published in Features, Interviews

The Balconies - promo

I recently had the opportunity to chat with Steve about the band’s upcoming benefit show, the new album and Jacquie’s voice.

For a young band, the rigours of the road can prove daunting. The Balconies found this out themselves, having canceled the remainder of their western Canada dates due to Jacquie’s failing voice. After a little down time, the band will soon be forging ahead once again.

Fortunately, the band and fans alike don’t have anything to worry about. In regards to Jacquie’s voice, “It was serious enough that we had to cancel, but she’s seen some doctors and vocal couches and there is no damage”, said Steve. “We’ve been really busy and her voice was overtaxed. We were recently in Iceland and we played 7 shows in 3 days. With the new music, Jacquie has been singing more aggressively.”

Another recent development with the band has been the move of Liam to guitar and the addition of a new drummer. I was quite surprised when I saw the new formation on stage at the Dragon Boat Festival earlier this year.

Steve was kind enough to fill me in on a little band history. “Guitar was always Liam’s main instrument. He was classically trained and switched to drums in the early days because we had no one else in mind. He was always very particular about it (the beats). This was kind of always the plan, just not so soon. It happened during the recording process for the new album. Working with Arnold (Lanni) was fast paced when it came to songwriting. Liam is a whiz on guitar so it made sense for him to be on guitar.”

That turned our discussion to the new album, which I can’t wait to get my hands on. Steve mentioned that, “The digital pledgers have already received their copies. I think the physical release is around January 25th, but we are currently selling physical copies at some shows with limited edition packaging.” For those not aware, The Balconies worked with Pledge Music to fund the recording of the new album.

Working with Lanni was a big change for the group. “He had a very different approach. He was really into the songwriting side of things. We’d reshape our songs with Arnold. We really challenged ourselves. This is the first record where the music really sounds like what we wanted.”

When I asked about the new direction, Steve added, “It has a heavier sound. But the biggest difference is in Jacquie’s voice. She sounds bigger, more eccentric, more distinct.”

The band is excited about their benefit show for Canterbury High School. “We’ve always considered ourselves to have 2 home markets, Ottawa where we’re from and Toronto where we’re based now. We did a benfit in Toronto in October for Cystic Fibrosis after our agent Paul Gourlie passed away. We wanted to do something in Ottawa as well.”

“We saw the Arcade Fire benefit show (Richard Parry, guitarist and percussionist with Arcade Fire, attended Canterbury as well) and wanted to do something similar. It’s an opportunity to give back to the school and show the students our roots.” Laughing, Steve added, “Many of them probably don’t know who we are.”

Other than the Arcade Fire show, it’s been a long time since Steve has wandered the halls of his high school. The last time he was there as an alumni, following his graduation to play in the annual Christmas concert.

When Steve takes the stage this time around, with the rest of his bandmates, it’s sure to be a whole different atmosphere!

The Balconies
with special guests Dear Rouge and The Capitol Beat
Canterbury High School
November 22, 2013
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