Armed with a wall of noise and hook-filled choruses to spare, Toronto rockers the Balconies made quite the impact opening for Hollerado at the Celebration Square concert this past Friday night. But when The Medium caught up to speak with the affable trio, it quickly became apparent that the band members weren’t always so firmly rooted in the rock world. Citing influences as diverse as baroque music and The Big Chill’s soundtrack and Green Day, the band brings those varied tastes to their latest EP, Kill Count, which was released earlier this year.
As students at the University of Ottawa, Jacquie Neville (lead vocals, guitar), his brother Stephen Neville (bass guitar), and Liam Jaeger (drums) originally studied classical music, but nearly five years ago, they turned their love of various genres into the Balconies.
And despite that classical background, the Balconies have a pretty unfussy formula when it comes to their live shows. Liam cites the “stripped-down and really loud” approach of other power trios such as the Police, Cream, and Nirvana as inspiration for the band’s concerts. “We strive to recreate that,” he says.
The band got their start playing bars in Ottawa, and they still have a strong affection for their roots. “The Ottawa scene was very supportive,” Jacquie says fondly. “There was always a scene in Ottawa for us.” But after self-releasing their debut album in 2009, the band later moved to Toronto, where they teamed up with producer Jon Drew (Tokyo Police Club, Fucked Up), who helped them expand their sound and record the five-track Kill Count EP. “[Jon] took our songs and how they sound live and made them sound really, really good,”
Liam says of the finished product.
The Balconies have since had “intense” recording sessions with producer Arnold Lanni (Our Lady Peace), who helped them rerecord and remaster their infectious single “Serious Bedtime”. And with a cross-country tour this fall and another full-length album on the horizon, things certainly don’t seem to be slowing down for this young band anytime soon.