Interview by Amanda Burd
Balance And Composure aren’t afraid to step out of their comfort zone. From the techniques they used to write and record their latest album, to making the artwork themselves; not to mention taking a break from headlining tours, where all the attendees know their songs, to play sold out shows with bands like Manchester Orchestra and Circa Survive, and taking a shot at winning the crowd over. B&C are a band that constantly push themselves.
B&C are currently on tour with Manchester Orchestra, a band that has always been a dream of theirs to tour with. “I’ve been thinking like ‘what else can we dream for?’ I guess to tour with Radiohead but that will never happen,” said vocalist, Jon Simmons.
But this is isn’t the first time they’ve worked with a band who has been a major influence for them. They’ve played big tours, and even released a split with Braid. “Circa Survive is Bailey, our dummer’s, favorite band, and its always been his dream (to tour with them). I met him in high school in 10th grade and he had a Circa shirt for every day of the week. He’s a super fan. And I grew up on Framing Canvas by Braid, so definitely huge influences for us,” Simmons said.
Touring with large bands like Manchester has its challenges though. Simmons explained, “It’s scary, definitely scary, because shows like this we have to win over new fans. With small shows, when we’re headliners, the connection to the crowd is just really cool. So playing shows like these, we kind of have to just zone out and just have fun playing and not worry about the crowd reaction. With smaller shows we kind of feed off the crowd connection. But I think we’ve hit a good groove on this tour recently.”
The majority of the songs in B&C’s current live set are taken from their most recent album, The Things We Think We’re Missing. The songs sound remarkably the same live as they do recorded: full, vibrant, and raw. This is likely due to the fact that TTWTWM was recorded on tape. “Will Yip suggested it, he wanted to try it with us, he’d never recorded on tape. We were completely on board because all of our favorite records, like Nirvana, all that stuff was recorded on tape, and we wanted it to sound like, huge, the drums and bass to be in your face. I hate records when the drums are like really soft and shit,” said Simmons. “Everyone does digital now. It’s harder to do tape because you have to get it perfect. Bailey and Matt had to do like 6 takes of each song, and you have to go through the whole thing, you can’t stop. So theres a lot of pressure on those two, big time.”
Recording on tape isn’t the only unique approach B&C used to create TTWTWM. The process all started by secluding themselves in a cabin for two weeks straight to write the record. The new approach helped give a breath of fresh air into their writing process. “I think we just all needed something different. We all work when we’re home, so when we wrote Separation we were coming from work every day, I work a 9 to 5. You’re just drained from the day and you’re just kinda not as into it you should be… or as we used to be. So we did the cabin thing to reignite that flame, recreate that process where we solely focus on music and not be stressed or drained. In the cabin, we woke up, made ourselves breakfast, then we just jammed for hours. It was just a good experience as a band. I like the approach a lot better than anything else we’ve done,” said Simmons.
Closing yourself off in a cabin can understandably make you go a little crazy after a while, though. “We would just get bored as shit when we were writing so our other outlet was photography. We got really into taking creepy photos,” Simmons said. “We shot the album cover ourselves, which is cool. I think it’s cooler than having someone else do it for you. You feel way more connected to it. We just wanted to use something that we did in the cabin and make the ghost transparent to the oil color wheel and kind of see-through, it’s a “what’s inside of us” kind of thing.”
The band apparently took some critique for their self-made album art. Simmons said, “A lot of people didn’t like the artwork, but I don’t care. People said it was the worst album artwork ever. And I’m like ‘Really? I’ve seen some shit, and I don’t think that’s that bad.’”
Balance and Composure constantly do what feels right for their band, no matter the critique they may or may not receive, and it’s helped them reach a whole new level. They challenge themselves, whether it’s with writing, recording, performing, or creative concept, and there’s no doubt that their hard work will pay off, big time.