ATH Interviews: Balkans
We’ve been following the Atlanta scene rather closely, as they’re pushing out a lot of great bands, both big and small. You can’t really pinpoint one singular sound in the town, but you can definitely nail-down a communal sense of belonging. Here’s our interview with Balkans, Atlanta’s hottest new band.
ATH: The new album is going to be your first completed LP. Is there a new sense of gratification that comes with completing the entire LP versus finishing a 7″ or is it all just part of the business of the band, writing music, releasing it, etc. ? I guess this boils down to, are you prouder of finishing the LP or of all the work the band’s completed as a whole?
Balkans: There’s definitely a sense of gratification; we worked on this album for a long time. We put a lot more time into this LP than we did with previous releases so I think it means a lot more to us. Stanley’s anxiety caused him to gain a lot of weight during the process. It feels good for sure.
ATH: Speaking of the album, there seems to be a nice bit of a dichotomy between harder-edged guitar tracks and songs that rely more upon the melody, such as “Flowers Everywhere.” Is having a bit of a contrasting sound from song to song an intentional move to keep the interest of the listener, or merely just the natural flow of the band’s songwriting.
Balkans: A lot of the songs on the album really only took shape after we played them out live for a while. On stage, it’s easier to figure out what works and what doesn’t. Some songs are more of a release and that’s where the edge comes in, but other times we are just trying to be the Beatles. It has a lot to do with underage d****ing!
ATH: Do your live sets feature a bit of both, or do you go predominantly for the heavier tracks to provide yourselves with the natural energy of the song in the live setting? What’s the band’s favorite track to play live?
Balkans: Definitely keep things lively on stage. It’s strange listening to some of the LP tracks now because of how slow and mellow they came off compared to the sets we play every night. Maybe playing the same song every night gets repetitive, so to keep it interesting we try to push it. I think Balkans should release a live album next.
ATH: Being a fairly new band, at least in regards to this album being your LP debut, is there something you wish that all listeners would take from the record when it’s done, as far as a statement or an overall emotion?
Balkans: There is no real intended overall emotion or statement. I think it’s important for the listener to develop their own interpretation of the album…but it’s mainly cathartic I guess. Would be good to blast when your slut girlfriend breaks up with you. But you feel good about it. I think someone said “soundtrack to being pissed” or something, that works. But you should feel like a million bucks when it’s all over!
ATH: Being an Austin-based blog, we love to look at the other musical communities around the country when we talk to bands. How has Atlanta shaped your sound? Do you feel a certain camaraderie with the other bands, or is it sort of an every band for himself/herself mentality?
Balkans: Atlanta is rad! We are kind of incestuous and small. Being in the south it takes a lot of work to get noticed outside this city, so playing here can really whip your band in shape. Double Phantom is our team, but everyone gets along, from Outkast to cult punk bands like Predator. It’s a great big cluster fuck of basement shows and one off 7inches, nobody is ever concerned about “making it”.
ATH: Your site seems to have a few shows scheduled after the album release. Do you all have any plans for a full nation-wide tour at this time? Plans to make it to Texas perhaps?
Balkans: We will be along the east coast in may/june and we’ll hopefully make it out to Texas and California soon after. Making these awesome dirty-ass tour shirts right now, with bleach and black berry die. Get one! But yeah, Balkans have never made it to Austin before, and we are certainly excited to do it. We recently played in New York City with this Austin band called Flesh Lights, they were great! Hopefully we can play with them when we come through.
ATH: For some odd reason I’ve been really into zoology these last few months. If you were going to sum up the group as an animal entity, what would that animal be? And yes, you are allowed to hybridize your own fictional animal based on characteristics that fit the band?
Balkans: Our band animal would be a fox/bat hybrid. It’s called a fat-box. Its diet would consist of foxes and bats.
ATH: Anything else you wish our readers to know that we didn’t cover, besides the fact that they need to get their hands on your album?
Balkans: Listen to it loud as hell.
Photo credit goes to Cyrus Shahmir.