The Balconies sing bloody murder on Kill Count EP
The Neville brother/sister duo of Jacquie and Stephen lay down the string tracks and vocals, while Jacquie’s love and “soulmate” Liam Jaeger plays backbone to the beats on drums.
“Some people find it weird that I’m in a band with my brother and boyfriend,” says Neville. “I think it’s amazing, since I always have my two favourite people with me, I never get homesick.”
Topping off its third year on the scene, the band’s sound has echoed both on stage and in headphones as its records provide soothing rock melodies and emotionally-clad, frenetic vocals.
“Our energy really explodes on stage, since we have so much chemistry with each other on and off the stage. The whole situation definitely reflects in our subject matter, in our songs and the overall dynamics.”
Jacquie and Stephen both started on the violin at very young ages, which spurred their interest in classical music and theory. It wasn’t until their mid-teens that Jacquie picked up the guitar and Stephen took up the bass.
Their informal jam sessions shortly became what was for many years “Jacquie in the Kitchen,” their debut band, which got them their first few gigs.
“Both Steve and I started playing classical music at a young age. We were about seven when we started on violin; I was about 15 when I picked up the guitar and starting songwriting and singing. We never got along as kids until we found the grounds of music. When Steve picked up the bass, we started playing my songs and we made that high school band that ended up lasting five years.”
The Neville pair ventured to the University of Ottawa to study classical music. That is where Liam came into the picture after sniping Jacquie in the hallway, aloof to his presence due to her trademark of rocking headphones. Until the one day their eyes met. They’ve been playing music together ever since.
Their unison as a trio is interesting to say the least, and the creation of the name followed suit.
“Liam was playing in other bands when I met him at university and I missed playing music with my brother, but it all just came together and we have so much undying love and respect for each other, so it works.
“We were living in a place with two balconies, and when we think of a balcony, it’s a place where you can have a glass of wine or a BBQ, and just relax, but also watch the night sky or have a house party, and it’s crammed up with people smoking and being loud. We felt like this reflected our music and style. One of our good friends actually suggested it.”
The trio attributes the synergy in the writing process to its cohesive knowledge of musical theory. But in turn they reject the notion that it has had any direct influence on the band’s music. Simply put, it makes it easier for them to communicate on a musical level.
“I don’t believe that our classical training has any big influence on our music, or that we’re some groundbreaking musicians who write masterpieces. I do feel that it makes it easier for us to communicate, since we all have similar musical background” explains Jacquie. “It’s awesome since we all still play our classic instruments, so we can alter our songs for classical shows as well anytime we’re asked.”
Fans of The Balconies have much to look forward to in the upcoming months. Jacquie has been seen tweeting about the video shoot for “Kill Count,” which is expected to be released early in the new year and features the band in the ring, tight on the ropes. The band’s newest video production is going to be matched by their album production, as they expect to drop their first full-length album in May 2012.
“The new album is going to be more polished and we’ve been trying as hard as we can to make it heavier and more complete than the last two.”
Story by Devin Size; photo by Ben Welland