Photograph by Alex Cairncross

Photograph by Alex Cairncross

The Balconies, one of the newest bands to set Toronto on fire with blistering live shows, may formerly have been more comfortable in formal concerts playing classical compositions. Composed of Liam Jaeger and siblings Jacquie and Stephen Neville, The Balconies bring an edgy post-punk feeling to their energetic pop. They’re on the cusp of kicking off their tour in support of their self-titled debut album from late 2009, but took time out between their local shows to tell Ca Va Cool about their backgrounds, discuss differences between Ottawa and Toronto, and point out the importance of animal noises.

The Balconies – Lulu
The Balconies – Serious Bedtime
The Balconies – Rest Up

Sabrina: You guys are still pretty new, having started up in 2007. I was checking out your influences, which range from punk, post-punk, electronic… lots of different decades and genres. Were you trying to channel some of that when you came out with your first LP?

Jacquie Neville: Not consciously. It just kind of came out with our songwriting and the chemistry together. Our influences come out.

Steve Neville: : And if you look at the influences, there’s such a big variety.

Jacquie: Technically speaking, we’re all classical musicians. That’s our formal training, so I feel like the practice of that comes through as well.

Sabrina: Speaking of your training, you studied music at the University of Ottawa. What’s the mentality in the classical music department when it comes to pop music? Is it accepting or more straight-laced?

Jacquie: In my experience, the classical field is quite strict. But as soon as I went to Ottawa U, I met all these amazing professors who would say, “No, they can come together. You can like mainstream and classical music.” If anything, it makes you a more well-rounded musician.

Liam Jaeger: It’s becoming a lot more common. A lot of the professors also experiment. There’s a professor who is a professional pianist and he also plays keyboards at raves. It’s becoming a necessity because you can’t really survive playing one type of music anymore, you need to move around.

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— , March 2, 2010    3 Comments