Photo: Judea Costes
2011 was quite a year for Pennsylvania-based rockers Balance and Composure. After the release of their debut album, ‘Separation,’ the band quickly took to the road. They shared stages with groups like Dredg, Polar Bear Club, Title Fight, La Dispute, and Make Do and Mend. They even played Australia and Europe for the first time. What’s truly impressive isn’t the fact that kids around the world are beginning to take notice of an act like Balance and Composure — it’s that these five punks (Jon, Erik, Andy, Matt, and Bailey) can’t help but pick up their instruments each night and assault a room with a guitar-heavy sonic blitz. And these guys are just getting started, which is the greatest part.
In late December, Rock Edition sat down with vocalist Jon Simmons outside The Chance Theater in Poughkeepsie, NY. It was awfully cold, but we managed to briefly recap the year and discuss what’s in store for the group in 2012. Check it out below.
It seems like you guys have had a great year. Was it a fun year?
Yeah. It’s been my favorite year.
What was your favorite tour to be a part of in 2011?
I liked the last one we did with Polar Bear Club and Fireworks. But the Title Fight one with Transit in Europe was pretty amazing as well.
That was your first time playing in Europe?
Yeah, that was our first time over there.
You also played Australia. When was that?
That was in August.
Which was better?
What’s in Australia that’s so cool?
Everything. Kangaroos and beaches.[laughs] Did you have enough time to enjoy the sights?
Yeah, we actually had a lot of time.
Who did you go to Australia with?
How did you pull that off?
I don’t know. We did okay.
I assume they had the album by that time. Everyone already knew the words?
Yeah. Actually, not in Europe, but it was still cool.
Are you staying with No Sleep Records for the next full-length?
‘Separation’ was your first full-length ever, right?
Yeah, I’ve never put out a full-length ever in any band I’ve been in. I was really excited to have one come out.
How long did it take to actually write it?
It took us a year, but we really worked at it for three months in the summer. We got most of it done then.
Did you have to rework a lot of stuff in the studio with [producer] Brian McTernan?
No, not much. We didn’t really tweak anything. We wanted it to be really organic and just who we are.
Did No Sleep Records suggest Brian, or did you guys pick him?
We wanted to work with him. We emailed him thinking he would never say yes. We gave him our budget and he was still totally into it.
Have you decided whether or not you’re going to work with him again?
We haven’t even come close to discussing it.
What was great about ‘Separation’ was hearing some of the band’s mellower material. You didn’t have that on the EP, so it was a nice addition.
I’ve heard you say that the album is about you trying to find yourself. After all the time you’ve spent on the road since it’s release, have you gotten closer to figuring your life out?
[laughs] Yeah, I think I know what I want to do. I’m still questioning a lot of things, but I’m pretty set with what we’re doing right now. It’s fun. As long as it’s fun…
Were you guys able to take a break during the holidays?
We got back from Europe like four days ago. We only had a few days to hang out.
Who did you guys get along with the most on tour?
We got along with Fireworks really well. Title Fight also. Everyone. Polar Bear Club was great. We make friends every tour.
Are you all vegetarians?
Four of us are.
Is it difficult eating on the road?
[chuckles] We eat like shit. We like to eat nice, but we never have time.
What was the highlight of 2011 for you? The new album, or the touring?
Both worlds are fun. I like recording and I like playing.
What will Balance and Composure be up to in 2012?
I think we’re just going to hang out for a while.
Well, you do deserve a break.
Actually, we’re going to do a spring tour. Between now and then, we’re just going to hang out, though.
Pick up Balance and Composure’s latest album, Separation.
For the band’s upcoming tour dates, check out their Facebook page.