Take some Smokey Robinson, a dash of Dusty Springfield, and a pinch of Punk delivery and you have a Rock ‘N’ Roll band the likes of which this earth hadn’t seen prior to the conception of the magnificent Ballantynes. The band have three 7”s under their buckle on the equally fabulous La-Ti-Da recording label. So, do yourself a favor and partake in the good times that will ensue after you place their records on your turntable. It’s undeniable! It’s unmistakable! It’s the Ballantynes!
Interview by Jay Castro
Who’s answering the questions?
Vanessa and Corey
Who is in the band and what instruments do you play?
Jarrod Odell - Hammond/Vocals
Vanessa Dandurand - Vocals/Tambourine
Jennifer Wilks- Vocals/Hammond/Tambourine
Corey Poluk- Guitar/Vocals
Max Sample - Bass/Vocals
Michael McDiarmid- Drums
Trevor Racz- Drums
Is the band originally from Vancouver BC?
How did the band start and what bands/musicians did you have in mind when starting out?
Out of necessity and cacophony. We all come from varied backgrounds but classic soul, motown, stax artists form common ground between us as well as a lot of punk and garage both contemporary and quintessential.
I saw that the band is scheduled to play the Squamish Music Festival in August, a pretty immense occasion. Will this be the biggest audience you’ve played in front of? How do you feel your music comes across in a festival type atmosphere as opposed to a smaller dimly lit club?
We’ve been lucky enough to play some pretty cool gigs like Victory Square Block party and opening at The Commodore, I guess it will all depend on how many people come and get wild in the wild with us. We will take as much or as little room as you give us but its definitely exciting to get that much room to spread out sonically, it doesn’t happen everyday.
The Ballantynes have a look and sound, which to me, is quite sophisticated and debonair. No easy feat to pull off! Anything other than music influence the band’s musical compositions and appearance?
We all have our comfort zones when it comes to how we dress. It’s actually pretty basic if you think about it. Maybe we all kind of recognized something and gravitated towards each other. Or maybe we all just figured out you can get away with a lot more if you look like you’re put together. Who knows?
The band has quite a robust membership, did the idea of having two drummers, two guitarists, four vocalists etc. develop over time or was this the master design from the beginning?
We’ve always had the same members, and there are definitely things like having two drummers that were decided from the get go. Other things like vocals or second guitar roles fell into place wherever they were needed. A master design sounds ominous.
I got into a lot of older music by way of punk music. I have noticed that you have shared the stage with a lot of more traditionally punk sounding bands. What do you think is the connection between the type of music The Ballantynes play and punk rock?
The connection is probably with us socially. Punk rock is definitely part of our shared histories in one shape or form. Plus, when you run out of bands that make sense together on a bill you just want to play with your friends because that’s the most fun.
With the band’s sound drawing influence from so many different eras of pop music, if given the opportunity, what band/or musician from the history of pop music would you want to tour with the most? Who else’s music/attitude or style do you feel would fit together with what The Ballantynes do?
Can we say ‘The Boss’? Bruce Springsteen though, not Rick Ross. He’s the other boss. We also have to say The Clash. Because Jarrod’s not with us right now. His blood would boil.
I recently read a quote stating that music, above all other art forms, has the ability to drastically change the disposition of a person. I know for myself, a bad mood and a radio playing Sam Cooke’s Twistin’ The Night Away can’t exist in the same room. Do you agree with this? If so, can you think of any examples of what and how certain pieces of music have affected you for the better or worse?
We definitely agree with that idea for sure, especially when it comes to Sam Cooke. At the end of the day music can and will attach itself to moments in your life, some of them good and some of them bad. It’s not necessarily the music but the moments attached to that music that we feel affect people the most.
50 years ago people used to buy music and get their water free; now people pay for water and get their music free. How do you think this affects the music industry?
Even if it's a different set of rules, the people who need to make music will still make music. Worrying about it might just give you a headache, it pays to stay thirsty.
Where can people hear the band or purchase your music?
On out bandcamp! Or iTunes! Or latidarecords.com!
What’s next for the band?Our new 7" Faith/Velvet which is part of the LA-TI-DA Spring Singles Club and a weekender in Alberta! We're super stoked to be back on that side of the mountains for the first time since Sled Island. We are going with Needles // Pins! We've also got a show coming up at The Astoria in May with our friends BIG EYES from Seattle who totally rip, and we'll be back on the road this summer!