Good evening young Americans. Last Saturday night, we ventured to Assumption College up in Worcester to check out a band we’ve been eyeing for the last couple months. They’re called The Ballroom Thieves, and when they were first described to me, they were likened to a sort of Mumford & Sons sound. Which I personally found discouraging because I never fell in love with the generic pseudo-folk Irish effort. So I started listening with skepticism and ended up finding my new favorite contemporary folk set in The Ballroom Thieves. Exceptionally crafted, high energy folk-rock, coupled with emotional, allegorical lyricism is what these fellows and lady fella produce. A 3 piece set with a drummer, a guitarist, and a cello player, the energy they produce equates to that of a 5 piece punk band. You hear them, and you’ll think to yourself “Have I heard this somewhere?” and the answer is in 99% of cases no, but give it some time and you will. We did an interview with them and I transcribed some of the more interesting points below. Martin is the main singer and guitarist, Devin is the drummer (as well as vocalist), and the lovely Calin is the cello player as well as vocalist. The venue is small, as is the crowd. It’s a very intimate setting, not what we expected, but it allowed us the front row.
The track here is my personal favorite by The Ballroom Thieves. Watch it live all the way through, it’s sublime.
(Dylan) When did you guys start playing together?
Martin: Well, Devin and I have been playing since college, so about three years. At that time we had hired a cello player for a couple months. With the addition of Calin, we’ve been playing the past 7 or 8 months.
(Zack) What do you guys see in the way of influences on your music?
Devin: A lot of similarly sized bands that we meet when we’re on the road. Bands that work hard travel hard, and play hard.
Martin: A lot of local Boston bands like Darling Side and Tall Heights, I don’t know if you guys have heard of them. Let’s see, all sorts of stuff, The Ghost of Paul Revere, Bob Dylan, Phil Collins, The Eagles, even hip hop–you know, like Action Bronson, etc.
(Dylan) Where are you guys from?
Martin: Well I grew up in Switzerland but moved to Boston when I was 14.
Devin: I grew up in Red Hook, New York.
Calin: I’m from Franklin, Mass. We’re all from out East.
(Zack) What has been your guys’ favorite show to play?
Martin: Ah, that’s hard. A couple weeks ago we played at the Sinclair in Harvard Square for a record release, and that place sold out. It was surreal.
Calin: Definitely a different environment than tonight’s show, way more energy and people, it was more like a rock and roll show.
(Dylan) Well, we still thoroughly enjoyed tonight’s set. How old are y’all?
Martin: I’m 26 and so is Devin
Calin: I’m 27
(Dylan) Jesus, you guys make me feel so young. I’m 19.
Calin: That’s a good thing!
(Dylan) Zack here is like 40 anyway.
Calin: Well, he looks great.
(Zack stealthily hides his erection) Do you guys have anything that you’re working on now?
Martin: We’re working on a new EP
(Dylan) I noticed that a lot of my favorite tracks from the Audiotree sesh, like Bullet and Archers, are not available anywhere else. Will these be on the new EP?
Martin: Yeah, we’ve got about 15 tracks that are either on Audiotree or just not available to the public ’cause some of them aren’t finished. We don’t really have a release date set because we have so much left to do but when it’s finished it’ll have a lot on it.
(Dylan) My favorite track is Bullet.
Calin: Mine too.
Devin: I noticed you mouthing along to it, I appreciate that.
(Zack) Where are you guys playing next?
Devin: We’ll be spending our time working our way west, like your area (gestures toward Dylan) in Chicago and Evanston, and eventually into California.
(Zack) Have you guys ever done a rock contest? Like a contest where the winner gets a production package and a leg up with their work?
Martin: We haven’t, we’ve heard of those before, and they’re a great help for the right kinds of bands, especially since all this shit is expensive, but we’re trying to keep everything original.
Calin: We want it all to happen organically, you know?
(Dylan) More power to you for doing it the right way. I know it’s difficult, but to end this, if you guys had to pick a favorite band?
Devin: Frightened Rabbit, there a Scottish rock band that I’ve been really into lately.
Martin: It’s a cop out answer, but Bob Dylan. So much different music, for all kinds of situations, and his lyricism is just perfect.
Calin: This is another cop out, but I’d have to say Feist. She’s very inspiring and I’ll just be able to listen to her anytime.