Photo by Andi Elloway

Balance and Composure Interview

With drummer: Bailey Van Ellis

Interviewed by Todd Stevens of Indie Minded

I would like to welcome Bailey Van Ellis from Balance and Composure. Balance and Composure is on their 2017 US Tour and played at The Met in Pawtucket, RI on April 21, 2017. The quintet is Jon Simmons, Andy Slaymaker, Erik Petersen, Matt Warner and Bailey Van Ellis from Doylestown, PA. Their third studio album Light We Made produced by Will Yip is available now.

Telephone interview with Bailey Van Ellis: 4/5/2017.

Todd Stevens: Hi Bailey.

Bailey Van Ellis: Hi Todd. How are you?

TS: I’m pretty good. How’s it going with you?

BVE: I’m good. It’s been a relaxing day.

TS: Great! Thanks for joining us with Indie Minded and are you ready to start our interview?

BVE: Yeah. Absolutely.

TS: Ok. First of all could you tell us your name, age and hometown?

BVE : My name is Bailey Van Ellis. I’m 26 and my hometown hometown is Ewing, New Jersey.

TS: How did the band form?

BVE: It formed in my junior year of high school. The town in which we all grew up in, Doylestown (Pennsylvania) had a pretty big music scene and there were a lot of bands playing. Matt and I were in a band together with our bass player and original guitar player and John was in another band with Eric. And that band broke up and our band just started so John kinda asked if we wanted to join forces. So… yeah.

TS: How did the band get its name?

BVE: Umm, John just came up with it one day. I’m don’t know what made him chose that name but I think he liked the way it sounded. It did a good job of depicting what the band sounded like so there you go.

TS: When did you first start playing an instrument?

BVE: I started playing violin when I was four and I started playing drums when I was ten.

TS: Do you have any childhood memories you would like to share with us?

BVE: Playing drums kinda happened by accident. I went to a back to school night with my parents and the band director was short on percussionists. I think he needed someone for this little parade that my elementary school did every year for a Memorial Day kind of thing. He knew that I played violin and asked if I wanted to try playing drums. I think I filled in for that, and after that I joined the concert band, and eventually my parents got me a drum kit and then I just kept on playing, playing and playing.

TS: Can you tell me about family life?

BVE: Yeah, I grew up right outside of Trenton, New Jersey in a town called Ewing in Mercer County. It was a pretty normal childhood. My mom is a botanist and my dad is a painter and restorer. I feel like I come from an art related family and I have one sister. Other than that, it’s been a pretty normal childhood I think.

TS: What bands have you played in?

BVE: Honestly, just this band pretty much. It’s the only serious band that I’ve played with. I’ve filled in with Tigers Jaw on a tour. But besides that just Balance and Composure.

TS: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. Tell us whatever you like on this subject.

BVE: They’re all great to an extent I guess. Sex may be a little overrated. Drugs may be a little overrated but rock and roll isn’t overrated at all.

TS: How would you describe your sound?

BVE: Spacey

TS: What’s it like in the studio?

BVE: Its cool. It’s like the one place you get to rehear a song for the first time as you are creating it. You can hear it finished for the first time. It can be a super stressful place just making sure the playing is on point. You’re doing everything to the best of your ability but its definitely rewarding when you can hear the finished product for the first time.

TS: Who writes the lyrics and the music in the band? And how do you put it together? What comes first?

BVE: John does the majority of that. I would say that the lyrics are the last thing that get put to the song.

TS: Who is your favorite person to jam with; in or outside of the band?

BVE: Probably Matt our bass player. I’ve just been playing with him the longest out of anyone and I feel like just when it comes to bass and drums, we have a connection there. I know his tendencies and he knows my tendencies and I think because of that it feels like we are one when I play with him.

TS: Who are your musical influences?

BVE: There’s a lot of them. I think the Smiths are one of the most musically talented bands to ever make music and not only from a creative aspect but from a pure musicianship point of view. They’re up there. Anything from that era of music. I feel like that’s the first coming of truly alternative music. So I say The Smiths.

TS: What was your first concert and what have been your favorite concerts?

BVE: My first actual concert that I went to go see was Iron and Wine with my eighth grade girlfriend. She dragged me to see Iron and Wine and I didn’t really like it but that was my first concert. And as for favorite concerts, the first time I saw Warpaint was pretty incredible, they were one of the best live bands I’ve seen and that was a notable one.

TS: What are your favorite Balance and Composure songs?

BVE: I like most of the songs that are off the new album, “Postcard,” “For a Walk,” “Spinning,” “Midnight Zone.” Those are my current favorites.

TS: Any reason why?

BVE: I think they are pretty creative and fun to play live.

TS: How did the band get discovered?

BVE: A shit ton of hard work and playing show, after show, after show.

TS: Can you tell us about your new album?

BVE: Yeah, it’s a departure from our previous material in the sense we explore different instruments and different sounds but it’s still the five of us playing and it still sounds like our band which is more of an exploration album I would say.

TS: And it you took three years to make?

BVE: Yeah

TS: Can you tell us about your producer Will Yip?

BVE: Yeah, he’s more so a close friend than he is a producer. He just happens to be super good at recording music and producing music. He’s like a sixth member of the band.

TS: How the tour going? I heard you just came back from Australia not too long ago.

BVE: Australia was great. We don’t really get over there that often because of how far it is. But when we do the people are very receptive and it’s a beautiful country to see. Yeah, it went well.

TS: Could you tell us about the van accident?

BVE: Yeah, it was kind of a freak accident where we left the show one night and were driving in the rain and I kinda went off on the soft shoulder of the side of the road then skidded back across the road and then went threw a ten foot gap opening in the railing and then for fifty or so feet then everything got totaled but everyone walked away from it.

TS: That’s awesome, man. I’m glad to hear that everyone is ok.

TS: What has been your favorite performance by Balance and Composure?

BVE: Probably the last time we played in Philadelphia on our last headlining tour. It was our biggest headlining show to date. It was pretty cool. We played at the Union Transfer in Philadelphia; it’s the best venue in the country as far as I’m concerned.

TS: How do make your set lists?

BVE: We just try to keep in mind on what everyone wants to hear and what we enjoy playing. I feel that we tend not to play stuff that we don’t want to play but it’s a fine balance between that and making sure we are playing songs that we want to hear and what people want to hear.

TS: Do you have any cover songs?

BVE: No, we don’t play cover songs. We did that in fifth grade.

TS: Any special memories with the band?

BVE: Probably at the Union Transfer show in Philadelphia. I don’t know, every tour has a new memory. I think were all very grateful to do what we are doing.

TS: Do you have any bad habits?

BVE: Nope, I’m a good boy.

TS: So you don’t crack your knuckles or anything huh?

BVE: No, none of that.

TS: What about tattoos?

BVE: Yeah, I’ve got some tats.

TS: Anything special?

BVE: Its sentimental to me. Nothing crazy, I just have one of my arms done.

TS: What makes you unique?

BVE: I don’t know? I don’t think I can answer that question. That’s not for me to answer. I just go about trying to be myself I think, I’m not trying to be anyone else.

TS: We’re down to our last question? Is there anything you want to add?

BVE: Aside from that we are just about to embark on a US Tour and hit some markets that we don’t normally hit and were excited to go out and play music.

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Kelly Murphy
Owner, writer, and editor of Indie Minded; Social Media Marketing & Relationship Consulting via Indie Minded Media; Be sure to give me a follow on Twitter @IndieMurphy or @IndieMindedMedia