Quick & Dirty - The Balconies

By: Dara Hakimzadeh

Quick & Dirty - The Balconies
Photo: courtesy of the artist
The Balconies

August 5, 2009 – Ottawa, Canada

The Fall usually symbolizes a time when students move, packing their cars full of furniture, clothes, laptops, you name it. For Ottawa’s The Balconies, an indie band of professionally trained musicians, it will likely be a similar list with a few extras: namely a guitar, bass, and drum set. "I find being in Ottawa often makes me wish I were somewhere else," says Liam Jaegar. The band’s drummer, he moved to Ottawa in 2002 and recently finished his Master of Music degree from the University of Ottawa. Jaegar and his band mates are moving to Toronto this month.

"There are a lot of great people here and some pretty sights, but it feels strangely remote. In Ottawa, the politics and hockey are widely considered much more important than art and culture," he said.

Vocalist and guitarist Jacquie Neville (also in the band Jetplanes of Abraham) and her brother/bassist Steve Neville also studied music at the University of Ottawa and started the band as a side project.

"The music scene [in Ottawa] is alright and there are a good number of really good bands here and we've had a lot of support from a lot of great people. However, there just aren't as many people here who go to shows," Jaegar explains. "So it means you can’t play very often."

Carlin Nicholson, of Toronto band Zeus, let Jaegar record vocals in his studio in February. After that experience, Jaegar says he’s excited about capturing the band’s loud sound on the debut self-titled album.

"When we play live we are a lot louder and have a lot more vocal layering going on than in the demo recordings. On the album, we spent more time trying to thicken up the recorded sound with layered vocals and instruments," he says.

A new album and a new city seem like an exciting time in a band’s history, but Jaegar takes a more realistic perspective.

"We know we're going to have to start over from the bottom."

It’s a challenge he doesn’t mind facing.

Video: The Balconies live

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