Gangs of Ballet has recently released the second EP in their Form and Function series. You might’ve already heard their new single Something charting on the radio. Here’s an inside look on the… well… form and function of Gangs of Ballet:
How was Part 2 of Form and Function different that Part 1 in terms of the production?
[Jonathan] It was a bit different. One of the reasons we structured it with a whole bunch of parts is because our bassist left us to start his own Chiropractor business. We had to kind of figure out how to play together again without him. Losing one person changes the dynamic of the band completely. Part of the process is figuring out who we are now. Doing it in small patches achieved this. Life changes, our influences change as we grow individually, the process is different. Each album is not completely different. We self-produced this one down in Durban. It was a much different experience. We’re pretty stoked with the process. It felt pretty cool.
[Brad] Jonathan started playing bass so he is literally half our sound at the moment. It’s kind of funny that we had to find ourselves and rework everything a bit. We didn’t want to make a full-length album and fumble through it. We thought six songs were better. It also keeps us more relevant. We’re tracking for now. We brought a producer on that level as well because we needed that objective voice to guide us. But we self-produced the second part.
How was it like working on the album in your hometown [Durban]?
[Brad] It was really great to go home every night after a long day of work. You can definitely feel the differences between the two cities [Durban and Johannesburg]. But we’re so in and out of the cities so it’s not really a thing for us anymore. On the recording aspect, it all has its pros and cons. When you come to Joburg to record, you come to record. Your life admin falls away. You wake up at eight and work until eight and you go to sleep. At home you still have people around you like your family and friends. You have to run to the bank or change a car tyre. So there is a different kind of vibe with the bustle and so on.
What are your expectations for the EP?
[Jonathan] I think I hope people start to feel more of the vibe. I think one of the big things for us that we start to find more of what we are as three people together. And it’s quite cool to think what we’re gonna get to after that. Hopefully people are going to enjoy the tunes. I’m hoping things do really well. Put smiles on peoples’ faces.
What songs on the EP are you routing for specifically?
I think Something. It has just started charted on stations. To be honest, the only one that might still be able to bash it is Follow. I think Follow can do well on radio. But that wasn’t really the focus of the EP. This one was for us. That’s why we produced it ourselves.
Reading up on the album, I found that your aim was to create an emotional connection with the listeners. How do you think you achieved that musically wise?
[Josh] I think The Wind does that. It’s probably our favourite too. It’s probably the most self-indulgent on the whole record. It’s just four minutes of whatever we thought of writing. We did try and suck people in, particularly in that song. So we just tried to manage the energy. Where it’s high people feel high and where it’s low people feel low. We tried to tap into that. I don’t know if we achieved that but I hope we did.
In this process do you find inspiration in other South African artists?
[Josh] It’s actually recently downloaded an old album of Beatenburg. I hadn’t managed to listen to it in the past. But it might be my favourite album in my phone at the moment. The song writing in the album is insane. I have the deluxe version so it has some of the obscure tracks on it. I was actually chatting to Mathew in Durban the other day. I hadn’t realised that I even had the deluxe album. I found that really inspiring.
[Brad] This year I signed up on Apple Music and I’ve just been consuming music. I’ve got from Michael Jackson to Alt-J to James Blake to Beatenburg. Everything. As wide as it goes. It’s one of the pros of streaming.
Do you guys have that ultimate band that you would give your left kidney to open for/ tour for?
Josh: It would be hands down Coldplay.
Brad: Yes. They have a really good vibe at the shows. Coldplay has like fireworks popping out of everywhere.
Josh: Actually, it would be a toss-up for me between 21 Pilots. I would love to go on tour with that band. I think they’re so great.
Brad: Yeah, they’re amazing.
What would your ideal arena be to perform?
Brad: I would like to perform a show somewhere iconic venue that tons of people have heard of. Like Madison’s Square Garden. I always thought my ideal situation would be like a stadium show or something like that. I actually don’t think it’s that fun to be honest. I think arenas are way more fun to play. It feels closer, a bit better. It’s a totally different vibe.
Is there anything the fans can look forward to from now to the end of the year?
We have a couple of shows in December but the main thing is to follow @gangsofballet on Twitter and on Instagram.