ballroom thieves band

Earley and Often: Music Interview with Ballroom Thieves

Thursday, August 21, 2014 HALFSTACK MAGAZINE

There is so much happening in the Midwest this summer; that it is often hard to pinpoint who to follow. I look for a band with unlimited potential and talent. Eight bands made my list of enjoyable concerts that may come to a town near you during the festival season that you want to check out since I already had the pleasure. Check them out below along with an interview with the lead singer of Ballroom Thieves.

1. Last Second Drop
2. Robby Krieger’s Jam Kitchen
3. American Authors
4. The Script
5. One Republic
6. Hall & Oates
7. Ben Harper & Charlie Musselwhite
8. Matisyahu

Summerfest is the world’s largest music festival. There were so many good bands to choose from it felt overwhelming at times to settle into just one. Ballroom Thieves is a band I chose to interview during the 12 day event. Lead singer Martin Earley of Ballroom Thieves answered a series of questions before performing at Summerfest 2014 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

HSM: How did you come up with the name of your band?
MARTIN: I was enjoying a splendid afternoon at the Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island, sipping on more than a few tasty beverages, and lathering myself with that festival's awesome-sauce when inspiration struck. We had previously been touring as 'Martin Earley & Devin Mauch,' so that needed to change, and I really liked the idea of a sly pack of pickpockets wreaking havoc on a fancy ball, so the name kind of stuck.

HSM: Who writes the music?
MARTIN: I write all of the lyrics, as well as the initial guitar parts and melodies. Once those parts are at a point where I feel comfortable sharing them with the outside world, the whole band sits down to work on vocal harmonies, other instrumental parts, different arrangements, and everything else that eventually makes the song sound complete. It's a fairly democratic process, and we're lucky enough to have a manager who likes to get involved in the creative decisions as well. It's always nice to have an outside perspective while writing, and he fills that role more than adequately.

HSM: Is this your first time playing at Summerfest?
MARTIN: We're fortunate enough to be able to say that this is not the first time we've played Summerfest. We supported Dispatch on the BMO stage last year, and we had a great time doing so. The festival is so enormous in scale that there is never a boring moment, so we're excited to come back, not only to play again, but also to celebrate America's birthday with thousands of Wisconsinites.

HSM: What is your favorite part of being a musician?
MARTIN: My favorite part is that we not only get to do what we love to do, we also get to share our art with such a wide variety of different people all across the country. The places we see and the people we meet make this job amazing, and they make all the driving worth it. The hours are a bit tricky on the road sometimes, mostly because the days are made for driving, and the nights for playing, so there's not much time in between to do anything else. It makes things like apartment hunting and setting aside time for friends, family, and loved ones a bit of a challenge at times, but we're starting to settle into a system that seems to be working for everyone, so we can't complain.

HSM: Who are ‘Ballroom Thieves,’ musical influences?
MARTIN: Devin was really into the hardcore scene in his native New York as a youth, Callie is a classically trained cellist, and I was brought up on classic rock and country, but went through a pretty intense hip-hop phase in my adolescence. We're all over the place. At the moment, the people who influence us most from a musical perspective are our contemporaries; our friends in other bands. A lot of the bands we listen to on the road are ones we've recently played with, though you'll always find traces of Frightened Rabbit, Bob Dylan, and Eminem on any of our playlists.

Jason Shimberg - Music & Entertainment Blogger

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