Interview: Bek Grealy
Photo: Elize Strydom
I battled the crowds of the Valley Fiesta to round up the band members of “Ball Park Music” (BPM), who were supporting their friends “Hungry Kids of Hungary”. On our way down to the interview, the band was stopped by various fans requesting a copy of their CD! Whilst juggling with some of their instruments, they managed to appease their fans by almost giving them away for $5.
LMM: What’s happening in the live gig scene at the moment, have you got any recent records you have been promoting around the country?
BPM: Lately we’ve just been playing around Brisbane at the good ol venues that we love, the Troubadour and the Globe and the Troubadour, and did we mention the Troubadour?
LMM: Yeah, I’ve read that you guys love playing at the troubadour, it’s a really great venue isn’t it, very intimate and the acoustics would also be spot on for your music.
BPM: It’s comfy, it’s kinda like a second home, it’s like playing in an oversized lounge room really we always look forward to playing at the Troubadour.
LMM: Your new album, “Rolling on the Floor Laughing ourselves to sleep”, was launched in April, how has the album been going for “Ball Park Music”, I just saw you sell a few on the street on our way to the interview?
BPM: I think we named that our mini LP and yeah we released that in April, and we don’t have any copies left, except some crappy copies that we have been selling for $5. That’s because as soon as we launched it, my (Jen’s) house burnt down, and all the cd’s were inside. It was like 4 days after the launch, so we got them all and put them in the sun and managed to save about 200 of them.
So we have been putting them in new cases and selling them for $5.
LMM: How did your house burn down?
BPM: My sister left a candle on and it burnt the house down, so people, NO CANDLES IN ROOMS!
LMM: Ball Park Music self produced and self recorded the album; explain what impact that has had on your music or the recording?
BPM: Yeah, well, it’s kind of dodgy; it was recorded in my (Sam’s) bedroom. For the first release, we weren’t really planning on releasing an album; we were just like, let’s record some songs and show our parents. It ended up sounding pretty all right, and we just threw in some more bits here and there that sounded good. Then before we knew it, we had like 8 songs together, so we put them on an album and showed some people.
LMM: So Sam, is your bedroom sound proof?
BPM: Um no…
LMM: So how do your neighbours and flat mates content with the noise?
BPM: My flat mate and girlfriend are very tolerant, and as for the neighbours, well, we have an old Queenslander split in half, and on the other side is this little old man, but I’m not sure if he is alive most of the time! Every now and then I hear this ha ha ha (Sam mimics a hyena). (The group erupt in laughter). But then we don’t hear him for weeks. I think he’s deaf, so he’s completely fine with it all I’m sure.
LMM: Just walk me though how your band Ball Park Music started. I believe it began in 2006.
BPM: Yeah you could say that, I (Sam), sort of made some music under the name ‘Ball Park Music’, but it was not a band, it was more my own music made by myself. Jen pipes up and says “Sam came to Brisbane with the songs and we just played them altogether.
LMM: So how did the entire band members meet, were you individually picked from somewhere, or do you know each other from university?
BPM: We all go to the same university, and we are completing the same course together, so we are just like, let’s play. We were literally part of a class, where four are together and then Paul joined and then Jen joined, and there were six people. And we were all saying, what are we going to do with six people? But we managed to worked it out and run with something quite good.
LMM: Explain the instruments you use on stage, you’ve got an eclectic range. Talk me though how each of these instruments were incorporated into your music successfully.
BPM: Jen walked in and said, well I can do backing vocals and we said, okay great, but we might need a bassist, and Jen replied, “Yeah, I’ll play that why not, I play piano and have never played Bass, but I can learn this”. Then Paul said hey I play the trombone! The other instruments are pretty standard, we vary bass with guitar, but most of the time we play with three guitars on different layers which is pretty tricky.
I think having six people on stage is nice to look at. They don’t really need to know what we are doing, we just need to look good. Yeah I (Jen), don’t even play, I just sit there with the Bass looking good! (Everyone laughs).
LMM: Now that we know you have a few instruments to carry around the countryside, it must be tiring organising them for a gig. I just witnessed 2 of you carry the keyboard (piano) through an intense crowd, then up 4 flights of stairs, mighty effort!
BPM: “Well”, Dean murmurs, Dan (points to his brother who is the drummer) and I are twins, and I have just spent my entire life being an involuntary drum tech… Jen pipes up explaining that the piano is very big, so Paul usually juggles that, and as for the Trombone, well all the group spoke about how on numerous occasions, the Trombone has been missing in action and it has become quite a laborious task trying to track it down.
LMM: You have a fairly diverse range of music, with your album featuring many differing emotional tunes and lyrics. While listening to you on stage I could almost depict a kaleidoscope of colours dancing to an array of emotional music. Do you have an inspiration behind the music you have written for your current album “Rolling on the Floor Laughing ourselves to sleep”?
BPM: Jen came out with a quirky remark, stating that there was no real technique in the collaboration of the songs to fit the album, they were simply “the first 8 songs we learnt”! “We were sort of learning them as we were recording them”. It was also revealed that the band had only formed for 2 months, when they decided to record their songs because their parents were itching to hear evidence of the formation of Ball Park Music. As for the varied emotional tunes and lyrics, there was no discussion on what the music should sound like, each of us wrote our own music to fit in with the lyrics. Sam writes the lyrics and we make the music happen. Sometimes the song can start out happy and cheery, however, by the end of the recording the song is angry and evil.
LMM: You say that the recording studio for your first album is Sam’s bedroom, or should I say on the MAC! Do you plan on recording your next album in a “proper” studio and have a manager or sound tech going through the recording process with you.
BPM: We have just recorded some music in a studio in the valley, and have a friend, Tristan, a producer engineer closely working with the band to perfect the sounds. It definitely beats playing in one room, running from the computer after pressing record, to another room to start jamming instantly.
LMM: So what are the plans for Ball Park music over the up and coming months. Do you plan to go interstate, or overseas promoting your music?
BPM: Yes we have a very exciting November, we are touring with our friends, “The Hungry Kids of Hungary” in Byron at the Great Northern on the 12th November. We are also playing at the zoo, and some other Brisbane locations throughout November also.
Ball Park music have a new single coming out in mid November and will complete a new album to be launched March/April next year.
Bek: The interview with Ball Park music was very entertaining. These young music artist have leaped into the music world and are straight into touring next month, with a new single hitting the shelves in November and a completed album to be launched March/April next year. Their bursting enthusiasm, coupled with their willingness to achieve, will create a music career or path for these university art/music students.