INTERVIEW: Martin Earley of The Ballroom Thieves

In advance of their upcoming Summerfest gig on July 4th, we caught up with Martin Earley of indie trio The Ballroom Thieves. The band is hitting the road, predominately through the Midwest this year, so if you get a chance to check them out, we encourage you to do so. Here’s what Earley had to say about the Midwest, Summerfest, and supporting their newest EP:

You guys are from the Boston, but you have a lot of shows coming up in the Midwest. Have you had the chance to hit the Midwest before?

We might receive our mail in Boston, but our (adoptive) home as of late has been the road, and we’ve been lucky enough to spend quite a lot of time in the Midwest. It’s quickly becoming one of our favorite regions of the country, as a matter of fact. We’re big advocates of beer and cheese, and the Midwest is kind of like a Disneyland of those things, but with less creepy mascots. We’re fans.

Have you ever had a chance to experience Summerfest? Have you heard anything about the festival?

We had the honor of supporting Dispatch on the BMO stage at last year’s Summerfest, so we’re no strangers to the festival. It’s a spectacle of epic proportions, and we’re psyched to be a part of it for the second year in a row. We didnt’ get to ride the little gondola last year due to a torrential rainstorm that was passing through, so we’re excited for that. Do they let you bring beer up there? If not, do they check your pockets/backpacks before you go on?

For everyone reading this that have never seen a Ballroom Thieves show, what do you think they should expect?

I’d like to think that our sound is a bit different than anything else you’re likely to hear on a festival stage this summer. We feature big three-part harmonies, driving, organic percussion and cello, and a writing style that complements those aspects of our performance. We like to have a good time, and our show will be best enjoyed with a nice beverage in hand, so prepare accordingly.

You’re currently supporting your second EP. Do you think touring in support of this project will be different than the first time around?

We’re excited about the EP, and we hope people pick it up if they get a chance to, but we’re honestly just happy to be able to do what we do for a living. EP or not, we love playing festivals and we thrive on the connections and exchanges we make with the people who are kind enough to come check out our music. The good thing about this EP is that it’s a pretty accurate representation of our live sound. We didn’t add a lot of bells and whistles, so what you hear on stage is essentially what you’ll hear on the record.

Do you guys get time to write on the road? Or is it easier to write at home?

We haven’t had much time at home lately, so we’ve kind of been forced to write on the road. It was a bit of a challenge at first, but we managed to work out a system that allows us to get a lot done. We work on vocals while we drive and then use whatever downtime we have to flesh out arrangements and instrumental parts. It might be a bit unorthodox, but necessity is the mother of invention, as they say. That being said, nothing beats writing at home, in the company of my dog Keon and a healthy glass of bourbon.

Everyone has a crazy road story. What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to The Ballroom Thieves?

Well, we managed to total our previous van on an overnight, post-show drive from Chicago to Boston. In a huge snow storm. And we were going about 40 miles per hour, tops. To add to the debacle, it was Devin’s mom’s mini-van, and we were only about 10 minutes away from home when it all went down. There are a few other stories, but they might not be quite as blog-friendly…

Most importantly, you’re going to be in Milwaukee. Do you have a beer of preference? Choose wisely.

Easy. Lakefront Fuel Cafe Organic Coffee Stout. All day, every day. Well, maybe not all day. Might have to switch to a growler of Fixed Gear later on in said day.

You can hear The Ballroom Thieves latest EP below. For more about the band, visit their website.

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