Before the first night of the “Last Calls and Liabilities Tour” headlined by the LAW Records’ Pepper, Stoopid Records’ The Expendables and brand new additions to the LAW Records family, Ballyhoo!, The Pier was fortunate enough to catch up with Howi (Guitar/Vocals), Big D (Drums), Mista J (Bass) and Blaze (Turntables/Keys) from Maryland’s favorite reggae-rock source: Ballyhoo! The guys from Maryland just finished up their set at the Marquee Theatre in Tempe, AZ, playing a few songs from their latest album “Daydreams” released on September 6th. The Pier got Ballyhoo!’s reaction on their first album release on Pepper’s LAW Records, and plenty more hysteria from the band! Enjoy!
The Pier: Congrats on your new album! This is your first with Law Records. Tell us, of the 15 new songs, which ones are you guys most excited to play live?
Ballyhoo!: All of them! We’re excited about our new music. We like playing “The Getaway” and “Evil Penguin” live. Both tracks just get the people slamming, especially tonight. The crowd was really into it!
The Pier: You guys recorded with producers Greg Shields & Mike Stebe at Sound Lounge studios in Orlando, Florida. What was it like working with Greg & Mike? What did they bring to the production of this album that’s not heard on previous releases?
Ballyhoo!: It was definitely a good experience the way we went into the studio and recording the way we did with two extra brains to help us out. Just to have our sound blossom was great. Mike has a great ear for engineering. He made everything sound really fat and fast, at the same time. Amazingly quick! Also Gregg has great ideas. He has “two fully-functional ears” that makes our sound a little bit better. The process made this album sound great, so we love them for that!
The Pier: This is the first time that the piano has such a pivotal role in your music. Did DJ Blaze really just learn how to play the piano? Or has this been the ace up your sleeve all these years?
Ballyhoo!: We told him, “You have to learn the piano! You learn it, now!” No, really, it’s a new evolution. I (DJ Blaze) just bought a piano a couple years ago and started working on it and it came in smoothly. It fits well with our sound. We really dig it.
The Pier: You guys debuted your first music video for the song “Say I’m Wrong”? Where was this filmed? How did the theme come about and who was behind the production of the video?
Ballyhoo!: We went down by the beach in Boca, FL. Real tough day of work! Just hopped on some scooters and went riding. Daniel Cedeno directed it. The entire day was a blast. Can’t really call it work, just fun. It turned out great and The Pier gave us love, too!
The Pier: On Oct 19th 2010, you guys released the single “Front Porch” as a teaser of new music before Daydreams. How come this didn’t make the album? Are there any future plans with this song?
Ballyhoo!: We didn’t have new music out for awhile. So, we only felt it was right for the fans. It was more of a teaser. More like a strip club. Just a tease; no plans for it in the future, but we play it live a bunch.
The Pier: Looking at the cover art to Daydreams, you have this smiling sun, grinning towards an empty ocean. Explain the theme of the cover art and who was the artist the behind all of the cool art?
Ballyhoo!: Well, many people wonder about guys from Maryland singing about beaches and surfing and all that good stuff. What people might not realize is the Atlantic Ocean is right there. It’s pretty damn big too, and we grew up right next to it. The way the artwork was designed was just perfect. The golden path leading up to the sun, rising over the ocean with waves crashing; It was a big change from previous covers like “Do It For The Money”. It turned out real clean.
The Pier: You guys got the opportunity to perform at 311’s first Pow Wow Festival. How was not only interacting with the fans but the other talented groups who you shared the stage with? Make any new friends?
Ballyhoo!: Yeah, it was just a few weeks ago. We knew a lot of the bands on the bill already. Our paths have crossed many times. It was just great to share the stage with so much talent. Just going down the list, each band brought it hard. It’s always great to see the fans come out and sing the songs you play at each venue. We made some more friends with bugs, though. Lots of bugs! HAHA! Overall, we couldn’t have asked for a better experience at the Pow Wow Festival!
The Pier: It seems like you have a good connection with the guys from Pepper now being with Law Records. So we have to ask. In your opinion, who’s the better singer, Brett or Kaleo? (haha)
Ballyhoo!: Yesod! I’m going to go with Yee! Yesod is the best singer by far! He doesn’t do it much, but when he does it is fucking golden. He’s the best songwriter of our generation!
The Pier: Final thoughts, it’s been a long process and your album is finally done. Which songs are you personally most excited about and why?
Ballyhoo!: Honestly, it is just great to have new, fresh music to give out to our fans. We love playing music and to come to each town and put on a show, we can’t ask for anything else. All of our new material will be rotated through the Last Calls and Liabilities Tour. With a 30 minute set, it is tough to fit everything in. In fact, Yesod told us that we played 25 minutes tonight. We only played seven songs. That just means the next show, the crowd will get a bonus track. What that song will be, we don’t know!
— Read The Pier’s Official Album Review for Daydreams by clicking HERE
Interview by: Kris Siuta
Photos by: David Norris and Amanda Zancanella
Here’s Ballyhoo!’s first official music video to the song Say I’m Wrong