Since releasing their heavy-hitting sophomore effort, The Things We Think We’re Missing, Balance And Composure spent a lot of personal time off following their co-headlining tour with Title Fight in the fall of 2013, along with making limited tour appearances since then. This past summer, the beloved Pennsylvania-based act re-emerged to unveil further details of a new album that sounded like no other. Balance And Composure’s latest studio endeavor, Light We Made, is a unique effort that draws inspiration from their own current influences as opposed to revisiting their signature alternative-driven, pop punk sound from their past work.
Upon hearing Light We Made’s leading single, “Postcard,” for the first time, I found myself completely intrigued. As the band charted unfamiliar territory by introducing synth-based elements on this enticing track, I was excited to see what the rest of the album had in store leading up to its early October release. Since discovering their music through releases like Only Boundaries (2009) and their split with Tigers Jaw (2010), and having seen them in concert multiple times after releasing their 2011 debut full-length, Separation, Light We Made is a daring arrangement that embraces their growth and progression as a band, while shedding light on a new chapter in their musical career.
Recently, I had the opportunity to catch up with frontman and guitarist Jon Simmons to talk about Light We Made’s reception, the creative risks that the band took with this new studio effort and their current tour with Foxing and Mercury Girls.
Your latest studio effort, Light We Made, has been out for only a few weeks now. How’s the reception of the record been like from your perspective?
It’s been great. I think a lot of people like it—a lot of people had to test it out at first because it’s so different. But all in all, I think it’s been a great response and we’re really happy with it.
For me, Light We Made is an album title that signifies, sharing with your fanbase, a lively new persona of Balance And Composure like no other. From a personal standpoint, how does Light We Made put into perspective the growth and progress that you’ve made a band throughout the last few years?
Well, I think it’s our “coming out of the dark” record. Like, our older records were kind of a little bit darker, and this one has more of a positive influence, and I think it shows in the music. So, I think Light We Made was a perfect title for it.
Musically this is a record is a huge departure from your previous sound from releases like The Things We Think We’re Missing and Separation. When you started working on Light We Made, did you anticipate for a new direction in sound to be implemented in the writing process?
I think it was natural where everyone just wanted to. I felt like we were going to do something different. We got bored in alternative rock I guess you can say—we wanted to spice it up a little bit. We wanted to try something from other influences besides just rock, but from pretty much everything. It was just natural for us to branch out, and do something weirder, and something that is more… at this point in our lives.
I really don’t listen to that much rock music anymore. Well I never really… I don’t really know how to explain it. But I think we just wanted to at least have a different approach with this album.
Throughout the writing process, did you ever feel that this could have been a risky record to create? Or did you not let any lingering pressures interfere with the flow and spontaneity of the album’s creative process?
We took so much time off, and that’s when we knew that is when people were going to care. But honestly speaking, we just wanted to make the record that we wanted to make. If we liked it, then maybe our friends would like it too, and that’s all that really mattered. We just wanted to make something that we were really proud of and make something that was really unique. And I think we accomplished that.
Totally. When I first heard “Postcard,” I was definitely intrigued on the new direction that you were going for. From that point on, I was very interested to see what the rest of the album was going to sound like.
We knew it was a curveball releasing that first, and we knew that we were going to get flak from it. But I think we wanted that—like to confuse people, and to stir the pot a little bit.
When you first unveiled further details of Light We Made, you premiered leading tracks like “Postcard” and “Afterparty,” for instance. How do these tracks in particular sort of foreshadow what might to potentially expect from this release?
We knew with “Afterparty,” that our old fans would be into it. It’s kind of more of a classic Balance sound, and I felt that our fans would like that. We had to give them that as a single, so they wouldn’t completely abandon us before the record even came out (laughs). And I think that’s pretty cool because I think the influence on it sounds like The Smiths. That’s different for us too because we never really made a song like that before, so we wanted people to hear that too.
You’ve been touring with Foxing and Mercury Girls to support Light We Made. How have your fans been reacting to the new tracks in a live setting?
We’ve been aching to play these new songs for so long, so it feels great. People have been reacting to the songs differently, but in a way there is more of… like, people dancing, or swaying their bodies as opposed to the older stuff, which was more on the heavier side. There’s been a different vibe now, and I really like it. It’s exactly what we wanted, and it’s really cool how people are reacting to it so far.
Once this upcoming tour draws to a close, what else are you looking forward to the most about this upcoming album cycle for Light We Made? Are there any new plans in the works that you have lined up for the new year ahead?
We’re going to be touring in Europe and the United Kingdom at the end of January. Then, we are looking to do maybe a supporting tour, or a co-headlining tour.
Balance And Composure are on the road celebrating the release of their third studio album, Light We Made. The band will be returning to the Tri-State Area where they will be playing at Warsaw in Brooklyn on Nov. 17 and at Union Transfer in Philadelphia Nov. 18. Light We Made is now available on Vagrant Records. For more information, go to lightwemade.com.