Sun, Jun 05|
Sterlingtown Public House & Beer Garden
The Ballroom Thieves Duo Show *NIGHT ONE*
We are thrilled to host The Ballroom Thieves Duo for our 2022 Sunset Series season opener!
Time & Location
Jun 05, 2022, 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM EDT
Sterlingtown Public House & Beer Garden, 289 Common Rd, Union, ME 04862, USA
About the event
(Album Biography + Track-By-Track)
Early in 2020, an article was released declaring that the music industry needed more happy songs. As Martin Earley and Calin Peters recall, they laughed while reading it, knowing that their work as The Ballroom Thieves explores the spirit of that paradigm. Well, sort of…they're not interested in easily defined worldviews.
"We read that article and thought, 'how are we supposed to write happy songs right now?'" says Earley. "We don’t write happy songs, but this time we decided to try something new by pairing optimistic sounding music with dark lyrics. If the listener is not a lyrics person, they might not notice."
The Ballroom Thieves' fourth album, Clouds, is a song cycle born of mixed experiences and fueled by the power of imagination. The album is a lush meditation on longing to return to touring - to see different sunsets and cities. But, it's also a reflection of its difficulties, e.g., insomnia brought on by sleeping in different hotel rooms every night. After a major car accident and the departure of a band member, the duo has taken the duality of all these experiences and translated them into song.
"We miss exploring the country," says Peters. "The road offers us structure and it gives us something to write about. These past two years we learned just how much we love and need it.”
As they leaned into their wanderlust, themes became apparent - the idea of a life spent in motion ("Shine"), the power of the storm representing a relationship transformed into heartbreak ("The Lightning"), Man’s ceaseless degradation of resources and Nature’s inevitable fury ("Worldender"), and Harry Styles ("Harry Styles"), who should be considered a force of Nature as far as Peters and Earley are concerned. "We were sitting around our woodstove, and Callie looked over at me and said, 'I think I'm in love with Harry Styles,'" Earley recalls. "And my first thought was, 'wait a minute, I love Harry Styles! You can't have him!’”
Clouds became an opportunity for the band to mine the challenges of the past three years for creative inspiration.
"We were able to step away from a lot of the big three-part harmonies and for the first time we recorded most of the album live," says Earley. “We try to let change inspire us, even when it comes with difficulty.”
It's an artistic statement that doubles as a life mission. The pair both emphasize that they’ve learned to navigate complicated situations, including their struggles with depression, which often colors their songs. If they can impart anything to listeners, it’s that talking about mental health is not a weakness—and that sharing any of life's trials can be a source of strength.
"There’s so much material out there on fighting mental illnesses and keeping our heads up but I think it’s also just important to know that it’s okay to be affected. The human experience can be ugly and difficult and it’s okay to feel things deeply,” says Peters. “Not every day has to be seized.”
“I’m so glad it’s more common for people to talk openly about depression these days, because it can be tough when you think you’re the only one feeling it,” adds Earley. “We figured if it helps us when others are candid about their experiences with mental illness, maybe it’ll help someone else if we do the same.”
Clouds will be released on July 15 via Nettwerk Records.
In the fall of 2019, we finished a west coast tour in Seattle, waved goodbye to our band and crew as they flew back home, and started driving back to LA to return the van and gear we had rented. Even though we had just spent weeks driving up the same coast, we were excited to have the freedom to explore parts of the region that a full schedule of shows wouldn’t usually allow us to visit.
Unfortunately, our drive coincided with forest fires that had broken out from Canada to Mexico. We were re-routed through hundreds of miles of smoke, power outages, closed towns, and evacuation mandates. It was a somber look at the lack of care we’ve shown to the Earth, and Worldender is the story of that trip.
Early in the summer of 2020, we thought it was probably time to leave our house for the first time since the onset of the pandemic, so we decided to spend a week writing in a seaside cottage. As we watched a storm roll over the water, a song started to unfold. Months later, while creating the demo, a thunderstorm passed over our home in mid-coast Maine. Then a year later, oddly enough, the only stormy day we saw while recording was the day we tracked The Lightning. Is that a bad omen? I dunno, maybe.
This one started as a slow bummer acoustic song about learning to live with depression. But rather than letting the music settle into the sadness of the lyrics, we thought it would be more fun as a sad song dressed up in sunny music. It’s the free-fall feeling of riding around coastal California with the windows down while accepting the inevitability of a life spent struggling with mental illness.
Our vision for Pour Down was a plush snare and synth-driven hum that would stay linear, unlike songs we had written in the past. Each person involved in recording the song really saw that vision too, and we love the outcome.
Sometimes depression can make someone wonder why they have to suffer from this illness. It can make you feel like you’re stuck like you can’t get out of bed, or like you need to flip your whole life upside down so you can feel something different. I Lose is the foggy dream state where you can try on new lives, even if your reality is being sad on the couch.
In the Morning:
We wrote this shortly before we went into the studio and didn’t share it with anyone until we tracked it so the raw sound of the first passes could be captured. It came together quickly, and we recorded most of it live in the room. It’s a song about not losing hope in humankind. Even though the amount of improvements we need to make can be overwhelming, this song is more about the importance of getting up each morning.
Trodden is a monster that somehow started as a single floaty vocal line over a few cello notes. It’s a doom and gloom song (our specialty) about how it feels like the end of the world as we know it and how humans suck, but you have to let go a little if you’re going to keep livin.
Last winter, we were huddled around our wood stove when Callie looked over at me and said, “I think I’m in love with Harry Styles.” My first reaction was a distinct feeling of jealousy because I, too, love Harry Styles. So we wrote a song about how much we both love Harry Styles and how it’s totally okay for both of us to love him and want to be him. He epitomizes non-toxic masculinity. He’s the best.
Anxiety can be such a pervasive part of life that it’s difficult to imagine the person you would be without it. Sometimes it feels like we’re sitting on a little rain cloud inside our heads, watching our bodies move through each day in front of us, and that’s an idea that needs a happy, summery guitar riff to keep it from bringing everybody down.
Shine is an ode to the road and the hazy feeling of spending sleepless night after sleepless night in different hotel rooms. They all start looking the same after a while, and you lose track of where you are in the country, and eventually, you get so tired that you start to question if you’re even alive at all. Maybe you’re just some ghost floating along the highway through another dead-end town?