The Balconies with The Motorleague
When: Wednesday, 9 p.m. (doors at 8)
Where: Lucky Bar
Tickets: $12.50 at Lyle’s Place, Ditch Records and ticketweb.ca
Touring across Canada at this time of year is no cakewalk. Roads are slick, days are short and the money coming in often never makes it further than the tour-van gas tank.
A band from Toronto should know better than to pre-date its tour from Victoria to Winnipeg with a three-day stop in Iceland — but that is the fate awaiting singer-guitarist Jacquie Neville and her bandmates in the Balconies.
“It’s cold here,” Neville said, with an audible shudder, from a hotel room in Reykjavík, Iceland. She arrived early Tuesday morning, Iceland time, and still had not become accustomed to the cold by late afternoon.
“It’s a bit chilly, for sure,” Neville said with a laugh.
Neville isn’t complaining. Throughout her years as an indie musician, all she ever wanted to do was play. Now, she is getting that opportunity and then some.
“It has moved a lot quicker than we thought it would,” Neville said of her band’s trajectory.
“This year it started to spark and we were able to make some headway. It has surpassed any of our expectations.”
Neville and bandmates Liam Jaeger (guitar), Steve Molella (drums) and Stephen Neville (bass) arrived Tuesday in Iceland for a tour stop that will see them play seven shows over three days.
Iceland is a new region for the Ottawa-bred quartet, though its 2013 itinerary has featured trips overseas, Neville said. The Balconies went in January on their first overseas trip through France and Britain, and have been back and forth ever since. Not bad work for a band that has a glut of new singles but no album to promote.
The group has recently been in the studio with former Our Lady Peace producer Arnold Lanni, a five-time Juno Award nominee who helmed the band’s upcoming full-length album.
Neville said the group started recording with Lanni in February; after the initial sessions went well, they went back often for two or three weeks at a time. All in all, including previous album sessions with another producer, it was a two-or three-year process to get the record in the can.
“When we saw there was potential to make these songs even better, we explored that option,” Neville said of the exhaustive studio sessions. “It was important because it’s the first proper piece of music that really shows off what the band can do. It has the attitude of the band and represents the live show the best.”
The recording, to be released in February, isn’t the band’s first. In addition to two EPs, the Balconies recorded a self-titled full-length album in 2009, when the hard-edged sound of its current incarnation was substantially softer. Neville said she and Jaeger, who were a couple at the time, recorded the album in their apartment.
There’s another intimate connection within the ranks of the Balconies — Stephen Neville is Jacquie’s younger brother. The siblings met Jaeger in music school at the University of Ottawa.
An early version of the group was low on everyone’s priority list, as it did not constitute a full-time band. Everyone had a band of their own, Neville recalled, but when the reaction to the music they were making became undeniable, the Balconies were formed.
Neville said she gets asked often how it feels to be in a band with her brother and ex-boyfriend, to which she answers honestly each and every time.
“We’re so close and we all know each other so well. We’re basically living together on the road, so being able to work with my brother and best friend on music all the time is really amazing. We’re really lucky. It just works.