Balance and Composure have kept a low profile throughout their career with a modest touring schedule but made a major statement this year with the release of their first full length album, Separation. I recently met up with Jonathan Simmons, vocalist and guitarist in the band, before their show at the Mod Club in Toronto Ontario.
Scene Point Blank: So how has the tour been going so far?
Jonathan Simmons: It’s been awesome. A lot of fun.
Scene Point Blank: What have the turn outs been like?
Jonathan Simmons: Turn outs have been pretty great. I mean some areas not as much as others. We’ve had some really really good shows and some okay shows but that’s what we’re used to anyways.
Scene Point Blank: Have you been to Canada often?
Jonathan Simmons: No, we’ve only been to Toronto on the Bayside tour.
Scene Point Blank: Have things felt any different since the release of Separation?
Jonathan Simmons: Yeah, I guess we’re surprised people like it (laughs) and bringing really positive feedback from it which is really cool. I guess more people know who we are than before, that’s the only way we really feel different.
Scene Point Blank: Have you noticed people singing along with the songs yet?
Jonathan Simmons: Yeah, so far we’ve had some sing-a-longers which is the coolest compliment we could ever get. That’s the best thing.
Scene Point Blank: You guys had waited quite a while before releasing your first full length, was there a reason for that?
Jonathan Simmons: Well we were doing EP’s because we were still a new band and we were trying to find what we’d sound like, you know? After the Only Boundaries EP and split with Tigers Jaw, we were like, “Okay, it’s time.” We just wanted to find our sound before we wrote 12 new songs.
Scene Point Blank: Should we expect a similar wait before the next full length?
Jonathan Simmons: Yeah, I mean we’re not going to try and rush it and put out something right away. I feel like a lot of bands do that and it kind of cheapens what you’re trying to do. You should give time to grow as musician, and we want it to be good. We don’t want to put out songs because we have to, we want it to be art.
Scene Point Blank: Were all your EP’s released through a label?
Jonathan Simmons: Our first EP was put out ourselves, and then Chris from No Sleep was the first guy to ask us if we wanted to be on his label and we said yeah.
Scene Point Blank: Was there any pressure from No Sleep to put out a full length?
Jonathan Simmons: No, there wasn’t really any pressure; no not at all.
Scene Point Blank: Critical reception has been very positive towards Separation, were you expecting that?
Jonathan Simmons: No, I wasn’t (laughs), I was expecting them to be like, “cry babies,” or whatever, you know? It’s really cool that people like it but we didn’t really like it ‘cause of critics. That’s what everyone says, “we don’t mess with critics.” They’re giving it a good buzz which is cool but we really didn’t expect it, we just wanted to make a record that we liked.
Scene Point Blank: A lot of critics, including myself, have compared Separation to Brand New’s Daisy. What do you think of that?
Jonathan Simmons: I personally don’t feel it sounds like any of the songs from Daisy but we do love that record. I don’t think it really sounds like it but people can think what they want, it’s cool. We love the feel of Daisy, it’s kind of a perfect record in a way but it was also their fourth album. We just wanted ours to be raw and catchy. We didn’t want to do too much and sugar coat what we were doing.
Scene Point Blank: I had read that when Brand New recorded Daisy, they didn’t think too much about what the record would sound like and were thinking more about how the songs would sound live. That’s kind of the same impression I got from Separation.
Jonathan Simmons: Yeah, that’s cool. It’s what we were going for.
Scene Point Blank: When it comes to writing the next record, do you think there will be any added pressure on you guys?
Jonathan Simmons: Yes, that’s what I’m worried about. I mean it’s hard because I just want to make records and I don’t want to worry about what other people think but if people like this record a lot, I don’t want to disappoint them with the second one, you know? That would suck. I think the pressure is just going to keep building. We didn’t have a lot of pressure with the first one which is cool but it’s going to keep happening which kind of sucks. It’s a negative part of the band.
Scene Point Blank: But that pressure could also help motivate and challenge you guys as a band.
Jonathan Simmons: Very true.
Scene Point Blank: Has your recent success changed the way you look at the industry at all?
Jonathan Simmons: Not really, still just hang out with our friends; touring with our friends bands. I’m glad a lot of people like the record but that’s about it. Not looking for anything bigger or anything. Just want to have fun and maybe build a fan base as we release more records.