First things first, Lost Balloons is nothing like Radioactivity. The new band featuring the brilliant Jeff Burke (The Marked Men / Potential Johns / etc) teams him with Yusuke Okada (Suspicious Beasts) for fourteen songs that dip into power pop, psychedelia, experimentalism, and of course punk. The project, formed in 2011 while the pair were in Japan together, has finally become a real band (as opposed to a recording project) with the announcement of dates in the EU.
Yet one listen to Lost Balloons and it is clear, the band is definitely removed from previous projects but maintains some of the melodic perfection that can usually be found in Burke's work. Check out the mostly acoustic "Don't Count on Me" (!!!) which makes it's first appearance below alongside a short history from the horse's mouth about the creation of Lost Balloons, the future of the band, and what's next for Burke. Stream some material from Suspicious Beasts HERE and look for the LP on Alien Snatch.
Lost Balloons, how did this project start?
It started in Japan in 2011 when Yusuke asked me to help him record a song. I rented out a practice space for a few hours and we ended up recording a few songs. It was a lot of fun so we decided it should be the start of a recording project. Once we had both moved to the US we recorded songs at my place in Texas every time he could make the trip.
The material, while it still has a Jeff Burke touch, is very different from much of what you have been associated with in the past. What was the impetus to branch out of what you were known for?
I guess the biggest factor as to why it sounds different is that I'm working with someone I hadn't worked with before: Yusuke wrote at least half of the songs we've recorded so far. That being said, I wasn't really thinking of it as doing something different when we started. I've always recorded stuff for fun that didn't fit the sound of any of my other bands, but it doesn't usually get released.
Were there specific sounds or bands that you were looking to tap into musically?
I don't remember there being specific bands that we were trying to emulate, but I'm sure there was a lot of influence by whatever we were listening to at the time. We definitely had ideas for specific sounds, but most of it we just decided as we recorded each part. Every song started with the recording of the guitar and drums and little by little we added the other parts to the songs. A lot of the time Yusuke just simply asked me to make things sound "crazier" and sometimes we just accidentally found sounds that worked by trying out different instruments, effects, etc.
You are heading to Europe for some dates, how did that come about and do you have any interest in touring on Lost Balloons in the US?
Yeah, our first record is coming out this month on the German label, Alien Snatch Records and we're touring to support it. We're going along with Yusuke's other band, Suspicious Beasts. Their new album is also about to come out on Alien Snatch. We'd definitely like to tour in the US as well, but we may wait for a domestic release of the record.
What's next for you now that Radioactivity and Lost Balloons is in the open?
I'm just hoping to keep active recording and touring as much as possible. I have started working on other recordings, but I'm not really sure yet if or where they'll end up being used. Yusuke has been working on some solo stuff and recording with his band Friend out of Brooklyn.
SUSPICIOUS BEASTS & LOST BALLOONS ON TOUR
12/09 SAT - Push my Buttons - Stockholm (SW) + Hex Dispensers
13/09 SUN - Nya Trolls - Malmo (SW)
14/09 MON - Hafenklang - Hamburg (D)
15/09 TUE - Bei Ruth- Berlin (D)
17/09 THU - Kunstkeller - Furth (D)
18/09 FRI - Epplehaus - Tubingen (D)
19/09 SAT - Kafe Kult - Munich (D)
20/09 SUN - Arena - Vienna
21/09 MON - Vegalite - Brno (CZ)
22/09 TUE - Groove - Lugo (VI)
23/09 WED - T-Trane Record Store - Perugia (I)
24/09 THU - T-Club - Tabiano Terme (PR)
25/09 FRI - Loggia del Leopardo - Vogogna (VB)
26/09 SAT - Edonè - Bergamo