Interview: Balloon Shed

Bristol-based artist Balloon Shed is an up and coming musician, producing unique pieces of work with a grungy/alt-rock sound. Frank Says is a fantastic tune – it’s catchy, yet still has a slight edge to it, making for the best of both worlds! If you liked the track when you read our review of the tune, then you can find out more about Balloon Shed here!

By Jane Howkins

You recently released a new song, titled Frank Says. What can you tell us about the track?

I’ve been a huge fan of Frank Black/Black Francis since I first heard Pixies twenty odd years ago. I’ve always loved his sci-fi leanings and ability to work dark and fantastical tales into punchy indie rock earworms. So why not imagine an alternate universe where, as a doomsday preacher, he guides those seeking to flee a dying earth for a new home amongst the stars?

It’s the first song I ever wrote and Balloon Shed’s first proper release so it felt fitting to dedicate it to one of my heroes. Experimental launch definitely describes this song in more ways than one.

How has the reception to Frank Says been so far, and where can the track be purchased?

Pretty good! I had zero expectations as the first single I chose to push as Balloon Shed with no prior experience in – or exposure to – the industry. But it has been warmly received and I’m excited to build on it with future releases to give people a better understanding of my sound and direction.

Frank Says is free for download on Amazing Radio, no payment necessary!

Do you plan to release any more singles in the near future?

The next single, Hate Song, has just been released. It’s pretty different to Frank Says – heavier and with a blunter, angrier message. There’s no sci-fi story this time, but it’s built around a hook that will hopefully sink in when people hear it. There’ll be one more single to follow before the end of the year, details TBC!

Your self-titled EP is coming out late this year. What can you tell us about the EP and when will it be released?

I’ve been working on a bunch of tracks consecutively so building the EP really came down to whichever I felt inspired enough to take to completion. There’s no overriding theme – I mostly bounce between reflections on my own life and whatever real world awfulness is occupying my mind on the day I sit down to write.

The EP will be five tracks including one previously unreleased song and I’m looking to add in an updated version of my first song, Prick, which is already available for streaming.

Are there any plans to release a full length album?

I think it’s more likely that I’ll stick to EPs for 2024. For the time being, I’m purely doing this for fun and to see where the ideas take me, so I’m conscious future releases might be sporadic and inconsistent in style and production.

Up until now I’ve been recording directly to and mixing everything on my aging Pixel phone, so I’m massively hampered by limitations in complexity and quality of sound. I’m well overdue an upgrade in set-up, though, which will allow me to ramp up the scope of things. All going well, I can definitely see an album down the line.

What/who are you most influenced by? What have you been listening to recently?

In terms of sound and songwriting style, I draw heavily on my love of 80s & 90s US alt rock – Camper Van Beethoven, The Breeders, Guided By Voices, Violent Femmes, Blind Melon, Weezer and Everclear to name just a few… Their albums completely consumed me growing up. Britpop also had a huge influence on me.

I’m a lot more varied in my tastes these days than I used to be and I find listening to other genres is a good way to get my head out of my own music space.

I recently picked up Whitney Houston’s first album on vinyl so that’s been getting a lot of play. Other than that, I’ve just gone back to Kesha’s Gag Order, which came out earlier this year, and I’d forgotten how good it is. Her lyrics and delivery on some of those songs really touch a nerve with me. Margaret Glaspy’s latest album has also been on hard repeat. And any and all Neil Young is played most days in my household on any given week.

Where are you based? What is the local music scene like in your area?

I’m based in Bristol and love the scene. I’m not a live performer so don’t have any experience on the artist side but there are so many good and longstanding venues supporting local acts. And we’re the only city to have Big Jeff – a local legend and an true champion of live music.

Do you have anything else exciting coming up in the next few months?

One more single to follow Hate Song and then the EP. And then a Christmas covers album!!!  Well, maybe not, but I’m not totally against the idea of it at some point…

After that, I’ll be working towards a new EP in spring next year.

Do you have any tour dates lined up for the UK?

No chance at the current stage unfortunately – Balloon Shed is a complete experiment in amateur musicianship so I’m learning on the go and forging my way through a number of constraints in time and technical ability. This is an evolving project and I’m excited to see where it goes. With a full band and more experience under my belt, who knows?

Any last words for the fans?

Only that anyone enjoying what I’m putting out gives me a follow on socials and joins me for the ride. It’ll be fun!