Known for their fusion of styles that transports listeners seamlessly across genres ranging from disco to techno, Death on the Balcony has made their mark on the underground electronic music industry. While the duo behind the project, Mark Caramelli & Paul Hargreaves, have been working together for 15 years, their dedication to continuously “learning, honing, and developing creatively” has kept their musical trajectory fresh and inspiring throughout the life of Death on the Balcony. For them, it’s a “constant evolution”, driven by their love of the groove and fueled by the emotional connections that only music can make.
Featured as FRISKY’s Artist of the Week, with their mix premiering Tuesday February 23rd @ 2 PM EST and available on-demand for FRISKY Premium members, we catch up with Death on the Balcony to find out what they’ve been up to lately and get a sneak peek into the many exciting things to come. Dive in and get ready:
Checking in at the start of the new year, I’d love to hear about what you’re focusing on and what you see as the future of Death on the Balcony in 2021. Is there anything in the wings that you can share with us? Something that you are particularly looking forward to?
Hello Frisky! We have started 2021 much as we left the last one. We are managing to maintain our productivity in the studio with original music, more mixes and remixes mainly. This has come with its challenges as we are currently in the middle of a 3rd national lockdown in England so it can be testing logistically and sometimes mentally, to be in the right headspace. We find our motivation from the music, each other and most importantly, our followers’ support. We are looking forward to our first studio sessions of 2021 and getting back in the groove there. We have a large ‘to do’ list forming and very much looking forward to getting stuck into that!
We have our first release of 2021 out on the 26th Feb. It’s on XYZ the wonderful imprint from our Canadian friends at When We Dip. We have a lovely remix from Madraas to accompany 2 originals. So, yes, we are looking forward to this. You may be able to spot the first airing of the original in this mix somewhere!
Other than that, a few new remixes coming on Be Adult will likely follow that. We have a fair amount of other releases lined up, on the boil too but it’s too early to talk on them just yet.
We are certainly looking forward to 2021 and releasing more music. It’s been one of the few joys during these tough and frustrating times we have been having.
With the shutdown of the industry last year, where did you find yourself putting your focus on? What you are most proud of doing / accomplishing last year?
Obviously playing gigs in person is sadly not possible where we are just right now, but fortunately, to a degree our scene, circles and music transcend dancefloors so we have continued to focus on our productions, which we are happy to have. We released quite a lot of original music and remixes in 2020 considering and we enjoy reimagining people’s music so it has also provided a more than welcome distraction and form of escape from what’s been going on. Production in general is a tonic, cathartic and a relief from any stresses and at times has helped a lot during everything. We also had a lot more time to make music with travels, touring on pause!
Some things we are proud of from 2020. The first was our tour we did back in February before the world stopped. We went to Chile with the charity Parties4Peace and did a tour taking us from Santiago playing for Piknic Electronik down to Patagonia. For most Patagonia is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. We feel very happy we had chance to not only see that, but make real connections with people there that means we could potentially return at some point. We never expected to say that! Besides this we had some amazing experiences in Miami and New York in February of last year and also in Canada (Saskatoon & Vancouver).
We had such a good time in Vancouver we ended up choosing to stay there during the first lockdown for 3 and a half months working on music, enjoying nature there etc.
Oh we were also happy to reach no.1 on beatport for our EP ‘Ways & Means’ & first collab with Flowers on Monday on Do Not Sit which was really great to see supported and loved back in the fall of last year!
What has been your experience with live streaming? Where is it on the balance of love / hate? 😉 What are the positives & negatives of it for you?
We did a select few streams during 2020. We don’t feel the need to do them all the time but we don’t hate them either! All Day I Dream have put a lot of effort in to doing the streams and making them look great and we are privileged to have been asked to do more streams for Lee. It’s enjoyable when you know you are playing to the best audience for your sound and we have another one coming and in the pipeline…
I’d love to hear more about the beginnings of “Death on the Balcony” – what brought you two together? How did you know you’d be a good team?
Based in England we met in Leeds around 15 years ago through the night life, afterparties and mutual friends. Beyond the socials we began to almost immediately work on music together. Initially just to experiment and see what came of it. Beyond house music and deeper techno we both share a mutual love of music, film, art and general cultures from late 70’s, 80’s and early 90s so thought that we would be on a similar page musically. The experiment worked and here we are, still doing it. We are quite bohemian and free-spirited in our nature and approach so we are never contrived, limited in our way of making music. Having written this it appears we were from day 1 and perhaps that’s what keeps it fresh and true to ourselves. We are also always still learning, honing and developing creatively as time continues and goes by which is another important thing.
Did you find your sound as “Death on the Balcony” became different than what you produced and played as individuals? Is that the same today?
Our sound was, and is, a constant evolution. It has evolved as time has progressed and so it continues to. Musically we do share a lot of the same tastes. Individually we obviously may veer into some different pasts with certain types of music in our formative years but on the whole our shared love of similar music is kind of what drove us to make music in the first place. Emotive, warmth and groove old and new…. We were once told House wears many hats and it’s true!
Do you think that your approach to the music has evolved or changed since your start in the industry? Is there anything you do differently now, whether that’s in your own music or the way you approach your career?
Producing music and being involved with this industry is one big long crazy road with its dead ends and its potholes and also its nice breezing smooth motorways. We have probably got a little better at thinking about what we want and making decisions rather than jumping headfirst into things. The industry moves so fast and we are very fortunate to have earned our place in it. Nothing is guaranteed or a given and this is what drives you and motivates you to work hard at the job you love. We have refined our skills in the studio since our early days. Listening back to some of the older stuff you can hear where you went wrong. It’s an enjoyable process though however as with us launching our Bandcamp page we are going to revisit some older tracks and reimagine them, knowing what we know now!
What do you think have been the most useful lessons you’ve learned along the way?
Patience. Having faith in yourself and others. Knowing your worth. Listening too and following your instinct. Being selective with who you work with. Sense of humour. Good communication skills. Mutual respect. Consistency, The dancefloor and human connection… Like we said though, we are always learning.
What do you consider a “defining moment” in your career? Has there been an experience that represents what Death on the Balcony is all about?
There have been many events, decisions, releases, miles covered to reach this point. It feels difficult to break it down to just one moment alone thing leads to another.
However, to answer your question… It probably seems an obvious one, but being part of the All Day I Dream family has meant a lot to us. Lee has given us some great opportunities to release with his label and to reach the lovely audience and people that follow the label. It is way more than just a label of course!
Having a diverse style that covers a wide range of melodic, deep, house & techno, you still have a definitive sound that your fans recognize. What do you think is the underlying quality which all of your music has?
Quality! You said it! Just honest, heartfelt music with warmth, groove, emotion and melody whether it’s DJing or producing. If it ticks these boxes, it’s doing something right!
Is there a story behind your Artist of the Week mix? What can listeners expect?
This is what escapism and dreaming of better times sounds like in a lockdown!
Gratitude, Acceptance, Love, Passion and the Future x
Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Come and join our little Bandcamp page. More exclusive to band camp stuff coming there soon.