The insanely talented duo of Andy Balcon and Dave Crowe took the stage at Bowery Electric this week showcasing their unique approach to the blending of hard-edge vocals and blues guitar with beatbox rhythm mania. Pancakes and Whiskey was lucky enough to sneak an interview backstage.
P&W: How long have you guys been together?
Andy: Three years. We met playing miniature golf in New Zealand and I was living in a van and he (Crowe) was living in a car. Which kind was it?
Crowe: A Mitsubishi Gallant.
Andy: And we went for a barbecue and then uh…
Crowe: He didn’t really offer barbecue he just offered a beer and so when I came round he had a guitar, we jammed and it was pretty cool instantly. We jammed down the coast for about three months and had a residency in Christchurch, NZ and we just wanted to travel and have no commitments. So we left each other for about three years and then just started again in France three years ago and since then it’s just gotten better and better.
P&W: So what do you think is your unique take on music that no one else is doing?
Crowe: I don’t think anyone has really combined the cruxes of genres like this together in a long time. The blues and the beatboxing, a lot of people think it would never work but it does. I don’t think a cross-genre like this has been hit in the last ten years.
P&W: Do you have any plans to expand the band beyond the two of you?
Andy: Possibly…it comes down to funding and I think it’s very difficult for a band to survive in today’s industry realistically. When we started the band we were sharing coffee and croissants for like the first 6 months and we thought we could bring all our mates along to film things and play music but when it becomes a reality it is just insane.
P&W: So is it a goal to play the big stadiums and arenas?
Crowe: Yeah but we’d have to establish who we are with a couple of albums and be global as well. You have to be known everywhere before you can evolve otherwise you’re evolved before people know who the fuck you are. So two fat albums, then I’d like to bring brass, backing vocals, strings maybe?
Andy: And we’re open to working with anyone really. We also really like the electronic approach to music and think there’s something that could be captured within our music which could create something a bit different as well. I’ve been listening to a lot of Nicholas Jaar recently and he’s doing a lot of fantastic mixes and stuff and I really like his approach on music with timing and space. It’s definitely inspiring me with writing at the moment. Especially the sound that can be created with beats and that electronic identity, I think it’s nice to be able to have the opportunity to create that organically.
P&W: Would you ever think about live looping during your sets?
Andy: Yeah, but it loses something I think when it’s looped. I think one of the strongest parts of our live show is how in the moment everything is, and not to sound pretentious or like a weird artist cause we’re not, but we are just playing music at the end of the day and it is an art form. Last year we had some interest from some labels and we were willing to see what kind of angle they had with the music so it’s not like we’re very protective over what we are creating. It’s exciting to think that people can have an interest in what’s shaped but I think it would be interesting if we had some more influence in the music.
P&W: Do you want it always to be natural and organically in the moment or do you want it staged and prepared?
Crowe: I want it precisely chosen and the songs that we play to be more meticulously perfect but I just don’t think the looping, no disrespect to the people who are doing that for a living, people dig the shit out of it, but as soon as we do it, we lose what we have instantly. And for me, beatboxing is cool but it’s a gimmick. It won’t last more than ten years I would say.
P&W: So since we are Pancakes and Whiskey, what are your favorite whiskies?
Crowe: My favorite is a 21 year old Glenlivet. But it’s not something you can drink every fucking day so what I actually drink is a 16 year old Glenmorangie. You can get it for like five bucks if you find the right place and it’s wonderful. You get all the smoke and all the ease of the Glenlivet but none of the pussy back whip that the bourbons have or the Jamesons. It’s really evolved.
P&W: If you could have anyone from the history of music added into your band, who would it be?
Crowe: Ray Charles. Instantly.
Andy: The Beastie Boys. Because they are fucking amazing, that sound, I just like the intensity of what they’re doing.
Crowe: And after the Ray Charles and the Beastie Boys then the two of us would leave and just let them take over. We’d be like, “These guys are fine. They got it.” And just go and chill out.
P&W: So where is your next stop?
Crowe: We go back to France to record the new album.
P&W: And what are the hopes for the new album?
Crowe: To write rock history. Why else would you write an album?
Article by: Hannah Soule
Cover photo: Gianluca Sarago