Dark and moody, Ballerina Black’s propulsive new wave post-punk sound is as thrilling as you would expect it to be. Just one listen to the insatiable rhythms of ‘Brixton Rain’ and you’ll be craving more from this Los Angeles four-piece. We meet the band at a very exciting time, fresh from the whirlwind year of 2014, notably a defining year for them. It was a year that saw them grow exponentially, taking their live show across the pond and entertaining many new faces with their signature ‘gloom pop/mope rock’.
We took a few minutes with their frontman, Bobby Moynahan, to chat about his formative years in music, and the album that has made the most impact on his life. You might be surprised to find that he has a unlikely connection to a certain founding member of the Red Hot Chilli Peppers.
Who was the first person to inspire you to pick up an instrument and play?
“Probably my mother first who was always playing the piano, then later my aunt was dating Hillel Slovack (the original guitarist of the Chili Peppers) and when they’d come to visit during the holidays he would play contemporary songs that I was more exposed to outside of the standards my mother would play. It blew me away and was like sorcery.”
What was the first instrument you learned to play?
“Tinkered around with the drums and the sax.”
When did you realise that music was your passion and you had to pursue it?
“I think I am and have always been in the eye of the storm of that passion people refer to, so for me to pinpoint it would be like watching water boil. Seems like a progression that’s always been evolving and occurring.”
Where did you play your first gig?
“A warehouse party in Phoenix, Arizona.”
What has been the definitive record that has made the most impact on your life?
“In Utero – Nirvana.”
What is your earliest musical memory?
“My mother playing 7 inch Motown songs on my Fisher Price record player.”
Who is your favourite songwriter?
A song lyric that means a lot to me is…
“I love the three dimensional aspect of Robert Smith’s lyrics in the song ‘Disintegration’ where he uses visuals about falling from the sky through the roof of your mouth. Great.”
A song that describes my current mood/frame of mind at this time is…
“At the moment, I’m in the middle of recording a new record and have been internalizing and channelling as much as I can around me for the songs I’m working on at the moment.”