Listen to the interview with Dizzy Balloon...
...or read the transcript:
Johnny: My name is Johnny and I play guitar in Dizzy Balloon.
Louie: My name is Louie and I play drums in Dizzy Balloon.
Petros: My name is Petro and I sing for Dizzy Balloon.
Raphael: I'm Rafi and I play bass in Dizzy Balloon.
Joey: What's up! I'm Joey and I play keys for Dizzy Balloon.
Meghan: First question. Where did you guys think up the name? Who came up with it? What is the origin?
Johnny: Mr. Dictionary helped us out. No, that was our old name. Sorry. Petro came up with the name.
Raphael: We were going to be Balloon.
Johnny: And we were all, "Yes, we're Balloon." Go to iTunes, and uh oh, there's already a Balloon, so it was, "alright, back to the drawing board."
Joey: We used to be called Panda for the longest time. We had released music, some on iTunes, we had like a demo. But there's this Mexican band named Panda. They're like superstars in Mexico so they sent us a letter...
Meghan: A Cease and Desist?
Joey: Yeah, exactly. They were going to threaten legal action, whatever. So then we wanted to be called Balloon. The singular noun and that was taken by some German electronica duo. Then we wanted to be called Dizzy but that was also taken by another techno group. So then we were like this day and age we have to come up with some crazy new unique...[laughter] and Dizzy Balloon, people love it.
Louie: When you google it, that's all that comes up, just stuff about us.
Meghan: This is true. I checked several pages and that's all there is.
Raphael: The Googoo Dolls. Black Balloon. Dizzy Up The Girl. [laughter]
Meghan: Can you guys tell me a little bit about the track "Chinatown?"
Johnny: It's a song that was written in sixth grade.
Johnny: Revamped and brought back to the band. You know, that song is really cool. Parts are dancey. In sixth grade, obviously, it was horrible.
Joey: Petros had that riff in the beginning, that synth line, that he had back in middle school and he'd always jam on it with Johnny and we'd always be like, "That's the coolest thing in the world. We have to use it in a song." Then the song just came together.
Louie: Ten years late.
Johnny: It takes us about ten years to get a song together.
Meghan: Got to let them marinate for a little while. So you guys have been working together since sixth grade?
Petros: Eighth grade, freshman year.
Joey: Everybody kind of came in at different times. We've known each other for a long time.
Louie: We all went to high school together.
Meghan: You guys get sick of each other?
Louie: Oh yeah.
Joey: Louie and I, that's how I got this, I was fighting Louie.
Meghan: How did you get that?
Joey: I was rock climbing.
Johnny: How's your wrist?
Joey: Oh, it's better. It was bad yesterday but it's the crazy piano riffs that...
Meghan: Jamming really hard. Your cover art is really interesting. The website and the Myspace have a very colorful aesthetic. Who did the design for you guys? Is it a collaborative effort?
Johnny: The only program we had for making pictures was Microsoft paint, so we had five colors to work with and this little paintbrush. That's where the thing rooted.
Joey: We actually got Sean Harris, the singer of Matches, to do our art.
Louie: Our block art on myspace, he did that.
Joey: This guy Casey Bradshaw, props to Casey Bradshaw.
Johnny: Just a bunch of our friends. We had the concept of color on black that runs through a lot of our stuff. We first put up off of MS paint our little design, a crappy little thing and they were like, "This is like, so cool, that your taking it back old school to Paint, you're not using photoshop." I wish I could photoshop!
Meghan: Keeping it old school. So you guys are all done with high school and are college age, yes?
Johnny: 19, 20, 21.
Meghan: How many of you are in school still? Or pursuing full time careers? I know that's kind of a weird question.
Louie: We're all on leave of absences.
Meghan: So you're devoting a lot of your time to the band then?
Johnny: It's kind of, like, taken over. Everyone has their own side projects, ranging from unemployed to professional guitar builder.
Meghan: Who does that?
Meghan: Is it a family business or something like that?
Raphael: It's just this one guy who's a very established builder of classical guitars.
Johnny: He got the job off Craigslist. Because he hand carved his own bass.
Joey: Rafi, he's kind of like an engineering fanatic.
Meghan: He's got the tech background. So do you sound for Dizzy Balloon? Are you the boss of that?
Joey: When we jam, Rafi takes care of the P.A. situation.
Johnny: He fixes our amps so we don't have to pay for it.
Raphael: I try to fix things so we don't have to pay for them.
Meghan: That's good.
Johnny: When we headline shows, we do all these crazy props and he helps Joey execute Joey's crazy ideas.
Meghan: What are some of the insane ideas?
Joey: Insane ideas that we've done or insane ideas that I liked and everyone else didn't like?
Meghan: I'd like to hear that list first, if you don't mind.
Joey: Ah man, I wanted to do a hot tub at one of the shows. They make these inflatable hot tubs that you can get for $400.
Meghan: With water and everything?
Joey: Oh yeah.
Meghan: That sounds dangerous.
Joey: You put it on the street outside. There's this one room in the back of the Rickshaw and I wanted to fill it with puppies and just have a puppy room. Just for everyone to go hang out in.
Meghan: Who gets to clean up after that?
Joey: I have foam machines. I always want to put in a foam pit.
Raphael: Stuff that we've actually done...
Joey: Like bouncy castles. We got these black light bubbles that throw these special bubbles that glow under blacklight so they're all these golden orbs. We have a six thousand dollar laser show.
Meghan: Did you really buy your own laser show?
Joey: Yeah. We have a lot of tricks. I think at our show in April. I'll try that again. At our show in April at Slim's, co-headlining with the Cataracts, there will be lots of tricks and surprises.
Meghan: Can you reveal anything now?
Joey: Oh no. Oh no. But there's going to be a hot tub filled with puppies.
Meghan: So the whole room will smell like wet dog.
Raphael: They'll be genetically engineered to not smell.
Joey: Yeah. I'm crafty.
Meghan: I believe that.
Johnny: April's going to be crazy. There's this hip hop pop group from Burbank called the Cataracts that Joey already talked about and we're doing a tour with them in April with the Pack.
Meghan: From Oakland? I love that band!
Johnny: Yeah. They do really well all up and down the west coast so we're going to be playing in front of a lot of people.
Joey: Depending on how much actual guitar and keyboards and that kind of work, we're going to be their band.
Johnny: We're already confirmed to be the Cataracts backing band. They usually use a D.J. but we've actually played with them as their backing band before and it was fun. We liked it, they liked it, so we're going to do that. We're going to do some recordings with the Pack.
Meghan: Where are you recording with the Pack?
Johnny: Either in L.A. or in San Francisco.
Meghan: Are they still local or did they move down to L.A.?
Johnny: I don't know. I think they just moved. I mean, they rep the Bay. I think they're actually from Berkeley.
Joey: They went to be hot.