Talking to Tim Andreae and Stephen Gere is like talking to two brothers. They argue, share private jokes, finish the other's sentences, ignore each other and wear sunglasses indoors. But they aren't brothers; they are roommates and bandmates in the Boise musical duo Bales of Hey.
We're drinking joe at a coffee shop, and it's hard to tell what is truth and what's just truth in their heads in the zany world of Bales of Hey. They are a new band, so some comments are not exactly false, they're simply ideas that just haven't yet come to fruition.
And madcap, spontaneous ideas are the floorboards of the band's creative output. Stephen mans the drums and electric keyboard for the most part. And Tim sings and plays both guitar and a wide variety of percussion.
He also does most of the talking at our lunch date. He's older and has a clear voice, and he pursues precision with long explanations. He rarely stumbles on words but has a hard time explaining the band's style. Eventually he reveals inspiration through old Delta blues, Jelly Roll Morton and Nina Simone.
"They have influenced Bales of Hey, if there are any (influences)," Tim says, clearly edgy with the notion of classification. "You're influenced by people you get obsessed with."
"Especially Jelly Roll Martin. He's so lazy." Stephen adds.
"It feels really relaxed but they're really attentive to it," Tim clarifies. "It's something we listen to and love."
Perhaps. On stage their show is a clamorous version of free blues, but even more palpable, the act takes influence from a lot more than music. It's a display of experimental resonance and art, replete with costumes and sounds of found objects such as foam pool toys (a.k.a. noodles) and sleds. And rain.
"I started recording rain when the rain fell off the roof in pots," Tim says. "Then I started collecting things that I beat around." I imagine being a trash can lid living a dingy existence. Then, one day the guys of Bales of Hey discover me on the street, and all of a sudden I am a rock star living a far more fabulous life. That may be a slightly exaggerated fantasy, since the lid is beaten and pounded. Oh well.
It later comes out that what they gather a lot of the lyrical subject matter from, what apparently is the apple of their obsessive eyes, is food. Really good food. Particularly dishes prepared by their other roommate, April, including but certainly not limited to pies, meatballs, ham and vegetables. "I can't sing about kale, it doesn't make sense," Tim says in his elucidaty way. "It's not even cool." I am sure he means no offense to those fans of the cabbage kin.
The act is really three-pronged. They are musical, lyrical and performance based. Not in a Britney Spears kinda way, though. I do not mean offense to Britney fans, by the way.
The performance aspect surfaces when the mood strikes, or a song offers a particular feeling. When the mood strikes or a song offers a feeling, a different character may perform the song. There's a gym coach and Davy the Bearded Lady, just to name a few.
"Sometimes I call him the Futuristic Kid," Tim says of Stephen. "That's not true," Stephen refutes, rolling his eyes.
The guys are currently working on a demo and want to do a tour--their goal is to get out on the road by fall and to have a CD to bring with them. That should make their growing fan base happy. At their last show at the Neurolux, the doorman didn't even know they were playing. And several kids in line behind me looked bewildered with the news until it was confirmed that despite being off the bill, they were playing.
In fact, the Bales of Hey seem to come up in conversations all over the place these days, but maybe that's just because these guys have a lot of actual siblings as their street team wrangling fans. Or maybe their fresh take on performance is the new pigtails and parochial school uniform.
Catch Bales of Hey on August 23 at 9:30 p.m. at Neurolux, 111 N. 11th Street. Curious sorts can contact the band at firstname.lastname@example.org.