Steve Balbi is a man of many talents and, as he readily admits, ‘many threads’. His musical projects are diverse, ranging from playing bass with rock powerhouse Noiseworks, to his theatrical ‘sophisticated punk’ role in the band Mi-Sex, to Ziggy in the production based on the music of David Bowie and, the very personal journey he has taken with his album, ‘Black Rainbow‘ and, as Steve tells me in this recent interview, he is really looking forward to performing the songs from that album, with his band. “For me it’s kind of hard to tour with the band consistently because I’m in that tricky period of being a new solo artist, I guess. People are connecting the dots with me and what I’ve done and where I am and where I’m going. I don’t get to do it as much as I’d like to so I’m very much looking forward to it.”
He is very proud of his work on the album and explains where he got the title ‘Black Rainbow‘. “My life was pretty dark for many years,” he reveals, “And it just feels like there’s a pot of gold there at the end of a black rainbow. It’s a pretty personal record really. It’s heart on your sleeve stuff. If you listen to the songs, I’m not being overly poetic, I’m just sort of blurting it out on a page. I’m just spitting out the truths. It’s sort of a healing process, I guess. It’s not a bunch of misery. It’s a really positive record. It’s quite a soulful record really and a lot of people really feel that intent it was written and recorded with and some of the response I’ve got is quite moving really. Not just ‘Love the tracks man. They sound great’. It’s like people have really taken it on board personally and that’s what my music is about. I’m fortunate to do lots of great kinds of music and singing all different parts of our emotions. It’s blood and guts. It’s all out there on the table. I don’t care if you dance. I just want to move you a little.”
Not content to focus only on his solo work, the singer is also involved in numerous other projects and has recently wound up a tour with the band Mi-Sex, where he has taken on the role of vocalist. “That’s great fun,” he tells me. “I really do enjoy it. You know, when I was asked to do it, I said to the guys ‘Let’s just do this show and if I feel that I can honestly contribute, I’ll do it.’ I don’t like just being a singer in a band. I guess there’s a frustrated actor that lives within me and I get to bring him out as ‘The Mi-Sex Guy’ which is fantastic. It’s rather theatrical . It’s kind of like ‘Mi-Sex the Musical’,” he laughs. Steve sees himself as a kind of ‘sophisticated punk’ in that role. “That’s how I knew their music,” he says. “It’s a derivative of early punk and they sort of crossed it with technology so it just seems to work and it’s great fun. They’re great guys. I’ve actually just been in Byron Bay writing and singing on some new tracks which is really exciting as well. I’ve ended up co-writing a bunch of lyrics and Murray, Colin and I just came up with some songs while we were up there. Musically, I’m just staying out of the fold. I just want to be the singer. I think the guys did a great a job creating their own songs and I just want to interpret for them, so it’s been really easy and it’s been really good fun. It’s great to see all those people who were starved of their favourite band for so long are out and listening to the songs they love and we’ve got some killer new ones to give them too.”
Steve acknowledges that there is a big difference between his own musical style and that of Mi-Sex and, indeed, Noiseworks. “Yes, totally,” he agrees. “You know, I’m the same personality. We all have different threads, I guess, to our abilities and it’s all kind of linked. Mi-Sex to me is about energy and entertainment and painting a picture with those lyrics. My show is more about opening my chest up and going ‘Well, there you go. It’s pretty messy in there but can you relate to this?’ I feel that I’m pretty fortunate in that I’m not just holding on to doing just one thing.”
And then, of course, there is Noiseworks. Another totally different style, yet again. Steve has been working on a new album with Noiseworks intermittently over the last couple of years and fans have been waiting with baited breath for news on its release. “That album’s nearly finished,” he reveals. “We’re waiting just a couple more days to finish it with Jon as we speak. That’s probably the next email I send and it’s not too far off so once that’s done, there should be some action.” And that is bound to meet with a solid round of applause from the band’s very loyal fan base.
And, as if that isn’t enough, Steve will also be back on stage as part of ‘Ziggy: The Songs of David Bowie’ later in the year. It has become a regular event on his calendar, with an annual season at the Sydney Opera House. We will have more details on that show as they become available.
So Steve Balbi, as always, is a busy man but, for now, he is focused on his upcoming shows in Sydney and Melbourne, before heading back out on the road with Baby Animals, for another killer tour. Dates for Steve’s shows are below. For details of Baby Animals’ tour dates, please click here..
by Sharyn Hamey
Copyright © 2014 Sharyn Hamey. All Rights Reserved
GIG DATES FOR STEVE BALBI
Friday 14th February Brass Monkey, Cronulla NSW
Tickets from www.oztix.com.au or the venue
Saturday 15th February The Basement Sydney
Tickets from www.moshtix.com.au or the venue
Saturday 22nd February Grace Darling, Collingwood Vic
Tickets from www.moshtix.com.au or the venue