Broke-Ass Band Interview: The Postelles

The Postelles are a band so diversely talented that they can release a Ramones cover on the same EP as a Joe Jones cover and make you unabashedly swing your hips to both. Lead singer Dan Balk, guitarist David Dargahi, bassist John Speyer, and percussionist Billy Cadden met during high school in Manhattan – and their debut album, The Postelles, was produced by Albert Hammond, Jr. of the Strokes – but don’t lump them in with other New York retro-revival outfits. Their influences harken back further to rock & rollers like Elvis Costello and Chuck Berry, and Motown girl groups like The Shirelles.

The band’s bringing their bright-eyed, jingly rock back to their hometown, opening for The Kooks tonight and tomorrow at the Webster Hall, and in anticipation, we asked them to participate in this broke-ass interview. Below, lead singer Dan Balk talks to us about the financial benefits of getting up-close and personal with his bandmates, what frivolous activity is like kryptonite to tour budgets, and how you can prepare for your rock & roll future by looking at the past.

Tell us about your name:

The Postelles is a little nod to the old Motown groups like The Shirelles, but it’s also unique. We like having a name that is different from the rest of the bands around today.

How would you describe your sound in one sentence

It’s the sound of four New Yorkers who love playing melodic rock and roll for illegal download use.

What do you want people to take from your music?

I hope they can connect our songs to a certain time in their life or moment, whether it’s in a positive or negative way.

What’s your song-writing process like?

I’ll usually have a melody or chord change, maybe a full song or just a chorus that I’ll write alone usually late at night. As a band, we’ll orchestrate it together. Sometime just us playing together in a rehearsal space will spark a song as well. For example, ’123 Stop’ came from an old verse I had mixed with a riff David came up with

What’s your favorite makeshift instrument?

Me and my shower.

Who are you listening to right now?

The Band.

Where are you from?

New York City.

What’s your favorite NYC neighborhood?

West Village.

Your favorite cheap bar in NYC?

169 Bar.

Your favorite cheap meal in NYC?

Casa Mezcal.

What was one of your brokest moments as a band?

New Orleans, casino, tour budget, gone.

How do you save money on the road?

By not going to New Orleans. We also share bed and shower.

What’s your pre-show ritual?

We all sing “I Shall Be Released” by Bob Dylan together.

What can the audience expect from your stage show?

They can expect a house party-like atmosphere. We like for everyone to let loose and have a good time.

Tell us about one of your favorite touring experiences:

We had a great time playing a house party a while back in Montreal, where the cops shut down the show. The crowd was really into it, but unfortunately none of the other bands could play as the police wouldn’t let the show go on.

What do you refuse to spend money on?

Pants.

What do you think any band should spend money on?

Instruments.

What was the most expensive thing you’ve ever bought and why did you make the purchase?

That’s a tough question. I would have to say one of my first electric guitars. It was a White Stratocaster and I always loved the feel of a Strat. I played it on our first record.

What’s up next for The Postelles?

We are working on our second album and touring some more. We hope to have new music out soon.

Do you have any parting words for us?

If you really love rock and roll, make sure to listen to the people who created it. If you don’t know who that might be, check out Robert Johnson, Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly, Son House and Sam Cooke. After that, listen to our debut album titled The Postelles. Thank you.

Photos Courtesy Big Hassle Media

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About the author

Tiara Francis - NY Know-it-all

Tiara was born in NYC, raised in NJ, and after studying Comp Lit at Columbia, vowed to never go back to the suburbs. While she has expensive taste, she also has shallow pockets and is always looking for a budget way to be a weekend warrior. Her hobbies include laughing way too loudly, putting hot sauce on/in everything - including margaritas - speaking French at inappropriate moments, and dancing like there’s no one else in da club.