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Balloon Ride Fantasy goes ‘more synth-heavy’ on new EP

July 21, 2018

There’s a line in the lead single (“Arcadia”) of Balloon Ride Fantasy’s new EP that goes, “We can be us all night.”

That’s a good summation of the group, whose members are continuing to evolve their unique blend of retro-rooted instrumentation and pop sensibility.

“I think our writing has gotten tighter and more focused,” said founding member Phil Conley, a North Huntingdon native. “Our sound has also gotten more synth-heavy.”

Starting out on guitar, Conley has slowly made his way onto the keyboard, record by record.

“Our first album had a lot of guitar, the second album had less, and this one has even less.”

With no formal piano training, Conley has had to make his way on his own.

“Now I’m just having fun doing new things with the keys,” he said.

That includes tweaking his synthesizer’s settings to create custom sounds and new ways to create the science-fiction-soundtrack ambience that permeates the new, self-titled EP.

“These songs fuse more dance and electro-pop elements into our sound, which makes it feel modern and lively, and makes live performances more fun,” said vocalist Bethany Berkstresser, who is now Bethany Conley after marrying her fellow bandmate.

“We’ve become a good team so we’re excited to explore new opportunities and expand our sound to more cities and bigger stages,” she said.

Recently those opportunities have included slots at the Thrival, Millvale and Deutschtown Music festivals.

The band, which also includes Murrysville native Brad Schneider on bass, will play its first show promoting the new EP on Aug. 4 at the Funhouse at Mr. Smalls in Millvale, billed with Australian indie band Castlecomer. Tickets for the 8 p.m. show at available at MrSmalls.com.

Conley said he enjoys the challenge of creating something new for fans.

“We’re trying to get it to sound modern, but also different,” he said.

Purchase their self-titled EP at BalloonRideFantasy.com. Click here to watch the “Arcadia” video.

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