Since 2011, the men of BURN THE BALLROOM have been known for their scorching guitar riffs, setting hearts aflame, and melting faces of their extensive fan base from their home in Northern Virginia and beyond. Founded by lead singer and guitarist Alan Gant, he is joined by bassist Jackson Harar, Jack Ivins on the drums, and Sterling Pearson on guitar. Currently, Gant and the BTB boys are gearing up for the release of their new album Melodies for the Outsiders, and we spoke to Gant about the theatrics of this album and how they have helped to shape the band’s identity in the last few years, Jack’s dreams of food challenge glory, as well as their plans for the future, which may or may not include some light Nutella Wrestling.

On your Purevolume page, you said that your new album Melodies for the Outsiders is “a record of stories,” and that you have “always craved theatrics in [your] music and performances”. Can you elaborate on what you meant by that?

The band has always been inspired by theatrics from bands like QUEEN, as well as glam metal bands like MOTLEY CRUE, and even current performers like MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE and RIFF RAFF. We have always been attracted to those kind of huge, over the top performances, and we wanted to acheive that ourselves. We wanted to create a rock musical, and I think with the new songs it comes off as that. It’s more than just the contemporary rock formula.

How did you guys get Austin Bello of FOREVER THE SICKEST KIDS to produce your new record?

We actually met him at South by Southwest last year. We were playing right next door to them, and we were all hanging out in the early afternoon before the show and chatting with him. They were very cool guys, and we had been big fans of them since 2008 or 2009. We found out that Austin was actually moving to Virginia because his wife was from this area. We showed him some of our music, and he was really into it. We jammed together, and he told us that he would really like to work on a new album with us, and we eventually decided to make him our manager. It’s been a really great experience working with him, and its crazy how he has gone from being someone we played Warped Tour with to being one of our closest friends. Now he calls me five times a day about getting things done on our band’s to-do list. He is a super cool guy.

What was the inspiration for your album cover?

We worked with Scott White, who is a comic artist for Darkhorse Comics. We came to him because we felt like the music was dramatic, dark, and outlandish, so we thought that it would be better suited to having an illustration was a better way to go than just a logo or photo. We liked how his concept was equally colorful and dark, and really rock and roll. We feel like it compliments the music very well. He absolutely nailed it.

Can you tell me about one of your craziest run-ins with your fans?

We are pretty new as a band. We have only been together for a couple of years. I was doing my own solo stuff for a while, and the rest of the guys joined in 2013, so we haven’t really had any run-ins. I can tell you about one of the funniest moments from tour. Last year our tour to South by Southwest was a blast, and on our way there, we tried to stop at every new fast food place that we saw. We eventually found this place called “Beef Jerkey Outlet” outside Dallas right next to a Bass Pro Shop, which we also had a lot of fun in. Jack quickly befriended the owner of this “Beef Jerky Outlet”, and walked out with like 30 pounds of moose jerky.

I read in your interview with Property of Zach that you guys want to complete the five-pound burger/Batwing roller coaster challenge at Six Flags Theme Park. Do you think all four of you could accomplish it?

I actually made all of that up because I didn’t want to do a “typical interview”. If it were real, I think Jack could do it, but the rest of us would just die (laughs).

Are there any other eating challenges you have done or want to do as a band?

I am not super into it, but Jack and Jackson certainly are. Jack is an eating machine! He can eat the hell out of the most deep fried, heart-stopping food and still get on stage and play like its the last show of his life. I don’t know how he does it. In fact, I think he has done a few eating challenges.

It’s his secret life outside the band-a competitive eating champion.

Yeah, it’s what he does on Tuesdays (laughs).

Who are some of your favorite bands from Virginia?

Mostly friends of ours like CONDITIONS. Also, bands that are no longer around like THE FRIDAY NIGHT BOYS and CRASH BOOM BANG. We run into them a lot. One thing I have noticed about the current music scene in Virginia that I would love to change is how everyone operates like they are on an island. It seems like every band is all about selling tickets to just their shows and promoting just their band. I would love to see more people working together and forming alliances so everyone has a good time and promotes the scene together. I remember how NO DOUBT and SUBLIME played shows together all the time in Orange County. It’s time for more Virginia bands-especially bigger bands-to start working together.

What does the future have in store for BURN THE BALLROOM?

We are really excited about what is coming up. We have been getting a hugely positive response to the new record, which has brought us a lot of attention. We hope to be on the road as much as we can, and we plan to release two or three videos before Fall. We have some really cool concepts in mind for them. We have new merch coming out that I can’t wait to get my hands on, but most of all we are excited about playing more shows.

Will there be any Foxy Boxing or Nutella Wrestling at your CD release show on April 19th at Empire?

I think that would be a brilliant idea, but we’ll see what happens.

For more updates on BURN THE BALLROOM, be sure to visit their website, “like” their Facebook page, follow them on Twitter, subscribe to their YouTube channel, and listen to their new album Melodies for the Outsiders on Purevolume, which will be will be available via iTunes and Amazon on March 25th.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Fairfax, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with his girlfriend Alex.

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