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Ballast, the pop punk solo project from Spain

Unseen Plays | Music Blog

Written by Tori AKA Rebel

Mar 6, 2023

Unseen Plays: Hey Ballast! Welcome to the UP family. We’re happy to grow together! Tell us a bit about your beginnings. When did you get started with pop punk music? Where are you from? And how did Ballast come together? Is this a project or an actual band?

Ballast: Hey! Thanks for your wonderful work supporting the scene. I’m from Valencia, Spain, and I really like pop-punk since I first played Fat Lip in Guitar Hero! But I didn’t know it had a name until college, actually. I grew up in the Mediterranean ska-punk scene, which not many people know about outside my city, but it was truly special for many people here.

One day, I was preparing my backpack while listening to All I Want, by A Day To Remember, and I got so motivated listening to more and more pop-punk songs that I was like 30 minutes late to class. That’s when I started thinking that I wanted to do something like that, although I still love our beloved Valencia’s ska-punk-reggae-rock scene hahaha

Anyway, I remember writing my first pop-punk song in 2017, the second in 2018, the third in 2019… When quarantine hit I decided that I could go more than a song per year. It took a while, but at the end of 2022 I finally had the polished version of my songs, so as soon as 2023 started, I did too.

Ballast is a solo project. For now, at least.

Unseen Plays: Your song, Almost Buried In My Mind, is really energetic! Reminds us of New Found Glory. Tell us a bit about where you got your inspiration and influence for this song?

Ballast: It is! NFG is actually one of my main references. Catalyst is my favorite album from their catalog. I often found myself imitating some of their riffs or melodies so closely that it was almost identical, so I had to modify my ideas a little bit to not feel like I ripped them off.

I got the riff of the half tempo bridge first, and it was a matter of finding variations that kept the essence, the 3 note hook that repeats in various forms. Surprisingly, the melody and the chorus lyrics came very fluidly after that.

Unseen Plays: Continuing on with your latest release, is this your first release as Ballast? And what is this song about? 

Ballast: It is the first song I put out as Ballast, yeah. And what a relief! Although I started writing this song out of frustration at some point in my music career, it evolved with my frame of mind. After I finished the first draft, I felt that it was not consistent enough, so I rewrote some parts and adapted others to make all lines feel like they are telling a story, or a message with experiences as examples. So it finally ended up being about fighting for our dreams and the struggles of trying to always be better than our past selves.

Unseen Plays: What is your songwriting process like for Ballast?

Ballast: I don’t consider myself a good writer. I’ve had the luck of a well-structured family, not very wealthy, but my siblings and I never lacked any needs. So I felt for a long time that I had nothing interesting to sing about and nobody would care. One day, I read an interview with Deryck Whibley, from Sum 41, in which he said he wrote his song 13 Voices by watching The Nightmare Before Christmas without sound. I found it very interesting: I can tell an already existing story, already loved by many because it’s an iconic movie, that has a message or a concept I can relate to with my own words. So I tried it out (with sound, though). So my first song Almost Buried My Mind is inspired by the movie Whiplash. All lyrics are about that story, because I feel kinda related to that story. I don’t know if it’s a method I want to keep making use of forever, but it’s been useful for now.

Unseen Plays: What’s something you can give as advice for pop punk bands just starting out?

Ballast: I’m just starting out too! Nobody can use me as a reference yet! Hahaha

But I guess that if you are serious about your band or your project, make sure you enjoy the process, not only the music creation, but the content creation and the marketing research. Everything makes your ecosystem glue together.

Unseen Plays: What are your thoughts on today’s pop punk music? Do you see it growing or fading away again after its crazy comeback?

Ballast: It’s been crazy since 2020, right? Before this comeback I had the feeling everybody still liked pop-punk or emo music, but it was still very associated to the American Pie teenage vibes, so it was put behind to find something more “mature”. But recent releases proved that genre is just a way to tell a story or a message, and that story or message turned out to be deeper and to have more layers of meaning than it looked like back in the day. So this wave may pass as a trend, but it will keep a good amount of loyal fans that somehow were kinda lost after the mid 2000’s, and will keep existing as a very respectable sub-genre.

Unseen Plays: Name a few pop punk bands you are really digging in 2023 and tell us why.

Ballast: I have to start with Stand Atlantic and MOD SUN, hands down, both with new material this year. STAT for their strength and innovation, and MOD for his passion and the vibes he’s always transmitting. All Time Low is releasing a new album too and I can’t wait anymore. Also, I started listening much more to Yours Truly and Story of the Year. Sooo good songwriting! I’m a sucker for anything co-written and/or produced by Steve Knight, Colin Brittain or John Feldman, to be honest.

Unseen Plays: What are your upcoming plans for Ballast? Can we expect new music from you in the next few months? Or maybe an EP or album?

Ballast: I’ll be releasing as many singles as I can this year. I have all the songs ready, actually. Just need to organize all the music videos and content I want to make around them. My first full album will be out next year, but that’s too much anticipation in my head right now.

Unseen Plays: We always ask this one and we feel like it might be redundant but we’re always curious about it! What is the meaning of your name?

Ballast: I learned this word while writing one of my songs (English is not my mother tongue, don’t judge me). I found it quite meaningful for me, because it might feel a little negative, which it is partly, but from my filmmaker background, ballast is used to stabilize camera motions. So I feel that ballast, if understood wisely, can be a tool to keep your feet touching ground, your goals clear and your mind focused. Two sides, I guess.

Unseen Plays: What are some bands you think you sound like? And what do you think makes your music differentiate? 

Ballast: The first band that comes to my mind is Sum 41, because of my two sides theory. They have uplifting and beautiful songs as well as darker and harder tracks. I aspire to do something similar. New Found Glory and All Time Low were very present during the songwriting process. In the last months of production, I felt very influenced by Stand Atlantic. I wish I had knew of them when they were starting out, because I would have internalized more some of their techniques.

I have released only one song yet, but some variety and sounds will be introduced in the next ones. I want to try to make use of modern production techniques and sounds in all of my songs. Something can’t be done with guitar, bass or drums and keeps your ears awake. Also, I hope that telling stories from some of my favorite movies will resonate in somebody’s head. I don’t know, but it did in mine.

Unseen Plays: Last random question to get to know you better! If you could tour a country, what country would that be for you and why?

Ballast: Woah! The USA is where most of the audience for this type of music is, so that would be ideal. In a little more realistic side, the UK is closer to home and has equally amazing fans, so it would be much more viable. Very cool venues there too!

Unseen Plays: Lastly, what’s the best place to check out your music and learn more about Ballast?

Ballast: Spotify and YouTube are the platforms I’m more familiar with, but my music will be distributed digitally everywhere! For now, everyone is welcome to say hi on my tiktok and instagram. Everything will grow soon, little by little.

You can listen to Ballast below or through our pop punk playlist here:

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