Chicago pop-rock band Ballroom Boxer, featuring Jared Cummans, Mike Altier and Dave Altier, brings its beach-party sound to the band's new EP, "A Little Wild," out for digital release Friday, Nov. 16. Courtesy of Ballroom Boxer

Chicago rock band Ballroom Boxer stands out with new EP (while fitting in anywhere)

Mike and Dave Altier take being a band of brothers to a literal extreme.

The Akron, Ohio, natives — now longtime Chicago residents — approached a recent phone interview about their band Ballroom Boxer with that sense of teamwork, throwing responses back and forth.

“Dave, I don’t want to speak for you, but …”

“That’s a good point, Mike.”

“Keep me honest here, Dave.”

That give-and-take translates to their work with the Chicago rock band, which is releasing its new five-song EP “A Little Wild” Friday, Nov. 16.

“It comes from playing together for 20 years,” said Dave, the drummer and backup vocalist. “From day one when we first started playing, I know where he’s going, and he knows where the drums are gonna go.”

“We have that kind of mind-read,” added Mike, who takes on lead vocals and guitar duty for the at-the-moment three-piece band. “For us, we love it. … One of the most fun parts about songwriting for me is when Dave and I are feeling that groove, feeling that flow.”

Chicago pop-rock band Ballroom Boxer, featuring Dave Altier on drums and backup vocals, drops the new EP, “A Little Wild,” for digital release Friday, Nov. 16. – Courtesy of Ballroom Boxer

The duo, the primary songwriters for Ballroom Boxer, teamed up with bandmate Jared Cummans on bass and former bandmate and Aurora resident Donnie Renner — who recently left the area for warmer climes — to record the new EP.

“We had a lot of fragments to songs,” said Mike. “Instead of writing these full songs conceptually, we started taking these fragments and just started building on it. It kind of goes back to this philosophy we believe in: Instead of just having these big ideas, we believe big ideas come in collaboration building on small ideas. That’s pretty much what drove the EP.”

“In the past we’ve struggled with showing off a depth or range of emotion with a lot of our music, where it’s either poppy or super happy or it goes dark side,” he added. “There’s no in-between to those things.”

Ballroom Boxer’s catalog — the name itself is a dichotomy of two disparate elements — traffics in upbeat sounds and warm, fuzzy pop-rock feelings. Live shows often feel less like you’re being performed to and more like fans are at a backyard party with friends. But the strong history of music often comes from deeper places.

“You’ll find that in every single song we write,” said Mike. “That tension between something that sounds poppy and something that may have a deeper undertone if you look for it. If you like that.”

About Post Author