BALLETS - JAMES STURGIS

Ballets, a band from Albuquerque that will teach you how to chill the fuck out. That’s what their music does - grabs hold of you and sends you drifting towards good things. Sounds simple? Well it is for us, but the warm layers of psychedelic sound have been carefully crafted to beautiful effect. We caught up with James Sturgis to chat about their recent release ‘Gold Cuffs’ (split release with Train Conductor) and what’s going down in New Mexico.

“I don’t mind that our music is obviously computer enhanced. I think it’s delightful. The goal is to mix the new with the established, seamlessly.”




When did you guys start making music together?
We were all in Canyonlands together from 2011 to 2013. Before that, Bon, Nathan and I were in a slew of bands together since 2007 including Small Flightless Birds, The Gatherers and The Fucking Adventures. We met at College at the University of New Mexico.

Ballets. Great name, but tricky as hell for research. Do you have any interesting stories regarding your name? How did you come up with it?
Oh dang, I thought it would be easy name to find but I guess people don’t really know about ballet anymore; it seems to be as dead as opera. Ballets is named after a boutique in Oklahoma City called BALLIETS on Western and Grand Blvd. I liked the way it looked in all capital letters but fearing Balliets would be too hard to remember, I opted for BALLETS. Now I don’t even bother putting it in capital letters, but I still like the way it looks.

What’s it like making music in Albuquerque? 
Albuquerque is great for music. There’s no cooler place to collaborate and there are a few good venues like Gold House, Sister, Effex and sometimes Burts Tiki Lounge (if you can bring the party). The best artists in ABQ right now are REIGHNBEAU, Young Lungs, Sun Dogs, Uranium Worker, Klondykes, and the upcoming Holy Glories and Jippsi Gold.

How did you come to share your 12” with Train Conductor? 
Train Conductor is Will Byrne. He was in Small Flightless Birds with Nathan, Bon and I. We are great friends. Train Conductor started when Will moved to Ft Worth, TX. Now he is back in Albuquerque and we are jamming again which is great.

‘Gold Cuffs’ is the perfect escape. Did you use any strange techniques or weird instruments when you were recording it?
Tons and tons of compression and a lot of Ableton in general. I don’t mind that our music is obviously computer enhanced. I think it’s delightful. The goal is to mix the new with the established, seamlessly.

Who are some artists you’ve been listening to lately?
Suuns, Nirvana, Temples, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine…

What do you guys have planned for the rest of the year?
An extensive series of weekend trips to play in CO! There’ll be a new four song release from Ballets and something new from Train Conductor within two months.

You can order the 'Gold Cuffs’ vinyl here.