The EP is titled BRF and was released on July 20, 2018
Click to stream or download
Sexy robots and fictitious creatures like the human bird are brought to life through the music of five-piece synth pop/new wave band, Balloon Ride Fantasy, based in Pittsburgh, PA. The band has crafted a sound of dreamy vocal harmonies that soar over rich, synth-heavy instrumentation and catchy, danceable beats. Inspired by fantasy fiction and pop nostalgia artists like Prince and Michael Jackson and films like Labyrinth and Blade Runner. Their imaginative lyrics explore futuristic dream worlds.
Sexy robots and fictitious creatures like the human bird are brought to life through the music of five-piece synth pop/new wave band, Balloon Ride Fantasy, based in Pittsburgh, PA. The band has crafted a sound of dreamy vocal harmonies that soar over rich, synth-heavy instrumentation and catchy, danceable beats. Inspired by fantasy fiction and pop nostalgia artists like Prince and Michael Jackson and films like Labyrinth and Blade Runner. Their imaginative lyrics explore futuristic dream worlds. The group recently debuted their third release, the six-song EP BRF, which continues the evolution of the band’s colorful sonic escapade. Balloon Ride Fantasy’s new music video for their EP’s second track, “Arcadia,” was recently filmed at Pittsburgh’s famed Evaline Party House and features an initiation party for a mysterious cult, run by a lioncorn leader. The lioncorn being the band’s mascot, which is a lion/unicorn hybrid.
What started as a duo between longtime bandmates, Balloon Ride Fantasy’s songwriting foundation is the team of lead singer/producer Chris Olszewski and prolific guitarist/synth player Phil Conley. Dynamic and pop-friendly lead vocals by Olszewski are complemented by the background vocals of Bethany Conley, Phil’s wife, who was initially drawn to the early BRF demos she’d heard while living across the globe outside of Seoul. A golden Craigslist find and holding down the low end, bassist Brad Schneider creates slick, enchanting and energetic riffs. The band practices at Schneider’s home on top of the city in Pittsburgh’s iconic Mount Washington neighborhood. Rounding out Balloon Ride Fantasy’s sound is keyboard and synth player extraordinaire Jordan Wood, who also programs and synchronizes lighting for the band’s live shows.
Balloon Ride Fantasy’s performance highlights include 2016’s Thrival Music Festival, where they shared a stage with The Chainsmokers, Chvrches, and Metric. They also opened for The Naked and Famous at the Feed More Festival in 2017. After releasing their self-titled album in 2015, Balloon Ride Fantasy were selected to play the prestigious National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Show in Anaheim, CA. That same year, the band made it to the top ten Semi-Finals (out of over 300 national artists) in the “Land the Big Gig” Contest for Milwaukee’s Summerfest. Their songwriting has been recognized by the Indaba Music Community, and several songs from their 2011 debut, Monocle City, were licensed for use on the Microsoft Surface tablet.
Closer to home, the band has achieved substantial local success. They have been featured in several music festivals (including the Three Rivers Arts Festival, Strip District Music Fest, and Picklesburgh), as well as enjoying regular airplay on local and regional radio. Perhaps their favorite honor to date is the “2015 Album of the Year” award from music blog Sound Scene Express.
Chris Olszewski – lead vocals
Phil Conley – guitar, synth
Brad Schneider – bass guitar
Jordan Wood – keys, synth
Bethany Conley – backing vocals
Year founded: 2011
City: Based in Pittsburgh
BAND CONTACTS AND LINKS:
"Balloon Ride Fantasy integrates creamy new wave flavors with the pulsating vitality of electronic dance. The result is a yummy concoction of stylish music."
"Bringing the mind bending harmonies of rich psychedelia back to the mainstream won’t be easy, but as long as they keep releasing music like that on BRF, I think this five piece is well on their way to reaching their goal on schedule."
- No Depression
"BRF packs the biggest punch of any extended play I’ve reviewed this year, and it would be criminal for any music enthusiast not to catch a glimpse of what this band is doing for pop right now, period."
- Music Existence
"BRF could easily be a hit with fans of rock, pop or electronica, and it’s all in thanks to their versatile songwriting style."
- Vents Magazine
"By the time we get through our first listen of this EP, it’s abundantly clear that if there’s a new big name in the indie pop game, it’s Balloon Ride Fantasy."
- Stereo Stickman
"Their self-titled DIY EP is one of the top synth pop debuts of the year."
- Indie Rock Cafe
“[Balloon Ride Fantasy] is a fully equipped New Wave/synth-rock band with pulsing/pounding electronics, intricate guitars, dance beats, catchy hooks and just the right amount of weirdness. It gets an extra lift from the dreamy interplay of singers.”
- Scott Mervis, Pittsburgh Post Gazette
"Balloon Ride Fantasy goes 'more synth-heavy' on new EP"
-Pittsburgh Tribune Review
“Welcoming Party”: Congrats to this band. They just made me grin like an idiot while sitting on the patio of this coffee place.
- Tuned up
“Their presentation level is remarkable. A whirring atmosphere of laser and neon, all synced to their bouncy 80s synths.”
– Vincent Poprocky, Delicious Pastries
“The six-piece "fantasy rock" band sounds like something out of a sci-fi thriller — think Daft Punk meets Swimming With Dolphins, with spacey vocal harmonies...From the opening notes of "Species," the first single of Balloon Ride Fantasy's new self-titled full-length, the band makes something very clear — the song could only be theirs.”
– Pittsburgh City Paper
“Powered by dual synthesizers and dreamy vocal harmonies, Balloon Ride Fantasy brings a little something special to the Pittsburgh music scene. Synth with substance….it’s cohesive, listenable music.”
- Beaver County Times
“They played to a sold-out room. (They) definitely are one of the most promising bands coming up in Pittsburgh.”
– Josh Bakaitus, Opus One Productions
“This was one of the greatest surprises I have ever had submitted here! I could NOT stop playing this! One track after another. Amazing! I had a hard time even narrowing it down to which are my favorites. I am unsure ANY band featured here has ever gotten three nods in a single month before. I literally have zero doubt that [Balloon Ride Fantasy] is on the verge of blowing up.”
- theindieplaylists.com, (Chicago); 3 songs on the May playlist, and 3 on the June playlist.
“There are many reasons why this band sticks out among the rest in the scene.”
- Sydney Schaefer, The Globe Newspaper
“Incredibly intricate, fun, poppy, progressive…they create music that is both precise and entertaining, full of life while simultaneously technically detailed.”
– Zach Simons, Writing on the Floor.
“Think reams of melodic lines with first single “Species,” which recalls Mates of State, while influences such as the Postal Service and Of Montreal can be noted throughout.”
– Kurt Garrison, Pittsburgh Magazine
“For Balloon Ride Fantasy, every piece is ever present in their sound and you appreciate how they've crafted their sound to utilize every instrument very well."
- Long Hong / Pittsburgh Music Report
"The album is an easy listen, one that could be put on repeat and heard over and over again. Each track is unique and offers a look inside the bands fantasy world."
- Sound Scene Express
“The CD features some tight harmonies and well-placed sound experimentation….no reason this band shouldn’t take off.”
- Pittsburgh City Paper
“There are finally hopeful glimmers of musical hipness emerging from the industrial exterior of the Steel City. Balloon Ride Fantasy provides an intelligent twist on today’s indie rock band. The six-piece ensemble has taken new wave to the next level.”
- Carnegie Mellon University’s The Cut Music Magazine
“Balloon Ride Fantasy produces alternative synth pop tunes that can and do deduce a sudden urge to move your body.”
- Pittsburgh Tune Addict music blog (now defunct)
“The band's technology obsession will make their shows even more entertaining.”
- The Murrysville Star
Surviving the Golden Age:
Andy Mulkerin MP3 Monday
Pittsburgh Magazine – P&B Wedding
Lafayette College Student Newspaper
Duquesne Duke Student Newspaper (cannot find article or BRF mention in their archives but it happened)
TV, FILM & MEDIA:
BLOGS AND PLAYLISTS:
Zara Spotify Playlist:
Pittsburgh City Paper Spotify Playlist:
Chris Fafalios of Punchline’s Spotify Playlists:
Weekly Playlist – “Unicenticorn” first song of May 3, 2018 playlist.
We are the Champyinz:
3 songs on the June 2015 playlist ("Automaton," "0100101" and "PG Sex Scene).
3 songs, (“Unicenticorn,” “The Silver Key,” and “Species”), on the May 2015 Playlist.
From Joshua the curator: “I could NOT stop playing this! One track after another. Amazing! I had a hard time even narrowing it down to which are my favorites. I am unsure ANY band featured here has ever gotten three nods in a single month before so congrats at that little gem."
“Species” on the May playlist for indietronica.com, (UK).
“Unicenticorn” on theindierockplaylist.com
“Species” on Wonky Sensitive (Austin, TX).
“0100101” on the “April Weekend Mini Mix” by Et Musique Pour Tous, (New York).
“Balloon Ride Fantasy” on Son of Marketing, (Italy).
AWARDS & CONTESTS:
“A Little Bit for Charity” by Eivind in Norway
We remade a song from the animated TV series "My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic." The song is called "Behold, Princess Twilight Sparkle." It can be streamed and downloaded for free on Bandcamp, but if you choose to pay all the proceeds go to the Animal Welfare Institute.
NOTABLE LIVE SHOWS:
OTHER PAST SHOWS:
Release date: July 2018
Balloon Ride Fantasy
Release Date: March 2015
Release Date: January 2011