The Postelles’ Daniel Balk On Their Influences: Woody Allen and Beer

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Meet The Postelles, an Upper East Side band with tightly crafted lyrics and a Monkees-meets-Strokes sound. That might have something to do with Albert Hammond Jr., the Strokes guitarist and producer of roughly half the tracks on their self-titled debut album, out this October. Like a cocky basketball star who skips college for the draft, the band met at Columbia Prep and decided to pursue a career in music rather than matriculate, and it looks like the gamble is paying off: The Postelles will spend the rest of the summer touring with Interpol. We caught up with lead singer Daniel Balk to talk about Woody Allen, beer, and facial hair.

Your album’s finally coming out. Hasn’t it been in the works for two years? Has it been two years? Wow. That’s crazy. Yeah, we recorded it over a long span of time. We did half with Albert and half on our own, and we’d record for like two weeks and then take time off, so it’s been a long time. Also, with labels, it takes a long time to get anything out.

Why did you decide to go self-titled? I mean, we figure our name is pretty unique. Nobody has a name like that. It resembles the sound, too. It’s a very sixties name. There’s a little genderplay. People sometimes think that girls sing in our band. When we started out they always thought that it was four girls, but we’re usually guys—sometimes we become girls at night, though, so it depends. Sometimes people call us like the Postellis, [which is] a little more manly, but it’s The Postelles. I’m pretty secure in my masculinity. That’s why it has to be The Postelles — it’s a more feminine name.

Also, this is New York, so if you can get away with playing with gender… You can do it here, right? If we did it in the South, we might get shot. But in New York you can get away with just about anything.

Speaking of New York, I know you guys have talked about being influenced by Woody Allen. What about him appeals to you guys as musicians? Well, Woody Allen’s a very big—I would say not a musical influence. He’s a great musician, actually, but I just think the way he writes about love and loss and life is just very interesting. He sort of injects humor into the most serious heartbreaking times in life, and I think that’s very interesting. I’m very influenced by that sort of thing. [My favorite Woody Allen movie] changes every week; it’s like saying “What’s your favorite Beatles song?” But I would say that Hannah and Her Sisters is my favorite. For comedy, I would say Take the Money and Run. Annie Hall is perfect, but that’s such an obvious choice. It’s obvious for a reason, though. Manhattan is perfect too. He also personifies New York better than anyone ever, so that’s also what’s made him worth referencing.

What are some of the band’s other non-musical influences? Is there anything that might not be so obvious to the casual listener? You mean like Woody Allen? Um… New York. Wait, what the hell have I just said? That’s pretty obvious. My favorite color’s blue, so that’s a huge influence. We have a song called “Blue Room,” so there’s that. I really like facial hair.

And that deeply, profoundly influences the way you guys make music? Deeply! Well, it does! And I would say a lot of beer. We drink a lot of beer when we’re on tours now that we’re old enough—now that we’re finally there.