Balance And Composure open up about 2013’s severe van crash for the first time
Nearly three years later and the band have finally opened up about the severity of the crash and how it changed their lives in a new interview with EW.
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On October 6, 2013, Balance And Composure were leaving their show alongside Title Fight at Cleveland's Beachland Ballroom. Drummer Bailey Van Ellis was driving.
“The one time in my life I was pretty certain I was going to die," he says to EW about the events that followed.
While driving on the highway, the band encountered an unlit construction zone. “They hadn’t painted the road yet so there wasn’t a white marker to show where the lane ended and the shoulder began. The road shifted and I didn’t know because there wasn’t a white line to indicate that," Ellis recalls.
“Half the van went onto the shoulder and there wasn’t a rubber strip or anything. I tried getting the left side of the van back onto the asphalt and as soon as the left rear tire hit the asphalt, the entire trailer fishtailed out and we cut across into the right lane," he continues. "For some reason there was a 10-foot patch on the highway with no guardrail. It was literally just a 10-foot opening. We went right through it. We flew off the side of the road and it just dropped straight down into a ravine. We fell 75 feet and ended up 120 or 125 feet from the side of the road.”
[Photo courtesy of band, via EW]
Amazingly, Balance And Compsure, with the exception of a couple minor broken bones, were okay. “Nobody was wearing a seatbelt except for me. It was nothing short of a miracle that all of us made it out alive," Van Ellis says.
“The one thing I remember,” he recounts, “as soon as we went off I was like, ‘When the f— am I going to feel the ground.’ Because it literally felt like a year. We were just falling.”
“When you’re a touring musician, that’s like your home,” Van Ellis says about their totaled van. “It just made so much sense during the whole thing that we weren’t going to live throughout it. The severity of falling through this guardrail, I think it just shook us to the point where no one wanted to think about touring or being on the road in any capacity.”
However, less than one week later, once the band rented a new van and resumed their tour, another crash occurred. Their van hit into deer about 15 minutes away from the first crash.
“It was super freaky,” Van Ellis, who was driving, says to EW. “I think at that point everyone wanted to go home. I pulled over and was like I’m not driving for a while.”
“[The accident] brought us together as individuals a lot more. I think that might have produced some more chemistry between us. It really did have a big effect on the way we write. Part of me doesn’t want to feel that way because it’s just a way to cope with everything that’s happened.”
On why Balance And Composure chose to stay mostly quiet about the severe crash, Van Ellis says, “It’s easy to put something out there that brings attention to your band."
“I think it would have been easy for us to do that … but that stuff gets in the way of art a lot of times. It’s something that happened that was more of a personal thing, the lives of normal individuals. It wasn’t at a show. It didn’t have anything to do with our  album.”
Balance And Composure are set to release their new album, a follow-up to 2013's The Things We Think We're Missing, on Oct. 7, 2016. Pre-order Light We Made here.
In the meantime, listen to Balance And Composure's newest single from the record, "Spinning," below.
Watch more: Balance And Composure - "Reflection" (Live at Converse Rubber Tracks)