Happy Mondays, is a musical series that is all about discovering fresh, creative and daring new music abounding in Asbury Park.
Type Advantage, who formed in 2021, perfectly fits this description. The band’s sound is so fresh, immediate and vibrant — it’s like running into the cold ocean on a spring day. It wakes you up, it invigorates you, and is this bold spiritual reinvigoration.
Taking cues from bands like The Bangles and Beach Bunny, the foursome aspires to lift queer voices within the Asbury Park scene. As someone who’s observed the scene for over a decade and was worried that the pandemic, gentrification and cultural shifts within the city might ruin the scene, listening to Type Advantage and knowing what their mantra is really assuages the anxiety all these negatives brought on. This is a band Asbury Park can look at and say “this is our band” and we all should be listening to both their message and their music.
Recently, we caught up with Type Advantage vocalist, guitarist and synth player Sean Navat Balanon about the band’s mission raise queer voices in the scene, future plans for albums, Pokemon and more as they get set to play Happy Mondays at Wonder Bar tonight.
Type Advantage Is (Band Members & Instruments They Play):
Sean Navat Balanon – vocals, guitar, synth
Jess Lee – vocals, bass guitar
Greg Erickson – guitar
Matt Daniels – drums
Year We Formed: 2021
We’re Based Out of: Asbury Park, NJ
The Story Behind Our Band Name: “Type advantage” is a term used in the Pokémon video games to describe the strengths and weaknesses that certain types of Pokémon have over other types. Jess suggested the name, as they’re a big fan of the Pokémon anime and video game. We all grew up with Pokémon and anime, so it fits.
Our Sound Has Been Likened To: Beach Bunny, The Bangles
You’ve Seen Us in Other Bands Such As: FlexiGlass, Levy Okun, Welcome Matts
Famous/Awesome Bands We’ve Shared the Stage With: Trust Fund Ozu, Emospacebird, Skylar Pocket, Blaise, Heather Hills
On your Spotify bio it states that your mission as a band is to uplift queer voices in your local music scene. Can you talk about how the band is working to accomplish this goal?
Since starting our band in 2021, we have had to create our own opportunities by organizing shows and benefits. Every show we’ve put on has featured queer artists and musicians from both our local scene and outside of it. We feel that it’s important to give queer voices a platform however possible, and to showcase the diversity of acts that exist in the scene. We aim to raise awareness and educate about the LGBTQ community with our shows, as well as running benefits for marginalized people within the LGBTQ community.
And what can bands, artists, journalists and people in the scene do better to uplift queer voices within the Asbury Park scene and the New Jersey scene in general?
As a whole, the scene can more actively promote the art and music of queer voices. Promoters, publications, and venues need to come together to support emerging and established queer artists. Introduce those artists to new audiences, and set an example for expanding inclusivity in the music industry. Visibility matters, and it’s important for queer people to see themselves represented, especially in their own music scene. It’s also important for society to be exposed to different identities. Show people what’s possible, there’s a world out there!
You dropped your EP, What You Feel, this year. Are there any plans to do a full-length record?
Definitely! We’re in the process of writing more songs. Recording takes a lot of time and care, and we’re excited to put more of our music out in the future.
If someone is hearing about Type Advantage for the first time and is interested in checking out your sound — what song of yours would you recommend they listen to in order to truly understand what Type Advantage is all about?
“find me” will give you a good deal of insight. It’s the first song we worked on together. I (Sean) brought it to the band shortly after we formed, as things were picking back up again after the COVID-19 lockdown. It harkens back to that summer where we got together with our friends again and made new ones too. Jess introduced me to her friends who were involved in the Asbury Park music scene, and I never felt more inspired to create. There’s a true warmth in this community that moved me. It continues to move me to do what I feel, to chase after my dreams. “find me” is all about self-love, and knowledge of self— what you’re going through, and finding what you need.
What is it that you love about being in Type Advantage?
I love that we’re a band of wild queer friends doing what we want. We have a unique dynamic, and you can see that both on and off stage. There’s never a dull moment.
What are you looking forward to most, musically, in 2023? We’re looking forward to playing more shows, writing new music, and meeting artists (especially the queer ones) who we’ve never heard of before!