Tuesday, May 3, 2016

The Backhomes: Bringing Mystique Back To Indie Rock

Photo by Sara Hembree

The Backhomes describe themselves as “Scruffy, Spacey, Psych Pop.”  They are indeed that, and a whole lot more!   To me ears, this Canadian duo's music is a captivating blend of dark electro atmospherics mixed with melodic British style shoegaze that’s not afraid to mix thick guitars and powerful soaring melodies along with commanding keyboard wails.  Their second LP TIDALWAVE that was released last year reminds me a lot of one of my favorite records: the Jesus and Mary Chain’s brilliant 1992 LP Honey’s Dead.  That’s not to say they sound like an old 90’s cover band though.  The Backhomes have plenty of original tricks up their sleeves and know the precise time to lay them on the table.  This band is in the middle of an unstoppable upwards trajectory and with stunning records like theirs I can't see their descent any time soon.  

Interview by J Jordan Castro

Who is currently in the band and what does everyone do in it?
Kees Dekker: guitar, vocal, sampler, synths. 

Aimee van Drimmelen: guitar, vocal, organ

How did you all meet and decide to play music together? 
KEES: We met in Montreal and had been a couple for a few years before we started playing together. I started playing with Aimée's band Key of K, and then we started trying some stuff just the two of us. It felt really exciting so we kept going from there.

Photo by Sara Hembree

What band or musician first inspired you to want to pick up an instrument and learn to play and/or write music? 
AIMEE: I grew up in the 90s, in a time of so much good raw music. I always wanted to play in bands but was way too shy to actually do it. One day my friend Maica (Maica Mia, Caro Diaro) was telling me how she was playing with some rad guys who had a studio. I basically jumped on that train, got my first electric guitar (a Teisco) and started making weird music with wonderful people. 

KEES: For me it was a combination of my brother and his friends, and Eric’s Trip, who were my favourite band in my hometown (Moncton). They showed me that you could be expressive and artistic without necessarily been a master musician... 

How would you describe you band to your grandparents? 
KEES: Hmm, they are all gone now, but I think I would have described it as something they probably wouldn’t love hearing, but that it was very important to me.

AIMEE: They probably wouldn't have asked me about it.

TIDALWAVE LP released May 5th 2015 on Shake! Records & Legwarmer Records

What sorts of things do you typically enjoy writing songs about? 
KEES: I enjoy writing about things that seem to match the mood of the piece of music and my sense of joy or frustration with something, sometimes its personal, sometimes it’s through a character’s point of view.

AIMEE: I usually write about emotions, day to day situations, desires, the state of the world. Usually shit I have to get off my chest. It's fun placing random rants into the structure of a song, and finding the right fit. 

I’ve heard people say that playing and writing music is therapeutic to them. Have you ever found this to be true? 

KEES:  I would say it's essential to my wellbeing. Nothing feels like things aligning and coming together in sound, thoughts and energy.

AIMEE: When I started playing music it felt like I found a puzzle piece that had been missing for a long time. It also made me realize that my life would never be "normal".

Photo by Sara Hembree

Does it annoy you or distract you at all to see some of your audience members fondling their phones while you’re up on stage performing? 
AIMEE: I think there's a culture brewing in the indie music that's sort of anti cell phone, or at least anti cell phone zombie culture, which is pretty rad. Don't be a slave to the thing in your pocket, enjoy real moments don't just brag about what you saw to the ether. 

After one of your shows, what sort of feeling or sentiment do you hope your audience walks away with? 
KEES: I hope that they feel inspired by the sounds and the animations and visuals. Hopefully they go home and make some music or art, I love when a band makes me want to make stuff.

What is your favorite album to listen to from start to finish? 
KEES: Hard to pick one, but probably JJ Cale 5.

AIMEE: I just found Kraftwerk Computer World on cassette and it's been getting a lot of play in my studio. It's a pretty perfect album and feels so of the moment. 

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you that you still follow to this day? 
AIMEE: Don't hold back.

KEES: Make the art and the rest will follow... Remember what’s important and why you started doing it to begin with.

What is the best way people can hear and get a hold of your music? 
KEES: Bandcamp is the most direct. We sell our LPs, tapes, and downloads there. You can also find our cassettes via Shake Records and Weird Canada & at some shops... 

What lies ahead for the band in 2016? 
AIMEE: We are going to Europe Friday (which is why this interview is so late) to play some shows with Black Mountain. When we get back we're gonna finish a new batch of songs and hopefully put out a new LP in the fall. whoot!!! 

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