Melbourne’s Backyard have been enjoying the recent release of their self-titled debut EP, taking it on the road with Fountaineer this month. The EP has already spawned popular tracks in “Royal Park” and “Reality Television”, while the overall sound of the Backyard EP has indicated that this is a band very much at the beginning of their rise to that upper echelon of Melbourne bands carving out a spot within the fabric of the local scene (and beyond), centred on the significance of solid storytelling via songwriting.
Picture the likes of Paul Kelly, Something For Kate and even artists including Real Estate, for some international flavour, the importance of their music largely rests on the way their lyrics and stories are delivered. Much like recent tour mates Fountaineer, Backyard are refining this element of their musicality and the crowds and fanbase that is continuing to grow for the band, has responded positively.
Ahead of Backyard’s EP launch in Melbourne this month, the band takes us through their debut effort, describing the stories behind each of the six tracks.
“Certain Years” is an old one, we recorded it quite early on and it came together rather quickly with the band. The chord progression was influenced by the Bob Dylan cut “Most Of the Time”, from his Oh Mercy album. It’s one of the few songs we have where the words were written in one sitting, I only realised what it was I trying to say after I stepped away from it. A pattern of behaviour I developed throughout my twenties forms the foundation lyrically. The guitar solo section at the end was spontaneous and recorded that way in one take – one of those lucky things that fell into place in the studio. Feels like a road song, whatever that is.
The lyrics are very loosely based around two stories – a couple in a local motel and a person struggling to communicate in a foreign hospital; we connected the two stories by exploring the location in which they took place. I love the space in the verses the guys left, Leon uses it to full effect with some nice guitar parts. By the time we got to recording it, the chorus had gone through a few different variations. It never really felt right until we finally landed on the break and felt the change. It kind of gave the song even more room to breathe.
“Reality Television” is an ode to wasted time and mirrors falling asleep on the couch after you’ve just spent an entire Sunday afternoon in front of the TV. I feel guilty whenever I say “I’m bored” but unfortunately the feeling is inescapable at times. The bare bones of this one came together one afternoon at my parents place. I love the drums in the third verse when Tommy is on that ride, that moment feels great to play live. This one and “Royal Park” are the last two tracks we recorded in St. Andrews on a property called Dorigo Rise with Chris Wright and Kieran Daly. We had such a great weekend and you can tell we were real relaxed by this point.
I got a bit stuck with the lyrics to the pre-chorus, it was Leon who came up with “…wasted days are like reality television”.
Best View of Dean St.
On my way to work every morning I would pass a sign that stated ‘Dry stone wall – Driving Trail’, I’d sing the line to myself most mornings: “There’s a dry stone wall, along the driving trail”.
Along with Tommy and Joe in the band, my ex-girlfriend grew up in Albury/Wodonga and I’d spent some time at her parent’s house there. One morning over a coffee out on the balcony, I was looking over at the monument in Albury. I had my guitar with me at the time and it just felt like the right moment to write a song. I think we started to find ourselves as a band after this. We had our friend Nicholas on lap steel for this one, I could easily have that lap steel on every song we do.
Another one we wrote early on into the life of the band. Leon and I were together at his place one night and I think we were somewhat distant just playing the songs that we had at that point with acoustics. We came up with the intro simultaneously – those interlocking guitar parts that sound a lot better on electrics. We then brought it to the band and Joe just had this beautiful bass part that sat so well. I know this is definitely a favourite to play for all of us. The outro has a certain charm, a lot of reverb on this one.
We weren’t going to put this on the EP originally but we were convinced to by a bunch of close friends. I’m glad it made it on, I like how it closes the EP. It’s a mixture of some different phone recordings. It definitely feels right for now but one day we might revisit the arrangement of this one in a studio setting.
Backyard launches their debut EP at The Pinnacle Hotel in Melbourne on November 25th. They’ll be performing at the Oxford Art Factory in Sydney on November 18th with Fountaineer.
Find out more about Backyard here.