Music

Backwords: Up Closet and Personal

It doesn’t happen every day that you have access to bands in their own environment away from the stage. Backwords invited us to their Brooklyn home. To make it even more intimate, they decided to play their music all jammed up into the closet… very unplugged. We watched the footage and decided to match the concept by going ‘uncut’ using just one long take per song. So there you have it: Unplugged, uncut, and up closet and personal

Interview by Matt Heidkamp -matt@citizenbrooklyn.com Photos by Icarus Blake and Teo J. Babini Video by Icarus Blake

Waiting for the Weekend from kodezero on Vimeo.

The psychedelic folk anthems of 1960’s were not wasted on the Boomer generation of years past. I was happy to discover that the sought after vibe of America’s most radical, revolutionary era is alive and well, and living in house in Prospect Park. This vibe belongs to Backwords, a five-piece cavalcade of folkadelic surf-rockers meeting halfway between Neil Young and Motown soul, who eschew progress, both in music and ideology.

Photo © Teo J. Babini

The gents of Backwords (Meredith*, the lone female of the group, was missing) invited us to their humble abode on this cool February night to give us a sneak peak of what to expect come April, when the band will play the third annual Brain-Cave Festival in Brooklyn. Walking into a house (“house” as in actual house) is a rare pleasure in New York City. The band’s small gang of cats had plenty of room to run, play, and ponder at Blu, our office dog and East Village celebrity we often bring for shoots, as the house filled up with the garlic-y smell of homemade cooking. We were offered a few long necks and checked out the smoldering fire pit they attempted to start in their backyard.

Photo © Teo J. Babini

“There needs to be more psychedelic bands,” said Brian, whose caterpillar mustache and Lennon-esque glasses echoed his statement. This was not a griping sentiment, but a hope that more bands will break the mold of uninspired commercial songs without any ties to political, economical, or societal causes.

“No bands are making good protest albums anymore,” said Brian Russ, quoting Neil Young. “Why can’t there be bands that are doing what they did in the sixties now? That was the inspiration (for Backwords).”

Photo © Teo J. Babini

It’s that ethos that motivates the group to produce music that harnesses strong messages and incites change; that brought them down to Occupy Wall Street to write collaborative songs with protestors and keeps them trenching along on the front lines of the socio-psychedelic battle for righteous music. They touch on the punk, anti-establishment themes in a “gentle way, with good vibes.”

Photo © Teo J. Babini

So here, in the warmth of their Brooklyn digs, the boys of Backwords perform the lazy surf tune “Waiting for the Weekend” and the folksy crooner “Gloria”. Enjoy these beautifully stripped down versions of these tracks now, unplugged, without the frills of blazing synthesizers and amplified sound. Come Brain-Cave, Backwords will be in full force: “Double kick drums, no smiles, full stacks and fog machines,” as drummer John Sheldon puts it.

We feel a revolution coming.

Backwords will play at the next Brain Cave Festival in Brooklyn, April 11-14

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

Photo ©Icarus Blake

3 Responses to “Backwords: Up Closet and Personal”

  1. Gaya Holmes says:

    A… closet band. Interesting.

  2. […] Backwords: Up Closet and Personal […]

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