Interviews

An interview with Philly’s groovy powerviolence act BACKSLIDER!

BACKSLIDER!
Philly’s dirty, groovy powerviolence act BACKSLIDER will soon travel to Europe alongside their Canadian friends from grindcore band WAKE to melt your ears with their swampy, brutal, but interestingly restrained and creative mixture of various grim and grisly sounds revolving around extreme hardcore, dirty rock and the relentless force of grindcore. The variety of stuff present on BACKSLIDER’s debut full length “Motherf​*​*​ker” lead to believe this is something worth revisiting frequently and we’ll finally have a chance to verify its quality and their unique, creative and immensely enjoyable take on powerviolence in a live setting. We have teamed up with the band to learn a bunch of details on their project, their local music scene, the upcoming tour with WAKE, and a lot more. Scroll down to start reading!

“Motherf​*​*​ker” by BACKSLIDER is out now on Six Weeks Records.

After congealing from the filth and negativity of the streets of Philadelphia in 2008, Backslider has managed to writhe, mutate, and evolve into a different kind of beast with each release. Over numerous demos, split 7″s, EPs, and hundreds of shows, the band has gorged themselves on everything from obscure 70s hard rock to drug-crazed extreme hardcore to (Amphetimine) Reptilian recklessness. The resulting vomit of all of those influences form their first proper full-length “Motherf**ker”, a Pain Rock masterpiece for fans of lust, nausea, and conscious barbarity.

16/08/17 GER Essen Don’t Panic
17/08/17 GER Hamburg Astra Stube
18/08/17 GER Magdeburg Heizhaus
19/08/17 GER Gießen AK44
20/08/17 NL Hengelo Innocent
21/08/17 BEL Antwerpen Music City
22/08/17 GER/CH contact joe@statelesssociety.com
23/08/17 AT Vienna Arena Beisl
24/08/17 SVK Bratislava Fuga
25/08/17 HU Budapest Robot
26/08/17 CZ Prague Fekal Party / Modra Vopice
27/08/17 GER Weimar Gerber 3
28/08/17 PL/GER contact joe@statelesssociety.com
29/08/17 GER Potsdam La Datscha

Hey Jake! How are you? How’s Philly?

We’re doing good, just got home from a West Coast tour a few days ago and we’re getting ready to record a new 7″ at the end of the month. Things are well in the BACKSLIDER world for sure! Philly is rad, we love it….never a dull moment and a rich history in the world of punk and other rad music.

Tell us more about this specific landscape, its bisections, and how it’s diversified, both geographically and stylistically.

I can only really speak about Philadelphia specifically, but the punk and hardcore scene here is much different than in Florida where I grew up. There’s more people in this one city alone who are a part of it than the entire state of Florida so things are sort of sectioned off naturally. Where I come from, the same folks that might go to a grind show will most likely be at the mixed-bill indie/pop-punk/noise show the next night, even if they aren’t particularly into it. When your options are somewhat limited like that, you end up branching out a bit more even if just for the sake of not staying at home with nothing to do.

Here in Philly, we get spoiled. Any band you ever want to see will either play here or New York or Baltimore so you end up getting really picky about things that you attend which creates the little sub-cliques within the scene. This used to bother me but not really anymore, I understand it as a symptom of living in a big place with lots of choices.

That being said, Philly is punk as fuck right now. The most well attended shows I see here are for bands like THE IMPALERS or HANK WOOD AND THE HAMMERHEADS. There’s some serious local fire going on too, tons of really active and killer punk bands. BACKSLIDER falls into a funny place with this. We aren’t able to play locally that often anymore, and when we do the turnouts are definitely good…but the more time goes on the more we seem to do better OUTSIDE of our home city. Fastcore and really heavy stuff isn’t as popular around here at the moment. Things work in cycles, it is what it is and we love our city!

Compared to last decade, how thriving is PA hardcore?

I honestly couldn’t tell you much as Logan and I are both transplants. I came here from Florida as I mentioned before and Logan came from Ohio. PA has always had a prominent Hardcore presence from what I understand though. Like pockets of stuff in the smaller city’s. I’ve heard stories about killer shows in Reading and Allentown back in the day where people went ape-shit for all that tough hardcore stuff that was bigger back then. Philly has some great hardcore punk bands now, as does Pittsburgh even though they’re super far away, it’s still PA. All I know from the previous decade is when my old bands would tour through PA, we would always stop in Scranton to play with our good friends (and still one of my favorites of all time) DEAD RADICAL (who later morphed into NIMBUS TERRIFIX). I feel like a poseur because I know plenty of people who could answer this question way better than myself. But this is what I got haha

Ok, so how does BACKSLIDER fit into the landscape?

BACKSLIDER falls into a funny place with this. We aren’t able to play locally that often anymore because our drummer doesn’t live here, and when we do the turnouts are definitely good…but the more time goes on the more we seem to do better OUTSIDE of our home city. Fastcore and really heavy stuff isn’t as popular around here at the moment. Things work in cycles, it is what it is and we love our city and there’s a lot of great music for us to enjoy.

How would you compare it to the other side of the country? How was your recent West Coast trek?

It’s hard to get a real feel for the ins and outs of a music scene/community without spending significant time there. But as far as I can see it, the West Coast is often a breeding ground for bad-assery, people are fucking stoked. Our last few times through LA and Oakland specifically (and a super fun Tijuana show last year) proved that for the kind of hardcore we play, the west coast does a great job of creating the most fun, during the gig and after!

This most recent tour was a lot of fun. We took some chances and not all of them panned out as well as usual but it comes with the territory, we had some killer shows and had a great time. A chunk of the shows were a part of the 1Fest series that the homies in Escuela (Jesse and Katerina) have been busting their butts to put together. So we had the great pleasure of having a bunch of friends in one place for a few days in a row, not to mention playing with some exceptional bands. Infest and Eyehategod were ofcourse an honor to share the stage with, and some of our friends really brought the heat. Mellow Harsher, Sick/Tired, Deadbeat, Cave State, Fissure, Scapegoat are just some of the bands that brought their A-Game to these dates. Then the non 1Fest shows we did to fill out the tour had some killer moments as well. Our first night in Phoenix we got to play with Sex Prisoner and this band Heinous who were savagely crushing!! And then in Olympia, we got added to a show with Bugg who we’re big fans of….it was a little unfortunate for us because we hopped on and played as doors opened so nobody was really there until after we played, but it wasn’t our show so that’s how it goes sometimes….we were really just stoked to be able to see Bugg. Also important to note, Drunk Dad from Portland is one of the most criminally underrated bands out right now. We played a 2 band show just us and them so we could see them after being blown away last time we were out there. Also one of the biggest highlights of the west coast (this time and the time before) was staying at the Six Weeks Records HQ with Athena (Voetsek) and Jeff (Capitalist Casualties). They’re the greatest hosts, they’re like our punk parents (to us and many others). It’s so much fun to chill and talk with them about all the rad shit that came before us and nerd out on the ridiculous record collection they have. We love those folks so much and we’re proud to have records out with them.

How does it feel when you wrap up such a journey and return to everyday stuff? How do you go through such moments emotionally? Are you a missing type of person?

It’s gotten easier as time goes along. But me personally…I’m never really ready to go home. Don’t get me wrong, I have a life at home that I really love and I wouldn’t trade it for all the tours in the world. But after you get the momentum going of playing a different city every night, you just want to keep going and going, that’s the shit that fulfills me the most in life; it never gets old to me. It’s always weird going back to work and getting back on a normal sleeping/eating schedule. These days the transitions aren’t as intense though, a handful of years ago my other bands would go out on super long tours, like up to 9-10 weeks. In retrospect that seems absolutely insane but they were some of the funnest times. There’s nothing like being a month into tour and realizing you still have another month to go. You get home and want to hide for awhile while you re-adjust. You get a little depressed, you second-guess everything haha. Our old drummer, Pat used to always talk about the “life contemplating shower” that you take when you get home….just kinda stand there leaning against the wall while the water hits you and you question everything haha. But like I said, the combination of being used to it by now and keeping our tours to a reasonable length, it makes for smoother transitions back into everyday reality.

The most serious emotions I’ve had based around tour related things was, I think it was 2015, I didn’t go on a proper tour all year, both of my serious bands at the time were waiting for records to come out so we were stalling and it took me a bit to realize why I was getting depressed. Things in my life were good on paper, but there was a void created by how spoiled I’d been with fun tours the years previous and that seemingly coming to a halt. I remember making a conscious decision to do whatever I could to make sure 2016 and beyond was different , and so far it’s been the truth with no stopping in sight.

I guess I wouldn’t particularly consider myself a missing type of person…my girlfriend Alissa and going on tour are the only things I really actively miss in life most of the time. I miss tour when I’m home and I miss her when I’m on tour. But it’s cool, that’s how you know those things are still important to you. I’m super lucky to have both in my life so I try not to let my feelings of missing one or the other cloud me too much because I know that the time will always come again.

Were there any cool bands you recently met on the road?

Logan: I’m sure we’re leaving some stuff out because remembering shit is hard, but here’s some of our favorite bands we’ve met on the road in the last year or so. Leaving out a lot of friends who we had obviously known previously.

RASH (IL), SAVAGE BLIND GOD (MA), DEATHGRAVE (CA), DEADBEAT (CA), FISSURE (CA), DRUNK DAD (OR), JARHEAD FERTILIZER (MD), WATCHER (TN), HEINOUS (AZ), HEX (UK), FAMINE (UK), ONA SNOP (UK) ART OF BURNING WATER (UK), CHINSNIFFER (UK).


Alright, so back to BACKSLIDER, you’ll be celebrating your 10th anniversary as a band next year. How does it feel to keep it up for so many years?

Logan: It’s strange- I’ve been in BACKSLIDER for as long as I’ve lived in Philadelphia. I’ve been in the band longer than any relationship, longer than I’ve lived at any apartment, longer than I’ve worked at a job…almost a third of my life.

It’s a constant in my life. I’ve seen bands we know break up, friends come and go, some of them passing through to whatever awaits us after death. On the other hand, almost every long-lasting, meaningful friendship or relationship that I’ve had is a result of this band and the music that’s created. I think the reason that I’ve never lost interest or motivation is because I’ve allowed the band to grow and mature in a way that parallels my own growth and maturity. I’m still influenced by the same things that influenced me in the beginning, but instead of seeing them as guidelines I see them as a foundation to be built upon. Having that openness keeps it fun, interesting, and inspiring.

How do you feel you guys have evolved?

Logan: Musically, I think that the rigidity and the emphasis on breaking up the groove has fallen by the way side. As we continue to write it’s a lot more about vibe and a sense of relentless ness that doesn’t rely on speed to get the point across. I’d like to think that I’ve refined the way I approach lyrics, or the way that I approach subjects I want to write about. In the last several years we’ve placed a lot more importance on the art direction. I want the art/imagery to be an extension of the music, you hear the songs and you see the art and it’s something you’re absorbing as one.

Jake: As someone who was a fan of the band since close to it’s start before joining like 3 n a half years ago, I think the evolution has been very refreshing. In the earlier days, you’d go see BACKSLIDER because it was a relentless onslaught of start and stop micro-songs and I think that was a lot more exciting for me back then. Lucky for me, that by the time I joined the band Logan’s songwriting was already well headed in a direction that really meshes with how I look at making music. Focusing on bigger pictures to serve songs and albums as an entire experience instead of the ADD driven short and quick stuff that felt way more exciting in the past.

Are you already plotting a follow-up to “Motherf**ker”?

Logan: Yes. We have some songs recorded for a 7″ called Death Residue that will be coming out on Nerve Altar. Those songs are a continuation of some of the ideas hinted at on Motherfucker, although a bit more focused and refined. About 2/3 of the next LP is written, and so far it’ll be further exploring elements of Motherfucker and Death Residue but with some curveballs thrown in. It’ll be darker and overall more intense, but not necessarily in an ‘extreme’ way. Fans of the slower material will be disappointed, but I think it’s some of the best material that BACKSLIDER has ever produced.

Jake: Yea, I think the evolution of the music feels natural but may also surprise some people. The material for the upcoming Death Residue 7″ and the LP we’re working on feels more concise but also more exploratory. It also feels like a unified sonic statement and I think that has a lot to do with the process and feeling like everyone in the band is more on the same page than ever before, at least during my time in it.

Alright, so you’re heading back to Europe in August. Tell us a bit about this tour. How did you get hooked up with WAKE?

Jake: We’re super excited to do Europe again, we went last year with our close friends in TRIAC and it was tons of fun, truly an unforgettable experience and we were lucky enough to hop on a few shows of the WEEKEND NACHOS/THE AFTERNOON GENTLEMAN/HOMEWRECKER tour, those dudes are all friends of ours as well so it just added to the immense fun we were having. This time around we’re super excited to hit mostly different cities than the last tour and it’s an honor to have been asked by the grind powerhouse that is WAKE to accompany them, Logan has more on the connection…

Logan: I had met them in 2012 or 2013 when they toured the East Coast of the US with an old roommate’s band. Some plans were made a few years later to tour the West Coast together but that fell apart. They asked us to join them on this tour and we’re stoked that we’re able to make it happen this time around.

What do you expect from this run?

Logan: Musically, I want to rip as hard as humanly fucking possible. Hopefully play to some people that may not seek out bands like us and blow their minds. On a personal level, I’d like to see some familiar faces and hang with friends we’ve made over the years. I want to take advantage of the opportunity to see amazing old architecture, try different foods, and overall just have experiences that we can’t have here in the states.

Jake: I’m on the same level as my dude here. I’m also really excited to be able to bring along one of my oldest and best friends on this tour. Our buddy Jono is going to be handling the drumming duties as a fill in for this run and we’ve been on this music journey together for many years in different bands past and present and this will be his first trip to Europe, so it feels special to be able to share that with him. He’s also a certified ripper so we’re feeling confident that we can bring our A game on this run. I also expect to drink a lot of club mate, and better beer than here in the states haha.

Speaking of which, is there a craft beer culture in your area?

I guess so? haha I’m not totally sure how deep it runs. Philadelphia Brewing Company makes a few beers I really like drinking, but I also drink a lot of Miller High Life and Logan used to drink Icehouse Edge pretty often so that may indicate that we aren’t the best folks to answer that question. Pig Destroyer and Sleep recently headlined some craft beer themed fest hosted by Decibel recently in Philly but I had to work and couldn’t make it.

So, apart from music, what are some of your other guilty pleasures?

Logan: Casual drug use, true crime, breaking glass, petty theft, Ufology, ice cream.

Jake: Conspiracy Theories (somehow this has become a right wing/Alex Jones thing though my politics are very far left), cemeteries, casual drug use, camping and traveling with my partner, the occult, and eating…I eat a lot and I’m very enthusiastic about it, sweet, savory, greasy, healthy, I’m into it all.

Any cool spots you recently discovered whole traveling?

Jake: My partner and I are always looking for cool (and often corny) places to visit. We frequent a drive-in movie theatre a ways north from Philly that plays classic double and triple features on 35mm film and you can camp there as well. So it’s nice, you can enjoy some drinks and things while hanging out and watching the movies and then not have to worry about driving home. We’ve found a handful of caves, weird cemeteries, any flea markets we can find and even a megalith park known to some as “Pennsylvania’s Stonehenge”. We’re hoping to come across a lot more cool shit during an upcoming trip to Portugal, in fact I am flying there to meet her from Berlin when this upcoming tour is over and we’re going to be checking out ossuaries, a masonic ritual initiation well, some town covered in boulders and lots more!

Sounds good! I’ll be heading to southern Portugal in early September, too, haha!

Ok, so speaking of Europe, when was the first time you hit our shores? Also, what are your associations with European hardcore scene?

Logan: We first came to Europe in the summer of 2012 and toured with THE AFTERNOON GENTLEMEN. BACKSLIDER was only a two piece then, so now the line up is considerably different. We’ve played with a lot of UK/European hardcore/fastcore/grind etc bands, but to be truthful I don’t know that we have a particularly strong association with any specific scene. I tend to feel like we’re kind of the oddball on most of the shows that we play. That being said, I don’t want to minimize the impact that bands like BGK, LÄRM, VOORHEES, INDIGESTI, and RAW POWER and many others have had on our sound. They’re all big influences.

Jake: For me, a lot of the European stuff I was into growing up was more on the punk side of things. I’ve always been really into anarcho-punk. CRASS, RUDIMENTARY PENI, ZOUNDS, POISON GIRLS, CHUMBAWAMBA, FLUX OF PINK INDIANS, etc; But also always loved DOOM, YACOPSAE, LÄRM, and RIPCORD. Also, I’ve always really dug some of the earlier OI! related stuff like THE BUSINESS, CHRON GEN, COCKNEY REJECTS, etc.

Ok guys, thanks so much for your time and lots of insights on your band and local scene. Do you feel we missed any areas you would like to add to?

I think that does it! Look out for the “Death Residue” 7″ coming out on Nerve Altar records soon. It’s been a pleasure chatting with you!

Great, thanks so much for your time! Cheers from Warsaw guys!

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