Here’ my newest interview with a groovy, powerful hardcore punk band called BACK AND FORTH. These guys hail from Middletown area in New Jersey and are something you can’t miss! They have recently released a music video for their track “Disconnected” off their 2013 debut album “Mercer Ave”, got back from a 2,5 weeks tour and are gearing up to hit the road again, this time with their mates from Worcester’s FOXFIRES. Make sure to check out their tunes below and read up on the feature below. I took some time with the band’s vocalist Matt, who took me into the woods to explore inspiration for making new music, discussed touring and shared a couple of personal experiences and thoughts. Take a read below and please share if you dig what you hear!
Hey Matt! We have finally managed to get in touch, huh? You’ve just returned from a nice trip with BACK AND FORTH. How was it? Are you tired? :)
Hey! Yes, we meet at last! The tour was awesome. We did 2 and a half weeks down south and it was such a pleasure to meet such wonderful people and be around old friends. All the shows were quite amazing to say the least. It was the first tour we’ve done with our LP Mercer Ave in physical form off Poor Soul Records, so it was cool to see em go!
Awesome! How did people respond?
People responded really well and for the most part we played to brand new people so all the records we sold were based on gaining new fans approval, really exciting.
Besides the gigs you played, how do you find the cities in comparison to your home area of Middletown?
Touring is always a hit or miss emotionally because obviously you start to miss home and the loved ones you left behind but the more you visit these places the more you make friends and those friends become family. With that being said it becomes a second nature to be traveling and you learn to make the best out of any city and accept each city for the beauty it holds without comparing it to home, because once you do that you become home sick. Our home is a very suburban area an hour from two cities and ten minutes from the beach so by having the best of all worlds it’s easy for us to adapt to wherever were playing that night.
Are you sayin’ that the Middletown is the best place to be?? Haha. No, but seriously, how does it feel to be located between such huge areas like NJ, NYC and Philly? How do you see yourself? Pure New Jersey residents or New Yorkers? I mean, come on, Brooklyn is no more than 10 miles from Middletown :)
Haha to me it is, but that’s just because I live here and learned to love the simple things about it. Being in-between everything is perfect. I lived in NYC for a year and it was cool but then you learn it’s only an hour or so away and same with Philly. But for me personally, major cities are a little too much for me. I’m definitely a jersey a boy for sure. When I lived there everything was too fast for me at times where I felt the need to go sit at a park and play my guitar alone and be a weirdo… which you can’t do because there are people everywhere! Brooklyn I’m not too interested in as well. Don’t get me wrong, all very beautiful areas, just personally not anywhere where I could settle down. I like the woods. Actually, this interview inspired me to move into a cabin far far away like Justin from BON IVER. He had the right idea! Sorry for rambling haha!
Not at all Matt! Rambling is actually leading to a point ;) What do you find down in the woods?
Haha well alright then! I would like to be out there to experiment with my writing process as compared to writing a record in a suburban town. I could imagine it’d be so far away, leaving you isolated from everything except the thoughts you shoved into the back of your head. With that being said I think it’d be a great experience to be isolated to discover that and have a more natural raw writing process because you tend to be unaware of emotions and feelings when you aren’t shunned out from the world. That’s if whatever BACK AND FORTH is doing calls for that kind of record….the record we are recording now I isolated myself a little bit and it was wonderful so it gave me a taste I guess. Maybe for our next LP!
It’s been one year since the premiere of “Mercer Ave”. Are you already longing for that excitement of recording and releasing an album ?
Ah yes, it has. But since that release we toured non stop on it and a year later decided to release it on vinyl via Poor Soul Records, an independent record label from our area, and since that has dropped it created a second wave of the record and its really cool to have it be embraced for a second time. To answer your question though, yes. I know personally, I have this itching to write and record music and be a story teller so it’s long over due. Our band likes to march with progression too so the sound on this release is more structured and written. I’m really excited to pull from influences that have shaped my life this far that BACK AND FORTH wasn’t ready to touch in the past. Now is the time and I can’t wait for the world to hear it.
What inspirations lie behind these mental preparations?
Well when I was younger, in my house my mom raised me on the earlier Springsteen records and that gave me the sense of writing a plot to my songs, setting a scene, including characters and taking an idea for a song and essentially pushing it into a cinematical adventure. So for this record I wanted to push that writing process into BACK AND FORTH. Personally I like a lot of other music other then punk/hardcore and sing and play guitar as well as our bassist and guitarist. Our drummer is in a low toned melodic band and our other guitarist has a love for the BEATLES. So in that respect we all have other influences that simply weren’t ready to be pulled from because we just didn’t know how to do it. So for this next release, I have ideas on how to take the story telling and the anthem like dream of young love and any other youthful electric feeling and create something worth emotionally investing in. Without those records that aren’t of the hardcore/punk genre, I wouldn’t have discovered that. But also at the same time a lot of awesome punk bands do it very well, it was just never the time to dig that deep until the idea became fully developed.
Or I have been listening to way too much BRIGHT EYES lately. Good question!
Ok Matt. Besides being recording-hungry, how about playing shows? You’ve just wrapped up the trek we mentioned, but still… are you already plotting more travels?
Yes we just got off a run down south for 3 weeks. In April were going up north with FOXFIRES, in June we go back down south for a month then in August we go out to conquer the Midwest with DISTANCES. We have plans for the fall into winter as well just can’t really touch on it yet, tad bit too early haha!
Is it hard going on tour and leaving your family for a couple of weeks or a month at a time?
Yes it is. It takes a strong woman to put up with her significant other traveling every other month. It definitely weeds out the nonsense for when you get home you learn to enjoy the little things together. Same goes for family as in your parents, sister, brother etc. What it all comes down to is having good hearted people in your life that support what you do cause they love to see you smile.
Ultimately, can it be a way of life? Or only a temporary adventure?
It has been a way of live for awhile now. We have all been heavily involved in the punk rock community since we were kids. If we weren’t traveling to play one offs etc we were traveling to attend shows. Now that were older its easier for us to do what we naturally do on a larger scale to one day make it what we do for as long as we can.
How did you start fulfilling this mission in 2014? Besides this recent tour, what shows did you enjoy this year? I saw your set from Frostbite Fest in Wareham, MA. How was it?
We just got in the van immediately and started touring and tried the best we possibly could to be bullet proof and not let anything stop us. It’s working so far! Frostbite Fest was such a good time, big stages are always great. We make the best of whatever show we play, but personally I really enjoyed playing a packed out house show in Valrico, FL this past tour. All types of kids all in one room embracing such a wonderful energy!
Did you meet Sunny from hate5six? What do you think about his work?
Yes! We spoke briefly on stage prior to our set and he was a super cool dude which is cool because I am in fact a fan of his work.
Alright guys, you’ve been to Canada, too, right? How do you feel their punk environment differs from your American neighbourhood?
We did a short Canadian run. It was awesome. It was the same except their shows started a lot later which was odd, but totally rad country.
Ok, back to the band, is BACK AND FORTH your main musical project, or are you concentrating more on your other bands and projects these days?
Yes, BACK AND FORTH is our main focus. I do solo singer songwriter work, as do our bassist and guitarist but BACK AND FORTH takes up a lot of our time.
You’ve recently released a video for “Disconnected”, off Mercer Ave album. The promotion goes on, right? Have you gained some attention from labels? How bad do you want to change this caption? :)
Yes, Disconnected had a music video for it prepped by Pezz Productions. It was awesome too see it on websites and all that I was stoked! Ahhhhh wouldn’t you like to know ;)! Yes, we have been working with one based out of NJ for this next release! You’ll see soon!
You posted your summary of 2013 some time ago. What do you expect for your “best of” list in 2014? Any nominations?
This past tour was already such a blast so that’ll make it. But out of all the memories and exciting things to happen on the road and while recording I’m sure there will be a massive list haha. So far it’s too soon to tell!
Cool. Thanks for your time! Feel free to add anything I forgot to ask.
Thank you this was really fun! Check out our new record ” Setting Sail ” dropping in the summer!
I will! Cheers!
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