The Backyard on Punk Rock, Orange County, New Album, Tour

“I’ve all the time favored the phrase ‘horseshit’,” declares Wyatt Shears, with all the understanding that one had higher summon in making such a easy assertion. “It’s a powerful phrase, actually,” cosigns Fletcher Shears, his twin brother and bandmate within the wild and wooly Southern California artwork punk duo The Backyard. They first visited the h-word in 2018, on the guttural, emoticon-titled observe “: ( ”—pronounced “unhappy face”–with Wyatt shout-singing, “All of us make errors / And considered one of mine was placing up with the horseshit.” The boys returned to the time period simply final week, dropping Horseshit on Route 66, their fifth album, opening one other chapter for one of many extra breathtakingly authentic, witty and anything-goes experimentalist outfits of the previous ten years. “There’s some nostalgia within the phrase as effectively,” Wyatt continues. “Yeah, it jogs my memory of a phrase an older individual would possibly say, like, ‘Aw, horseshit!’” provides Fletcher with amusing. Twins, it appears, actually can full one another’s sentences.

In fact they do. It is exactly that type of weirdness, with phrases, musical mashups, and hilariously provocative takes on the world, that has made The Backyard so singular, the embodiment of “vada vada”–their very own invented phrase for a “why not?” method to artwork that dismisses guidelines and conventions. Rip-roaring hardcore right here, drum and bass grooves there, forays into rap and electronica, and surprising stops, begins, time adjustments, and samples at each flip. Additionally, they often carry out decked out as jesters. The Backyard’s sound and presence has attracted collaborations with different provocateurs over time, from 100 Gecs’ Dylan Brady, James Bulled of Kero Kero Bonito, Le1f, and even Carrot Prime. The band’s biggest flirtation with bigger popular culture consciousness got here in 2017, after they opened on Mac DeMarco’s North American tour, then teamed with the beloved indie rock everyman on the glowing 2019 one-off single “Thy Mission,” accompanied by a deranged music video set in a devil-meets-Jerry Springer-style discuss present. Minutemen, The Strokes, Beastie Boys, B-52’s, Dublin’s Gilla Band, and plenty of different touchstones might race by your head when listening to The Backyard, and but they actually sound like nobody however their vada vada selves.

Right here’s a tree-falls-in-the-forest-type query: When are similar twins not similar twins? How about, when you’ll be able to’t see them? Right here I’m, preparing for a late August Zoom name with two guys who look alike, questioning if I’ll be capable of inform them aside, after I uncover that we’re not doing video. Okay, then. The fellows are in numerous places–Wyatt at the moment lives close to Lengthy Seashore, California whereas Fletcher, who joins us a couple of minutes in, after a physician’s appointment that ran late is adjoining to downtown L.A. And whereas I do have their names in black bins, popping up so I do know who’s talking when, I shortly notice that their talking voices are totally different. Wyatt, The Backyard’s bassist and extra frequent lead vocalist is the louder and extra exuberant of the 2, given to bursts of laughter, whereas drummer and vocalist Fletcher is barely extra measured and deliberate. However each, to make certain, share a depraved humorousness.

The jester-faced Shears twins.

Ashley Cue

Simply take a look at their titles: albums The Life and Instances of a Paperclip and Kiss My Tremendous Bowl Ring, the EP U Need the Scoop?, and tracks together with “Name This # Now,” “Who Am I Going to Share All Of This Wine With?” “Clench to Keep Awake,” and “The King of Chopping Corners.” Their lyrics, whether or not sung, shouted, or screamed, are reliably satirical, droll, Dadaist absurd—enjoyable. “When you don’t actually make artwork your self you would possibly take us as, ‘Oh they’re not taking this critically as a result of they’re not critical musicians that act critically and behave critically of their artwork,” says Wyatt. “However for us, we like so as to add lightheartedness to our music. That’s simply who we’re.” Which isn’t to say, as Fletcher feedback, that they aren’t critical about their work. “We’ll speak about critical topics, nevertheless it’s all the time woven in with humor,” he explains. He provides that his long-running solo mission, Puzzle, tends to be much less humor-driven. (Each Puzzle and Wyatt’s solo endeavor, Take pleasure in, have generated 10+ albums themselves)

The visible of this disposition is The Backyard’s longstanding affinity for donning jester appears to be like, in face paint and even costumes. They launched the observe someday round 2014, and the centerpiece of the brand new Horseshit on Route 66 is “What Else May I Be However a Jester?” “It’s nearly like asking ‘What else might I be however myself?’,” says Fletcher. “We’re naturally sarcastic, trickster-y,” provides Wyatt. “On stage it interprets to a type of roll round, somersault, entertaining vibe.” It’s developed over time–there have been saggy zoot fits with jester make-up and a mischievous, grotesque courtroom jester duo on the duvet of 2018’s Mirror Would possibly Steal Your Appeal. The discharge get together for the set, filmed for the French tradition channel ARTE, noticed the twins totally jestered-out underneath a circus massive high.

This summer season they gave us creepier jesters, joined by skaters in a So Cal swimming pool, within the video for the excellent “Orange County Punk Rock Legend,” and the duvet portrait on Horseshit could be described as “jester meets Pierrot meets the Sundown Strip.” Of their stay reveals, The Backyard don’t do the jester look each night time. In reality, the 2021 tour for Kiss My Tremendous Bowl Ring had an aesthetic that was extra about high hats, rubbish cans, cobwebs. “Not a lot pondering even goes into it, actually,” says Fletcher. “A variety of occasions I gained’t know if Wyatt’s gonna have jester garb or face paint on till moments earlier than we get able to go on stage.” Provides Wyatt, “We don’t ever need to should field ourselves right into a ‘we’re anticipated to do one thing each night time’ factor, by the viewers.”

the garden punk rock band

The album art work for the band’s self-released fifth LP, Horseshit on Route 66.


Between the vada vada philosophy and jester outfits, a style for irony and light glam, and Fletcher’s erstwhile penchant for genderfluid appears to be like, The Backyard has the components of a cult band on faucet. Wyatt concedes that their intention has been to create a world of their very own. As for his or her following, he provides that The Backyard’s crowd has morphed over time. “We’ve got a primarily fairly younger fan base,” he explains. “You see cycles, the place individuals age by stuff and drop off, after which an entire new crop of persons are into it.” There are, in fact, long-term followers as effectively, which is a part of why the brothers have stored at it. “There might have been factors the place would have perhaps stopped, and the hype and the curiosity round us positively would have dropped off as effectively. However we simply type of stored going?”

The newest output from that manufacturing facility, Horseshit On Route 66, is one other freewheeling journey. The set attracts on the brothers’ long-held obsessions with ghosts and the supernatural. “We made a semi-conscious effort to convey it up somewhat extra on this album,” says Fletcher. “It’s part of ourselves that we haven’t completely elaborated on.” The brothers as soon as took a street journey to go to two apparently haunted Nevada resorts–the Goldfield and the Mizpah–and “a bunch of bizarre shit occurred.” They toyed with recording the brand new LP in a haunted house. “However I appeared round and there’s simply not plenty of choices to try this type of factor in small cities,” explains Wyatt, “and even should you do hire out a warehouse, it’s type of troublesome.”

The theme is clear from the album’s lead observe, “Haunted Home on Zillow”–a suitably spooky, wacky opener peppered with sound bites about ghost sightings. Different Halloween-worthy songs, together with “Chainsaw the Door” (brighter and bouncier than its Leatherface-evoking title would recommend), “On the Campfire”, and “X within the Grime” observe. The file even strays into real-life horror. On best-title champ, the sludgy “Squished Face Slick Pig Residing in a Smokey Metropolis,” the twins conjure the typically claustrophobia-inducing expertise of city life, with an particularly darkish spoken-word part by Fletcher that retells a real scene that he witnessed in downtown L.A.. Recalling it now, he says, “I simply noticed some man getting his face kicked in, on the aspect of the road by any individual else. His face was all pink, you couldn’t even see what his face appeared like trigger he was getting the shit kicked out of him. It was simply 2 p.m., in broad daylight, and it’s the type of shit you see round right here. You get used to it, nevertheless it has an impact on you, long-term, once you see it each day.”

There are different highlights, particularly the quick, irresistible “Orange County Punk Rock Legend,” a track that’s already booked a spot in my high 5 singles of the yr. The great thing about The Backyard is {that a} track this comparatively easy and completely bananas doesn’t simply work in a minute and 41 seconds, it kills. The elevator pitch? Nicely, it opens with these sawed-off drums and Sugar Ray-type guitar… Maintain up. Sugar Ray? Oh sure. I defy you to hearken to “Orange County Punk Rock Legend” and never suppose “Each Morning.” “That’s okay!” says Wyatt, laughing, after I make the comparability. “I like Sugar Ray, and after I made it I used to be type of messing with an acoustic guitar so much and I most likely subconsciously channeled my inside Southern California on that one.” On high of the observe, Wyatt–a person of many voices–lays into an particularly bratty snarl.

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The Backyard – “Orange County Punk Rock Legend”

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In the event that they aren’t but legends of Orange County, they’re absolutely amongst its trendy musical treasures. Nonetheless, the brothers’ native county is many issues. John Wayne Airport. No Doubt. Disneyland. The Offspring. Ty Segall. The O.C., Laguna Seashore and The Hills. The Shears grew up not on the seaside, however within the metropolis of Orange, and so they’re joyful to characterize. They’re additionally effectively conscious that it may be a polarizing place, however are fast to level out that the O.C. is so massive, it’s onerous to make generalizations about it. “It will get a foul rap, the TV present, and plenty of different persons are like, ‘Oh, racist wealthy individuals!’,” says Fletcher. “However lots of people who say that aren’t even from there.” Fletcher is very pleased with the county’s seminal place in punk rock. “One of many first hardcore punk bands that ever existed, The Center Class, got here from Orange County,” he says. “Orange County had an enormous punk scene within the early Eighties, even the late Seventies. And plenty of that stuff is what my brother and I grew up listening to. , born in Orange County, raised on Orange County punk rock music, and raised on U.Okay. punk rock music, and L.A. punk rock music–I imply, that stuff to us was our lullaby music principally, after we have been children. I’m not even exaggerating.”

What else might they be, then, however punk rockers? Nonetheless, that comes with a caveat. The Backyard’s concept of “punk” doesn’t imply wanting, sounding, or pondering like a thousand different bands, however reasonably facilities on experimentalism and non-conformity. When the Shears shaped the outfit of their late teenagers, it was the early 2010s and lo-fi punk and storage bands have been nonetheless an enormous a part of the indie panorama. The twins more and more discovered themselves sharing a invoice with these acts–and never a lot else. “We’d all the time play reveals with these bands, however we weren’t actually listening to them,” says Fletcher. “We have been listening to an entire totally different factor that was occurring, extra left-field fashion, just like the rap stuff that was popping out of New York, with Mykki Blanco and Le1f. That was actually punk rock to us.”

Likewise, their earliest releases, with Fullerton-based Burger Information discovered the boys on a label the place they weren’t a super match. “They have been into energy pop, and psych rock,” explains Wyatt. Punk rock wasn’t the main target. “We simply type of obtained combined up in it.” They left the label years in the past. And with Horseshit on Route 66, The Backyard have parted methods with Epitaph Information, the label synonymous with So Cal punk, with whom they launched their final three LPs. Now, they’re self-releasing for the primary time since 2013. “For us, being on a label was an attention-grabbing factor to attempt,” Fletcher affords. “We had by no means actually tried it earlier than, like with an official label the place we signed a contract and did the entire 9 yards. We have been in a deal that constituted three albums, in order that’s what we did, after which when the deal was over, we weren’t actually inquisitive about doing any extra of that stuff.”

“We’ve all the time thought we have been in a lane of our personal,” he provides, perhaps the most effective summation of The Backyard accessible. Quickly that lane will embody freeway lanes, actually, because the Shears DIY-it throughout America in assist of Horseshit on Route 66, starting in New York on October 2. Will the tour embody a cease alongside the long-lasting American freeway of their album title, as a few of the vada vada devoted have been urging? That is still TBD. “I’ve spent plenty of time on Route 66 really,” says Wyatt. “We don’t have any dates there on this subsequent tour, sadly, however it could be cool if we did do this.” “Some individuals have positively given us shit for that,” provides Fletcher. “Like, ‘Why would you name your tour “Route 66” should you’re not even gonna be on Route 66’”? By no means say by no means. Seems, the legendary roadway even has a ghost city on it–Two Weapons, Arizona. Seems like simply the spot for 2 ghost-loving twin brothers often called The Backyard. Vada vada.

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