Music Bugle Exclusive – Q & A – Big Backyard

Photo courtesy of How’s The Pie Records.

By Nicholas Jason Lopez

What started in a University Of North Carolina dorm room quickly developed over quarantine and became what’s now known as indie-emo outfit Big Backyard, who recently dropped their new EP ‘Music For Your Porch’ via How’s The Pie? Records, with an LP to follow in early 2021.

Influenced by the likes of Modern Baseball, Remo Drive and Death Cab For Cutie, the group takes Midwest emo songwriting abilities and tosses in some garage rock undertones for a truly unique sound.

Big Backyard are vocalist/guitarist Jackson Martin, drummer Ben Scott and backing vocalist/guitarist Will Washburn.

The Music Bugle had the opportunity to talk with the band about ‘Music For The Porch’ and more.

Music Bugle – How did you guys decide the band name? 

Ben Scott – The band name actually came from my mom’s friends, who were in a high school band which had the same name when she grew up in Florida. I told the other guys about it and we thought it would be kind of funny to take it since it’s not being used anymore.

Music Bugle – What was it like putting together your EP ‘Music For Your Porch’? 

Jackson Martin – ‘Music For Your Porch’ was written in the first few months of quarantine when all of us were isolated and alone. I wrote all the guitar parts first and sent Garageband demos back and forth with Ben to add drum beats and ideas to the tracks. After a couple of months, I began tracking demos with Will for he and I’s other band, Sakura Pink. Will and I worked well musically together and when I showed him the Big Backyard demos Ben and I had been working on, it made sense to bring Will into the mix too. In September, we all moved back into Charlotte together and were able to really get all the final recordings of these songs down together. I especially got so tired of these songs after working on them for months in quarantine, that it felt so satisfying to finally finish them and move forward to our LP.

Music Bugle – What excites you the most about your type of music? 

Will Washburn – What’s nice about DIY and these kind of goofy emo songs we’re writing is that we don’t have to take ourselves that seriously. We can get away with writing a song called “Brendan Fraser” and write stupid lyrics because while they have meaning, they’re really just supposed to sound fun. That song especially, we wrote to just be really fun at a house show. It takes some pressure off of us to really just have fun with this band and not have to fit into any aesthetic.

Music Bugle – How would you describe Charlotte, North Carolina to someone who has never been there before? 

Jackson Martin – Kind of dull, but we’re hoping to start a music scene with these How’s the Pie? bands and be a part of Charlotte’s growth.

Music Bugle – Which of your songs was the hardest to write or compose? 

Jackson Martin – “Credits” was such a pain in the ass to write to a point which we all were satisfied with. Over summer, Ben and I sat in a hot car for like, two hours trying to record vocals and there was always just that one thing that didn’t work. It became really challenging for me to work with that song too because I wrote that song from the perspective of myself in quarantine and where my life was then. Trying to change that song months later was difficult because I wasn’t in the same headspace and it would be impossible for me to write that song again. Eventually, I just reworded some lyrics that kept the same spirit and I changed the melody to fit something that works better.

Music Bugle – What do you miss the most about performing in front of a live audience? 

Jackson Martin – Will and I used to play in a cover band together in high school and we played at a couple of restaurants and pubs. Since Big Backyard formed during the pandemic, we haven’t been able to play a show yet together. We’re really excited to get back into house shows and we really miss the energy of being in a room full of people who actually like your music.

Music Bugle – How have you been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic? 

Jackson Martin – It’s really hard as a band starting in the middle of the pandemic to really get our name out there because we can’t safely play shows yet. We’ve had a lot of people listen who follow our social media accounts, but we won’t really reach a new audience until we can play live shows again.

Music Bugle – Who are you listening to right now, music-wise? 

Ben Scott – We’re listening to Charmer, Origami Angel, Machine Girl, Eyedress, The Menzingers and Spanish Love Songs.

Music Bugle – How would you define the year 2020? 

Ben Scott – A year that really makes you question everything.

Music Bugle – What’s a quote that motivates you to keep doing what you do? 

Ben Scott – “But water will wear away rock, which is rigid and cannot yield. As a rule, whatever is fluid, soft and yielding will overcome whatever is rigid and hard. This is another paradox – what is soft is strong,” by Lao Tzu.

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