Listening to Victoria psych-pop duo, The Backhomes, gives you the sense of floating on top of heavy reverb, synths and neo-psychedelia. Their sound is heavy and dense enough to fill a pool, but it's liquid and light enough to glide over the top of it.
The band consists of Kees Dekker, guitarist, vox, drums, bass, keyboard and master mixer, and Aimée van Drimmelen, lead guitarist and projection maker.
Van Drimmelen answered questions about writing in cabins, the state of the psych scene in Montreal and eating mushrooms at Golden West Music Fest
When/how did The Backhomes begin?
The Backhomes began in Montreal in 2009. We were both playing in other bands and one day Kees was playing this song in our apartment and I joined in, and we recorded it. It felt really good, we were both on the same page musically, and it made sense to try to start putting something together.
You have this psychedelic, dreamy sound that's still grounded...Who are your influences?
We are inspired by lots of different music. Kees got into stuff like Spacemen 3 and Spiritualized and Flying Saucer Attack when he was younger, and when we met I heard that stuff for the first time and it really resonated. I personally love bands like the 13th Floor Elevators, Velvet Underground, Warlocks, stuff like that. But we also really dig stuff like JJ Cale, with his stripped back tulsa sound and use of old drum machines. I'm pretty sure we were both conceived to JJ Cale, so we got a good dose of that in the womb.
Are you both originally from Montreal?
Kees is from Moncton NB and I'm from Regina SK. We both lived in Montreal for 10 years and this is where we met.
What is your songwriting style like? Do you have to have a specific location, does that location change with each project?
Everything we've done so far has been recorded in whatever space we happen to be living in, whether a cabin in the prairies, or in Victoria where we live now. Kees usually sketches stuff out with guitars, synths, loops, drum samples, and organ in our living room. We end up with all these skeletons of songs that we listen to and decide which ones are exciting. Then we'll add layers, textures, leads, lyrics. On our first album Only Friend it's a mix of this style of writing and some "song songs" that began more traditionally on an acoustic guitar. On our upcoming record Tidal Wave it's pretty much all songs stemming from experiments like this, which feels like the best way to write right now.
You have a limited edition blue vinyl for Only Friend, who did you print with and what was the collaboration like?
We printed them with Pirate Press in San Francisco. They do a good job and it's direct metal mastering which is apparently more enviro friendly. Our friends at Storyboard Label in Vancouver helped us release it.
Listen to Only Friend below
For live shows, you create the projections. What are your visions behind your projections?
I'm an artist and animator, and I make all our videos and projections for our live sets. We are just as interested in giving people something cool to look at as something cool to listen to. We want the audience to space out and have it be an all encompassing experience. For this tour we have two projectors, one which is big moving textures that cover the whole stage, and another smaller one projected into a bass drum head. If you see us live come up close to the stage so you can watch that one, it's cool
You're headed to the Montreal Psych Fest September 12, what are you most looking forward to?
We played La Vitrola for the first time this August and it's a great room. We are excited to see what's going on in the psych scene in Montreal since we left, because there wasn't much of one four years ago when we lived here. We're really happy to see people trying to get things going and bringing all these great bands together.
How has your tour been so far? Where was your favorite/least favorite place?
The tour has been great. We got to play with Crocodiles in Calgary which was fun, and the highlight was definitely Golden West Music Fest on this farm near Edmonton. There are so many rad bands coming out of that part of Canada right now (Betrayers, The Lad Mags, Powder Blue, Tee Tahs). The stage was built on this huge squished car, there was a giant grasshopper made of wood that was lit on fire, and many mushrooms were eaten...
Playing with Moon Duo was great, Ripley really inspired me to play louder, and Sinea's projections are kick ass. We geeked out about projectors and stuff after the show.
What do you hope for the future of The Backhomes?
We are really excited about our next album, and we hope we can get it out to larger audiences as well as release a second edition of Only Friend as we're almost out of our first run of vinyl.
How will your next album coming out in 2015 be different from your previous work?
More sonic, more driving... We're playing a lot of new songs already so come and hear for yourselves!
What's the hardest thing about making music as The Backhomes?
Nothing is hard when you're as privileged as we are in these times and places