|Photo by Suren Karapetyan
John Turturro in Brain Donors, 1992
Philadelphia grind-violence dervish duo Backslider has brewed an exquisitely nasty racket since 2008 with the bare necessities of drums, guitar and throat-rending shrieks. And guitarist Logan and drummer Patrick were content. Early failed experiments in adding a third wheel only cemented the twosome’s desire to keep things concise. Anybody who braved the glass shard maelstrom of their audio assault would be hard pressed to argue otherwise.
Backslider could have continued cranking out immaculate music based on the binary concept and we all would have applauded slack jawed (just as soon as we recovered from the concussions they inflicted). But earlier this year Backslider unexpectedly rounded out their assault by bringing in bassist Jake.
“At first we were pretty much not willing budge on the topic. Jake was pretty persistent,” Patrick said. “I lived in Florida for a year in 06-07 and met Jake during that time. He's been in tons of bands, toured and recorded a bunch so he's no rookie. I can remember seeing him at a show before he joined in Philly, and him asking about it. I remember explaining to him that we were so used to operating as a two piece, it was more of an issue of that than anything and I had no doubt he could do it, but we would just jam and see how it went. Jake is a capable and great bass player so I knew he could do it no problem. After a few practices we caved.”
Jake was even more dogged about earning a seat in Backslider’s van after he heard the impressive Consequences album.
“I feel like at that point Patrick and I felt like it was time to branch out and start taking things more seriously,” Logan said. “We had a couple jams with him and it went really well. He's been doing this shit for years and he's no weakling.”
With Consequences, Backslider had broadened their repertoire, breaking up the speed freak brutality to repeatedly whack you upside the head with a sock full of Sacajawea dollars, taking their time to savor your pleas for mercy.
“I distinctly remember a conversation that Patrick and I had a couple of years ago, around the time that we were writing for the Nimbus Terrifix split 7-inch, that we decided we don't need boundaries and if we wanted to play fast, we were gonna play fast as fuck, but also if we wanted to play slow, we were gonna do that as well,” Logan said. “Since then, we've opened ourselves up to many different styles, and I think that we're better musicians now than we've ever been. It's more satisfying and fun, the world doesn't need any more 'powerviolence' clones.”
In that same spirit of no frontiers and no fucks given, adding Jake to the roster has also allowed Backslider to stretch their musical muscles and explore tones and timbres previously untested.
“As far as writing, his involvement and ideas have really opened things up for us, we're able to do things that we've never even thought to try before, and it sounds pretty unreal,” Patrick said. “The heaviness is more pronounced and the range of tones we're able to get balances out the sound, so much so that I wish we would've had a competent bassist all along.”
Backslider’s new configuration will get its first in your face work out soon once the newly minted trio puts the final touches on the upcoming album Motherfucker.
“As of right now we're about 75 percent finished with writing for the LP, it's going to be called Motherfucker and it's going to be just that,” Logan enthused. “There are a lot of things going on in these songs that are completely uncharted territory for us and they seem more like actual songs that move and grow as opposed to fastcore farts. There's still plenty of blazing fast hardcore but the arrangements are more prolonged and abstract. I don't recall a lot of the writing process for any of our records, except for the heated arguments during the Consequences practices. I can say that, for me at least, this is the most fun it's been to write for Backslider.”
After some personal and intraband turmoil leading up to Consequences, Patrick also said Motherfucker sees Backslider at their most focused. Not only has adding Jake rounded out the band’s sound, but his voice in the practice space is also pushing Backslider to be their best, the drummer said.
“I just put together a ‘discography so far’ of all of our material, and I like all of it. But, I think what we've got coming is crushing it all,” Patrick said. “Yeah, the Consequences writing period was a rough spot for us. We were busy as a band and also had a lot going on personally at the time too. It was our first longer release and we beat the crap out of ourselves getting it together. We were satisfied with the result. I think not only having a bass to pull the low end together but, having a third voice and opinion also is refreshing for us. The writing process has been fun so far, and coming together really well.”