With as difficult as it can be to make a living pursuing a music career, it should at least be fun. From their name to their sound, the members of Backseat Vinyl are doing just that: making a career and having fun doing it.
Like most, the band formed from the high-school friendship between guitarist Nate Fuller and drummer Keenan Clarke. Forming officially in 2014, the duo decided on the name Backseat Vinyl in part because it “rolled off the tongue,” and as homage to Keenan’s backseat which was covered in a “plethora of garbage,” something to which most teenagers and young adults can certainly relate. Since their formation, the band has had fun creating their self-proclaimed “fucking goofy” sound, always experimenting, each album sounding different than the last.
“The first [album] ‘Scratch My Way to Heaven’ had a really grungy, gritty vibe to it,” said Nate.
“It was really raw too,” added Keenan. “We didn’t really start experimenting with effects and production until ‘Beach Sounds,’ but even then we were still scratching the layers of it. It was still that raw, borderline grungy punk style.”
Wanting to get out of that grunge phase, the two saw their softer sound as a step in the right direction.
“It just wasn’t us and it felt weird,” said Nate. “It was a plan to go from ‘Beach Sounds’ to ‘Beach Pop,’ which was a weird twist-around follow-up with a completely different genre…story of my life.”
While experimentation can be difficult and frustrating for some, Backseat Vinyl told me that they’ve had fun in the experimentation process, starting from the basics: changing instrumentation and orchestration, to adding different effects and audio sounds to their music.
“Basically, it was us just getting high and pressing buttons,” said Keenan. “Well, [the sound engineers] were pressing the buttons, and basically we’d be like ‘that’s fucking rad let’s keep it.'”
Of course, all of this adds up to what’s most intriguing about Backseat Vinyl: they’ve mastered the balance between working hard and playing hard. Having made friends with their engineers over at The Spot Studios, the duo has had fun in the recording process, simultaneously getting drunk and high while delivering high-quality music that they can feel proud of. With two albums already under their belt, they are in the studio each month working on their third, and are excitedly planning their next steps.
“This album is very fun, and we’re excited for people to hear it,” said Nate. “There are a lot of memories on it…I got really drunk and got thrown in the pool last night and I went on a spiel and don’t remember what I said but this album is full of memories and I think people are going to really enjoy it.”
“It has a lot of sentimental value to it and it’s been really fun,” adds Keenan. “We’re down to the last two tracks now and it’s starting to get bittersweet.”
Nate and Keenan were friendly and good-humored. Though we’ve yet to officially meet in person, our over-the-phone interview was one for the books, and with their energy and love for what they do, I’ve no doubt that this next year will bring nothing but good for Backseat Vinyl.
Photos taken from Backseat Vinyl’s Facebook page.