Silverbacks Interview: “The estate we grew up in was an ammo depot in WWII”

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Photo credit: Phil Smithies

Silverbacks debut album Fad is out now via Central Tones.

Just a couple of weeks ago, Irish post-punk outfit Silverbacks released their stellar debut album Fad. A playful and dynamic effort, the 13 track album runs the gamut from art-punk to post-punk to alt-rock to folk all wrapped in intricate compositions and a few damn big choruses for good measure. It’s a contender for debut album of the year in our humble opinion.

Obviously, we wanted to know more about the album so we had a chin wag with the quintet all about it. Somehow ended up talking about Tony Blair, The Simpsons, and Fulham Football Club. Go figure.

Order the album via Bandcamp.

Overblown: Your just-released debut album Fad was produced by Daniel Fox of Irish noise rock outfit Girl Band. What did he bring to the recording process?

Silverbacks: A beautiful set of ears, patience, diplomacy, good conversation, rhythm, and a stomach for all things confectionary.

Overblown: I love the video for your track ‘Dunkirk’ which is also the first track on the album. Who created the video and what inspired the video?

Silverbacks: Cameron Taylor did all the art and made the video for it. He’s been the Silverbacks artist since day one. The only request we made for the video was that it included a Flanders field. Cam grew up down the road from us and we thought it would be nice if we included a field that lay between our parent’s houses. Part of Dunkirk is inspired by the estate we grew up in, which was an ammunition depot in WWII. It’s always really nice when childhood friends are part of a project that’s close to your heart. Not the ammo depot, Silverbacks.

Overblown: You’ve said before that the song ‘Dunkirk’ is about a character questioning the life they have been dealt and it is set in a dystopian future in which Dunkirk has become a holiday destination for families despite its history. Being a huge fan of dystopian literature, I loved that idea. Was that song inspired by any dystopian literature in particular?

Silverbacks: As far as I know it’s not inspired by any dystopian literature. I do like JG Ballard and Philip K Dick although I’ve read little of both. I’ve read all their blurbs though. I was thinking about how places and their historical value change with time, especially if there’s a quick buck to be made out of them in the short-term. A private beach in Dunkirk just seemed like a good setting to get those thoughts across. In a lot of our songs, we like to marry different ideas and narratives. So in ‘Dunkirk’, you have a man going through a midlife crisis, which is entirely normal, but the setting in which he does it makes it more interesting.

Overblown: You have an Irish and UK tour planned for the end of August and early September. Are you looking forward to getting back to playing live? Perhaps also a bit apprehensive?

Silverbacks: That has since been rescheduled to March 2021. But yes, I can’t wait! Hopefully, things will return to some form of normality so that our gigs will be like they used to. But hopefully a little more full.

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Overblown: I read that ‘Fad 95’ from the new album includes a nod to The Simpsons. How so?

Silverbacks: The chorus was inspired by the ‘Homerpalooza’ episode. When Pete Frampton says “And Sonic Youth is in my cooler, get out of there you kids!”. The old rockstar being pestered by the younger band fit well with this idea of politicians jumping onto Fads to be seen as relevant and cool. The lyrics were inspired by that image of Tony Blair walking into Downing Street carrying his acoustic guitar. I think now most people see it for what it was. A particularly seedy PR move portraying Blair as someone that he never was, a man for the people.

Overblown: How did you keep occupied during the lockdown? Some people found it very difficult but others found it a relief from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. What did you find it?

Silverbacks: I was very fortunate in that I didn’t lose my job and I like working from home. Apart from that, we had the album release to keep us busy. I learned how to make pesto, which is surprisingly simple. I’ve also been watching more films than I normally do and tracking demos for album two.

Overblown: The rock scene in Ireland is really strong at the moment with Girl Band, Fontaines D.C., and The Murder Capital going strong. Do you find that inspiring to be a part of?

Silverbacks: Yes for sure. If your neighbour’s cousin goes over to the UK for trials with Fulham FC, you’re going to spend the next day kicking a ball against a wall. Well, my neighbour’s cousin eventually came back because he was homesick, and now he wants to be in a band like Silverbacks.

Overblown: What Irish bands are you particularly enjoying at the moment?

Silverbacks: I’ve listened to The Bonk performance on Live from Guerrilla studios a few times. It’s great! My uncle was telling me about 5 Go Down To The Sea and Nun Attax the other night and a compilation that’s out on AllCity. I’ve been listening to that this week, it’s great. Oh and I’m currently relistening to Aoife Nessa France’s album. That’s great too!

Overblown: What’s the plan for the rest of the year after the September tour?

Silverbacks: We will be rehearsing album two and recording it in October. Thanks for talking to us Overblown!

Order the album via Bandcamp.

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