Track by Track is a recurring feature series in which artists share the story behind every song on their latest release. Today, Joshua Harmon and Jonas Swanson of The Backseat Lovers break down their new album, Waiting to Spill.
The highs and lows during the three-year period The Backseat Lovers spent crafting their latest record, Waiting to Spill, are palpable from the jump. Out on Friday, October 28th, the album illustrates the impact of a meditative work between experimenting with DIY instruments and wrapping up tracks from earlier sessions. The indie rock ensemble embodies the idea of patience is a virtue, as their sophomore effort builds off 2019’s When We Were Friends at its own pace, leading to a rewarding album for both the collective and their listeners.
Throughout Waiting to Spill’s 10-track run, the quartet of Joshua Harmon (lead vocals, guitar), Jonas Swanson (lead guitar, vocals), KJ Ward (bass), and Juice Welch (drums, vocals) seemingly work in a conjoined manner that sees The Backseat Lovers operating as one entity. There’s no one individual that takes away from another, as the “star” of the project is the band as a whole. Album opener “Silhouette” epitomizes the group’s chemistry through multiple sonic experimentations — a moment Harmon tells Consequence was “so much fun trying in recording this song.” He also describes it as the project’s “most intricate track.”
“So many elements of it lived in our heads for years before being able to bring them to life through the speakers,” Harmon explains. “Running emotionally significant voice memos through pedal boards, re-writing a piano part to be played in reverse, using elementary toys as percussion, and eventually blaring a droney ‘E note’ out the side of a moving vehicle toward a pair of microphones to capture the Doppler effect creating a natural key change to D.”
The implementation of these unique approaches is exemplified best on the second-half track “Snowbank Blues,” which according to Harmon started off as a way to make his father laugh by imitating a classic country tune’s riff. Shortly after, Harmon realized that his parody had potential, which would soon become his “entire creative focus.”
“Jonas and I made a garage band demo in about two hours using a rice-filled Altoid case for a shaker and improvising song structure,” Harmon remembers. “We fell in love with the DIY nature of the demo and tried to capture that same feeling in the studio recording. We ended up keeping this ‘dog howl’ sound from the first demo that was actually a fire truck driving by during a vocal take.”
Waiting to Spill wears its inspirations proudly, as the moments of genesis behind each track are apparent. From the early winter morning that stemmed “Morning in the Aves” to the downpour of rain in the mountains from the concluding track “Viciously Lonely,” this three-year stretch adds further character to an already engrossing listen that sees The Backseat Lovers come together to support one another.
Listen to The Backseat Lovers’ new album Waiting to Spill below, followed by Harmon and Swanson’s Track by Track breakdown of the album. Pick up your physical copy from the band’s online store.
To support the album, The Backseat Lovers are headed out on tour; grab your tickets now via Ticketmaster.