The Backstays formed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 2018 and have quickly become local favourites in the New Brunswick music scene. Since they released their debut EP in August 2018, the band hit the road touring Canada's Maritime provinces, also supporting acts such as Joel Plaskett Emergency, Hannah Georgas, The Great Lake Swimmers and Alvvays. Their debut single "Dreams" reached #1 on the East Coast Countdown and their meandering ode to the Saint John labour movement, "Groundhog Gale '76", was featured in The East Magazine's Top 100 of 2018 at #12.
Life along the Bay of Fundy, in the industrial heartland of Atlantic Canada— in a post-industrial era— is embedded in The Backstays lyrics. The band brings together roots and heartland rock into a more expansive sound that equally evokes new wave and post-punk. Along with Pete Johnston on guitar and synth, the band includes Serenna Chapman on violin and piano, Keith Whipple on bass, Derek Hichie on guitar and synth, and Lorne Kirkpatrick on drums. The Backstays take the 'wall of sound' ethos from the studio to the stage. In 2019, The Backstays teamed up with Romesh Thavanathan (formerly of Hey Rosetta!) and began working on their first full-length album which is set for a 2020 release and a tour to follow.
Photo by Graeme Stewart-Robertson