The Backstays formed in Saint John, New Brunswick in 2018 and have quickly become local favourites in the Saint John music scene having received Stingray Music's Rising Star award at the Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival. Since they released their self-titled debut EP in August 2018, the band hit the road touring Canada's Maritime provinces, also supporting acts such as Joel Plaskett Emergency and Alvvays. Their debut single "Dreams" reached #1 on the East Coast Countdown.
A founding member and the band's primary songwriter Pete Johnston calls the band and their reverb-ladened tracks a fusion of "the classic rock and new wave of the 70s and 80s with more modern tones kind of steeped in the fog". Along with Johnston on vocals and guitar, the band includes Serenna Chapman on vocals, violin and piano, band co-founder Keith Whipple on vocals and bass, Derek Hichie on guitar and synth, and Lorne Kirkpatrick on drums. In 2019 The Backstays began working on their first full-length album which is set for a 2020 release and a tour to follow.
"There's really not a lot of places we won't go sonically," says Johnston. "We're still trying to find where those places are."
(Photo by Kate Tadic)