The Backroad members make a lot of their instruments from items such as PVC pipes and trashcans.
The Backroad members make a lot of their instruments from items such as PVC pipes and trashcans. (Submitted)
Band: The Backroad

Members: Kyle Morgan, lead vocals and guitar; Brian Bowman, guitars, keys, synth and bass; Ben Smith, percussion; and Matt Gochenauer, vocals, bass and harmonica

Who we talked to: Gochenauer

Where did the name come from? We were going through a bunch of names. The Backroads came out, and it was kind of different. It wasn't sort of mainstream. (Morgan's brother-in-law) helped us with it, and we eventually just came to The Backroad because we figured it would be easy.

Can you describe your sound and style? We consider it experimental folk. Our three biggest influences are Paul Simon, Radiohead and Wilco. We range anything from ambient folk style . . . to more rockish.

You guys play some pretty interesting instruments, right? Our drummer has been playing around with different sounds. He was influenced from . . . the drummer from Wilco. He experiments a lot with pitch changes and percussive instruments that are unique. (Bowman) took that idea and sort of expounded upon it, and he built his own drum set out of garbage cans and can lids. We've made some PVC-pipe instruments and stuff with ceiling hooks, all kinds of fun stuff.

How long have you guys been playing together? (Bowman) and I have been playing for four or five years now. (Morgan) and I met two years ago when I was in the high school musical. We were jamming and practicing and stuff and decided that we wanted to go further with it.

Is there a certain place that you guys like to play or want to play in the area? We're hoping maybe that we would be able to play at the Studio at the Strand. They have a lot of stuff going on there. We'd love to get into that. Right now, we've been playing out on the streets for First Fridays.

Are there other bands in York that you play with? The last band I was in . . . played with a band known as Tea and their drummer Alex Smith has started a production company with his friend. We've been talking with him a little bit. He's in a band now called The Tamboureens.

Do you guys cover any songs when you play? Two of our favorites that everybody seems to get into and like are actually are both Paul Simon songs: "You Can Call Me Al" and "Diamonds On The Souls of Her Shoes." We also cover Peter, Paul and Mary; Radiohead and Wilco; and kind of all the bands that influence us.

How do you feel about the music scene in York? It seems really good. It's great playing downtown. We sort of jam and play off each other. People get into it when we're having fun and it seems like they respond really well. The style we play is still kind of new, and some of the stuff we do is a little too far out for some people. Sometimes, we go too far.

Do you have a best memory with the band? One of the best times we played . . . was downtown in front of Kimmans. It was the first time that (Ben Smith) decided he wanted to try something new with his drum set. We started out as a jazz-influenced kind of band. A lot of our songs and the whole experimental style actually came out of that gig, so that was a good time.

What do you want to be doing a year from now? We're really hoping to make a go of this. We're making all of our own stuff and we're all going to college right now, so it's hurting a little on the wallet. Hopefully in the next few years . . . we'll be able to start making some professional recordings.

- ERIN McCRACKEN, FLIPSIDE STAFF