FEATURE: Backyard Rhythm Orchestra – My Inspiration | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Folksy, funky ska band Backyard Rhythm Orchestra have a new video and track out now. We found out a little bit more about where their inspiration comes from…

For those new to the BYRO experience I would describe the sound as eclectic world music that is dance floor oriented and both silly and serious in equal measure. Imagine a yin yang sign with daft theatrical gimmicks and comedy on one end of the spectrum and sincere musicianship and radical socio-political analysis on the other and you have something that approximates the Backyard ethic.
Inspirations come from all nooks and crannies of perceived reality but there are some folks who deserve a mention:
First and foremost ‘The Old Rope String Band’ with their incisive protest songs, hilarious stage show and top draw playing have always been a group I aspire to emulate when writing songs and putting together a live show. The B-side to our latest release Soul Stones actually features a tune called Reel Madrid written by the Old Rope’s late great Joe Scurfield who died in 2005 leaving a huge Karl Marx lookalike/grumpy clown shaped hole in the Newcastle music scene.
Musical inspiration for the A-side My Agricultural Laundrette comes from the grainy, distorted and digitally remastered world of Afro-funk, the wailing blues of the Mississippi delta and the revolutionary raps of those keeping hip-hop ‘real’ (or woke AF if you wanna be all millennial about it). Artists like Ekambi Brilliant, Muddy Waters and Sage Francis deserve a nod.
The surreal satire of Monty Python deserves a shout out too. It has always been my mission to say something worthwhile and make people laugh (and dance), so the latest addition to the Backyard back-catalogue is another attempt at that.
The new song, written long before the EU referendum was a twinkle in Farage’s eye, is an attempt to expose the lunacy of a policy of agriculture subsidies in which the richest 25% line their pockets with up to 80% of the funds while smallholdings and subsistence farmers are left wanting. A madness exemplified by the fact that bankers are willing to pay double the asking price for a farm in order to get a slice of taxpayers’ money whilst simultaneously benefiting from tax incentives that should remain the privilege of working farmers and their families.
As the EU debate rages like wildfires in a heatwave, the dichotomy of BREXIT = BAD, EU = GOOD is a gross over-simplification and that regardless of whether ‘in’ or ‘out’ we should use our collective influence to argue that it is high time we put some COMMON SENSE into the Common Agricultural Policy.

Luke (Flute)
Jethro Tull was a great inspiration as is Tubby Hayes on a completely different note! Also Brian Finnegan obviously as a highly regarded folky flute and whistle player. Finally, I’m inspired by the previous flautist from Sheelanagig – Adrian Sykes – who I replaced two years ago when they were my favourite band!

Jo B (Vox/Synth)
Rebel festival music and the likes of Kate Tempest and Rob Rub. Plus world music rhythms meeting British folk traditions.

Joey (Vox)
For me I need to believe the lyrics, I want a story or words of importance. That’s what I love about BYRO, that what is said matters. My influences are generally women with powerful voices such as Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald and Nina Simone. My performance in BYRO is influenced by Mr Motivator. I saw him at a festival early in BYRO’s life. To be honest I went with scorn in my heart and I was so wrong. In his shining lycra he reaches out to the entire audience and motivates them to their soul. Such fun, joy and movement is what I want to give the audience.

Jawik (Accordion)
Inspired by old English music bands like Led Zeppelin, Yes, Genesis, Van der Graaf Generator, Spinal Tap….

French (Drums)
My drumming inspirations include Fear Factory (relentless double kick machiiiine), Dillinger Escape Plan (jazz metal time signature overload), Lamb (making dance music interesting), Estradasphere (all the genres and classical grade musicianship) and zen philosophy (be the calm at the eye of the storm).

Jonesy (Guitar)
Gong, Ozric Tentacles, Steel Pulse, Steve Hillage, Frank Zappa, The Clash, Earth Wind and Fire

Trigger (Bass)
My biggest early inspiration was Led Zep bassist John Paul Jones. He had such groove and quite a melodic touch this time, bringing his jazz/soul background into rock, and being an arranger he knew exactly what bass can bring to a piece of music.
Also Esperanza Spalding, jazz bassist and vocalist, and genre-spanner! Everything she does comes straight from the soul.

Elliott (Sax)
I am inspired by great songs and great songwriting ie: David Bowie, Captain Beefheart, Nadine Shah. Plus bands that have energy and make you wanna dance. That’s why I love playing with Backyard. I think we have lots of energy and everyone seems to want to dance to our music.

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