BackWordz, the new metal band that is ushering in a new form of heavy hitting music, laced with outspoken rhymes they call “Street Hop”. Read our exclusive interview.
It has been a good ten years since I can honestly say I’ve sampled and enjoyed a metal band. I have fond memories of listening to Metallica thinking I was tough (I wasn’t). But the music eventually stopped resonating with me in that personal rebellious way metal, rock and punk usually do. A cursory glance at the top metal bands of 2016… and you can easily see that the trend is leaning towards a more commercial narrative, which is both frustrating and disappointing to fans of the sound. That left me wondering would I even like this new metal coming out of Texas?
The answer is a resounding YES!
Metal is not music for the faint of heart. It has always hit the darker tone of music, tapping into the frustrations of the young and old. It is typically highly political; with incredible energy that can change the way a person sees the world. BackWordz, a self-described Street Hop/Metal band with an anarcho-capitalist slant, is no exception to that. In fact, they thrive on delivering a powerful message that asks their fans, and anyone willing to listen, to take a real hard look in a mirror.
It’s paid off. The band debuted their album at #1 Alternative New Artist, #2 Heat Seekers, #5 on Hard Rock, #11 for Rock, #12 for Rap and #14 for Independent Label. It’s not easy to do for an unsigned band.
I spoke with frontman Eric July over the weekend to get more of their story and learn how an obscure band from Texas managed to make it onto the Billboard charts with a debut album.
How do you feel as a metal artist in the modern musical landscape?
It’s certainly interesting. We have a lot of people that have come out because we play a musical style they dig, but that message hasn’t been there for them. If that weren’t the case, we may not have seen as much immediate success as we have because we are filling a void. This message doesn’t really exist in this music, currently. We get the looks because you have those gate- keepers you have to maneuver around. With this band, we skipped all of that. We knew that going into it when we drew up our band and how we wanted to approach this. We knew we would have a push back and told ourselves to be ready for that.
It has been crazy supportive from this freedom loving community. They like what we have to say and how we say it. People miss that in music. I do my activism, and folks followed me from that. A lot of the community that’s been following myself and the other band members followed us from our previous projects to BackWordz for something new. This is a self-release album, aside from our partnership with Stay Sick Recordings who helped distribute the album. So many artists go broke doing that, touring just to tour and get on stage. We did this our own way and before we knew it, it had sold 3,000 records in its first week. Then you see the chart numbers. It was a good feeling to see that kind of success.
You mentioned your own activism in your community in Texas, is the band itself activist as well? I mean the message resonates with a lot of people on both sides of the aisle today.
Everybody in the band is liberty minded. Me and the other vocalist Alex are more the activists that speak this message and reach out into the community that way. To be fair, that’s not for everyone because you put a target on your back. Some of my band mates like to chill in the cut. But we wouldn’t put this music out if all the band members weren’t on board with our message. We all believe in it.
Did you find you had an uptick in new fans because you did release on a heavy album release week for other (established) metal and rock bands?
I think that, absolutely. We used that to our advantage because people were seeing our named tied to some really major bands up there in the charts. I’m positive we gained a few new fans because that way. The Internet changed the game. I mean were an unheard of, unsigned band in Texas. You used to have to tour, you used to have to get on the radio, you used to have to do all that. Now you don’t have to do that in order to get your music out there. You can just have a hit song and if it jams, it jams. BackWordz proved that a lot of that industry “standards” and methods are bogus.
You’re not a big fan of touring for the sake of touring. That said, do you plan on going back on the road anytime soon?
Absolutely. We did just get off the road, so were just keeping things going. We want to keep the momentum swinging. The fans deserve that. But there is a lot that goes into that. If were going on the road, it’s because people want to see our band. It serves little to no purpose to do it without the fans. It’s fiscally irresponsible to not take that into consideration. Now that the album is out, we will definitely get back on the road. We’re looking at laying the foundation of a name and want to do this the right way. We want to do what’s best for these five guys and keep the band going. We’re looking at maybe in the fall.
BackWordz: Veracity is currently available online on iTunes, Amazon, GooglePlay or online at Target and Best Buy (online only unless otherwise noted)