PREMIERE – David Backshell unveils video for “Revival” (Interview)

David Backshell

Photo Credit: Jack Sykes

David Backshell shares a music video for “Revival”

Montreal-born, England-raised, Toronto-based David Backshell has unveiled his latest single, “Revival,” accompanied by a brand new music video.

He started working on what would become Turn Up the Dark nearly five years ago, eking out song sketches that felt edgier and more “muscular” than the material he was
playing live. In the intervening period, COVID caused the world to grind to a halt, and everything around him entered a kind of uneasy limbo.

On a very concrete level, Backshell insists he’s in many ways a different person than he was during the genesis of this album—like, literally:

“The stat they always use, which I think may be junk science,” he says, “is that all of your cells completely replace themselves every seven years or so.”To him, this idea gets at the heart of his own sense of identity. “We often talk about memory as something that comes back to us,” he says, “whereas I think about it as more of an active process. Maybe it’s a bit like playing a long version of broken telephone with yourself?”

Backshell used to think that if he could just recapture a particular moment, he could return to being a previous version of himself. Now, he’s not so sure: What if those memories are transformed and reconstituted in the shift from who you were to who you are now?

Watch the video for “Revival” below and learn more about David Backshell via our mini-interview.

First off, care to introduce yourself to our readers?

I’m a singer-songwriter based in Toronto.  Born in Montreal and raised in the United Kingdom, I moved back to Canada a little over ten years ago. Since then, I’ve released two EPs: Another Man’s Clothes and Halfsleeper, and an album Codeine Dreams.  I am excited to be releasing my latest album, Turn Up The Dark, on the 31st of March, 2023.

You’ve unveiled your single, “Revival.” What can you tell us about the writing process behind the track?

Lyrically speaking, it draws upon a theme of getting older and the nature of how we view the change we see in ourselves over time. Our brains are inconsistent and often unreliable narrators of the stories we tell ourselves. The key lyric that brought the song into focus was one I had had for some time: “Dressed in twilight calling my name, her fading light feels like a tidal wave.” It seemed to open up an implied narrative of a relationship between two people, but equally, it could be a conversation I’m having with myself. The use of tide and twilight suggests a consistent cycle of erosion and revision of events. Originally, I thought it was going to be a slow, sombre, low-tempo song, but after I found the opening major key riff, it made more sense to me, and the whole thing came together within a day.

You have also released a music video to accompany the song. What was the highlight of the video shoot?

I’m a fairly camera-shy person by nature, so the idea of being in front of a film crew with lights is something I tend to recoil from. That said, I’m happy with how it looks, and what I like most is that we shot it in our practice space to look like a typical jam session. We’ve rehearsed countless times in that specific room, and it’s really nice to have some visual documentation of us in that space.

“Revival” is from your upcoming album, Turn Up The Dark. Tell us a bit about the creative process behind the album.

In many ways, this album is a reaction to my previous work. Until now, most of my songs were based around an acoustic guitar and designed to be played solo. When I played them live, it kept a lot of the other instruments in a very narrow frame with respect to what they could add to the live sound. However, this album was constructed with a settled group of players around me and primarily written on an electric guitar. It broadened the scope of the kind of songs I could write such that the guitar is not always the prime move, and the core of many of the songs is based around the keys or a drum part. I wanted to challenge the rather narrow writing box I was in and create an album that was much more varied and more muscular.

What is your favourite thing about being a musician in Toronto?

The best thing about being based in Toronto is quite simply the people. Being able to go out and see live music any day of the week and meet like-minded creative people is what makes me tick.

Do you have any upcoming shows to tell us about?

The new album comes out on 31st March, so I’ll be playing dates in Southern Ontario in the months of April and May.

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