“Punk is such a blunt tool; it’s easy to listen to a minute-and-a-half-long song and get an idea or become aware of something from it,” says Jake Owens of Utah-based punk group Backhand,. Jake plays guitar (and some bass) in the band alongside his brother Ben Owens (vocals), their cousin Mitch Owens (bass) as well as Matt Timmons (percussion). The group came together as a result of a collective passion for punk starting at an early age.
Jake got into the Ramones when he was 11 and quickly found himself in conflict with his middle school’s strict rules. “I had just started playing guitar so I was writing all of these punk songs about the administration of my school and getting suspended,” says Jake. “I thought I was the most badass dude that had ever lived.” Once they served their missions, the brothers agreed that they would pour their focus into a punk band after they returned.
It was the result of a dull job that afforded Jake a gestation period for his musical ambitions. “The cogs were turning,” Jake says. During his long shifts, he would listen to hours of audio books and albums. “Being able to occupy that part of my brain that wasn’t being used because of how stupidly menial and boring this job was with creative time was cool,” says Jake.
For Ben, starting off the band was a large struggle. Not having the breadth of knowledge his brother had, Ben had far less references as to what to base his sound off of. “I didn’t realize it didn’t need to be so strict,” says Ben. “Punk is a very free genre—there’s a lot of room in there for whatever you want to do.” Coming to this realization allowed Ben to fully explore his sound. “You can do electronic punk, post-punk, and even new wave is somewhat considered punk. There’s so many facets and so much freedom with it.” Jake adds, “A lot of other genres of music don’t feel as approachable because there’s so many rules and conventions. If you have a laptop and a guitar, you can make punk music.”
Backhand is excited for the future and already has more music on the way in the form of a sister-like project to their previous EP, Kiki Alarcon. “We try to talk to people about things that are important to us in way that they can get in their brain, stew over it and hopefully come out with a different perspective,” says Jake.
Backhand’s music is available wherever you stream music. You can stay up to date with the band’s upcoming performances, releases and more on their Instagram @backhand.band.