I’m Damien Dockery, drummer, songwriter and founder of BackFoot. The other two members are Pál Hanula (bassist, guitarist, keyboard player and studio engineer), and David Zalinian (vocals). I’m Irish, Pál is Hungarian, and David is Armenian, and we all live in Budapest, Hungary.
Back in Ireland, I had played in bands part-time and for fun, but for a long time after I moved to Hungary, I didn’t have any opportunity to be involved in music. A few years ago, I started to practice again after several years not playing, and eventually started to look for some bands to play with on a part-time basis.
David had a Queen covers band, who were looking for a drummer, and I joined them for a short while on an interim basis. By then I had started to write my own songs, and wanted to record them. David offered to help, and someone else I met recommended Pál as a good studio technician. When I met Pál, he told me he could play bass, guitar, and keyboards on the recordings, and so we began from there.
We originally recorded 6 of my songs, and then planned further recordings to complete an album (which I had named ‘Running Behind Time’ – probably appropriate as it has taken me so long to get around to writing, recording, and publishing my own music :-)).
For the new recordings, I asked Pál and Dave if they wanted to include some of their own compositions as well, to make it more of a band project, rather than just about me. So we agreed on 8 new songs, which are 3 of mine, 3 of David’s, and 2 from Pál.
I think the interesting thing about the album is that it doesn’t reflect just one musical genre. Of the 9 songs I wrote, the styles range from pop/funk, to Latin, to classic pop/rock with a lot of groove, as my taste in music is quite varied.
Pál’s songs (for which I wrote lyrics) reflect his taste in funk and gospel, with lots of vocal and instrumental harmonies. Pál similarly has very diverse musical taste.
David’s songs follow a more classic and traditional pop or pop/rock mode. One of Dave’s songs, for which Pál composed and arranged the music, has a symphonic style sound combined with elements of drum & bass, which is an interesting mix.
So all in all, I think there is a good mix of styles which I think gives the album a diverse range but a good balance as well.
Ideas about the album:
Overall we’re happy with how the album worked out. From my point of view, the original objective was to record and publish my own songs, and now the album has 14 songs which includes compositions by David and Pál as well, and we can focus more as a band from this point forward.
We have just finished the new 8 songs and they are being released on our website (www.backfootmusic.com) as we speak, so reception and reaction only starts happening from now. We hope it will all be positive 🙂
If there is a good reaction to the album, the next step would be to bring in additional full-time band members to complete a full live band line-up, probably one or two guitarists and a keyboard player (Pál doesn’t have enough hands to do everything at the same time :-)). Then concerts or touring to promote the ‘Running Behind Time’ album. But we also need to think about making some videos of the latest 8 songs that complete the album (there are already 3 video clips from the original first 6 songs).
I already have the basis of 3 new songs for the next album, and with input from Pál and David, & probably additional band members, the next album should be an exciting step forward. That’s a bit further down the line though, as we’re just starting out with this album and getting the band up and running.
Lyrics, themes and concepts:
I suppose each of us has our own writing approach, so I can’t speak fully for David and Pál. With me, sometimes I have an idea for lyrics, and then the melody or groove derives from that. Other times, I might have a melody in mind, and then add lyrics to it later. Or I could get some ideas from a drum or rhythmic pattern. It also happened once or twice that I separately had written lyrics and a piece of music, not knowing they would end up together (as was the case with ‘Unreality’, the closing song on the ‘Running Behind Time’ album).
Preference; live or studio:
Being in the studio is good from a creative point of view, with your ideas developing into complete songs. Playing live is always more exciting though, especially performing your own songs in public.
As the project was originally about releasing my own songs, the majority of the songs on the album are my own compositions. But with an expanded band line-up in the future, there will probably be more input from the other members.
I also wrote the lyrics for Pál’s two songs, and will probably do so in future – I may also end up writing lyrics to songs from future new members too. I guess that will make me the main lyricist. Plus whatever music I write.
David writes his own music and lyrics, and Pál wrote the music for one of David’s songs.
It’s a completely mixed bag. I couldn’t pick just one musical style or influence, and I guess the other two guys probably either.
My influences span funk, Latin, pop/rock, and soul, Dave maybe more contemporary pop & rock, electronic, and dance, and Pál spans everything from funk, rock, metal, gospel, drum & bass, dubstep, dance / trance,….
It’s pretty wide ranging.
Preference; cater to the audience or music for its own sake:
I think music has to come from the inside so it’s all about individual feelings and ideas. Then if it appeals to a lot of people, that’s great.
Some bands or artists try to create music like a marketing plan, but I think that will always sound empty and shallow, and lack a certain feeling or creative spark.
My biggest accomplishment is that up this point in my like, having only played in bands part-time, and having gone periods of not playing at all while I was following the normal career path, to finally write, record, and release my own music.
The BackFoot musical journey is only just starting though, and we hope there will be lots of big accomplishments ahead of us 🙂
Thank you for letting me fill this Q&A. Here are links to the YouTube video clips that we have so far – I hope we can make some new videos soon.