The experience of being a musician is all about growing and becoming better at your craft. Never is that more evident with Columbus pop-punk quartet Best Foot Back, who released their newest single Give It A Go on Friday.
“During the pandemic, I had all these ideas in my head, and I started becoming enamored with the idea of writing a really great pop song,” explains singer Michael Bashaw. “When I was initially writing for Best Foot Back, it was very much a pop-punk sound, and learning that genre and what it took to put a song together.”
True to his words, the band’s self-titled debut EP, released 4 years ago, mirrored bands like Relient K, eleventyseven and Simple Plan. But Bashaw says that as time has gone by, he has learned new ways to hone his craft with his band.
“We wanted to find a pop-punk sound that was our sound,” he says “and so the first EP is sort of pop-punk with some aggression. As the band has grown, I’ve found my voice and learned to be more aggressive.”
“That’s still my direction but I’m very influenced by pop music – shorter melodies, syncopated rhythms, stuff like that.”
The band first came together in 2015. Bashaw had played with Dave Buker and a few other bands, but had never really taken the forefront in any of his collaborations. Once he decided to start his own band, he says that things started falling into place rather easily.
“I had known (drummer) John Spiegel for a while, but we had never really hung out,” he began. “I had posted on Facebook that I was looking for a drummer, and he immediately jumped on board. I had known (bassist) Ben Fonseca since high school, and I grabbed my brother Andrew to play lead guitar.”
“We all fit together really well, and didn’t feel any pressure as we cut our teeth,” he continued. “We played a few shows and practiced for a year before recording that first EP.”
Bashaw says that while he had been in and out of bands for many years, recording was a brand new thing for him.
“I mean, I had never even sung until I was in college. I grew up playing piano and guitar, and at some point I just decided I wanted to write and sing.”
“Plus, we really felt like making that EP made us a better band,” he expounded “because we all found our strengths, and it made for a really good balance. Prior to that I had been more concerned with making sure everyone had their own voice, and it kind of held me back.”
“The stuff I’m writing nowadays… I just know how everyone will fit in and how it will work with our sound!”
Bashaw lamented the fact that the band didn’t really get the chance to do anything together last year, but says it wasn’t for the lack of effort.
“We had been playing shows pretty regularly, and had released a single in 2019 and 2020. But with the pandemic, it just didn’t work for the four of us,” he confirmed. “We only had the chance to practice once, so I just spent the entire year writing for a new album, and thinking about what we could do once we actually made it back to the studio.”
All of that effort is quite evident in Give It A Go, which indeed has a springier, poppy sound that immediately crawls into your ears and takes up residence within your mind. Bashaw says the band did things a little differently this time around.
“We usually would write a song, play it for a year and then go to studio to record,” he laughed “but that wasn’t an option this time around.”
“Our producer Jeremy Steckel had the idea to link me up with David Eselgroth from The Orphan The Poet. It was a nice complement of styles, being able to co-write with him. It’s always fun to learn and grow throughout the process of making a new song.”
Give It A Go reminds me more of The Night Game, Whosah or local rockers Goodnight Fear. The song’s chorus bounces forward, and the verses feature a simpler guitar and kick drum/snare combo. There really isn’t a ton of extra noise to write home about except for the phenomenally catchy hooks. I promise that after one listen, you’ll be snagged too.
“I really have to give credit to Jeremy,” Bashaw admits. “He spots weaknesses and helps me work through them. The feeling I get when we have a mastered song that hits all the right spots… there’s nothing quite like it.”
The band received a grant from the Greater Arts Council and are planning to record music later in the year. Bashaw says he hopes that the band can release it at some point in 2022 and get back to playing shows.
“I imagine 2022 will be much bigger for us… I mean, how can’t it be?” he smiled. “Even though we haven’t been able to play shows, being able to write and record music just helps me express myself artistically.”
“Honestly, putting together Give It A Go was a really fun moment for the band, in a year that has been so crazy.”
Bashaw says that he’s also really looking forward to getting back out and playing with friends. He cites the likes of Cousin Simple, Fever Fever, Antioch and Hello Luna as some of his favorites to play with around town.
“I have really grown to love and appreciate the local scene,” he conferred. “If you’re in Ohio, Columbus is a great place to be. There’s so much support for the art and music scenes. It might not be Nashville or Chicago, but it’s not the cow town that some people would have you believe.”
I could feel the genuine passion and exuberance in just chatting with Bashaw for an hour or so. Personally, I love meeting people whose joy is abundant and whose desire to grow the local scene is apparent. Bashaw says that he uses his heart as a compass to drive how Best Foot Back operates.
“My vision for the band is to combine pop songwriting and a punk sound, but in a positive way,” he elaborates. “Whether it be spirituality, how we treat others, or just being authentic, I really want to put music out there in terms of treating others well. To me, it’s unique enough to make a difference, and I feel like I’m making a difference just sharing my music.”
“I’m just not a negative guy. It’s gotta be good vibes!”
If you’re like Bashaw and love good vibes, then Give It A Go is the song for you. Check it out below!