Backdoor

This song is about the consequences of repressing emotions. My view is that when we don’t confront our inner demons, they “sneak out the back door” and manifest in different ways. We do this for many reasons and we lie to ourselves and say “all is better / all is well.” Backdoor is a letter to my loved ones to let them know that I have demons too – that I’m human too, and that I’m there for them no matter what.

Musically I aimed for early Catherine Wheel meets The Strokes. 

The writing process was an interesting one. I was watching Silicon Valley on the evening of April 7, 2020… during the lockdown of 2020. I had been on a creative streak with songwriting. As such, and possibly out of boredom and an insecurity to keep things fresh, I decided to tune my guitar in an odd way. For reference, a standard guitar tuning is: EADGBE. I detuned the high E and B strings down a half step to create this tuning: E, A, D, G, Bb, Eb. After noodling around in the dark by TV light, I created this two measure jam band style guitar riff in an odd meter. 

After I recorded that bit on my iphone, I messed around a bit more and essentially came up with the verse chords and melody. The strumming was straight 16th notes, which is wildly different to what it is now. As evening became morning, I did some more experimentation and got some rest. By mid afternoon the next day, that initial jam band style riff was removed and the rest of the song fell into place.

Judah Kim performing live

This does not happen often. I usually go through endless revisions with lyrics, arrangements, chords, etc… but Backdoor was the first time in a while that I felt this open channel of creativity. When the chords for the chorus arrived they opened up this world of melody and I felt the freedom to dream up anything I wished. The vision for the song became clear when the improvisation of “all is better / all is well” happened.

I knew I was going to write about mental health and I knew what lyrical imagery to use in the verses. There are definitely some scribbles on the original lyric pages but, unlike most of my other songs which span pages upon pages of revisions, Backdoor only takes up the space of 2 in my book.

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