One of their early songs was an ode to their Domino’s delivery guy, but the alt-pop, five-man band Back to Yours has covered a lot of territory since then, thanks, they say, to a fervent pack of roving fans, a dog named Pablo, a moshing grandmother, an incredibly bad horror flick called “Cube,” and the Beatles. But mainly the Beatles.
1. How’d you guys meet?
Dan: Three of us were friends in high school, me, Jiaan, and Bryce. But we had no idea anyone else played instruments. No idea. It took us a year to realize we played instruments.
Tommy: Then we kind of came together sophomore year. And we were like, “You play guitar? You play drums? You play keyboard?” That was the beginning.
Dan: We started playing a lot of The Beatles: Rock Band together in our apartment. There was one night where we finished the entire game. It was like 40 songs. We made sure to do every one of those songs, and then we went back to get five stars on every song.
Tommy: Our neighbors hated us.
Bryce: They were not particularly subtle about it.
Dan: There were always a lot of people over, making a lot of noise. And we were also watching a lot of Cube. It’s the worst horror movie ever made. We’re kind of obsessed with it. I don't know why. But basically, the concept of the movie is that there are these characters that are stuck inside of a cube, and they go through different dimensions, and they try to get out of it.
Jiaan: You can’t make it sound like it makes sense, so don’t try.
2. So, bottom line, you started as a Beatles cover band?
Dan: Essentially, yeah. There’s a one-semester, one-credit class at Georgetown called “Guild of Bands.” We all signed up for it, because it’s actually the only way to get a space to practice on campus. So, all of us went to the first class empty-handed, and at the same time, all of us realized you had to audition for it. We were like, “Oh shit, we’ll be back in 30 minutes.”
Jiaan: We were like, ‘What do we do?’ And someone said, ‘Let’s figure out how to play, “I Want to Hold Your Hand.”’ It’s just four chords, right? A half hour later, we went back and played it, and we got in. That was the start.
3. Why the Beatles?
Dan: Because they’re the best band ever. I think they’ve written a song for every mood I’ve ever been in.
Jiaan: I grew up listening to the Beatles. My dad is very heavy into the music of that era. But, for me, the Beatles are just these four guys like brothers. Their music has a lot of simplicity. They’re not necessarily virtuosos. But they’re playing together, for each other, and with each other. When I’m up on stage with these guys, I get a taste of what they had. I get really nervous, and I know that Tom gets super nervous too.
Tommy: Yeah, I do.
Jiann: But we’re all sharing that together. We’re playing off each other.
4. What do you want to be when you grow up?
Dan: Good answer! Happy is good. But with work, you know, we all have different majors, and we have summer jobs. Shout out to our bassist, Aiden, who’s not here. He’s a finance man. He’s got a bank job.
Bryce: I’m working for a pharmaceutical company in Westchester this summer researching treatments for glaucoma.
Jiaan: I work in neuro statics lab that traditionally focuses on the concept of beauty and where that's located in the brain, and how we use structures that are already in the brain to make and appreciate art. But I've chosen to do my own research on music, and more specifically, what processes in the brain make rhythm pleasurable.
Tommy: I’m majoring in Government. I work at a small consulting firm in Virginia, and at a coffee shop. I play our music in the shop all the time.
Bryce: You can look on Spotify and see he’s literally played it 70 times.
Dan: I’m working in music publishing this summer, but you know, “Feeling” was released a month ago, and it’s gaining traction none of us could have imagined. The Spotify algorithms went our way, and they put us on this “Release Radar” list, which got a lot more people playing it. So, as for our plans when we grow up, I think we’re going to watch it for the next year and give it a shot, and see where it goes.
Tommy: We plan our lives week by week. We’re going with the flow.
Bryce: I will say, the band is my favorite thing. It is for all of us, I think.
Tommy: I don't know about you guys, but I think about “What if?” like every day.
Jiaan: Yeah, every day.
Dan: Definitely more and more.
5. Your fans are insane.
Dan: We could not do it without them. It’s just like this group of friends who have been with us since the beginning. They give us so much support. We couldn’t ask for more.
Jiaan: It’s unreal to be able to look out in the crowd at a show and see dozens of your friends screaming songs and yelling at you. It's very comforting.
Bryce: In a way, we’re lucky we’re at a mid-sized school without a lot of music going on because we stand out. People get really excited about it, and people can rally behind us. If we went to a school like Wesleyan or Skidmore, we'd just be one of a million student bands. At Georgetown, we're kind of one of the few acts in town. And then you add our friends to that…
Jiaan: It’s like the five of us are just the faces of the band. But the band really consists of a group of around 20 people who do everything for us. The lighting, and promotion. They’re our production team. They take the pictures and make the videos, the album art. They give us the space to just focus on making the music. It’s a community. They’re behind the scenes, and we’re on stage.
Dan: We also have a band dog. He’s part of the community. His name is Pablo. And he is full-on a rock-and-roll dog. He’s grown up listening to extremely loud music. And the Beatles.
Jiaan: He’ll come into a practice space and just sleep next to the drum.
Tommy: You can follow him on Instagram at @the1ifeofpablo.
Bryce: He will definitely follow you back.
6. What’s with your band’s name?
Dan: It used to be Viluminati. I came up with it. Everyone hated it. It lasted two weeks.
Jiaan: Everyone was in a group chat about getting a better name, and someone just recognized that the phrase “Back to Yours” comes up a lot. Like, “Let’s go back to your place,” or whatever. And we liked it.
7. What if a record executive told you to change it, what would you do?
Tommy: Honestly, it’s kind of grown on us.
8.What would you tell yourselves a year ago?
Dan: Calm down.
Jiaan: I look at videos from a year ago, and we are so tense on stage. We’re not smiling or looking at each other. We’re just locked into what we’re doing. So, I’d tell us to just relax and act like we’re practicing, and I’d also tell us to practice. Practice is a big thing. It’s improved our sound so much.
Tommy: We’re definitely having a lot more fun now.
Bryce: And our sound is a lot cleaner.
9. What was your first song?
Dan: Probably Mallory. But early on we wrote “Mr. Mino Man.” It’s kind of cult song with our friends. It’s about our Domino’s delivery guy.
Bryce: Big part of our lives.
Dan: Yeah. “Hey, Mr. Mino Man, you're always there for me. I don't care what time it is. Please just take me where I want to be. You show me love. And now I'm asking for another piece. They call you Mr. Mino Man, but you’re never mean to me.” Inspired.
10. Who has an interesting iPhone background?
Tommy: Not me. None of us, I think.
Dan: Yeah, not me, but I’m seeing my grandma called me four times.
Bryce: She’s great. Comes to all our shows. She’s always in the mosh pit.
Jiaan: All of our parents have been incredibly supportive. It’s great.
Dan: Yeah, I’ve got to call my grandma back.
Check out Back to Yours on Quadio!