A musical life needs balance too

MUSIC: Paul Backman recording an EP at Atlantis Studio.
MUSIC: Paul Backman recording an EP at Atlantis Studio.

The youngest of three children of Barry and Raelene Backman I was born in Wollongong in 1983.

OUTDOORS: On a camping mission to Mount Greenly.

OUTDOORS: On a camping mission to Mount Greenly.

My family moved from NSW to the Barossa Valley when I was two to be closer to family here in SA. This was home for the next 19 years.

Looking back I was extremely lucky growing up.

We had a beautiful 30 acre property in Rowland Flat (home of Jacobs Creek) surrounded by the Barossa ranges, red gums and vineyards.

SIBLINGS: Paul (middle) with his sister Juliet and brother Carl Backman.

SIBLINGS: Paul (middle) with his sister Juliet and brother Carl Backman.

I remember my mums old upright piano in the house, my sister and I would play on it as kids making up little dittys and later taking lessons with a lady called Mrs Mudge. I had a wonderful childhood immersed in nature and music.

In high school I picked up the guitar and a little later moved to percussion and drumset. This was something I‘d spend the best part of my adolescence invested in, jamming with friends, taking lessons and practicing my butt off.

Moving to Adelaide in 2003, I completed a bachelor of music in 2006 and later my diploma in education.

I wanted to work in the field I was studying and passionate about so after numerous part time jobs I landed my first teaching position at Trinity College in Gawler. From there picking up work at Concordia College, Ardtonish Primary, St Peters girls and Birdwood High to name a few.  About the same time I also joined the The Idle Saints.  I remember some of my first experiences of Port Lincoln was gigging at the Lincoln Hotel with this band, we had some great shows but honestly they all blur into one!

I was gigging and teaching in Adelaide for many years in a variant of ensembles/bands, Quiet Child, Lather, Close Call, Raiders, Drumline even doing some musical theatre!  One of the last groups I joined was a interactive children’s show called Music is Fun a wonderful group of people directed by Andre Oorsterbaan that tours locally and regionally educating/exposing young people to live music performance.

Making a living musically has many challenges to overcome, as great as the gigging life was I did burn out somewhat. Just like anything, work-life balance is so important to the longevity in any career and personal life is key. As hard as the decision was I felt my time in the city had come to an end.

In 2012 breaking away from the allure of the ‘big city’ I literally headed out bush with my partner at the time. I had a stint working at the Smoky Bay Club flipping burgers and later working at the Wirrulla Footy Club as a part time bartender. It was a complete left turn for me and was my first real taste of the West Coast.

I fell in love with the place and the people (well most!) and became totally in awe of the coastline, the expanses of farmland and the pristine water is something so special. Being a rogue musician living remotely was probably not the best career move and again after a break from performing and teaching I started to miss my old life.

After a gig filling in one night at the Pier Hotel with the Bundy Incident, the guys in the band made the suggestion I move to Port Lincoln. I thought about it for a few days and about a month later, September 2014, I was on the road with just enough fuel and jumbo dog in toe heading to ‘the big smoke’ of Port Lincoln.

Thinking back now it’s funny where life takes you! You got to roll with it!