For local band members, music is a home away from home

The World Behind Me practices in a space in downtown Wichita Falls, Oct. 7. Photo by Rachel Johnson

The World Behind Me practices in a space in downtown Wichita Falls, Oct. 7. Photo by Rachel Johnson

The world of pop-punk music has many famous bands, including Fall Out Boy and Nirvana. These names are just some of the inspiration for the local band started by nursing sophomore Connor Murphy, called the World Behind Me.

Murphy has been making music since he was in the sixth grade. When a classmate wanted to start a band, Murphy wanted to join. But his choice instruments, the guitar or drums, were taken, so Murphy played the bass guitar.

“It was Rock Band and Guitar Hero that made me want to play a lot,” he said.

Murphy started his band in the summer of 2013. The other band he was in, Seize the Captain, didn’t work out because the members kept quitting.

“I wanted to start a pop-punk band, but everybody else in the band quit, so I got these guys,” Murphy said, laughing as he gestured to his band mates that had draped themselves over the blue leather couch in their downtown studio.

Murphy takes the position of lead guitarist and vocalist, but has three other members in his band. Daniel Boyd plays the bass and sings back up vocals, Garrett Walden is the other guitarist, and Ryan Meek plays the drums.

The World Behind Me plays local shows in and around Wichita Falls and the Dallas/Fort Worth area. The band likes to open shows with a little humor

“We spend the night basically making fun of everybody,” Murphy said.

Boyd waved from his seat on the arm of the couch, adding, “when he says everybody, he means Daniel.”

Murphy begins to tell a story about a show the band played in Stephenville, where the World Behind Me was meant to play an hour-long set. Their set list was 20 minutes long, at most, so the band played some old songs, danced around onstage, and talked about the Cowboys football team to make up for the time.

“It was fun,” Walden said. “We play in a lot of places where we can tell people are not going to be ‘into us,’ so we subtly make fun of the people we’re playing for.”

What’s more important is the band’s thought as they perform onstage.

The guys said they get nervous before they perform, so as soon as they play that first note, the adrenaline and the excitement kick in, and the anxiety goes away. They just focus on having fun.

“The first note is an adrenaline rush.” Meek said. “I get nervous that the crowd won’t react, but then I’m happy when they do.”

The band does perform some original songs and has an album — “Conditions” — coming out Nov. 10.

“Connor writes the main part, and we all add our own two cents,” Walden said.

Murphy came up with the concept for the album from a psychology class he took, and wrote most of the songs on the album.

He based his idea on Pavlov’s conditioning experiments, where he would train his dogs to associate food with a certain stimulus.

“Through life you get conditioned through hard times, so each song is about an individual shitty experience that I had to go through,” Murphy said.

The band members said that they are proud of the album, and the time and thought that went into it.

“It sounds really good, like it’s been worked on,” Walden said.

The members talk about the best things they’ve done together, and Walden talks about the late-night drives back home after shows in other cities. They talk about how they would play their music loud enough to keep themselves awake as they drove. Meek added a tale about the time they played the SpongeBob jellyfish rave for 30 minutes to avoid falling asleep on the way home.

“We were jamming pretty hard,” Meek said.

The guys start laughing uncontrollably as Murphy pulls out his phone to search for the video, and they all start head banging to the song.

While the members enjoy playing their music for audiences, not all are in it for fame.

“This is just fun for me, I like the music, and I like these guys a lot,” Murphy said.

Walden and Meek agree, claiming the band is a home away from home, and a great way to relieve stress.

“When we’re playing, I don’t have to think about anything else,” Walden said.

Even though they may just be making music for the sake of making music, at one point, the band had dreams of becoming famous. They wanted to go on tour, to meet new people, and perform high energy shows. Most of all, the band members wanted their songs to be relatable, and hold meaning to other people.

“The coolest thing for us is when people know the words that Connor wrote, and they’re singing them back like they mean something.” Walden said. “People say that’s the best feeling, and they’re not lying,” he continued.

Murphy said that if he weren’t holding a guitar during his sets, he’d be holding the microphone out for people to sing his lyrics into.

The band members use their favorite musicians to find inspiration for relatable lyrics. The music that is important to them would be important to others.

They mentioned artists such as Nirvana, Fall Out Boy, Pearl Jam, Slipknot, Rush, and dozens of others.

“[Music] is an escape from the real world for a minute,” Meek said.

Whenever Murphy hears the song “I Don’t Care” by Fall Out boy, it takes him back to his days at Wichita Christian, and the good and bad memories that he had there.

“When you hear a song, it takes you back to the first time you heard it,” he said.

Walden is always able to find a song or artist that fits the mood he’s in. He said listening to music that fits his mood doesn’t make him any angrier or sadder.

“I stop thinking about being [angry], and I think about how much I like the music I’m listening to,” he said.

Boyd lives through his music, because it brings people together.

“Music is the one thing that is really liable to change the world,” he said.