Hailing from Ipswich/Nottingham in the United Kingdom, Basement have released one of my favourite records so far in 2010 in their debut 7" "Songs About The Weather", and the band has no plans on slowing down anytime soon. The band’s vocalist Andrew took the time to answer a few questions for us.
Start off by stating your name, what you play in Basement and your favourite song of all time?
What’s up … I just put the kettle on and I’m listening to ‘Texas Is The Reason’…I feel I am adequately equipped to start this interview; my name is Andrew and I sing in Basement. The one song that always makes me shout at the stereo when someone puts it on is ‘Last place You Look’ by The Get Up kids…but I’m a huge Rat Pack fan, so in all honesty…seeing as I’ve been listening to Sinatra longer than I have 90s emo, it should be ‘Shake Down The Stars’ or something.
Can you tell us a bit about how Basement was formed?
Basement started for the same reason most bands start I think…we were all friends and just wanted something to do. I’ve always written music and I always want to be involved with making music, and this was something I’m glad kinda just… fell into place.
Who would you consider to be the band’s main influences musically?
I can’t speak for others who contribute to the music, but personally the main bands that influence me are The Ataris and Jets To Brazil. I think that’s pretty obvious in a lot of the slower parts in our songs… and seeing as The Ataris were obviously Jawbreaker/Jets fans… it all kinda comes back to us ripping off Blake Schwarzenbach. The fast bits are just regurgitated Lifetime parts. I’ll hold my hands up to that.
The band may not be that well known yet in Australia, how would you describe the band’s sound for those who might not have heard you before?
I hate this question, and this is no attack on you, haha… I just I find it really hard to explain what we sound like to people. I guess the best description would be 90’s influenced emo with fast parts….but if someone’s mum asks me, I just usually say ‘we’re a rock band’…as much as that upsets me. I guess ‘pop-punk’ is fine as well, but we’re in this weird place between pop-punk and emo where stuff gets confused. We sound like The Movielife mixed with Mineral…how’s that? haha
The band’s new 7” “Songs About The Weather” is out now. What was the writing and recorded process like for this record?
Me and Alex live about 140miles from each other, so a lot of what we write gets emailed back and forth and played over the phone… but when he finished University we were able to properly get together and make everything fit. We recorded at Stuck On A Name studios in Nottingham, with our good friend Ian Boult, so that was awesome. Everyone got everything done without me and I just went up and sang at the end, but it was great fun because Boulty is a hero and he always makes stuff sound sick.
Has the band’s sound changed much since the demo?
Lots. We have a tape coming out on City Of Gold soon and although it’s still got that ‘fast bit/slow bit’ vibe, the overall feel is different. It’s more stripped down and direct. I feel even the 7” was a step up form the Demo, because I don’t think we truly knew what we wanted to sound like when we wrote that…and considering most of it was written separately with minimal outside input (and by that I mean by other band members), it sounds pretty narrow and perhaps forced. We still play Thon Kurnt live, and I think that’s because that song is light hearted, so I don’t really mind if it sounds weaker.
City Of Gold Records is releasing the record. How did that deal fall into place?
Adrian is a good dude who likes the kind of music we make so he asked us if he could put out our record. I couldn’t say no. His label was exactly what we were looking for at the time – something honest and DIY that got what we were trying to do and that was working with bands that we respect. The other bands on the label are awesome, please go check them out at http://www.myspace.com/cityofgoldrecords and http://cityofgoldrecords.bigcartel.com/
Why did the band decide to release the album on vinyl opposed to a CD or digital release?
First and foremost, we’re hardcore kids, and Vinyl is still a huge part of the scene, just as it is in most underground music scenes (hip-hop, dnb, jungle, dubstep etc), so it seemed the right thing to do. Also, at the end of the day, everyone just listens to music on their iPod or computers or whatever, so this was more for those people who wanted to have something physical. I am the worst when it comes to slacking off and just downloading stuff – but when it’s someone I really care about, I like to have something physical, even if I don’t have my record player set up at the moment…
Do you think vinyl is still relevant way of releasing music in today’s scene?
Sorry, I pretty much covered this didn’t I… ah well, I’ll say in more detail.
Definitely, it’s probably the most relevant. Digital music is undoubtedly the most common format for music to be released in, whether legally or illegally, but for those of us that care enough to support real music, Vinyl is the perfect way to get it out there. Its not even about how it sounds on record…because I’m sure we could argue for days about whether or not music sounds better on vinyl, but the main point here is that people caring enough about the music they’re making to produce ‘something’. We put a lot of effort into this release, from designing the cover, to working out track listing, inlay, song titles…all these things take time and effort, as anyone who’s created something like this will tell you, and I think people appreciate this and that, along with the fact they dig your music, is why people will always buy vinyl.
Who created the artwork for the record?
My brother who plays drums in Basement did all the artwork for the record- check out his Tumblr http://imadogperson.tumblr.com/. He is genuinely what of my favourite up and coming artists, and he’ll be embarking on an art foundation course this September and hopefully will go on to get the recognition he deserves.
What has the response to the new songs been like so far?
Amazing to be honest. People have said some really nice things which is really flattering. Thank you to those people.
When is the band planning on releasing an album?
We are currently writing a full-length and are about 80% of the way through. I am really excited and scared about this, because I don’t think I have ever worked so hard on something in my entire life, haha. We are in talks with a label for release at the moment and if all goes to plan it will be really great for us. I guess it should be out sometime next year…maybe summer? Anyway, it’ll be out next year and it should be good… hopefully.
What were the Polar Bear Club/Shook Ones/Title Fight shows like earlier in the year? Most people in Australia could only dream of attending a show with a line up that good, so what was it like playing some of those shows?
Genuinely some of the best shows we have ever played. We love all of those guys and it was an absolute pleasure to play shows with them. I have been listening to Shook Ones for years, so I was so happy to not only see them….but do so for free! I know people say this all the time, but all three of those bands are comprised of some of the nicest and most honest people I have ever met. That tour should have been called the “No Band Persona tour”. Title Fight are our boys and Alex is currently in PA with them, just chilling and making me jealous. Cheers.
Do you think living and growing up in the UK has had much of an influence on the band?
Massively. I both love and hate this country and that comes out in our music. ‘Skip Town’ is all about my love/hate relationship with both my town and the country in general, but it’s more than just the places. I have a lot of respect for British culture…on the whole, and it’s due to our culture that my life is turning out the way it is. Because of the way we interact with each other as people, I have had the experiences I have had and met the people I have met… loved, hated, etc etc. So to suggest the UK hasn’t influenced me would be a lie, even if it’s only subconsciously.
I heard that the band is doing some of the dates of the Transit/Man Overboard UK tour later in the year?
This is true. I am gutted we couldn’t do the whole thing – I work somewhere between part and fulltime and couldn’t get enough time off work for me to be able to do it. I love both bands and I’m really looking forward to seeing them. Go pre-order Man Overboard’s debut full-length, ‘Real Talk’, off City of Gold.
Are any of you currently playing in any other bands besides Basement?
James (drums) and myself both play in a Hardcore band called ‘Enforcer’. We have a demo coming out soon, so keep your eyes peeled for that. Think Pantera meets Earth Crisis…but shorter and faster. Metal.
What is the best show the band has played to date?
We played a farewell show for Alex last month (like I said, he’s in America at the moment) in this tiny venue in our hometown of Ipswich. That was insane, because all our friends were there and people travelled loads, even though it was a Thursday night. That was one of the best nights I’ve ever had. It’s gonna take a lot to beat that. Saying that…the one-off Title Fight headline show in Dublin was completely insane. I love that city and the people who live there.
If you could only listen to five records for the rest of your life, what would you choose and why?
American Football – American Football, because it is the most beautiful piece of non-classical music I’ve ever heard.
The Ataris – End is Forever, because it’s the first pop-punk record I ever listened to.
Jets To brazil – Perfecting Loneliness, because it’s the greatest break-up record ever written.
The Get Up Kids – Red Letter Day, because it’s the best EP I’ve ever heard and I love riding my bike to it.
Merauder – Master Killer, for the mosh.
Who are some bands we might not have heard of here in Australia that we should be checking out?
Breaking Point, Last Witness, More Than Life, Never Again, Enforcer, Tigers Jaw, Starters, Brutality Will Prevail, The Agent, Balance and Composure, Daylight…
Check out Purgatory Records, Tdon Records, Run For Cover, City Of Gold – all of those bands are worth checking out.
When do you think we could expect to see Basement tour Australia?
Haha…errr…I dunno, maybe next year? I think that’s me being a bit deluded, but you never know. If people wanna help us by booking shows…then I guess anything is possible.
What are the band’s plans for the rest of 2010?
Release a full-length, play a whole bunch of shows, go see a load of new places, make new friends, enjoy it. That’s all I could ever wish for.
Thanks for doing the interview, any last words?
Thanks for taking an interest in us. Check out City Of Gold records and keep your eyes open for our tape coming out soon.