Just over a year since their formation, not only are Basement quickly making a name for themselves on their home turf, but they also seem to be one of the few UK bands managing to garter interest and appeal overseas. Punknews interviewer Faye Turnbull caught up with frontman Andrew Fisher and guitarist Alex Henery on tour with Hostage Calm and Daylight in London, to discuss this popularity, along with talk about their impending new record, Title Fight comparisons and how they're, "just trying to be honest".
Can you give me a rundown of Basement‚??s history? Andrew Fisher: We‚??ve been a band for just over a year. We started just for something to do out of boredom and just wanted to do something different. There‚??s no one our way that‚??s kind of doing anything, at the moment.
Alex Henery: Our hometown had a scene once, there was a bit of a punk scene with a few local bands, but then they all went off to university, so there were no bands, no venues or anything, nothing was going on, so we thought we‚??d just do it and we released a demo, and it went from there.
You‚??ve got quite a bit of hype around you, even though you haven‚??t been a band for that long, how do you feel about that? Andrew: It‚??s great. I mean, it‚??s strange, but it‚??s cool. There‚??s people that seem interested in us, so we‚??re happy about it.
Alex: I think the word, "hype" is more about having an opinion before seeing a band or listen to our record, but I feel like you can only form a full opinion after listening to a record or seeing a band live, so I guess we‚??re trying to prove ourselves.
Andrew: Yeah, I‚??ve heard a lot of people say, "I‚??ve heard about your band, but I haven‚??t listened to your band." It‚??s nice that we‚??ve got the chance to play with bands like Tigers Jaw, Daylight, and actually get out there to play to people, which is cool. It seems like it‚??s more frequent now. We‚??ll be going to the mainland in a few weeks after this tour with More Than Life and Brutality Will Prevail. There are just more opportunities for us to play to more people in different places, which is great.
Alex: It‚??s cool to have someone post a picture or song on Tumblr, but it‚??s even cooler when we play a show and kids are there.
You got signed to Run For Cover pretty quickly, do you feel any pressure to prove yourselves? Alex: I don‚??t know about proving ourselves, we just want to play stuff that we‚??re happy with, which I think is the most important thing and it‚??s just awesome that other people seem to appreciate it. Once we got speaking to Jeff from Run For Cover and we were friends with a lot of those bands, and it just kind of came together.
Andrew: Yeah, it seemed to make sense, it was awesome. It‚??s a scary thing, but it‚??s a great thing, because it‚??s such a good label. I don‚??t necessarily feel that we have to prove anything, but I feel there‚??s a standard that I hope we‚??ll be able to hold, which is nice, because it‚??s pushing us to try harder.
Alex: Also, we‚??re the first UK band on [the label], so there‚??s a bit of pressure.
Andrew: Yeah, there is pressure, but it‚??s good pressure. Like I said, we‚??re going to be pushing it harder and we‚??ve got through recording the record, and we‚??ll have that finished within the next couple of weeks, hopefully. Everything‚??s going fine, we‚??re really happy with it, it‚??s like 9-songs, so we‚??re excited.
There‚??s not that many UK bands that seem to build some buzz over in the US, but it seems like you‚??re starting to, especially since signing to Run For Cover, is that exciting? Andrew: What I‚??ve heard from our friends in bands and our friends we‚??ve met from being out there, it seems to be the case that people know about us, and that‚??s insane.
Alex: And that‚??s literally because of our friends, we owe it all to them. Like Justin from Man Overboard, I stayed with him and he‚??s started Lost Tape Collective, which he‚??s hoping to become big enough to release his own records - he‚??s doing a tape for Fireworks and he‚??s done our tape.
Andrew: He‚??s great, he‚??s done so much for us and Man Overboard are getting bigger and bigger, and he‚??d take our merch out and sell stuff for us. There‚??s probably kids out there who wouldn‚??t be wearing Basement t-shirts if it wasn‚??t for Justin and there‚??s so many other bands helping us, letting us stay over.
Alex: Like the Russins from Title Fight, just one of the many bands helping to push us, which is awesome. The idea of going out to America seemed impossible like a month ago, but thanks to all our friends who‚??ve helped push us and get our name out, it definitely seems possible.
Even though a lot of people are into you, I‚??ve also seen a lot of haters online, how do you feel about that? Andrew: I don‚??t look at it online. The thing is, people never tell you negative things, but I‚??ve had people come up to me and say, "Oh, I‚??ve read this about you…", but it‚??s always nice things, so I only hear about the nice things that people say. I mean, every one‚??s entitled to an opinion, so I‚??m definitely not going to be against people saying bad things, because they can say what they like.
Alex: I‚??ve never been into forums or anything, but during the Tigers Jaw tour, I wanted to see what people thought and I saw some comments where people didn‚??t like us and we weren‚??t their thing, and that‚??s fair play. Not everyone is going to like you.
Andrew: At the end of the day, and I think it should be the case for every band, we write music that we‚??re happy about, so as long as we‚??re happy with what we‚??re doing, I don‚??t care. It‚??s just great when people like it, that‚??s a bonus. We‚??ll play shows to 5-people or we‚??ll play shows to 500-people, and it doesn‚??t matter, because we‚??re happy, we‚??re playing music we want to play.
How do you feel about being called Title Fight rip-offs? Andrew: [laughs] It‚??s whatever, I love that band. If people want to say that, it‚??s cool.
Alex: I think if people say that it‚??s fair enough, because we‚??re in the same genre, we‚??re on the same label, we‚??re friends with them. But if people still say that when they hear the new record, then I doubt they‚??ve listened to it, because we wanted to try something different. Even though it‚??s in the Balance and Composure/Tigers Jaw ilk, we wanted to bring our own cards to the table, so when it comes out, we‚??ll see. I think it‚??s funny, though. [laughs] I genuinely think that band can do no wrong - they are the new Lifetime/Kid Dynamite. I know in 10-years time, they‚??re still going to be around because they have such a good underground following and there‚??s kids that hate them too. It‚??s the same with any band, not every one‚??s going to like them.
You said you started in 2010, but weren‚??t you originally a "popcore" band called In This For Fun for a couple of years? Andrew: That was just a completely different band and was something we did almost as a joke, and then we started writing different music that didn‚??t sound anything like it. We started writing stuff that we actually liked.
Alex: It didn‚??t really fit with the name and we were writing stuff that we actually cared about.
Andrew: It was almost an excuse to not have to find a support band for our shows, it was like, "We‚??ll play, whatever."
Alex: We went to Ireland and after that, we had nearly written the Basement demo and by then, we just thought it was stupid, because it wasn‚??t the same band. Things changed and we started a new band, and that was it. It was definitely a fun time, though.
Andrew: People are like, "I haven‚??t seen you since you changed your name." and I‚??m literally like, "We didn‚??t change our name, that band just stopped." We never even released anything, we just started doing something that we cared about, so we just left that and did something different.
What would you say to people who say you‚??re just jumping on the bandwagon? Since the "popcore" thing was popular with Four Year Strong/Set Your Goals/etc. and now the Title Fight thing is in. Andrew: We started that kind of thing before a lot of people had heard it, they were like, "What are you doing? What is it?" It was kind of weird. We wanted to sound like Lifetime.
Alex: We had already written the demo while we were in In This For Fun. It was just like, "How do we put this out under that name?" It was definitely time for a change, it just didn‚??t seem to make any sense.
Andrew: If you listen to the lyrics in the other band, it‚??s embarrassing.
Alex: We definitely didn‚??t jump on a bandwagon.
Andrew: If we wanted to jump on a bandwagon, we‚??d have stuck to pop-punk, because The Wonder Years are one of the biggest bands around, so why would we want to change to a genre with almost declining popularity?
On your Facebook it says, "Just trying to be honest", can you elaborate on that? Andrew: The reason why I put that is because one of the main things when I write music, or try get the rest of the band to write music, is just try to do what we feel comfortable with and what we feel is us, because integrity is a big thing for me. So, when I say, we‚??re, "just trying to be honest", we‚??re just trying to portray who we are. I write a majority of the lyrics, and everything I write about is stuff that‚??s happened to me, or stuff that I‚??m interested in. I don‚??t like it when people change who they are to do different things.
Alex: I think we started the band for the reasons because we enjoy what we‚??re doing, like all the zines and merch, we do it all ourselves.
Andrew: It‚??s not a fake thing, it‚??s all us. We‚??ve done everything from the start - obviously, we write our music, all of our t-shirt designs are done by us, zines, posters, artwork.
Alex: Everything we do is us. It‚??s integrity and passion at the end of the day, there‚??s no ulterior motive.