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 Basementâs history? Andrew Fisher: Weâve 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. Thereâs no one our way thatâs 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 weâd just do it and we released a demo, and it went from there.
Youâve got quite a bit of hype around you, even though you havenât been a band for that long, how do you feel about that? Andrew: Itâs great. I mean, itâs strange, but itâs cool. Thereâs people that seem interested in us, so weâre 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 weâre trying to prove ourselves.
Andrew: Yeah, Iâve heard a lot of people say, "Iâve heard about your band, but I havenât listened to your band." Itâs nice that weâve 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 itâs more frequent now. Weâll 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: Itâs cool to have someone post a picture or song on Tumblr, but itâs 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 donât know about proving ourselves, we just want to play stuff that weâre happy with, which I think is the most important thing and itâs 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. Itâs a scary thing, but itâs a great thing, because itâs such a good label. I donât necessarily feel that we have to prove anything, but I feel thereâs a standard that I hope weâll be able to hold, which is nice, because itâs pushing us to try harder.
Alex: Also, weâre the first UK band on [the label], so thereâs a bit of pressure.
Andrew: Yeah, there is pressure, but itâs good pressure. Like I said, weâre going to be pushing it harder and weâve got through recording the record, and weâll have that finished within the next couple of weeks, hopefully. Everythingâs going fine, weâre really happy with it, itâs like 9-songs, so weâre excited.
Thereâs not that many UK bands that seem to build some buzz over in the US, but it seems like youâre starting to, especially since signing to Run For Cover, is that exciting? Andrew: What Iâve heard from our friends in bands and our friends weâve met from being out there, it seems to be the case that people know about us, and thatâs insane.
Alex: And thatâs literally because of our friends, we owe it all to them. Like Justin from Man Overboard, I stayed with him and heâs started Lost Tape Collective, which heâs hoping to become big enough to release his own records - heâs doing a tape for Fireworks and heâs done our tape.
Andrew: Heâs great, heâs done so much for us and Man Overboard are getting bigger and bigger, and heâd take our merch out and sell stuff for us. Thereâs probably kids out there who wouldnât be wearing Basement t-shirts if it wasnât for Justin and thereâs 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 whoâve helped push us and get our name out, it definitely seems possible.
Even though a lot of people are into you, Iâve also seen a lot of haters online, how do you feel about that? Andrew: I donât look at it online. The thing is, people never tell you negative things, but Iâve had people come up to me and say, "Oh, Iâve read this about you…", but itâs always nice things, so I only hear about the nice things that people say. I mean, every oneâs entitled to an opinion, so Iâm definitely not going to be against people saying bad things, because they can say what they like.
Alex: Iâve 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 didnât like us and we werenât their thing, and thatâs 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 weâre happy about, so as long as weâre happy with what weâre doing, I donât care. Itâs just great when people like it, thatâs a bonus. Weâll play shows to 5-people or weâll play shows to 500-people, and it doesnât matter, because weâre happy, weâre playing music we want to play.
How do you feel about being called Title Fight rip-offs? Andrew: [laughs] Itâs whatever, I love that band. If people want to say that, itâs cool.
Alex: I think if people say that itâs fair enough, because weâre in the same genre, weâre on the same label, weâre friends with them. But if people still say that when they hear the new record, then I doubt theyâve listened to it, because we wanted to try something different. Even though itâs in the Balance and Composure/Tigers Jaw ilk, we wanted to bring our own cards to the table, so when it comes out, weâll see. I think itâs 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, theyâre still going to be around because they have such a good underground following and thereâs kids that hate them too. Itâs the same with any band, not every oneâs going to like them.
You said you started in 2010, but werenât 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 didnât sound anything like it. We started writing stuff that we actually liked.
Alex: It didnât 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, "Weâll 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 wasnât 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 havenât seen you since you changed your name." and Iâm literally like, "We didnât 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 youâre 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 didnât seem to make any sense.
Andrew: If you listen to the lyrics in the other band, itâs embarrassing.
Alex: We definitely didnât jump on a bandwagon.
Andrew: If we wanted to jump on a bandwagon, weâd 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, weâre, "just trying to be honest", weâre just trying to portray who we are. I write a majority of the lyrics, and everything I write about is stuff thatâs happened to me, or stuff that Iâm interested in. I donât 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 weâre doing, like all the zines and merch, we do it all ourselves.
Andrew: Itâs not a fake thing, itâs all us. Weâve 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. Itâs integrity and passion at the end of the day, thereâs no ulterior motive.