The UK’s Basement recently announced that they’re taking an indefinite break after their current tour. Before their July 23 show at East Side Joes, we sat down with Alex, Ronan, and James to talk about the success they’ve achieved over the last two years, what it’s like touring America, and what prompted the decision to go on hiatus.
You guys just played the Sound and Fury festival in Santa Barbara, CA. How did that go?
Ronan: Really well, unexpectedly. I didn’t think there would be that many people that would come out for us.
Alex: It was probably one of the top five shows we’ve ever played. I didn’t expect that many kids to be interested. I thought there might be some that know who we are or whatever but it was super cool to hear people singing along so far away from home.
Any bands you were excited to see there?
James: We’d always wanted to see Rival Mob.
Alex: I saw them once before I really knew who they were. Great frontman, great live show. Really incredible set.
James: Rotting Out was really good.
Alex: Seeing Minority Unit, that was crazy. Blacklisted was really awesome. It was a really good time.
So Sound and Fury was your first show on the West Coast. How do you like it so far?
James: Love it! We’ve been in California the whole time. We got to go to the beach.
Alex: We went surfing. We ate In-N-Out.
What are some highlights from your time on this U.S. tour so far?
Ronan: Getting the album done [colourmeinkindness]. It was a relief to get a new thing finally finished.
You finished that here in the States?
Alex: Yeah we recorded that in Fremont, San Francisco with this guy Sam Pura. We had a choice to either tour more or try to tour and record before we kind of go on hiatus. We knew we wanted to record some of the new material so we really tried to fit both in and it actually worked out perfectly. Even though we only had like a week and a few days, we managed to do a whole record that we’re really happy with, so that’s definitely a highlight. What highlights do we have food-wise?
James: Food-wise, we also went to a place called Five Guys. Best burger we’ve ever eaten.
Ronan: Went to In-N-Out for the first time. It was good. Lots of hype. It’s no Five Guys.
So this is your first time on the West Coast, but you’ve been to America before right?
James: Yeah, last year. It was our favorite tour. It was so exciting because it was our first time. I really like America. Everyone is nice. It’s good to meet new people. The food is crazy. Going to places like Boston for the first time, these big cities we’ve always heard of, it’s just really fun.
Alex: And people actually came to the shows. That was an added bonus. We’re here to see these amazing sites and meet these cool people and we get to play a show and people are coming out to watch our band play, and maybe know who we are. You don’t even expect that so far away.
And you recently toured Australia as well?
Ronan: That was probably the best tour we’ve ever done as far as shows are concerned.
James: And again, we did not expect that.
Ronan: That’s even weirder. That’s like 24 hours away from home.
Alex: That’s the first official headlining tour we’d ever done so we went into it not knowing what to expect and when we’d turn up to near sold-out venues and we’re the headlining band, it just didn’t make any sense to us. How do these people know who we are? And the fact that they buy the merch and sing along and stage dive and be so hospitable to all of us, is just so nice. We definitely made friends for life. And it was an amazing country as well.
Sound-wise, what can we expect from colourmeinkindness?
James: It’s quite different. You can hear it’s us, we just always like to change things up and keep it exciting.
Alex: We always wanted to experiment with new sounds and techniques, but we didn’t know if people would think it was too weird. Sam [Pura, from The Panda Studios] knows a lot about pedals, amps and new techniques. He knew what we wanted and was awesome for experimenting with new things. I think the influences for the band kind of make sense but it’s more of a 90s sound. I think people are expecting a 90s emo record, and there may be a few songs on there that that could work with, but honestly I think it’s more of a 90s alternative rock album. Kind of grungy. I can’t really describe it. We just tried to put all of our different creative energies together. Everyone was bringing new things to the table. I think it was the most fun we’ve ever had recording.
You guys are a fairly young band in terms of how long you’ve been around.
Alex: Yeah we formed in 2009 and played our first show in 2010. So we’ve been a band for 2 years.
So it must seem pretty crazy to have such a big following so quickly.
Ronan: I’m always surprised. It’s mental.
Alex: I don’t know how bands can get to the point where they’re just like “meh.” If 10 or 15 kids come out and sing the lyrics, it will blow my mind. This band started in my basement just writing songs, messing around and having fun. We never ever planned on touring. Going abroad would have been a joke to us back then. We would have thought it was hilarious. Our first show was in a night club. It was a joke but it was a lot of friends, and that’s what the band has been about, just having fun. And the fact that people like it and have supported us and let us travel has been just the best thing. I can’t really put into words how cool it is that we’re here in Las Vegas.
How did you guys end up on Run For Cover Records?
Alex: We had a few friends in bands that were on Run For Cover and I guess they were always like “hey, check out Basement.” And a friend of ours had been out to the States and put in a good word for us. Then Dre, who I think still works there, hit us up and said she really liked the band and was going to talk to Jeff [Casazza, owner of Run for Cover Records]. Basically it was just small correspondences where he would tweet about us and stuff like that. And then eventually he put us on a summer compilation. We weren’t on the record label and that was when we were like “what’s going on? This is our favorite label with all these bands we really like!” And then eventually the 7-inch was out and he said he really liked it. I was in the States and I met him and he asked if we wanted to do an album with them. I hit up the rest of the band and they were down so we went from there. He’s just the best dude. The record label has really supported us. If we’re like “we need these records for a release show!” and it’s only like 2 weeks away, they’ll send them over from America right away. It’s just been the perfect label for us. Every band on the label has been awesome. That’s another thing. I think of when Tigers Jaw put out their first record, when Agent put out their record, and for us to be on this label is a huge honor. Especially being the first UK band.
Can you describe the scene where you’re from in the UK? Ipswich, Suffolk?
James: It’s really local. There’s nothing good.
Alex: People probably get angry at me for saying this but they’re deluded because there are no venues. There are no kids going to shows. The most you’re going to get is maybe a cover band down at the local pub and a few kids will turn up. It’s actually depressing to think that when we do put on shows we promote it so hard and it’s mostly people who are traveling outside of Ipswich and Suffolk. I honestly don’t know how to get in touch with young people in Ipswich. They must be there. There must be kids. I just don’t know how to access that. And since all the venues shut down it’s pretty much been nonexistent. The last show we did was in a church hall that I found randomly. We pushed it as much as we could and luckily enough kids came out. Loads of kids travelled. There were actually some local kids, which was really cool. But there isn’t much going on. It’s a very small town. Very rural. It used to have a kind of cool indie scene, and punk scene as well. It’s known for having some pretty famous punk bands.
James: In the bigger scene though, like London and stuff there have been so many good shows over the last year. Bands from over there tour a lot. And they’re cool. Breaking Point, Abolition, Brutality Will Prevail, More Than Life. Those are good guys. Cool bands like that.
Alex: The main thing is I think kids just need to start making more bands. I think it would be cool if they took on more punk influence. The UK is so famous for The Clash, it would be super cool if there were more punk influenced hardcore bands. I’m waiting for that. There was a really punk, really fast aggressive hardcore band called Never Again. It would be super cool if there was a band like that. They were only around for about a year. But yeah, the scene in the UK is going pretty well, besides Suffolk.
You guys just announced a hiatus. What prompted it?
Alex: Basically, circumstance. We’re all super young and we’ve got loads of things going on, like school or work. And as much as the band is an amazing opportunity for us, we’ve got a life other than the band. The band has always been an outlet just for fun and doing awesome things, but this isn’t what we’re going to be doing for the rest of our lives. We’ve always been realistic with careers and school and things that take major priority. So it’s unfortunate but at the moment, we have to put other things first. The band has always come second. We’re not a full-time touring band and we can’t afford to move away from home and keep the band going. We’d have to live with our parents and that’s really not something that we want to do. Some people are like “ah, tour life, I’ll be doing this forever!” That’s definitely not what it’s been for us. It’s always been that we have lives, and we have the band and we try to figure them both out, and it just reached the point where we’ve got to focus on other things. Fisher [Andrew Fisher, vocalist] has just gone back to school and you’ve got to do that first. It’s really important. And if the time came where we thought we could do something again, we’d maybe look at it. But at the moment, we’ve got to put that first.
During the hiatus do you guys plan on doing one-off shows from time to time or do you consider that to be done?
James: Not in the foreseeable future. I’m seeing it as done.
Ronan: We can’t really carry on if we’re doing that. Unless there’s a time when we’re all free.
Alex: It’s never been like we’re definitely breaking up because it’s always been “we’ll see what happens.”
Any other musical endeavors planned for any of you?
James: We always keep things going. They always take a massive backseat because of this band, but it’s kind of exciting, we’ve got some other stuff. A couple of us are in a band called the November Group, and we’ve done a few shows. And there are a couple of us in this band called Strange Places, it’s like a hardcore band. That’s fun. We always keep stuff going. It will be fun to do some low key stuff, a few things here and there.
Anything you’d like to add?
Alex: Thank you for the interview!
James: Here we are in Las Vegas.
Ronan: What the hell is that noise?
Those are cicadas.
Ronan: They’re horrible and massive!
Interview by Tom Monahan
Transcribed by Ashleigh Matview
Photos of Basement by Steven Matview
Get more Basement on their Facebook page: facebook.com/Basementuk