Mit einem Comeback hatte wirklich niemand mehr gerechnet: kurz nach Veröffentlichung ihrer zweiten Platte verschwanden die Alternative-Rocker von Basement von der Bildfläche. Heute wissen wir: das Arbeitsleben hatte gerufen. Die Veröffentlichung von „Promise Everything“ markierte vor wenigen Wochen einen Wendepunkt in der Bandgeschichte der Briten.
Wir trafen die Jungs kurz vor ihrem Gig im Hamburger Knust mitte Februar und sprachen mit Alex Henery (Gitarre, Vocals) und James Fisher (Schlagzeug) über das Leben auf Tour, die Zukunft der Band und der interessanten Geschichte zum Artwork der aktuellen Platte. Eine unterschriebene Compact Disc der aktuellen „Promise Everything“-Scheibe haben uns die Beiden auch gleich dagelassen – und ihr könnt diese gewinnen!
Um das signierte Album zu gewinnen, müsst ihr nichts weiter tun als unter diesem Artikel euren Kommentar zu hinterlassen. Einsendeschluß ist der 15. März 2016 um 18:00 Uhr. Weitere Hinweise zum Gewinnspiel findet ihr nach dem Interview. Viel Erfolg!
noisiv.de: Hey guys! Thanks for sitting with us, I understand it’s a very busy week for you. You just came from Copenhagen and started your almost 50-date tour last week. How was it so far?
James (Drums): It was awesome and the first time we actually been to Copenhagen.
Alex (Guitar, Vocals): Yeah, it was really good. We started off in the UK, which was really sick! The venue in Copenhagen was really nice, too [Anm. d. Red.: Amager Bio] and had like an inhouse photographer and stage guy, so it turned out pretty great. I feel like all of our euro dates have been pretty well attended. It’s going well. We played [Hamburg] like last year with Brand New, that was cool too, so it’s good to be back!
Have you had a chance to check out the city back in September? Today, it’s raining as hell, I’m really sorry for that.
James: Definitely not today. I think I walked around a bit last time, but all I did is going to the laundrette today, doing some washing (laughs).
Alex: We had a little chance last time to see a few shops, but not a lot. It’s hard when you get here and you got load-in, and then play and do the soundcheck. You’ll end up having one hour, before you go to eat and eventually play. You really don’t get a chance to look around, which is quite a shame. People often ask us where we’ve been on tour and while we can say that we’ve been to Hamburg or Copenhagen, all we actually did was played a show. That’s about it.
Doesn’t quite sound like holidays.
Alex: Yeah, it’s not a holiday. You want it to be a holiday, but… it’s not (laughs).
Being on tour in Germany, is there anything that stands out to you particularly?
James: The last time we came here in September, we had a good few hours to walk around Cologne and we really liked it! We’ve been to the crazy big church. What was it called…
Alex: The cathedral!
James: Yeah, the cathedral. That was cool.
Alex: The Ludwig Museum was fun as well, which is next to the cathedral. The people had always been super friendly and accommodating to us. And you can get a lot more hot dogs and stuff for breakfast, which is cool (laughs).
James: That’s definitely a noticable thing! When we play a show in Germany, we always get treated really, really well. You know, sometimes there isn’t any food or you just don’t get as much, whereas in Germany you always seem to get a hot meal at dinner time.
Alex: Everyones really hospitable and wants to make the show as much fun and easy as possible. I definitely noticed that.
Alex, you’re in an english Band but currently living in the United States. Have you noticed any European or even German projects currently making waves in the music scene over there, as it happens with electronic music right now?
Alex: I know there are two swedish bands that are on Run For Cover now, Makthaverskan and Westkust. Basement was for the longest time the only European band on Run For Cover, so it transcends, while still being hard for American bands to break into different cultures.
I’ve got your album and it’s colourful artwork right here and I really do like how well it all blends into the record. How did it all come together?
Alex: Well, we started off trying to do some of the designs ourselves, which me and James have done for all of our records in the past. But this time we were working with some ideas and we weren’t one-hundred percent sure. So with that really short deadline, I was kinda starting to dissecting through old archives of old books and images, when I actually found the image [we now use]. I wanted to know more about it, so I started to do some research and I couldn’t really find anything at first. The only name attributed to it was „RV1972“ and that was it. I was confused at first, but then I found the name of the book where it came from, which was a German book.
Alex: After I found it, I also found out that an artist called Youth Lagoon also used an image from this book! So I tweeted at him and asked him if he knew who the artist was. He then told me that his publisher kinda sorted everything out and that he didn’t have the chance to meet the artist yet.
So I did a bit more digging and researching along with our label Run For Cover and we managed to get in touch with a university, which holds the right to the image. This university basically told us, that the image came from a rehab centre for young kids in the 1970s, who were messing around with drugs and hallucinogenics. They had found all these sketches and drawings in this rehab centre and no one knew who did them.
Later on someone wrote a book about all these images they’ve found and the artwork-image was one of them. So we contacted the university, they gave us the okay with it and then it became a huge nightmare to find a high-res image to use! I bought the book, which I had to track down on the German version of Amazon, and the image inside wasn’t very big. Unfortunately, the version they sent me wasn’t big enough to be used as well. We did some stuff on the computer and managed to make it work. I am really happy with it, as it’s also the first time we have used an artwork, that isn’t our own and I think you’re right. It does suit the songs.
James: We haven’t asked someone we know or someone current to come up with something. It was just a cool image, that – and that makes it even cooler – some guy drew ages ago, without really knowing what he was trying to do and we just looked at it and thought: „That kinda works!“. The more we saw it, the more we wanted it to use.
Alex: RV1972 – wherever you are – thank you for letting us use your work! The publishers gave us the go-ahead and we’d love to meet you!
I love the effort you guys put in into your artwork. You basically needed to hunt down some random guy after finding an already random image to use it. You barely see artists putting much work into those things, as modern music listeners basically only need to click „play“ on a streaming service such as Spotify to make the experience work for them. You get a feeling that artwork and everything that comes with it, isn’t really that much needed anymore. Do you miss that sometimes, too?
Alex: Yeah, I agree. If I happen to see an artwork which I really like, it’s making me want to like the record. So it kind of bumps me out if I see a record that has artwork that I don’t like. It kind of hurts me (laughs). I love looking through inlays, although I’m not a huge record collector. But I love how a band presents themselves artistically.
James: I agree. Alex does a great job on all the inlays. There’s like a huge poster that comes out, with one side being the poster with pictures and another one with lyrics. You could just overlook that and think, that it doesn’t need to be there. People are paying a price for it and make an actual effort to get this, so we just want them to feel happy everytime they look into this record.
Alex: Streaming is great, but to hold and have your own record, to actually buy a physical copy of it is a very special thing nowadays.
You are playing the new songs off of „Promise Everything“ live for a week now. How does it feel to actually play those songs live together after you recorded them seperately?
James: Really, really good! We had some of the songs already done during the last two tours and we we’re just wishing to play those new songs back then. We did like one new song per night and switched it up with another two, but I really wanted to play some more. So we we’re pretty excited to practice these new songs before the tour, not believing we’re actually practicing the new songs finally. But it’s great to have a mix with the old stuff. We still love playing all that, and I love swaping in-between.
Alex: It brings a fresh dynamic to our set when people see something new. Old songs get great reactions by a lot of people, and you do see a lot of people just take-in the newer ones. You see them have a great experience and maybe they didn’t even know we had a new record, so they get to hear it that way and maybe that wants them to go and check that out. It’s definitely really fun. It gets me really excited when people then start to sing along with it. It’s a validation that they actually like it.
What do you guys do to kill some time on the road? Writing? Binge-watching tv-shows?
James: Just today I was thinking about videos and stuff we as a band can fill our time with. But I actually was gonna bring my laptop with me this time to watch „The Walking Dead“, which I’m a big fan of, but I didn’t bring it (laughs) …
Alex: We work out!
James: Oh yeah, we work out a lot.
Alex: He works out a lot (laughs)!
James (laughs): I get the boys in. Like Harley, who’s our merch guy and Duncan (Bass) get in with me, but I try to do that everyday. It’s really fun (laughs). It’s like the perfect time to do it when you got some hours on tour. I can still sit around and do nothing when I did my hour of workout.
Alex: When we have a bit of time we like to try and look around wherever we are. So sometimes we walk like an half an hour to a certain place to see a few things only to realize that we need to turnback around to the venue to do the setup. It’s quite annoying sometimes. Most of the time we’d like to hang out with everyone, eat some food or play games. We brought a game that we play sometimes, called „Banana Grams“, which is like Scrabble. Also some cards, but usually the day just kinda flies by and you’re already on to the next show.
James: We’re lucky in a way that the guys that drive sometimes, especially over night, sacrifice their sleep so that we get somewhere. There are a few places where we had quite a long day, like when we’ve been to Norway, where we had little space to make it to an Art Gallery…
James: … or just check out the shops and buy some stuff. We’re trying to feel out the places we’re going, yeah.
Like grabbing a little bit of inspiration here, and some there…
Alex: I’ve been to two museums so far, it’s great (laughs). It’s really fun.
What have you guys planned out for the next 12 months? Maybe a new LP or EP?
Alex: We’ll be touring off our new record first, before we tour the USA with Turnstile, Defeater and a singer-songwriter called Colleen Green. We will go to Australia with Turnover and Break Even afterwards and also play a couple of (European) festivals, as well as coming back to the UK again. We will do a little bit more touring in the second half of the year and then we’re gonna start writing. We really wanna follow up this record quickly with another one. There was a lot of stuff in the studio, that we wanted to extend upon or push certain boundaries that we didn’t have time to do, so we’re excited to record another LP. There will definitely be another LP, for sure.
James: When we were writing and recording our current record, everyone still had jobs and had to leave halfway and get back to work and stuff. But now, everyones just focusing on the band. We now finally have the time to write together again, so we are excited to write the next record.
What are you guys listening to at the moment?
James: I got one that everyones listening to right now: Pinegrove! A band that’s on our Run for Cover label now. They also got a new album out, so I checked it out and kept listening to that. I also listen to a lot of Wet, who released a new album in january.
Alex: I had to put out my phone, cause I tend to forget everything (laughs). The new Pinegrove record is pretty amazing, and there’s also a band from New York called Porches, who have a new record out called „Pool“, which is awesome. It’s kind of 80s with the synths and it’s sad, kind of low-like, vocals. There’s also a guy called Tobias Jesso Jr., who last year released a record called „Goon“. He’s a singer-songwriter, using mainly his piano and vocals. His dream had always been to work with Adele one day, and he eventually gave that dream up. But as „Goon“ did very well, Adele actually got to hear the record and so ended up writing for Adeles new record. It has a melancholy kind of vibe to it, got great songs and it’s just chill-music to me, which I could put on while I do some work. I really like it. We just did a tour with ALEX G…
James: Oh, yeah!
Alex: …who are doing really interesting and fun alternative-rock music that likes to push the boundaries. It’s sick, I love it. We had so much fun playing with them. They do whatever they want and I really respect that. They don’t care what everyone else is thinking of them. They just write the music they wanna write, they play the music they wanna play and it’s pretty sick.
Alright guys, that’s it! Last but not least: I’ve got a copy of your album right here and it would be pleasure if you could sign it for our readers.
James: Sure, definitely!
Thank you for your time!
Hier ist es nun also das gute Stück – unterschrieben von Alex und James höchstpersönlich. Nun also Kommentar unter den Artikel und ab dafür! Einsendeschluß ist der 15. März um 18:00 Uhr.
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„Promise Everything“ ist am 29. Januar über über Run For Cover Records / ADA erschienen.