Having released their latest album ‘Beside Myself’ last October, on the second last night of their supporting tour with The Story So Far, I scored some time to chat with Basement’s guitarist Alex Henery. In the warmth and comfort of a hotel room above the underground Arrow On Swanston, Alex sat with me and talked about touring, and the bands album.
Firstly, I asked Alex how he was feeling for tonight’s show, as last night the band played another venue in Melbourne, the iconic 170 Russell. He tells me “Excited, last night was an 18+ show which was sweet, and tonight is an all ages show. We’ve actually played at this venue before and it was really cool last time so it should be good tonight.” It’s not the first time that Basement have played in Australia, it’s not even the third so I asked Alex what keeps them coming back here. “We’re lucky enough that people want us to come back, which is cool. But we do love Australia, and we’ve formed a lot of really good friendships here. When we first came here it was very DIY touring like staying at peoples houses and just crammed in a van and I think it was really cool for people to see us playing small, local venues and getting to know the local bands.” Explaining further, Alex also said “It was nice to be welcomed into the scene and it’s very cool to see how it’s grown over the years, coming back and it’s grown fast.” “I also really like the people here and I really like the country itself. It’s great here.”
“It’s interesting to see our friends who we’ve known for 7 years now. It’s kinda cool to see them every year and some of them have come and stayed with me in the States.” Is Alex’s initial answer when I asked him about seeing friends and fans now when they come out to do shows. He also went on to say “We had a kid last night who told our merch guy that Basement was the first one he’d ever been too (when we initially came out), and he’s from Australia so that’s pretty crazy. There’s definitely been some people in the crowd that we see them and it’s like oh yeah I’ve seen that person in the past. It’s cool that people still want to come out and support us and check us out every time we come play. It’s pretty awesome.”
Initially from the UK, although mostly based in the US now, I asked Alex what the main difference he noticed between Australian fans, and British and American fans. “Nothing too crazy. The other night someone was shouting for a shoey.” Which I quickly interrupted to apologise for, before Alex continued. “Which is I guess an Australian tradition. That was for The Story So Far and it was a big thing. It’s nothing too crazy it’s not like woah these Australian’s are out of their minds (which lets face it, we are!). It’s pretty similar. Very welcoming and never had a bad experience which is nice.” With a quick explanation to Alex about how F1 Driver Daniel Ricciardo invented the shoey, I then turned the conversation towards Basement’s latest album ‘Beside Myself’. I asked if he thought the bands changed had evolved and changed much over time. “I guess the first 7 inch to where we are now it’s a low different. A lot rawer sounding. Even the first LP to this one, I think it’s logical steps. I feel like the songs are just written in a better way and we have more experience.” He elaborated further, saying “I would hope that the fans can grow with the music and as we’ve grown with songwriting. We’ve been trying to write songs that we find interesting and catchy. We’ve never really done anything crazy. It’s pushing it in a way where it’s not too strange.”
The album has been out for about 6 months now, and I asked Alex his opinion on the fan reception. “It’s been good so far, it takes people a little bit to get used to the songs and lyrics. It’s nice when you play an old song and people go crazy, and you play a new song and the energy is still there which is really nice. We open with a new song and play a decent amount, we like to have varied sets so we figure people want to hear different songs of all different albums.” I then asked Alex if he had a favourite song on the album. “It might be New Coast because it’s a summery song and it reminds me of recording in LA. It puts me in a good mood and it’s quite catchy. I like to just put it on and drive around and I hope people would do that as well and be stoked about it.” I then asked Alex how many songs were written for the record. “We had a lot and some of them got scrapped early on, or later on. We recorded 20 before we went into the studio, maybe more. Probably around 30+.” With that information, I then asked how the final tracklist was chosen. “Before we went in to record, we listened to the demos that we had and then write all the songs down on a piece of paper and put our hands up to vote for which songs we wanted. It was pretty painless, I was worried a little bit with ‘hopefully everyone else likes this’ but it was a pretty easy process.”
I then asked Alex how the setlist for tour was chosen, and if that process was similar. “Someone usually tries to take charge a little bit and then we chime in and sometimes we change it. Someone’s like can we look at an old setlist and mod that? It’s usually pretty painless, but nobody really wants to do it. We’ve got a good one right now, it flows pretty well.” I then asked Alex, aside from his bandmates, what’s the one thing he can’t go on tour without. “The first thing that came to my mind is headphones, we do a lot of travelling whether it’s flying or in a van. If I didn’t have them I’d be pretty bummed out because I couldn’t listen to music or watch videos and stuff.”
Finally, I asked Alex what is the one thing he wants everyone to know about Basement. “First thing that came to mind is that we do the band because we love it. The people in the band are genuine and we love creating music and hanging out. Authenticity and everyone knowing that we’re genuine.”
Pick up your copy of Beside Myself, out now, HERE!