Basement: Keeping Promises
It all came to a screeching halt following the release of their second album, but something told Basement that they weren’t finished just yet. Nearly four years later, they return with their most engaging LP yet. Ahead of its release, we spoke with guitarist Alex Henery about the death and return of Ipswich’s greatest hope.
Between playing in Australia for the first time in 2012 and touring for the second time in the middle of 2014, Basement ended and began again. They announced their farewell and went their separate ways; only to announce some 18 months later that they were back in action. It felt untoward of a band who had emphatically titled their final tour “This is Goodbye” but, as it turns out, the band’s subsequent undoing was a blessing in disguise.
“Just after we’d done a tour of the States, Andrew [Fisher, vocals] had said to me that he wanted to back to school,” begins Alex Henery, one of the band’s two guitarists. “As we kept talking, it became pretty clear that Basement wasn’t going to be a full-time thing anymore. It felt like we were closing off a chapter of our lives. Thankfully, the five of us in this band are all really understanding and really supportive of one another. We each took time to find out who we were outside of the band – and, honestly, it ended up being the best decision we’d ever made. We all pursued our passions and found our place in the world. When it came time for Basement to come back into our lives, we were all richer and better people for the time we had taken away from it.”
Basement announced their reformation at the beginning of 2014, spending most of the year preparing to come back on the road, reacquainting themselves with key tracks from their two studio albums, 2011’s I Wish I Could Stay Here and 2012’s colourmeinkindness, as well as a handful of new tracks that would culminate in the June release of a new EP, Further Sky. So, did Henery expect the call, Blues Brothers style, telling him that they were getting the band back together?
“Not at all,” he says. “We were all in fairly good places in terms of our own career paths and our own work. I had moved over to the States to work for Run For Cover, and I’d found work in the industry as a music video director as well. We’d obviously all kept in contact with one another, but I never thought that Andrew would give the green light to reform Basement. I didn’t think it was possible. Somehow, the stars aligned and it all came to be.”
“We each took time to find out who we were outside of the band – and, honestly, it ended up being the best decision we’d ever made. We all pursued our passions and found our place in the world.”
We have now arrived at the next stage of Basement 2.0, with the release of their third studio album, Promise Everything. It serves as a substantial development of their previously-established sound, forging into new territory with confidence and aplomb. The hooks are monstrous, the guitars all perfectly flanged-out and the energy at an all-time high. All roads have led to Promise Everything as far as Basement are concerned – which, as it turns out, has been quite some time in the works; even if Henery himself wasn’t immediately aware of it.
“Even when Basement wasn’t happening, I was always writing,” he says. “I like playing guitar, even if I’m not working on a project or doing anything like that. It clears my mind a bit. It keeps my creative muscles flexing. When we were first gathering ideas for what was going to become the new record, I went through my entire archive of sound clips from my iPhone. I’d always record little bits and pieces – a riff here, a half-idea there. It’s funny – when we were writing ‘Halo’, I thought all of the ideas were new. Then, when I went through my clips, I found the chord progression and the melody in among it all. I’d had those ideas for two years before the song had been fully written!”
May will see Basement return to Australia to promote Promise Everything and play some key tracks from it, mixed in with some older favourites for good measure. Australia was one of the first places that the band played after returning, and it’s a place that the band has come to bond with on a deeper level than merely playing good shows.
“That first trip over was so nerve-wracking,” admits Henery. “Not only is the flight so long, you’re the furthest you’ve ever been from home and you have no idea if anyone cares about your band where you’re going. Once we got there, though, we couldn’t believe it. The excitement in those rooms was just amazing. I made some great friends, and I really bonded with the country.”
Joining them on this tour will be comeback kids Break Even, as well as Run For Cover labelmates Turnover, who Henery cannot speak highly enough of: “We just got off a tour with them,” he says, “and they are just unreal live. They pull off their new sound so effortlessly. You guys are gonna be really impressed by what they have to offer.”
Basement / Turnover / Break Even Tour Dates
Tue May 24th – The Lab, Brisbane (AA)
Thu May 26th – The Cambridge Hotel, Newcastle (AA)
Fri May 27th – Factory Theatre, Sydney (AA)
Sat May 28th – Arrow On Swanston, Melbourne (AA)
Sun May 29th – The Corner Hotel, Melbourne (18+)
Mon May 30th – Fowlers Live, Adelaide (AA)
Tue May 31st – Amplifier, Perth (18+)