In the beginning of the year, the UK quintet Basement announced their return after a two-year hiatus. Since their formation in 2009, Basement immediately caught the attention of the underground scene with their 2011 debut, I Wish I Could Stay Here. After traveling around the world and gaining an enormous following that spread throughout the pop punk and hardcore community, the band shocked many by announcing their hiatus in the summer of 2012, due to a number of conflicting personal commitments. After putting out their “swan-song” LP, Colourmeinkindness,in October, Basement closed out their final set of UK shows in Leeds and London that following month.
Immediately after the news broke out, Basement received an overwhelming response of support and excitement for their comeback and almost all of their reunion dates in the United States completely sold out.
While they were preparing for their upcoming tour, Basement guitarist Alex Henry gave the lowdown on the events that led to the band’s triumphant return, the spontaneous release of their new EP, Further Sky, and their future plans after the summer.
Since you guys had a lot of personal commitments that conflicted with the band, what ultimately made you guys want to reform after a two-year hiatus?
We had the time to do the band again and it seemed like a lot of people still wanted to see us live, so we decided to play shows wherever and whenever we could. We all agreed we would only do it if we were going to have fun with it. So as long as we are having fun, we’ll keep doing it.
Now that you’ve settled your personal obstacles and have the time to commit to playing music again, has the thought of touring full-time ever crossed your mind?
We’ve talked about it, but I don’t think being in a full-time touring band is something any of us really want. Doing it whenever we can is much more fulfilling because you can really appreciate the few times you get to play. We get really excited when we plan these tours and look forward to being out on the road, so if we did that all the time, I don’t think it would mean as much anymore.
In the end of July, you will be playing in Australia and Japan before you start your reunion dates in the United States. What will you be looking forward to the most?
I would have to say I am looking forward to going to Japan the most. We all really wanted to go over there, so it will be a very awesome trip. I’ve heard there was a restaurant that had a monkey that serves you food outside of Tokyo. I looked it up and we won’t be able to make it out there because of how far away it is. The other guys have been researching some of the weirdest things they can eat in Japan, so I’m sure we will have a great time.
How did it feel to receive an overwhelming response from your fans when you first announced this reunion?Were you surprised or shocked that your U.S. dates completely sold out?
Yeah, that was crazy. We didn’t expect that at all. Those shows should be exciting. I am definitely looking forward to playing in New York City and Philadelphia.
Are there any specific spots on your tour in general do you anticipate to have bigger reactions than others?
I would maybe say Philly because that’s been a home for me here in the United States. We all have so many friends there so we will be sneaking a lot of people in for that show in particular.
You guys will be playing the Reading and Leeds Festivals after your U.S. dates. What are some of your favorite memories from attending this festival?
I worked there one year putting wristbands on people as they entered the festival. I only did that so I could go for free (laughs).
Some of my favorite memories from attending Reading and Leads are the riots that happen at the end of the fest as well as seeing Radiohead and a bunch of other punk bands that I liked back in the day.
It was a huge deal to go this festival back when I was in high school. I’d camped with like, 20 of my friends, and things would get wild. People would be stealing tents, burning flags and I don’t know…just acted like morons.
Since you have been attending Reading and Leeds for years, how does it feel to finally not only play this festival, but to also play again very close to home to an extremely bigger audience?
It’s stupid, I can’t really believe it. I think it’s funny because everyone in England knows what Reading and Leeds is, so when my parents tell people that we are playing it, they think we’re famous when we are really not (laughs). But it’s cool though; it’s something that I will tell my kids one day.
What was it like writing and recording for Further Sky? How long have you guys been working on the material for this record?
We had a practice in December of 2013, and ended up writing what was to be “Jet” [the second song on Further Sky]. When I was back in America, the guys wrote “Summer’s Colour” [debut single off of Further Sky] and then I just flew over to record over a weekend. Working with Dan Goudie [mixer/engineer at Miloco Studios] was incredible; it was definitely a great experience. The writing and recording process was really stress-free too, and we had an enjoyable time.
Compared to the mindset you were in when you wrote Colourmeinkindness, would you say that this material represents a new chapter in the band moving forward? Or are you simply picking up where you left off?
There are some slight changes musically, but I feel like it’s a natural progression. These songs are slightly more melodic with a stronger pop sensibility, but it’s nothing wildly different than Colourmeinkindness.
When you guys announced that you were going to be reuniting, was writing new material the first immediate thing that came to mind?
No, not at all. When we first practiced again, it was meant to just be for fun, but the writing happened all by accident. So it was a cool feeling to know that there wasn’t any pressure to write or put out any new material right away. Everything just happened naturally.
Is there a possibility that these songs may be a sneak peek for a potential full-length in the works?
Yes, we are writing for a full-length at the moment.
Now that you guys are playing together after your hiatus, what does the future hold for Basement after these upcoming summer dates?
After the summer, we are going to play some shows whenever we can, keep writing and do what we want really and do things at our own pace. We’re not trying to be the biggest band in the world. I just want to travel and have fun with my mates.
Basement will be playing at Union Transfer in Philadelphia on Aug. 18 and Webster Hall in Manhattan on Aug. 19. Their new EP, Further Sky, is available now. For more information, go to basementuk.tumblr.com.