Ahead of the release of their fourth album, Beside Myself, UK post-grunge exports Basement find themselves at a curious crossroads. For context, the band was originally together for four years, releasing two studio albums in that time. In 2018, the band has entered its fourth year back in action and – wouldn't you know it – are on the verge of releasing their second album since officially reuniting in 2014.
It's a matter of months before the reincarnated Basement will have lasted longer than they did in their original run, which is a point of discussion the band admittedly hasn't gone over until now. “I never really thought of it that way – that's quite interesting,” says Andrew Fisher, the band's lead vocalist.
“If I was pressed, I'd have to agree that the two sides of the Basement story definitely sound like they're coming from different places. That's especially the case when I listen to something from the first record [2010's I Wish I Could Stay Here] and Beside Myself. I'm always thinking ahead, and thinking about what it will be like in a few more albums' time – where, say, the divide will be between the first three albums in comparison with the next three. I wouldn't say there are drastic changes between our albums, but I feel like there's definitely enough to notice, and we'll probably change more as it goes on.”
The band's first LP to be released via Fueled By Ramen Records, Beside Myself was made with producer Will Yip at the tail-end of 2017 and showcases their collective strengthening insofar as writing emotive, hooky alternative rock is concerned. Originally perceived to be the UK frontrunners of emo's fourth wave, the five-piece have focused more on their grungier elements in recent years – 2016's Promise Everything sounded more like Bush than Braid, for instance.
“For this record, we were writing for something like two and a bit years,” says Fisher. “It may seem relatively quick in succession to Promise Everything, but that's probably more to do with us re-releasing it last year. That was all written well before we finished recording. In our heads, making another album was well overdue.”
Fisher notes the jam session for what would become ‘Disconnect’, the album's lead single, as a major turning point in the writing of Beside Myself. “I can still remember Alex [Henery, guitarist] playing that riff for the first time and everyone joining in instantly,” he says. “I still have the demo from that very day, and there's something about the way it sounded that really set me off. I realised when we were writing it that this was exactly what I wanted to focus on for this album: driven, guitar-based rock. I know we've always been that, but I felt like it was something we needed to reaffirm. Once we figured out what kind of world we wanted to be in, it was very easy to build up from that.”
Through both its initial and its current run, a lot of things have changed in the world surrounding Basement. They've changed labels, members have moved to different parts of the world (Fisher now lives in Richmond, Virginia) and some have even started other bands (Henery also plays guitar in the supergroup Fiddlehead). What's never changed, however, is the lineup itself – the same five people who started the band back in 2009 are the same ones seeing it through almost a decade later. To Fisher, this remains the single most important aspect of the band – the bond between his brothers (both literal and figurative) within its personnel.
“I think it's really important. It's why we are who we are. It's why we behave how we behave. It's why we play this music, why we sound this way, how we perform, how we present ourselves. It all comes down to the bond that these five people share. I truly don't think we would sound like we do or that we would be where we are in our lives today if it wasn't for the five of us being who we are. I'm very grateful for that – it's truly been awesome.”
Beside Myself is out Friday September 28 via Fueled By Ramen/Warner Music, order here.