The Basement are original blues brothers living on a steady diet of Leadbelly, Dylan and early recordings from in the 1930s. Literally soaking themselves in music until they got to the real essence of the music they repeated this with the Beatles, Beach Boys, Love and Hank Williams until they decided to make their own mish mash of modern blues and folk. We caught up with John Mullin and got to the heart of what inspires them.
Q: It's easy to get lost in the whole Irish Sea migration of the Basement. If you could start at the beginning and explain how you all travelled from Omagh to signing with the Deltasonic label in Liverpool?
A: There's four of us in the band and three quarters of the band came from the same town of Omagh in Northern Ireland. Then we just came over to England because we wanted to make it work and you kind of have to do that. Omagh is just a really a small town so it was never going to happen there. It was last may when we signed to Deltasonic and we were just playing a normal gig in town and at the time I didn't even know who Deltasonic or the Coral were, i'd never even heard of them, but we gave him the demos and he really like what he heard.
Q: Despite the fact that you're all 21 or under you were never influenced that much by the whole Britpop scene or anything since. For you guys the real essence of music came from your parents generation. Was it really a case of just absorbing as much of the authentic rock & roll as possible?
A: I just listened to loads of stuff - the Beach Boys, Dylan, Leadbelly, Love, Hank Williams - anyone with a bit of soul and a truth to their music. I think you just pick up on stuff, but then sometimes I'll just get really addicted and soak myself into one type of music for 8 months until you know what makes it work and how it works. Then you just move onto the next one and I did that with the Beatles and then onto Dylan and even people like Jack Keroac and writers - I'll soak myself in something until I understand the mechanics of and how it works and you just take the essence of it and put it in your own work.
Q: Your love of the old blues players shines through and even though you sound totally different what do you think of the Detroit Garage scene which owes it's debt to these veterans?
A: You can see it, but blues music and rhythm and blues music even those those records that are 60 and 70 years old the energy just jumps of the record. Even Leadbelly which was recorded in 1929 and there are kids listening to it in 2003 and getting off on it. But all those bands are coming through, I thing it's really good thing, because the blues are an expression of whether you're p**sed off or happy.
Q: Knowing how much music you absorb into the sponge I can imagine that "Medicine Day" is just a snapshot of the Basement. How is the album coming together?
A: There's 25 or 30 songs that I've written and were going to record them and pick the best 12 or 13 from that. I've got the idea of making an album where each track is a moment of itself so that you get 13 different degrees of the album. If you get the same thing two or three times it's just a waste of a track. The Beatles always worked with the idea that every song was a chance to do something new or something different and that's the plan.
"Medicine Day" is out now on Deltasonic
The Basement support the Coral on their re-arranged dates for April
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