Q and As with The Basics

We caught up with Kris of The Basics to talk ‘Ingredients’, ‘Left Overs’ and all the rumours old and new about Australia’s best unknown band. Here is what he had to say!

First up, how did The Basics form and what led to the long hiatus? Was a break up ever considered?

As far as bands go, that’s a lot of ancient history. Way back in 2001 or maybe it was 2002, Wally and I actually met at a friends going-away party. This particular friend – Chris O’Ryan – was another musical lad who I’d gone to High School with, and Wally had met through musical connections; he was actually on his over to LA to start assisting in a studio over there. He’s actually won a Grammy since (I think it was in 2007?) for his work with Mary J. Blige – so we were in good company, though we didn’t know it at the time.

Anyway, as there was a large circle of musical friends, he’d set up a bunch of equipment and me and Wally and a bunch of other friends just jammed the night away. At one point Wally came up and introduced himself – I’d only seen him playing drums at this point – and we talked shop and decided to have a jam together at some stage. At it happened, it was sooner rather than later (maybe only 2-3 weeks later), and when I heard him sing it was like “whoa, nice”. And it was just the two of us – me on acoustic guitar (I’m on bass now) and him on a stripped-back drumkit – just doing some covers and some originals and we decided to call ourselves The Basics. So yeah, that was the beginning. Tim joined in 2004, I think…

The hiatus just came about organically – we’d put out a whole bunch of stuff, four albums plus a bunch of EPs and singles, and we’d toured a lot. We all needed a bit of a break, so we decided to have one. Was a break-up considered? Maybe, we never discussed it though. It was just a “break”, though we never put any return-date on, so it could very well have been a break-up if we weren’t such good friends.

 Since your last album was released in 2010, everybody has gone their separate ways. Where and what are you all up to now? 

Well judging from the questions I can see coming up, I think you’ve got a pretty good idea ;)  … you know Wally’s busy being the Gotye guy, Tim’s got a band called ‘Blood Red Bird’ that he plays with every-now-and-then (and he’s doing some landscaping and laboring on the side), and I’m here in Kenya working for the Red Cross. So yeah that’s about it.

 Obviously Gotye is still playing shows and doing his own thing musically. But what about the rest of you? Are you and Tim still playing tunes, despite your respective commitments to the Red Cross and film making?

Yeah as I say, Tim’s doing ‘Blood Red Bird’ – an instrumental band that’s one-part Gypsy and two-parts Greek with a healthy side-salad of Ennio Morocone. I’m doing some music here-and-there, I’ve done a few shows for the Australian High Commission in Nairobi, and have dabbled in some local music with a couple of bands here. Still bashing away!

 What was it that prompted you guys to re-release your work after such a long period in the wilderness?

Well it was more the “record company’s” decision, based on the popularity of Wally’s Gotye stuff, and it was more aimed at making people in the USA and other places we’d never been aware of the music. So it was a well-intentioned opportunism which led to it getting out there, and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. Gotye fans were already discovering us on their own, so we just made it a bit easier with the release of Ingredients (and Leftovers).

 As you re-listen the songs on these two albums, are there any tracks on ‘Leftovers’ that when you hear them now you think could have belonged on ‘Ingredients’?

Well actually that’s how Leftovers came about – there was ‘So Hard For You’ and ‘Hey Rain’ and maybe a couple of other tracks that we’d suggested to the record guys we’d like to include on Ingredients. They got excited about the prospect of ‘new’ material (and a bit daunted by the growing list for Ingredients), so they were like “how about we do a rarities album?” And Bob’s your nephew/uncle/son-of-a-gun.

 Is there a lot of nostalgia in remembering the influences for each song you guys wrote? Or do you not put much thought into it?

I wouldn’t say that there’s nostalgia remembering the influences per-se, but definitely nostalgia remembering where we were personally writing the songs, putting them together, rehearsing them, playing them, recording them. We’re all big softies at heart, and more likelyoverthink everything rather than not at all.

 You have been described as “Australia’s most famous unknown band”. Do you agree with this statement, and do you think given Gotye’s solo successes, and the release of these two albums that the description could change to omit the unknown part?

Haha, I have no idea! Good question though. I haven’t seen that quote actually, being here in Africa I’ve kind-of buried myself in the work because that’s what’s important to me. It’s great to see the group getting some more recognition for sure, I think we earned it after 10 years or more of working so hard, but whatever will be, will be. Honestly, I think part of the reason we’ve survived is that we’re NOT famous… I think the fatality rate of bands who have “made it” is much higher. We enjoy each other’s company and each other’s rockin’ stylez.

 Rumour has it that The Basics will be getting back together in 2014. Is this true, and does it mean just more music or are there likely to be some shows included? 

Actually rumour has it that it may be sooner than that… The rest is history-in-the-making!

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