It’s A Really Good Time Right Now For Basement Revolver

March 22, 2018 in news

Signing to Yellow K Records (Japanese Breakfast, Luka, You’ll Never Get To Heaven) and Fear of Missing Out (the UK affiliate label of Memphis Industries), the trio’s pair of EPs garnered praise from outlets such as GoldFlakePaint, The FADER, and DIY, who highlighted “a sense of longing that could stretch back decades.”

In the months leading up to Basement Revolver’s hotly anticipated full-length and a US tour with The Go! Team this April, Label Obscura has now reissued an expanded edition of their 2016 debut EP, available on vinyl for the first time. With a voice that has rightfully earned comparisons to the late Dolores O’Riordan of The Cranberries, singer/guitarist Chrisy Hurn crystallizes the purgatorial anguish of a break-up on the EP’s centrepiece “Johnny” through the repetition of a starkly powerful phrase: “It’s a really bad time right now.”

While bassist Nimal Agalawatte and drummer Brandon Munro worked away on the filming of their latest music video for the Hamilton anthem “Lake, Steel, Oil”, providing a glimpse into the natural environments of their hometown, Hurn spoke to Jesse Locke.

Can you start off by telling me a bit about your musical backgrounds, and how the three of you got together to form the band?

 Chrisy Hurn: Nimal and I grew up together, and before Basement Revolver we played in a folk band. We both got kind of tired of making folk music, so we decided to branch out and experiment a bit more. Brandon and Nimal met when they were going to music school, and then we started the band.

 I’ve visited TAPE studio where you’ve done all of your recordings with producers Adam Bentley and Jordan Mitchell and was really impressed with how they’ve got the shed set up in the backyard. What has your experience been like recording there?

 For our first EP, we did most of it live off the floor for bass and drum tracks, then added guitar, vocals, and some synth stuff. That was our first experience recording as a band, and it was really easy and comfortable. Working with Adam and Jordan is awesome. I think they helped us discover or solidify our sound. It was a really great opportunity, and after that we recorded our second EP and our upcoming album with them as well. We have a really good relationship and love working with them.

 When I talked to Adam Bentley about his recording of Edgar Breau’s latest solo album he mentioned that creating an atmospheric or cinematic sound to match the lyrics was the primary goal for that release. Your music is similarly soaring, so can you talk a bit about your own intentions going into the sessions and how you accomplished it?

 We came in with the songs mostly figured out how we wanted them to sound. Adam and Jordan have a lot of experience with different pedals and tones, so they helped us bring that out more. It made our sound bigger than it was before, which was awesome. We were pretty easy-going at the start of the recordings, as far as what we were looking for, and just really excited to work with Adam and Jordan.

Did you go pretty crazy with overdubs?

 Yeah, there are a lot of guitar layers. Each song probably has at least 10 takes of different tones or settings. You said the word “cinematic” and I think that’s a good word to describe what they brought out.

 When you talk about your hometown of Hamilton, you’ve mentioned its “drone” and “honest grit.” How have the city or its local music community influenced your music?

 The great thing about Hamilton is that it’s kind of an incubator for young musicians. There are a lot of places to play, showcase your work, and meet other artists. It’s small compared to other cities but because it’s still somewhat bigger we also get touring bands coming through. We’ve had a lot of good experiences opening for our favourite bands, which gave us the confidence to work harder at music.

Hamilton itself is changing and becoming gentrified, but when I first moved here from out in the suburbs it felt gritty. I thought it was kind of a rough place to live, in a beautiful way. That’s changed now because it’s become my home and the place I’m most comfortable. Hamilton has so much beautiful scenery and so many beautiful people that it’s easy to write songs about it. “Lake, Steel, Oil” is about growing up and moving to the city. The sound of our music is influenced by Hamilton as well.

You’ve talked about your mental health issues following a breakup with the person who inspired your songs “Johnny” part 1 and 2. Do you feel that the combination of writing songs and later speaking openly about those kinds of things in your personal life has helped you work through them?

 Totally. A lot of the songs that we’ve written have come from really hard mental health periods or times of brokenness in my life. Often it’s just a way for me to verbalize it when I’m writing the lyrics. Once those songs were released, I didn’t want to lie about where they came from. I was going through a really bad break-up and a lot of the songs on our upcoming record are about continuing that healing process or sorting through the stuff in my head.

Music has mostly been a place for me to process my emotions, and that’s something people can relate to. A lot of people have been through similar situations to what I describe on a song like “Johnny” and that’s why I think they connected to it. The best metaphor I can think of is mining for things. I have to pull it out of myself to know it’s even there.

 For your song “Tree Trunks” you also talked about how the wellbeing of the environment is mirrored in mental health and how we need to take care of both kinds of “sacred land.” What kinds of steps do you think can be taken?

 For me on a personal level, being mindful of what I put in my body mirrors what we put into the environment. Those are big issues with things like global warming. We need to recognize that both the land and ourselves are a gift. I don’t necessarily know the right ways to go about taking care of those things. When I wrote that song I was exploring environmental states, people who have though about the land theologically, and what taking care of it from that perspective means. I was thinking how the planet is a living, breathing thing just like us.

 

You’ve earned a lot of attention from UK music outlets following your signing to Fear of Missing Out Records. How has that felt? Have you spent any time over there?

 We’re planning on going in the spring for the first time. Thomas from FOMO found us really early on, right after we released our first single, and said he wanted to put out our EP. Thomas has been working so hard to champion our music, and I think that’s why we’re doing so well in the UK. It’s only getting better and better, and I’m really thankful for the Internet. It’s been a cool, weird thing and almost feels like we’ve been embraced more by the UK than Canada. Fear of Missing Out is awesome and we’re very grateful to be working with them.

The Go! Team – “Mayday”

 You’re heading out on a US East Coast tour with The Go! Team in April. Are you excited for that?

 I used to listen to them when I was in elementary school, and Brandon was a big fan when he was in high school, so it’s kind of surreal. I’m really happy that they’re making a comeback right now. It doesn’t feel real but it’s super cool that we get to do it. There’s a lot we can learn because we’re still young and new to this music thing. They seem like they put on a really wild show, and I’m excited for the conversations that will be had.

 Finally, can you tease anything about your upcoming album?

 We’re hoping for that to come out in July or August, but we haven’t solidified a date yet. Some of the tracks are a lot heavier and a bit darker. I don’t like the word uplifting, but some other tracks are brighter. It’s still keeping with our style and tone, but a little bit heavier. Listening back to the tracks, it feels nice to be putting out something that we’re all really proud of. That’s what I’ll say about it.

Basement Revolver’s self-titled EP is now available from Label Obscura. Grab a copy over here.

New Live Basement Revolver Video via CFMU
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By Jesse Locke

Jesse Locke is a writer, editor, and musician based in Toronto. He is the author of Heavy Metalloid Music: The Story of Simply Saucer, published in 2016 by Eternal Cavalier Press. Jesse currently plays drums for Century Palm, Tough Age, Chandra, and Simply Saucer.

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