Basement may be a five-piece from Ipswich in Suffolk, England, but they pride themselves on playing a ’90s-era style of American rock that pays tribute to bands they love such as Nirvana, Deftones, and Cave In. On Oct. 12, the band put out another record with Fueled By Ramen entitled Beside Myself, their fourth full-length overall. It builds on previous records like 2012’s Colourmeinkindness and 2016’s Promise Everything and highlights why they deserve the credit they’ve been garnering on tour over the last two years.
What does the title of the album, Beside Myself, really signify?
Ronan Crix: It’s all about self-reflection and being very aware of the choices you’re making in life and seeing where its paths go—maybe you’re not happy with some of them, but you’re so powerless to stop yourself. It’s pretty in-depth, and there are lots of reasons why we called it Beside Myself, but those are the main themes: insecurity, self-reflection, and being taken down paths you’re not sure you’re happy with.
Would you say it is part of a continued narrative from previous albums like Colourmeinkindness and Promise Everything?
Duncan Stewart: I wouldn’t say it’s a continuation of any certain theme. Every album is self-contained. This is just how we were feeling at the time, and it just kind of manifested into that.
Getting into the style of Beside Myself, in terms of the change in sound over the years, Basement have gone from abrasive and grungy to more melodic, mid-tempo, and catchy. How has that change—which more or less started with Promise Everything—progressed?
James Fisher: I think everything we’ve done has been totally natural and organic. The change isn’t a conscious decision. When we get together and write music, it’s just what we produce. I feel like time goes on and the meanings of songs change. It’s never like, “We want more catchy songs,” or anything. I do feel like we still got some of the old heavier bits in addition to the melodic parts and catchy choruses.
On that note, how has it been moving away from Sam Pura when recording and producing this album? He worked on the last two records, but this one was coproduced by Colin Brittain, [who has worked with Dashboard Confessional, Papa Roach, and All Time Low].
Stewart: Working with Colin was a pleasure. He connected to our vibe and was very positive. He wanted to really work with us, and he let us do what we wanted to do but still lent us his abilities as a producer, songwriter, and percussionist. That was really integral to making the album what it is. Every day, we all felt going to the studio was a positive experience, and one which was really fun.
What would you say differentiates these songs with Brittain from the ones that came before?
Crix: I don’t think there’s anything definitive that differentiates them. It’s just another reflection of where we are now. We’ve grown as people and musicians. We did have more [recording] time, so maybe it’s better songwriting. [Laughter]
Well, there are some elements of old Basement here. One song that is testament to this is “Reason for Breathing.” It feels like a ’90s rock ’n’ roll song, a bit grungy. Could you explain a bit about this song in particular?
Fisher: That one is definitely an interesting song, because it’s a heavier, standout song. The idea of a heavier song—well, we still liked that element from our old records, so we went for a heavier sound with this one.
In terms of the rest of the album, what would you say are your favorite tracks?
Crix: The two that stand out for me—just because they’re not heavy, they’re different from anything we’ve played before—are “Ultraviolet” and “New Coast.” They’re just interesting, mature-sounding songs, and I feel like we really let loose when writing them. We didn’t have any rules; we just went for it. We took a risk, and those two songs are the ones that I’m most proud of in terms of what we’ve ever written.
Regarding the writing and recording process, what would you say was most different this time around?
Fisher: The standout part of making this album was the amount of time we had compared to the past. When we started writing, we didn’t have any time restraints. We spent a long time getting together, writing together, and just taking our time. We’d come up with songs we were getting really excited about, and then, we’d think about studio time. And more than ever before, we had a decent amount of time in the studio. It was a comfortable environment where we could explore all possible avenues until we got the songs we wanted and which we were really happy with—something which we didn’t quite get to before.
So, what was your absolute favorite part of making this record?
Stewart: [Laughs] That’s a tough one, but honestly, we agree it was the time in the studio. We had way more time than we’ve ever had, and it took away the pressure and anxiety. It was nothing but excitement. Recording an album has its moments where you’ve got to make tough decisions and decisions you don’t agree with, but it was fun from the start. We were recording in Los Angeles for a month, and we’re from a small town in England, so, yeah, it was so much fun!
You have spent a lot of time in America touring and whatnot, so do you think this influenced any of the new album?
Stewart: Growing up, all of our favorite bands have always been American bands. We like British music, but we grew up listening to pop punk like Green Day, so we’ve always had that American culture influence our sound from the start. So, geographically, it doesn’t mean anything. I feel like if we were back in the U.K., we’d still be writing the same songs regardless.
To wrap things up, what message do you have for fans out there eager to sink their teeth into Beside Myself?
Crix: I just think that there are so many bands these days which go for one type of sound—and they go for it so hard and it’s so disingenuous that I think music is just becoming almost unlistenable-to these days. We’ve tried really hard to make a record and a band which is very honest and thinks about nothing but writing good songs. It’s kind of unusual these days. I would love it if it went back to that kind of writing, rather than going for the latest fad and going really big really quickly and then burning out instantly. That’s not real music in my opinion, and we’ve made a record which we actually believe in. It’s grown from us just being five people in a band together and being friends to something more.
Photo by Joe Calixto