It's round 5 of the Artist Spotlight, and what better way to celebrate than by heading off to Melbourne to interrogate the outrageously charming gents from The Basics.
What do you get when you combine three charismatic men who also happen to be freakishly talented? Add in the fact that they're currently celebrating 15 years together as a band and you can probably guess the rest - yep, Melbourne's favourite sons The Basics are no strangers to the Aussie music scene, and their magnetic mix of humour and catchy tunes has been an enduring breath of fresh air since the early 2000s. Formed by Wally De Backer (aka resident drummer and Grammy-winning nice-guy Gotye) and bassist Kris Schroeder, they were later joined by guitarist Tim Heath and the rest, as the kids say, is history. With flawless harmonies, belting hooks and genres ranging from indie-pop to reggae and rock, there is seemingly nothing this trio can't tackle. But behind the obvious talent and explosive live energy, this is also a band who gives a damn, whether raising money for charities or throwing down some political punches (courtesy of their previous release 'The Age of Entitlement'). And while the road to success wasn't always a smooth one, the band's latest release (live album 'In the Rude') is a triumphant return to form for three friends who make you feel like you're part of the family with their cranking tunes and witty banter. So sit back and enjoy as we get down to the basics with The Basics (groan, but also no regrets).
NAME: The Basics (it's pronounced Bazzitch)
MEMBERS: Tim Heath - guitar/funmaker Wally De Backer - drums/hitmaker Kris Schroeder - bass/chaiwallah
HOW DID YOU GUYS GET STARTED? We met at an audition to replace Kevin Richardson from The Backstreet Boys and were all rejects despite our obvious talent and looking exactly like him. The Basics was our way of coping
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN PLAYING TOGETHER? Too long. We've started to feel the other end of a typical music career - the bit where no one cares if you're making good music or not haha (real answer: it's our 15 year anniversary)
INFLUENCES? We only have one influence - Liszt. There is literally nothing that man could not do. Mongolian throat singing is pretty neat though.
DESCRIBE YOUR BAND IN THREE WORDS: Never Gonna Die
WHAT’S YOUR MOST MEMORABLE GIG? Having done about 3,000 of the f'ers, that's almost impossible to answer. How do you choose from 3,000 children who is your favourite? So I'm going to say December 29, 2016 at Howler is the most memorable because even when we're old and our memories have completely gone, we've got "In The Rude!" there to remember it for us.
FAVOURITE THE BASICS SONG? I reckon maybe "Get Me Down", which was a Bonus Track from Keep Your Friends Close is a favourite. We wrote this one together, and all sing on it, and it's just a fucking classic. Check out the video on Youtube - just ridiculous fun (click here to check it out)
WHAT ARE YOU GUYS CURRENTLY WORKING ON? ANYTHING NEW ON THE HORIZON? Currently working on trying to break even on making this record. Doesn't seem to matter how cheap you do it, there's always some mug wanting money from you. Besides that, Wally's obviously trying to finish a Gotye record, and there's actually another Basics record already in the can. And we're also working on perfecting The Songroom concept...stay tuned for that, it's a cracker.
IF YOU WEREN'T PLAYING MUSIC, WHAT ELSE WOULD YOU BE DOING? Well right now I'm not playing music, I'm in Mongolia working for the domestic violence advocacy group 'National Center Against Violence'. They do great work over here protecting women and children, and voicing much-needed change in legislation. Check out their website at safefuture.mn for more details (you may need to speak Mongolian/learn Cyrillic though)
IF THE BASICS HAD TO BE STRANDED ON A DESERT ISLAND WITH ONE OTHER ARTIST, WHO WOULD IT BE? Probably the Cosmic Psychos. They'd be great for a laugh at first and then when you start getting hungry and bored of them, there's plenty of meat on their bones to keep you going while the rescue party arrives.
PINEAPPLE ON A PIZZA, YES OR NO? If people can put fucking rocket on a pizza, then there should be no debate about pineapple
CATS OR DOGS? Neither. I need a pet about as much as I need a master. Let all animals roam free! (plus there's issues worldwide with feral domestics, so the less of them the better)
WOULD THE BASICS SURVIVE A ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE? Yeah, probably. We've survived 15 years of this horrendous thing called the Australian Music Business, so I'd say we could make the touch choices when it came to it. Not to mention the 15 years of touring in outback Australia. Not to mention the army and medical training. Not to mention having watched Shaun of the Dead two dozen times.
AND FINALLY, WHAT'S THE GREATEST SONG OF ALL TIME? The one that keeps going around in my head, taunting me. One day it'll materialise and it will be the greatest and all the children will weep with joy
The Basics latest album 'In The Rude' is out now - check out the below links to get your hands on some tunes, or just revel in some of their social media banter:
BY TIANA SPETER