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.:Interviews:.

18/07/2011 – Interview with HEAVEN'S BASEMENT

I first got in contact with the British Hard Rock band HEAVEN'S BASEMENT (official website) in 2008 when drummer Chris Rivers asked for a review of their EP "Heaven's Basement". This contained several tracks that showed what great potential these guys had. You can find the review of at this location. This EP brought them many gigs in the UK and abroad, plus of course an evergrowing fanbase. In that context you can say they spent and spend more time on stage than at home or in the rehearsal room. Back then I had planned to do an interview, but this somehow got postponed again and again. Now, anno 2011, a new EP is out under the title "Unbreakable", which I still need to review, and a first full-length is in the making. But in the meantime, the interview did take place. Bassist Rob Ellershaw took the time to add answers to the questions.

Heaven's Basement logo

Let's go back to 2008, when we first got in contact. That year you released the self-titled EP, containing 6 songs, each one being a hit. The music was reminiscent of several big Hard Rock bands and even a sniff of NWOBHM. At the time, with that line-up, were most or all of you on the same line in terms of songwriting?

When we first launched we had a great energy were focused on what we wanted to do, the first EP came together in a very natural way and it was great to get our music out there and play hundreds of shows up and down the country.

Heaven's Basement EPHow well did it sell, the first EP?

It sold really well, every tour we did there was always strong sales on the EP.

To promote the release and get the HEAVEN'S BASEMENT name out, you obviously played gigs. Many gigs, too many even to name or count. You've shared the stage with bands like PAPA ROACH, SHINEDOWN, BUCKCHERRY and more. You even played at Sonisphere and Download. And when I briefly read your postings on your Facebook, you guys seem to spend more time on stage then at home or at work or ...? Hence these questions:

a) why is that?

All of us love playing live, it's our favourite part of what we do and nothing compares to a lairy, sweaty gig!!!

b) what, in your opinion, causes your popularity to have risen so quickly?

I think we won a lot of people over when they saw us live, we make sure we give everything we have on stage and hopefully that comes across.

c) how did the bands with whom you shared the stage react to your songs?

All the bands we've toured with so far have seemed to be in to what we do, which is pretty cool!

d) did you learn anything from them?

I think you end up learning things from every band you tour with, whether you know it or not!

Speaking of gigs: do you properly check out each request (location, security for your material, ...) and decline when you feel something's not right?

All the gigs we do these days are through contacts that we've had for a while now, so we trust their judgment on new gigs/venues etc.

Heaven's Basement - bandCan you easily combine this with your private lives or professional lives (unless you're a fulltime musician)?

This is all we do, to be in HEAVEN'S BASEMENT you have to be 100% committed. We all live together and there's no time for other jobs or bands etc.

How popular is HEAVEN'S BASEMENT outside of the UK?

We've been lucky enough to play in loads of other countries round Europe over the last couple of years and every time we go somewhere we always get a strong response to what we do.

There's not much known, at least not as far as I know, about the founding and forming of the band. How come?

I don't think we've ever kept the formation of the band secret, the original guys were in a few bands before Heaven's Basement, and when things collapsed with those bands they saw this as a chance for a fresh chance and a slightly different approach.

The line-up underwent some changes: vocalist Aaron Buchanan replaced Richie Hevanz, and bassist Rob Randell apparantly left the band as well, though was replaced by Rob Ellershaw. Furthermore, guitarist Jonny Rocker also left some time ago. The classic musical differences or perhaps time constraints?

When I joined the band we did a few tours at the end of 2009, after that Richie found the touring schedule too demanding and felt that it was the right time for him to move on to different things. We did a few tours after that with stand-in singers and when we began auditioning for a full time member Jonny came to us and said that he wanted to explore different areas of the music industry. We've always been of the mentality that to be in this band you must give everything you have.

Heaven's Basement - Unbreakable EPRecently a new EP came out, "Unbreakable". A little cliché for a title, but it shows HEAVEN'S BASEMENT is still around and perhaps stronger than before (?). I haven't heard it yet, but how easy was it to write these new songs? And did you work differently on this EP than on the first one?

"Unbreakable" the song has actually been a round for quite some time, it's actually about finally cutting ties in a relationship but obviously it can be interpreted as a statement of intent for the new era of the band. We're really happy with all of the material on the EP, it was actually meant to be a six track but we literally couldn't agree on which song to cut which is always a good sign!! The recording process was fairly similar to the first EP but this time we actually recorded a lot of the songs live with all of us playing/singing at the same time in the same room, it just seems to get the vibe of the songs over better and keeps it as live as possible!

Well-known producer Bob Marlette was contacted to produce a few tracks on the "Unbreakable" EP. How did you get him to work with you and what was it like?

Bob's worked with us on a few tracks before and we really like his vision for the band. He heard a few of our older songs and expressed an interest in working with us so we sorted out a few days in the studio and the tunes turned out great!

Work has also begun for the first full-length. was it crucial to first get the name of the band out (with a first EP and later a second one) to prepare the masses for a full album of HEAVEN'S BASEMENT? Or has the line-up change also had an influence on the songwriting for this expected/forthcoming release?

It's a combination of getting the band name out there and getting a stable line-up with everyone on the same page, the new EP is a chance to introduce everyone to Aaron and let them hear what we've been up to over the last couple of months and keep them satisfied while we take some time out to record the full length.

Will all the songs be new or do you plan to put some from the latest EP on it as well?

We haven't decided on the tracks for the album yet, we just plan on writing all the time so we have as much material to choose from as possible!

Heaven's Basement - bandDo you have a release date in mind? Or a date you want the album finished (not necessarily released yet, of course)?

We'd really like to get it recorded at the end of this year and release it next year, then the plan's to play as many gigs/festivals as possible in 2012!

Recording an album (or even EP) costs money, when taking into account what must be done, who must be paid, etc... How do you cope with that? Is this all self-financed or are you fortunate to have sponsors? :-) And (to cut costs) is there much already done in your own studio (if you have one)?

We just use the money we make from tours and merch sales to fund recording, there's no sponsors helping us out, it's all self funded. We all have a rough understanding of the recording process so we demo a lot of songs ourselves and sometimes record vocals ourselves but usually the music is recorded in a studio.

I noticed you're also very busy with updating your Facebook and Myspace pages. Plus, you're one of the bands that still have an own website as well. I personally find it a must, as it's something from the band and usually contains far more info on the band (bio, discography, etc...) than on the social pages, so to speak. Plus, a page on FB, Myspace, Twitter, etc.. is rather volatile (if that words fits here), since everyone has one, even if you reach fans a lot easier that way. The way to communicate with each other is easier somehow. In any case, do you still value this (having an own website), in the age of social media?

Yeah having our own website is still important, as you said it gives people a chance to read our bio and get some background of the band etc. Sites like Facebook are handy though as you can get to band's profiles in one click and see the everything that's going on.

When not playing gigs or writing songs (or working), how do you fill your spare time? Hobbies?

Ha well we're normally doing band related things most of the time, but when we're chilling we like to shoot each other in the face (on "Call Of Duty") play a bit of tennball (massive underground sport) and me, Sid and Aaron will watch some films, Chris is only interested if war is involved!! haha.

That's all from me. Many thanks for taking the time to reply and all the best with the writing and recording of the upcoming album. And of course the gigs as well. If there's anything you wish to add, fire away. :-)

For anyone that's never heard us, check out our new "Unbreakable" EP and if you like what you hear get yourself to a show and watch it kick off!!!



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