An Interview with

'Heaven's Basement'

at Corporation, Sheffield on 13th May, 2011.

Interviewed by Glenn Milligan.

Glenn: How was the support with Papa Roach and how did you get that one?

Chris Rivers: Amazing. We got it through… 6 months before the Papa Roach UK Tour we were in Germany and we got offered one gig with Papa Roach in Holland. So went and did that and made good friends with all of the guys in Papa Roach and they invited us to do the UK Tour with them after. After that it was pretty straight forward and we said yes straight away - "Damn right - we'll do it!". The whole tour was amazing - it was the best tour we have ever done.

Glenn: So you didn't have to pay to get on the tour?No.

Sid Glover: No, no.

Chris: We'd never pay to play at all. We completely believe in that you should get something on merit. Like once you get there and you feel like you deserve to be there rather than… there's a lot of bands that will go and pay to do tours but that's not really what we believe in doing.

Glenn: How were the guys in Medina Lake?

Chris: Alright. Got on really well with Dan. You guys (to other members), any opinion on Medina Lake?

Sid: Yeah - good guys. Really gutted to hear what happened. A guy was beating a girl up and he tried to help and this guy just kicked his head in. Last year at Sonisphere we met up with 'em and just chatted through - it was pretty sad.

Glenn: Yeah.

Chris: The whole tour was mint. Like everyone gets on.

Glenn: Yeah - I came down to see you at Sheffield and I saw the last three songs as you were on so f*ck*n' early.

Chris: That was the early one wasn't it Sheffield?

Glenn: Yeah - mental.

Sid: Was Sheffield the one where we got lost on the way to the stage from the dressing room? It took us about 35 minutes to get to.. it was from Spinal Tap.

Glenn: Was it a basement there?

Sid: Well we kept walking round and the corridor kept getting smaller and smaller and smaller, got to a fire escape and we finally burst through and we were on the balcony in the crowd.

(We laugh)

Glenn: Sonisphere - how was it for you guys?

Chris: Both years we've played have been quality. We've played a good slot both years and we did excellent bills both years and had loads of friends there to see - so it's just a case of get the set done and crashing out.

Sid: Yeah that's the thing because you get such an adrenaline rush when you play. Doing a festival is so much more because there's everybody there - all your mates, all your other bands that you've toured with - it's all there. It's just a massive vibe - it's just such a good vibe. I love it. I can't wait for Download this year.

Glenn: I didn't realise you were playing.

Chris: We are doing the acoustic stage - I'm not sure what day we are on yet.

Glenn: How would you say the band has changed work-wise since you lost Johnny, Richie and Rob because that's the last time I saw you guys? How has the music changed?

Sid: Well to be honest - the essence of the band hasn't really changed - our work ethic but we've been writing a lot more stuff which wasn't expected. I think it was just because of the new hunger that arose - we wrote a lot of stuff really quickly. Maybe out of necessity, I don't know or to prove something but we work really well together.

Rob: We didn't have to force anybody. It just came quite naturally.

Chris: I remember a lot of cool reggae bandness to us as well - ultimately just chill out and relax and get some groove going on.

Sid: Yeah, we're gonna go down that road - a reggae ska kind of…

Glenn: Yeah?

Sid: Yeah - no we're not. No but it's been really natural and it's been good to have another person come in because we've all got our core influences but we all splinter off into like more diverse things so it's good to get another person to come in and just bounce music around.

Glenn: Yeah, yeah. Cool. So it's been bettered?

Sid: Well I wouldn't say better just different. But we still all write together. We always have done.

Chris: But that will always change just a little bit when members change but we didn't wanna force it so it's a while. We've been away for pretty much a year getting it right because we wanted it to happen naturally rather than..

Glenn: To make it gell.

Sid: To make sure it was the right line-up, make sure everything's jammin'. We didn't just want a vocalist - we wanted a singer, a front man and a member of the band. So there were more things than "Can you sing?", "Yeah" - done - that's the least of our worries and then it was onto more fundamental things like..

Chris: "Is he a member..?"

Sid: Is he a member of 'Heaven's Basement' or is he a stand-in? That kind of thing. So we just took him out and got him so drunk he couldn't see and… to see if he could find his way home.

Glenn: Did you find the way home sir?

Sid: Indeed.

Aaron Buchanan: So indeed.

Glenn: He's quiet for a singer - I guess he's resting his voice.

Sid: We told him he's not allowed to speak. For the 1st six months he's not allowed to speak or leave the room ever and if does leave the room it has to be backwards and he has to bow.

(We laugh)

Aaron: Shut Up!

Glenn: You used to have 2 guitars, now you've got 1 guitarist - what will happen future wise - are you gonna keep it as one guitar or do you find that more songs really need two guitars?

Sid: Some songs always benefit from two. What I'm surprised with, is how little we've actually lacked without a second guitar. I though originally that our sound was gonna suffer for it but it's actually been quite liberating and it's opened up a whole new dynamic where we can be more dynamic with the playing because where all on the same page so we can take one and power up and it's a lot free-er and I don't have to necessarily stick to what I have to play - there's more freedom in what I can do as well. But having said that we're never gonna rule out having another guitar again - it's just we're not gonna force it. If there's a guy that we meet and it feels right then yeah - but he's welcome. We can't really predict what's gonna happen. There may be another guy, there may not be. At the moment there's no rush for it.

Chris: It could literally be 6 months or 6 years. It's like one of them where everything's good at the moment so unless someone like walks in right now and instantly fits in with us then well crack on. You know what I mean?

Sid: So yeah, like people are welcome to like get in touch with us if they think they will fit in and we'll gladly jam with people and stuff like that - so yeah - it's open.

Glenn: But there's more to it than just fitting in properly.

Sid: Yeah - it's the whole thing.

Chris: That's the whole thing about that. We're not under any pressure to do that. No ones like, "We have to get a guitarist in to carry on", we just carry on with what we're doing now and when the right person comes along with the right vibe then perfect.

Rob: I think the writings actually benefited a little bit because we've just all been more into it and there's been more freedom in the music a little bit.

Sid: It might limit what you can do live sometimes but the expression of it is quite liberating.

Glenn: What new material have you got? What's it like ad what sort of favourites have you got that you've come up with so far since the last e.p.?

Sid: Well we've done a few different kinds of batches of writing. Each sound a little bit different. Not too different that they don't sound like Heaven's Basement but just kinda exploring because it was a learning curve for us with Aaron. We had to work out where we were goin' and just suss it out. I think it's maybe a bit deeper and a bit more aggressive so it's maybe even more extreme at either end of the scale. We can't really predict where it's gonna go but..

Glenn: Because you won't know yet?

Sid: No. So we've done some really cool like cool mellow stuff - really nice, kinda dynamic playing and then we've done just full-on lary punky kinda stuff. We've never forced it - we literally write what comes out of our fingers and our mouths so. We can't… we're not a band to go in with an idea of, 'We wanna write this kinda song and let's make it happen'. We just see what happens and what happens, happens.

Glenn: Right.

Sid: Like this new ep we've got with seven tracks on it - three of the songs are brand new - no-one had heard 'em before and we went in the studio, played 'em live. I think even wrote it before we even hit record, one of 'em just doing tweaks and jammed it all live and that's the way we wanna keep it as really natural and spontaneous and like a time stamp and that's what we sound like on that day.

Glenn: Yeah, so are there certain ones you are really happy with and proud of?

Rob: All the ones on the ep - on the recent batch because we did three songs. We had around 8 or 9 we were choosing from. We had to choose three out.

Sid: Yeah it was hard.

Rob: We were stuck ourselves. We had our own opinions so we asked our friends and family and they were all different ones which is annoying because it didn't help us in any way at the time but it was a very good sign as everyone had their own favourites. 'I love that song because of that section', so that kinda gave us a lot of confidence in our songs before we launched them. So we thought whatever three we decided on unless we go.. unless we mess it up very badly are gonna go down really well and be a good representation of where we are at, at this moment in time.

Sid: Because we already had 4 that we wanted to put on it.

Rob: It felt like it was the right time to get 'em out so it was just a case of filling the gaps.

Sid: But yeah - like Rob said, we had so many. It was gonna be six and it ended up being 7. We couldn't drop it down - we literally couldn't.

Glenn: That's a good sign because you've got no filler then.

Rob: We like to think so and it's quite snappy - it's just under half an hour and it's 7 songs. We were going in thinking it was gonna be six and it just had to be 7 because we couldn't really chop any more.

Sid: We've been away for such a long time, we thought, 'Well let's get.. people want it'. We don't wanna be tight and be like, 'We've got so much songs but you can't hear them'. It was like 'You can hear 'em' because we want people to hear 'em and we wanna play 'em live.

Glenn: I know, because I noticed Rob left and Richie left and…

Sid: (Laughs) We sorted ourselves out.

Glenn: it was like you were gonna disappear - but you can't have this band disappear as you are such an incredible band.

Sid: The way it formed was different to most bands.

Glenn: Yeah.

Sid: So like, Chris was in a band with a few of the other guys. When that stopped there was already a relationship so we kind of all got together and went, "F*ck it - let's start a new band", but that instantly puts you in a different position because everyone's not coming from the same..

Glenn: Yeah.

Sid: It's not quite the same whereas us four have all met and kind of started together from scratch and partaken it as this is what we wanna do and 'Heaven's Basement' is it. We are all in our early 20's so we've got literally nothing to tie us down now.

Glenn: And it'd be crazy because you have established the name 'Heaven's Basement' to change the name due to having different members.

Sid: Yeah. There was a bit of pressure and kind of people kinda saying that's what we should do but that's the opposite of what Heaven's Basement's about. We're not about taking the easy road and let's go.

Glenn: You're an established act in Britain aren't you?

Sid: Well yeah - I suppose to some extent but other than that - we started Heaven's Basement. Just cos some other people might not be as committed to that kind of thing - it doesn't change anything about us.

Glenn: Yea.

Sid: It's like when me and Chris started.. we're not gonna throw away all the hard work we've done for it - this is our thing.

Glenn: Yeah. Cool. What's the reception of the crowd been like so far on this tour?

Sid: Brilliant. Yeah. Better than I thought it would be.

Glenn: Are there any particular big gigs that stand out that have really blown your mind?

Chris: Manchester.

Sid: Manc.

Chris: Manchester and Newcastle.

Sid: Yeah.

Chris: Yeah - they're the top three I'd so of the tour.

Sid: Nottingham was pretty good. There's been a lot more people than I expected because we've been quiet for so long. I literally had no idea what to expect attendance-wise but it's been really good - I'm reassured and amazed that people are still there and seeing what we're up to and knowing that we're playing. What has been goods is for Aaron, like you probably agree as well that you go out to an audience that maybe half of 'em are sceptical every nigh and are like 'C'mon then! Let's see what you got!' and it's good to see by the end of it already he's just smashed 'em in and they're all just loving it. It's been really good.

Aaron: Winning people over I think is the thing that we collectively are most proud of an obviously me. Everybody's been really nice, everyone's been bloody great. Couldn't have asked for anything better.

Rob: So thank you to all.

Sid: It's very different going out to a crowd that's up for it or a crowd that's sceptical - that's the process. It's like - that's what we do best I think - play to an audience that may not necessarily be our audience but by the end of the gig they will be.

Rob: I think Newcastle was a prime definition of that and we sort of walked out and it was quite a…

Sid: Subdued?

Rob: Yeah - subdued atmosphere - yeah - that's a good word and by the end of it everybody was having a f*ck*n' rave - it was sick!

Sid: Yeah.

Rob: Brutal.

Glenn: Awesome. What influenced 'Unbreakable' and 'The Long Goodbye'?

Sid: 'The Long Goodbye' was about a death of somebody close to us.

Glenn: Right

Sid: 'Unbreakable' has got various different meanings to it because I wrote that with Johnny… and so I was writing it actually about a relationship of mine that was breaking up at the time and I think a few other people chipped in with the lyrics so each bit.. it's got quite a lot of meaning. If I listen to it now, it sounds to me like the band - about the band's history and our new tour and it all fits together like that. I was actually writing it about something else at the time but you can't really tell how your sub-conscious works. Things get in without you knowing and I don't know whether part of it was actually about how I thought towards the band at the time. But it fits and it felt fitting and that's why we put it as the title track on the E.P. because that's how we feel.

Glenn: It's like a reformed anthem almost.

Sid: Yeah.

Glenn: We're an unbreakable band no matter what happens, we're still gonna go on.

Sid: Yeah. I mean it just fit perfectly.

Rob: That's why the EP's called that. It seemed very apt for re-launching. That was the 1st song we re-launched and showed Aaron off with to the world for the 1st time. It just seemed the right thing to do.

Sid: Cause a band is a relationship as much as a relationship is between guy and a girl and all the metaphors fit and all the emotions are the same thing because we care more about this band than anything else.

Glenn: Well you guys are always gonna be here for each other.

Sid: Well now we are (laughs).

Glenn: Yeah (laughs). What made you decide on having JettBlack as the tour support or it like a dual…

Sid: Well it's a dual headline.

Glenn: Right.

Rob: So we headline tonight. We take it in turns.

Chris: We've played with 'em a few times so it kind of made sense to do a tour together so we've got a few of these kinda co-headline tours and like to tour with our friends bands and it always works a treat. So… JettBlack's been one of those bands on the cards so we got it together with 'em. It works out good for them.

Rob: They've been doing a lot of touring and things haven't they.

Chris: Yeah.

Rob: The good thing about it is that they're a good live act. Every night they're very consistent so it's a good bit of friendly composition especially for our 1st tour back. We need to make sure we're as good as we can be because if we have one night where we're not at our best then they'll stand out kinda thing. So that kinda gees us on a little bit and keeps us in the right frame of mind all the time to keep the performance…

Sid: We didn't wanna go out timid. We didn't wanna hide our 1st tour. We wanted to like, "Come on Guys, let's go and do it and see if we're made of the right stuff still", and I think we are.

Glenn: You've survived that long under different names, entities, line-ups and things that have changed and that.

Sid: They've followed us around and I thought people would have given up on us long ago. (Laughs) I'm glad not because I think there's a lot more better to come out of us than we've ever done before.

Chris: It's ready for an album. We've never done an album yet.

Glenn: Is it gonna be (ex-member) Johnny (Rocker) that's gonna be your (Producer).

Chris: Nah.

Sid: We've done some vocals with him.

Chris: Yeah we've done some vocals with him but I don't think he'll really be involved with an album to be honest. He's a great friend. We always jam with Johnny and do things with him but…

Sid: But we know exactly what we wanna do with an album. We've already got it in place.

Glenn: So in the future you'll just keep going as you are and…

Sid: See what happens and take it day by day. That's why we haven't booked this year up because it was, "Let's go and do this tour and see where we're at", and it's surprising. Everyone's been surprised at how quite good the feedbacks been. So I think we're gonna just crack on from now on.

Glenn: Then as long as the promoters are all happy with everything..

Sid: Yeah (laughs). Yeah - everyone's - this tour has exceeded everyone's expectations.

Chris: Straightaway since we started this tour we got confirmed on the 2nd day, we got confirmed for Download and then yesterday we got confirmed for a show with Black Stone Cherry - straight away.

Glenn: Wow!

Sid: Within like 2 gigs we've been offered Download so I think it's gonna grow from that naturally because we've always been like an old-school touring band and that's how we do it. We only really get things from our merit of being live - that's the way it should be.
Chris: We wanted to be like that.

Glenn: You say you are playing acoustic (at Download) - what's your preference - would you sooner play acoustic or be electric?

Sid: We've never done it. We've gotta learn how to play electric (he jokes). It's like, "Do you wanna do acoustic - you've got a few days to learn the set alright? Yeah.

Chris: We haven't tried it at all.

Rob: We like living on the edge so we'll do it. We'll learn at some point.

Sid: They never said they had to be quiet. They said acoustic - they didn't say..

Rob: It's only really you isn't it?

Sid: Yeah - It's only really me.

Rob: It'll be good. We won't do it half arsed. We'll make sure everyone has a good time and we're gonna work on the songs so… we'll make it…

Sid: We won't just take our set and play acoustically because I think that's a really short cut to do innit?

Glenn: Mmm.

Sid: We'll make it good. You've gotta make it work because those songs wouldn't have sounded the way they did if we'd have written them for a acoustic so we're gonna go and make 'em sound good.

Rob: And we've booked a string section as we speak.

Sid: Hahahaha.

Glenn: A symphony orchestra at the back.

Sid: Pretty much yeah.

Glenn: (To Aaron) Which songs have been the hardest to learn and what were you doing previous as well?

Aaron: What was I doing previous?

Glenn: Yeah.

Aaron: Bits and bobs. I've been in bands before. I've been in studios or whatever and through one thing and another a band split up and people decided they didn't wanna do it professionally and didn't wanna go out there and do a band and make it their f*ck*n' life and that was always my aim and it's the same with these boys. They wanted to make the band their life and when I was given the opportunity to sort of get out there and do it with them it was like, "Yeah, right that's it". So I packed my bags, left home and this is it. I think I've been home about 4 or 5 times since last August (2010) and only for a couple of days and then I've been straight back up writing and recording, rehearsing and doing everything that bands do.

The hardest tracks to learn - I think 'Tear Your Heart Out' technically is a smasher. It's such a big range and probably the same as 'Can't Let Go' but all good now - all sorted and they took me a little bit of time to get my head around.

Rob: They only took you the longest because you couldn't be arsed to learn 'em.

Aaron: They never sounded bad in rehearsal and you'll be like, "Let's go to the pub!", so when's the time to learn the lyrics? You get stuck in - I'll leave!

Chris: There also two of the last ones to learn.

Aaron: Yeah. Up to then and the latest I think.

Sid: Yeah because we threw the set together pretty quickly and we only rehearsed for like a week before it. Just decided on picking the set on the last time. Problem is with this tour if we've not got long enough because we've got so many songs now. It was really hard to pick a set. I think we're doing good with it.

Glenn: You do like a 50/50 or something and get…

Sid: Yeah.

Rob: Yeah it is a 50/50 - I don't know if you meant that literally in terms of minutes…

Sid: But yeah - it's half new and half old - that kinda stuff.

Glenn: So the little red riding hood song and the seven dwarves - has it been written yet then?

Rob: Oh yeah. This was all very much to do with the 'Unbreakable' release. Like we don't write about nothin' - if they are not clear then metaphorically they should be as clear as hell. Everything has a set target and if there's people out there that p*ss us off then so be it because it's gotta be real and if it's not real then it's not what we do.

Sid: That's part of why we took the time because we didn't just wanna write songs that were meaningless - you can only write songs if you've lived it. So we wanted to go and live together and have something to write songs about and we did and it worked out really well.

Glenn: Awesome. Well I'm pleased you're still together and just keep it going. I am looking forward to the gig and seeing how it'll turn out with the new singer. But I can tell that it's gonna be spot on anyway by how you've told me or you wouldn't be here otherwise would you?

Sid: That's the thing yeah - that was the most important thing. Can we… if we're in a room together - will people pick us out as being the band members by how we are took and he shares exactly the same mindset as the rest of us.

Glenn: Awesome - I'll call that a wrap. Cheers guys.

Chris: Cheers.

Sid: Thank you.

Glenn: No problem. Anything else you wanna say?

Sid: T*ts!

Glenn: T*ts yeah - always good.

Thanks for that great interview Guys - Always a Pleasure!