We caught up with The Basilisk for an in-depth look at their formation, future plans, current thoughts and generally got to know them.
How did you all meet?
Back in 2012, we all met properly for the first time as we all had the general idea of getting a proper band started. Yes, we were really young, and a bit crap, but we got on really well with each other and things got moving more quickly than we imagined it would.
How did The Basilisk all start?
We all had a vague understanding of what we wanted as a group of young musicians, and we gradually became willing to adjust to each other’s tastes. Jack, our singer was fairly new to the “metal” side of things, so his vocal approach was very traditional, and already brought a certain amount of diversity to our music. Tom was very much the original mastermind behind our music! He’d be writing up demos all the time and casually pop up with a 7-minute- long prog song (that incidentally became our first song to record) and his taste was less heavy compared to the others, but this later came to our favour. Dylan was pretty easy going to begin with, and had more of a past with heavier music, as well as Harvey who had previously been in other bands and was fairly confident as a drummer, also very loud. So, we started working with each other’s favourite genres and bands, so our early music was a mix of post grunge and metal, with clean vocals, and a few harsher vocals introduced here and there.
Who came up with the name and how did you come up with it?
I remember sitting in a recording room at our school going over a couple of the demos and we all pretty much had our mind set on having a mythical creature represent our weirdness and heaviness. So originally it was just ‘Basilisk’ being a large serpent creature, but some dubstep person had already had that name under copyright. So, being the absolute geniuses we were, we changed our name to ‘The Basilisk’.
How did you decide what genre of music you wanted to create?
After many diva-fits and bitching, eventually we decided, let’s not have a specific genre, but stick to the heavy side of things. We thought, why should we as young musicians, restrict ourselves from exploring different sounds? To this day, we still play whatever the fuck we want, and get away with it. For example, on our new album, coming out August 11th , we open the album with an epic metal and orchestral track, and midway through the album with a harmonic acoustic track that goes from 5/4 to 6/8 to 11/8 in time signatures and end the album with a full on metal track.
Cam, you’ve only been in the band for almost three months, how have you settled into the band as a new member?
I’ve been welcomed with open arms. It feels great to be back on stage performing again with friends, playing some killer tunes. It’s been a challenge to learn newer songs, but I’ve enjoyed it nonetheless, and I can’t wait for the coming months with what The Basilisk have got in store with the new album ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ that comes out August 11th .
How does being in a band that’s growing increasingly popular affect your personal lives?
For some of us it can be really difficult. As we’re all still in some form of education, couple of us with part time jobs, and Harvey off on tour filling in for our friends in Countless Skies; it’s been very tricky trying to manage the band, we’re rarely all in the same place at the same time. But, this band has also helped us develop into the people we are today. We’ve grown to work with each other more in depth and learned to prioritise the band in ways that work for everyone. The band may be growing more popular, but unfortunately we have no sex appeal and refuse to play pop punk, so our personal lives are still very much the same as before we started, apart from meeting the hundreds of amazing people within in the heavy and alternative music industry in the UK.
Who are your biggest influences and why?
To list all our favourite bands would take forever, but as a collective unit, we all really enjoy bands like Alter Bridge, Stone Sour, Bullet for my Valentine, Ghost, Devin Townsend, Don Broco, Periphery, etc. So, we have a good mix of influences that every now and then merges into our music.
How do you get the inspirations for your songs?
Honestly, we find inspiration in each other. Which sounds super cheesy, but it’s the truth. When writing at organised sessions, or developing the songs in the studio, we always tend to surprise each other with new musical ideas, we’re all really lucky to work with one another, we bounce off each other exceedingly well.
What is your song writing process?
None of our songs are written by the entirety of the band, which is strange to some, but to us, it keeps us on our toes. All our music is written by us, but it doesn’t always include every member in the process of writing that particular piece. Sometimes, Tom will just send over a demo, and we’ll all be like “yep, that’s great” and Jack will write lyrics over it etc. A lot of the time, our drummer Harvey, writes the majority of our riffs, will send a riff off to Tom and then Tom will write a song based around that riff. Usually with our more “user friendly” tracks, Jack and Harvey sit down in sessions and write a full song there and then. Dylan writes his own bass parts withineach track. Unfortunately, Cam hasn’t been around long enough to have written anything with us yet, but we’re looking forward to him bringing a new sound to the band for the next record.
Can you each tell me your favourite song from the new album?
Tom (Guitar): The Fallen
Cam (Guitar): Best of the Worst
Harvey (Drums): White Hot Teeth
Dylan (Bass): Snakes & Titanium
Jack (Vocals): Snakes & Titanium
How long did it take you to put the album together?
It’s been little over a year since we started writing the new album, and it’s only just finished being mixed and mastered. We took a different approach to this record, we wanted every track to sound “Big” in every way possible, which ended up snowballing into having a full on orchestral string section in some of the tracks! We’ve lived with these songs for ages now, it’s been a long time coming, and we can’t wait to release it all in August.
What are your future touring plans?
We’re not touring! Haha! However, we are headlining Lumos Festival on May 18th , Headlining Bedford Esquires to release our new album ‘Home Is Where The Heart Is’ on August 11th with support from our friends in Vendetta, whose front-woman Meg features on our new song ‘Snakes &Titanium’. We’re also playing O2 Academy Islington on 18th August, which would definitely be a good one to go to.
Which venue are you most excited to play at?
That’s tricky. It’s between headlining Esquires or O2 academy. Last time we headlined Esquires, we sold out the venue, and the Indie band signed by Sony who were playing upstairs were outsold by us by a long shot! Proving there is still a scene in heavy music, so hopefully we’ll have a greater outcome for our slot in August to launch the new record. Whereas O2 Academy in Islington we had a really great reception last time, people were shouting back our lyrics, which was mental since we’d never played London previously to that date, so hopefully on the 18 th August we’ll get an even wider reception.
Do you guys have any special traditions you do before a show as a good luck/preparation kind of thing?
We all verbally abuse Jack, that seems to get us all pumped.
What do you do to unwind after a show?
After we’ve packed down all our gear, usually someone buys us a drink or some sort of fast food. None of us are massive drinkers, so we usually stuff our faces with crap food and coffee at a friend’s house or something.
Finally, what are your plans for the future?
Who knows! Haha! We love what we do and would love to do it for the rest of our careers. But the music industry is a very cut-throat business, and unfortunately only cares about money makers, heavy music doesn’t make money anymore, well, heavy music doesn’t make enough for a living anymore due to a number of reasons. We’re going to do our very best to turn things around for ourselves, and hopefully for others too. All music should be appreciated equally. But for now, we’re stoked.