||AA Interview: Heavens Basement
|By: Shauna |
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Thursday, February 07, 2013
Alternative Addiction’s Shauna O’Donnell recently caught up with Heaven’s Basement bassist Rob Ellershaw to chat about the band's debut album, Filthy Empire, producer John Feldmann, and the band's approach.
How would you describe your album to someone who has never heard it before?
Filthy Empire's a fresh take on old school rock 'n' roll. We all grew up listening to the great British bands of the 60's and 70's, so that's embedded in our individual playing styles, but when we come together there's a renewed energy and swagger that doesn't make us sound like a retro band. There's no point trying to sound exactly like the Stones because you will never outdo them at their own game!
What song would you tell new fans to listen to first?
I think our first single 'Fire, Fire' is a perfect example of what we're all about, there's big riffs, pounding rhythms and in the middle of the song we all go off on one and start soloing at the same time!
The album was produced by John Feldmann (The Used, Papa Roach, Black Veil Brides). How did you go about choosing him? How did you like working with him? What was it that he was able to bring to the table during production?
We were scheduled to come over to America for a week or so to meet different producers, the first day there we worked with Feldy and that was it, we wrote the song 'Nothing left To Lose' together and our week extended into three so we could begin pre-production and eventually cram recording the album into an eight day period before we had to fly back to England to play Download Festival. Feldy has an incredible energy and he brings so much fun to the recording process.
What do you enjoy most about the writing/recording process?
Just the fact that we approach it all without any formulas and rules, everyone pitches in ideas and we all push each other to try different things.
Did John participate in the songwriting?
Yeah he was definitely a creative force on the album. It was just really nice having someone else to bounce ideas off. I think the best way to describe our working relationship with Feldy is we take him out of his comfort zone and he takes us out of ours. We grew up listening to different music than him but having a different perspective on our songs stops things getting stale and keeps new ideas flowing.
What are some usual topics that inspire your lyrics?
For me there seems to be a mini theme of frustration on the album, the desire to get out in the world and take some chances instead of sitting at home moaning about not doing anything. It seems very apt considering this is our debut album.
What bands do you draw inspiration from?
For me personally it's all about Zeppelin. They were such a behemoth of a band and always pushed themselves creatively. We always listen to older bands because that was the golden age of Rock but we respect anyone that puts on a great live show. Bands like Rage Against The Machine and Muse are definitely setting the standards for modern Rock bands in a live environment at least.
The album teaser clips feature an exorcism of your music and are soundtracked by the songs "Lights Go Out In London" and "Fire, Fire" (Filthy Empire's first single). Explain what is going on in the clips.
Haha well that was just a bit of fun, it kinda spoofs on scenes from the Exorcist and I guess with a name like Heaven's Basement it's pretty relevant!
Heaven's Basement also recently released the official video for "Fire, Fire," which combines images of war and destruction with live performance clips of the band. Does the band come up with the concepts for the videos?
As soon as we heard that we were doing a video for ‘Fire, Fire’ we thought it would be really cool to find loads of archive footage of fires and things burning then it just kind of escalated from that. We wanted clips that matched (excuse the unintentional pun!) the intensity of the song and our performance footage as opposed to an in depth storyline.
Where was the video shot? What is your fondest memory of making the video?
It was shot in Lancaster just outside of LA and it was hot as shit! Especially for a bunch of pale English guys, but it was so much fun because it was the first video we've ever done.
You are known for staying on the road. What are the plans as far as touring this year in support of the record?
Well we pride ourselves on being a workhorse of a band on the road and I’ll be damned if that's not the case the year we release our debut album! haha. Our first tour this year began on January 2nd so we're off to a good start!
What is your favorite thing about being on the road?
Just the fact that you're essentially on a constant holiday with your best mates, but you get the added bonus of free booze and getting to play music every night! It really is the best time ever and I love every second of it…apart from airport security!
Which of your songs is your favorite to perform live?
I guess it depends what mood I’m in, but ‘Fire, Fire’ always seems to kick off! When we go into that middle section you can feel the energy rise.
Since you are from the UK, have you found it difficult to win over the hearts of the American audience?
Well we've only done four shows in the US so far but all of them have been epic! We can't wait to come back over throughout this year and play as many different places as we can.
You have come a long way in a short time. What has been the biggest help in getting your name out there?
For me it's all about putting on a great live show. When you first start out there's no existing reputation, so if you're not good people won't respond to you. We just went around playing anywhere from pubs to nightclubs and then it just spread from word of mouth.
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