THERE are a few bands around…
who offer something with meat, nourishment and depth. That may sound like an odd brew but, in a busy music landscape; it is good to discover a band like The Baskervilles. I have been chatting with them about their latest single, Blood in My Mouth, and what comes next for them.
The guys chat about the music scene around Suffolk – they are based out of Ipswich – and where they might be heading on tour; whether they all share musical tastes; if they each have a favourite memory from music – I learn why Smash Mouth’s All Star holds special relevance for James.
Hi, guys. How are you? How has your week been?
Hi. Thanks for having us. It’s been a really busy week; getting everything ready to drop the new single, but it’s all coming together and we can’t wait for 27th to get here!
For those new to your music; can you introduce yourselves, please?
We’re The Baskervilles from Ipswich in Suffolk.
Blood in My Mouth is your new track. Can you reveal its story and background?
James: Blood in My Mouth is about making a mistake during a relationship and the battle that comes if you decide to try and work through it, accompanied by the fear that if you lose that person you know you won’t get over them; you’ll be doomed to taste them like blood in your mouth wherever you go.
Despite using the word ‘doomed’ in its description; I do consider it one of our jumpier numbers.
You guys spent time working with producer Tom Donovan. Do you think he has played a role in the sound of Blood in My Mouth?
Aaron: Probably one of the biggest challenges we’ve had in the past is trying to find a studio and producer who really understands the sounds we’re trying to achieve. The first time we worked with Tom we instantly clicked: he totally got what we wanted, he started throwing in sounds and ideas that we hadn’t thought about but instantly loved.
Being in the studio with Tom is like collaborating with a mad scientist. He takes our ideas and just starts throwing all these crazy production ideas into the mix – which, then, gives us more ideas and we kind of just go around in this whirlwind of creativity until we end up with a song.
Blood in My Mouth could have easily been a raw Catfish and the Bottlemen-type song, but Tom really helped us explore all the tones and sounds we used - turning the song into something that sounds like The Baskervilles.
Will there be more material coming later this year?
James: There’ll be so much material coming, you could weave a patch on your favourite denim jacket that reads: ‘I push back hard for the Baskervilles’ - and still have enough left over for a convincing snood.
How did The Baskervilles get together?
Aaron: James and I have been in a few bands together that kind of drifted apart because of other commitments - and we were the last two standing. Callum and Blair met in the womb (they’re twins) and ended up playing in other bands together and, again, were the last two still playing music when the other members went their own ways. James had already started The Baskervilles as a side project.
We all ended up joining it, scraping the songs he already had and starting again from scratch. We’ve learnt a lot about songwriting since those early days and a lot of earlier songs have fallen by the wayside – but, we now feel like we’ve really found what we want to be playing and just want to put out music as fast as possible (which, unfortunately, is not as fast as we would like).
You hail from Suffolk. What is the music scene like there? Is it easy enough to get your voices heard?
The Suffolk music scene is quite spread out. Bury St. Edmunds has a really cool venue called The Hunter Club that puts on some really good shows. There is the John Peel Centre in Stowmarket that also have some great bands come through. Ipswich (which is where James and I live) is having a bit of a resurgence in live music as well. There is an awesome independent venue called The Smokehouse that is putting on shows nearly every night of the week - and they have made it super-friendly for performers to hire it out.
Suffolk does get missed out when bigger bands are touring, though. They tend to play Essex, skip Suffolk and then play Norfolk or Cambridge. It’s a shame, but hopefully, things will start to change if places like The Smokehouse keep doing well.
What sort of music do you all like listening to? Do you have quite similar tastes?
We all have our own tastes in music. Between us, we’ll listen to anything from The Smiths through to Kendrick Lamar, but there’s a lot of overlap. Something we all have in common though is that we get really buzzed by recordings that have great or creative production. It doesn’t really matter what genre it is: if it sounds amazing we’ll probably like it.
Do you have any gigs lined up? Where are you heading?
We’re in the middle of putting together some U.K. shows for late-May and June. Keep an eye on our Facebook and we’ll be announcing them very soon. We’ll hopefully be doing a few more shows through the rest of the year, but we also want to get back into the studio and do some more writing.
What do you hope to achieve in 2018?
Gigs and new songs...and get our music in front of as many people as possible.
Have you each got a favourite memory from your time in music – the one that sticks in the mind?
James: My parents got married when I was around eight-years-old. I didn’t really get all the hullabaloo: they’d always been mum and dad to me, ever at each other's side. Dad loved music and, while he was a stern man of few words and fewer sentiments, he’d occasionally make mum get up and dance with him to some music he had on. Seeing their first dance at their wedding really made the power of music light a fire in me, and I still tear up any time I hear Smash Mouth’s All Star.
They’re happily divorced to this day.
Aaron: The first gig I ever went to was to see Motörhead with my dad. It was also the first time I’d been to London or ridden on the Underground. I remember feeling the power of a kick-drum through a P.A. for the first time and was totally blown away. When Lemmy started playing bass, it was indescribable. It’s probably one of my favourite memories of all time.
If you could support any musician alive today, and choose your own rider, what would that entail?
What advice would you give to new artists coming through?
James: Turn up on time, don’t put a drink on someone else’s amp - especially if they’ve let you borrow it - and don’t think you’re too good to talk to anyone. It won’t help you succeed, but not being a total c*nt will make the climb-down from your tepid success easier.
Aaron: Surround yourselves with people who are willing to work as hard as you are. It’s not enough for only one of you to work hard at it: everyone needs to give it 110%. Everyone on your team needs to believe in what you are doing and be willing to work for it.
IN THIS PHOTO: Kid Kapichi
Do you get much time to chill away from music? How do you unwind?
Music is quite full-on at the moment for all of us; trying to fit writing, recording and gigging around full-time jobs is pretty hard. We also do a lot of stuff for the band behind the scenes. For example; we made the video for Blood in My Mouth ourselves and I had to take a few days’ holiday from work to get it edited. But, we’re not complaining! We love making music.
Finally, and for being good sports; you can choose a song and I’ll play it here (not any of your music - I will do that).
James: Smash Mouth - All Star
One last time. For Mum and Dad…
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