“We’ve always had such a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve”: An Interview with Heaven’s Basement (17/07/2013)

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I recently caught up with Heaven’s Basement guitarist Sid Glover before the Bournemouth date of their UK summer tour. We chatted about line-up changes, life on tour and the band’s much anticipated first album ‘Filthy Empire’.

Okay, let’s start off with a classic – what are the main influences behind the Heaven’s Basement sound?

Anything with a good, solid guitar riff really. We love the all the old school English rock bands, stuff like Led Zeppelin, the Clash, Motörhead. All the good stuff, basically! We don’t consciously call it our “influences”, but it’s the music we like and that kind of comes through in the music we play.

You’ve played a huge variety of venues as a band, from pubs and clubs to massive festival stages and stadiums, opening for bands like Bon Jovi. What’s your favourite kind of venue to play, the smaller ones where you can headline, or the larger ones where your audience is bigger?

God, I remember that Bon Jovi gig, it was so weird! It was only our seventh ever show as a band, and we just blagged our way in claiming to be a local Manchester band. As for what we prefer to play, there isn’t really much to choose between them. One of the great things about being in this band is that we can be playing in an arena or a massive theatre one day and then headlining our own show in a bar the next. It’s good for us as a band to have the opportunity to get that variety, because it means every gig’s a different experience.

You go abroad a lot as well as just touring the UK. Do you have a large international fanbase, or is it a bit of an uphill struggle touring overseas?

We’re still very much a British band, but our fanbase is growing. We could really see it in America, even though we’d never been there before, people would turn up knowing all the words and be able to sing along straight away. That was strange for us, but it was great! We had the same with festivals in places like Germany; we could feel that people were getting more into it.

Are there any of the bands that you’ve been on tour with that you’ve stayed friends with and kept in touch?

Pretty much all of them actually! There’s never really been a band we haven’t stayed in touch with, even from the days when we toured with the likes of Papa Roach, Shinedown and others like that, we still speak and keep in contact. A lot of the bands that we’ve toured with in the past were doing the same festivals as us over in America this summer, so we were always running into each other and catching up!

You didn’t release your first album until you’d been touring together for over four years. Was it a conscious decision and do you regret waiting so long?

We definitely don’t regret waiting to record it; it was good to have that touring experience behind us before we started. There were lots of reasons why we waited so long, part of it was that we set ourselves quite a high bar for our debut album; we didn’t just want to fire one out quickly, because we knew once we did it, that was it. We also had to wait until we felt we had the right line-up for it, because we had a couple of line-up changes between starting the band and actually doing the album. I think holding out on doing the album was the best thing we ever did, because if we’d done the album before we’d been through that process and really found out who we were, it wouldn’t quite have been the same.

Were those early line-up changes hard for you as a band?

Yeah, we had do things like touring with temporary members, and that was hard, but only because we had a very clear idea of where we wanted to be. It’s wouldn’t have been hard if we’d been willing to just settle for anything, but we’ve always had such a clear vision of what we wanted to achieve as a band. It was a case of finding the right peg to fit the hole we’d carved for ourselves, that was the hard thing. The hardest was probably, when we went from touring as a five piece to touring as a four piece band. Losing the second guitar forced us to really think about how to get the sound we wanted and at first it was a definite negative thing. But then we realised there was a whole different dynamic we could achieve without another guitar. For me as a guitarist, it gave me a lot more freedom, as long as the rhythm section are locked in and doing their thing I can do whatever I want and I don’t have to worry about fitting in with another guitarist.

You guys have a pretty punishing touring schedule, what do you do to relax in your spare time?

In the four days we have off in August I’ll let you know! [laughs]We barely have any time off at all really, because we love touring and time off is just boring for us. If we have a day off we probably just sleep! We did go to the beach today though, so there’s that.

And finally, are you guys working on any new material at the moment, or are you focusing mainly on touring?

No, it’s not really a priority at the moment. We waited so long to get this album recorded, we want to make sure we’ve wrung every last bit of juice out of it and toured it to death first! Otherwise, we wouldn’t feel we were doing it justice.

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