How Basecamp Went From Accidental Band To Nashville’s Biggest Up & Coming Artist
Ambient lo-fi band, Basecamp, are all about doing the unexpected. They’re a trio of producers making electronic music in the mecca of country, Nashville, Tennessee, signed to the fledgling label Owsla of now infamous electronic music artist, Skrillex. And they’re brutally honest about their motivations. When I ask them what drove them to start making the kind of music that they’re doing they tell me that they hadn’t really intended on being a band at all, “There wasn’t really an intention of starting a band when we first started working together,” they explain. “When we first started working, we were just writing songs and we were going to send them off to be put in movies and TV shows to make a little extra money. But, then when we started writing we were like, well this is cool. So it was a bit of an accident, but it was a happy accident for sure.” See? Even the band’s existence itself was unexpected. A few days from when I interviewed them, they’d be heading to Texas to do the unexpected once again– play a show alongside hardcore punk band Power Trip. It’s a strange combination, but the boys seem unfazed. “So I see you’ll be going to Texas soon to play a show with Power Trip…?” I linger a moment before asking them, “Uh, had you ever listened to them before you signed up for that?” One of them laughs at my question before answering, “I hadn’t listened to them before we signed on to this, but I definitely checked them out after I saw that they were on the show,” one of the members tells me, “I’m into it, but it’s definitely a weird…combination. Pretty sure people are going be like ‘what the fuck is this?’ when they hear us.”
From all this I begin to gather a story of sorts: Basecamp seems to have meandered into being, with an origin story that sprawls cities and genres. Two of the members, Aaron Harmon and Jordan Reyes, had been in bands together since they were 14 and 15. “We started off as a crazy industrial rock band like “Ministry”. We were a rap/rock band for a while, too. Then we started a prog rock band, and we did that for a really long time. Then we were a punk band for a while. And, that was kind of the last band for a while before Basecamp. ” After they quit their punk band they started producing music, which is when they stumbled upon Aaron Miller who had been producing for and working with a hip hop artist at the time. That’s when the three of them started creating music together, and realized that what they were doing was fun enough, and more importantly interesting enough to shift from “side project” meant to earn them all a little extra income, to their main focus. “All of us are really influenced by a lot of crazy types of music. We did prog rock for such a long time and then we did all this music theory in school. It wasn’t until we started messing around with Basecamp stuff that we kind of rediscovered experimentation.”
And their music? Like band’s origin story, it’s sprawling and meandering, rife with genre bending details. Sometimes it sounds like Blockhead, other times Sam Smith, and still other times, the heavy use of synth mimics Canadian electronic duo, Purity Ring. Those synths slip and slide, or drop out entirely leaving only a singular drum in the background only to reemerge at full volume. But, unlike Purity Ring, Basecamp tempo and volume changes are seamless which makes for less turbulence and urgency, more bluesy sleepiness. And while that seamlessness is probably a product of their professional training and music mastery (all of the members studied music at University) it occasionally creates a sense of– here we go again– unexpected familiarity. Something about Basecamp, even with all its genre blending and mixed methods of production, sounds like something we’ve heard before. Which isn’t a bad thing, in fact, its actually makes for an, at once, comforting and wondrous experience when you’re listening to them while high. I wouldn’t know from experience, though.
Check out Basecamp’s here.