Basement Birds

Basement Birds

 Fitzroy, Victoria, AUS
BandPopFolk

They can’t decide if they’re more like The Travelling Wilburys, The Highwaymen or The Three Tenors, but one thing is sure – they’re none of those. They’re Basement Birds, a unique teaming of four of Australia’s premier singer/songwriters within the one group.

Biography

They can’t decide if they’re more like The Travelling Wilburys, The Highwaymen or The Three Tenors, but one thing is sure – they’re none of those. They’re Basement Birds, a unique teaming of four of Australia’s premier singer/songwriters within the one group.

It would be easy to say that their debut album, (to be unveiled in three track bundles on iTunes from June) came together during an idyllic, boozy long, lost weekend on the coast. But with Kevin Mitchell’s highly successful Bob Evans guise, Josh Pyke’s ongoing solo triumph, Kav Temperley’s tenure as Eskimo Joe frontman and Steve Parkin headed towards a long-awaited debut solo album, it would take three years for this quartet to start its roll.

“Steve and I have a gazillion hair-brained schemes,” says Kav. “And I was determined that this hair-brained scheme would actually see itself to its end.”

Hair-brained or not, once the idea was set in place its first steps happened in separate corners, bringing the other two protagonists into place. With Steve performing in the Bob Evans touring band at the time, he and Kevin found moments during downtime to pen a worthy first tune, Waiting For You. Meanwhile, Josh Pyke had joined Eskimo Joe on a national tour and began exchanging ideas with Kav.

The notion was now set in place as a reality, but the four were yet to convene in the same room together (in fact this has only occurred during four week-long writing/recording sessions that have taken place since mid-2009). Plenty of calls and emails were exchanged though, and the initial vision of recording an acoustic-based, organic release that referenced their mutual love of the likes of Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young and Wilco held true until the foursome were able to gather when new flavours emerged as momentum took shape.

“Luckily we all seem to have fairly similar tastes in music,” Steve says. “I think it’d be harder if we had someone who was into death metal and another into jazz fusion. That’d be tough (laughs). There’s enough common ground between the four of us.”

As the four converged on Kav’s home studio in Fremantle more often, the entity took shape beyond the idea. Early sessions took a more emotional, sentimental sway with songs such as Waiting For You and Holly coming to fruition. Later sessions saw the breezy Skin Of The Sky transform from something more ponderous in 3-4 time, to a more uptempo song that changed the mood of the sessions and resulted into the album’s most upbeat number, the spontaneously written Bustop.

Other songs such as The Hardest Part and Not The One were similarly created together and recorded afterwards, with the vibe and momentum of the initial energy kept intact. Importantly, they could not only finish each other’s songs, but start them together on the same page as well.

The biggest disagreements? ‘What’s for dinner?’ and ‘who’s going to go on the beer run?’

“The only hard thing has been logistics, everything else about it has been easy,” Josh says.

“Every week-long session that we’ve done we’ve been able to gather more momentum,’ Kevin notes. “With every song we’ve collaborated on and recorded it’s just gotten easier and easier. We’ve become far more like a functioning group.”

Kav points out that that each songwriter’s willingness to put preciousness aside and let the songs go where they need has been a major part of the success of the collaboration. As each member is a fan of each other’s work, self-confidence has gone hand-in-hand with confidence in each other and the results are enlightening. Those four-part harmonies coming from four celebrated lead singers are the icing on the cake.

“You can throw references around but at the end of the day it’s just become the sum of its parts,” says Josh. “I reckon you can really hear each songwriter in each of the songs, whether it’s harmonies or a little vocal line, which is a really cool thing.”

It is, as you will discover when Basement Birds gradually unveil themselves on iTunes and live on stages around the country in mid-2010.

WHICH BIRD BRINGS WHAT TO THE BASEMENT…

KAV ON KEVIN…

“It’s really interesting for me having Kevin as part of this because growing up in Perth he is almost like an elder statesman. Jebediah were the first band to break out of Perth, in our lifetime. His songwriting has obviously gone to many different places and he seems to have this amazing ability to roll out these ditties. He writes quite differently, I always write with words, they happen with melody at the same time, whereas with Kev he’ll just be like ‘de na na, de na na’ which frees him up to have these endless melodies that are just rolling out. If you let him go he just comes up with more and more continuous melodies… then you have to knuckle him down to write words (laughs). All our voices sit in different places so vocally, as well, he brings something that no one else does.”

KEV ON STEVE…

“Collaborative songwriting is probably Steve’s greatest st

Lyrics

Skin of the Sky

Written By: Basement Birds

Skin of the Sky

I feel so alive
Everytime that we learn how to fly
We spent summer so high
Trying to reach for the skin of the sky
'Cause its a harder road
To walk alone
Without each other we'd sink like a stone
Try to forget that you're already home

(whistling)

Life 'aint just a fight
When we're together we more than survive
"Til you turn out the light
You got a friend who will stick out the night
Its a harder road
To walk alone
Without each other we'd sink like a stone
Try to remember you're already home
Try to forget that you're always alone

Days they pass
The fun, it never lasts
When times are tough
And there's no voice from above

You're gonna go through it all...

Bus Stop

Written By: Basement Birds

Bus Stop

Called you two times, three times four
Five times, six times, seven times, eight times more
(Never been too good with numbers
Never been too good with the numbers)
Talked to you, twenty past two
Sittin' at the bus stop waiting for the rendezvous
(Must have left my phone at home that day
Left my phone on the bedside table)
Called you again, messages ten
Sittin' at the bus stop suckin' on a fishermans friend
(Always find my way back to ya
Always find my way back to ya)
I'm just trying to find my way to you
I'm just trying to find my way to you
Called you two times, three times four
Five times, six times, seven times, eight times more
(Must have given you the wrong number
Never been too good with the numbers)
Called you again, messages ten
Sittin' at the bus stop suckin' on a fishermans friend
(Always find my way back to ya
Always find my way back to ya)
I'm just trying to find my way to you
I'm just trying to find my way to you

Not the One

Written By: Basement Birds

Not The One

I'm always off in the wrong direction
I'm always walking down a crooked line
Too many cures and no prevention
Too many nights spent chasing a high
Maybe I'm lost 'cos I won't look back
Baby I was lost from the point of contact
Maybe I'm bored, sick of myself
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
I'm sick and tired of the same prescriptions
I feel a life time slippin' away
Chasing my tail with a blind conviction
Can't even sleep in the bed that I made
Maybe I'm lost 'cos I won't look back
Baby I was lost from the point of contact
Maybe I'm bored, sick of myself
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Don't hold me in your heart 'cos you will find I am
The great deceiver
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for
Maybe I'm not the one you're looking for

Waiting For You

Written By: Basement Birds

WAITING FOR YOU

I'm not drunk but I'm stoned
You're never alone
Don't think that you know things nobody could know
The light in your eyes
Cannot describe all the lies and I'm better off anyway
After today you'll be further away
And I'll cry
I'll cry
Don't leave you and me breathless
In a memory that cheats what we long to believe
After today you'll be further away
And I'll cry
I'll cry
I'm always waiting for you
I'm always waiting for you
We think of yesterdays like they were holidays
Bathed in the warmth of a sun we don't feel because
After today you'll be further away
And I'll cry
I'll cry
I'm always waiting for you
I'm always waiting for you
You left me waiting here to fall
And I never felt so small
But if I never wait again
At least this will end
I'm always waiting for you
I'm always waiting for you

Discography

Basement Birds - s/t - LP
On Radio - "Waiting For You", "Not The One", "Skin of the Sky", "Bus Stop"