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Tuesday, June 9, 2015

FIRST BASE (Japanese release)

Once again our good friend Yuki at SP-RECORDS has come up with the best Power Pop Punk treat ever: the twelve tracks of Toronto's FIRST BASE debut album + all of their singles and EPs that pre-date the record! 27 tracks in all, melting in your ears like the sweetest candy in your mouth. A pure moment of sugarly delight. If you dig the Yachts, the Pointed Sticks or the Yum-Yums, then you're going to be in heaven.

In order to find out who's behind Canada's best kept secret, here is a little interview of Fraser (guitar, vocals and mastermind of First base) and Mike (Bass) 

Fraser, it is my understanding that in the beginning FIRST BASE was you alone in your room using windows sound recorder. Can you tell me about that period? How long did you do this on your own?

Fraser: Yeah, it started with me alone recording stuff in my bedroom. I had just moved to Toronto and wanted to start a band but I didn't know any musicians. I started writing songs and recording them on what little equipment I had, so that was Windows' "sound recorder"on my computer which was barely working. I don't think it could have handled recording software any more advanced.

 I would record back and forth between two "sound recorder" windows, each time adding a new layer of guitar/vocal/whatever. I kind of developed a style of recording based on that weird method, trying to record quietly in an apartment, and having hardly any equipment. That lasted a couple of years until the computer I was using finally died, so I upgraded to a Mac with Garage Band. I still write and record all the songs by myself in my bedroom before we do them as a band.

When did FIRST BASE actually become a "real" band? And who plays what in the band? Can you introduce the band members? 

Fraser: I met some people at work that were musicians and they offered to join me so we could play live. That was maybe a year after I started making the songs. So Shinnosuke joined on drums and Shota joined on guitar. At our first show together, I met Mike, who offered to play bass. Over the years some people have moved away or changed instruments in the band, but now the current lineup is: me on lead vocals and guitar, Nick on guitar, Mike on bass, and Connor on drums. 

How did things happen: did you wake up one morning thinking now i'm done with playing alone in my room, i wanna play with other guys?

Fraser: Well my original intent was to play in a band with other people, but I just went ahead and did it by myself. Eventually everything with the band just fell into place.

Are you still the main composer or does everybody contribute?

Fraser: I write all the songs and record them myself before we play them together. So if I make a new song, we all learn it and try playing it together. Everyone kind of makes changes to their parts and sometimes to the larger structure of the song. We'll end up with something that suits us better as a band than what I originally recorded myself. So that's what we play live and eventually record again.

What are your favorite topics to write about in a song?

Fraser: Pretty much anything dealing with relationships or girls. It's not even that it's a "favourite" topic, I just write pop songs and sort of think they should be about that kind of stuff. Part of the whole aesthetic we're going for. Other topics don't really work for us.

The Difference in sound is quite amazing. On the first singles, everything was monophonic and quite tiny and now it has evolved into a much deeper, wider and warmer sound. Did this come naturally or was this something you real aimed for?

Fraser: I think the sound we're getting now when we record as a band is what I would have done originally if I could have. The first singles were just me, done on "sound recorder" or in Garageband. The sound of those were a result of figuring out what sounded best when I recorded songs by myself. Getting a "big" sound that way was just impossible, so I guess I intentionally went the other direction. Our LP  and the "You've Got A Hold On Me" EP from Hosehead were both recorded In Ottawa with Yogi at the Meatlocker. The sound on those just came naturally. They're pretty straightforward recordings, and other than the keyboards and layered vocals, I think they're good representations of what  the band sounds like live. The meat of all those recordings is live off the floor.

The latest E.P., "You've Got A Hold On Me" was released in January of this year. Can we expect a sophomore album in the near future? Will the songs of the E.P. be on this full length?

Fraser: Right now we're working on new songs and fixing up some old ones. Gathering enough material for the next LP. I think the "You've Got A Hold On Me" EP might just be left as it's own thing. The next LP should be mostly unreleased songs. The recordings could just turn into some more singles though. We'll see. 

Your mail address is an obvious nod to the four gone brothers, but as far as I'm concerned i'd say FIRST BASE is closer to the POINTED STICKS, THE YACHTS or The YUM YUMS. Can you agree with that?

Mike: It’s not too far off. I’m not too sure if Fraser was initially into those bands when we first started or not. I was always into power pop. Being from Canada I was always a giant Pointed Sticks fan too. I weaseled my way into the Horseshoe Tavern to see them when they came to Toronto last because I was underage and got to talk with all of them. Nice guys.

What are FIRST BASE plans for 2015?

Fraser: As I said, working on some new songs for future recordings, possibly an LP. Other than that, just keep on playing shows and having fun. 

Anything you wanna add for the viewers of the blog?

Mike: We’ve got a new 45 coming out on La-Ti-Da Records based out of Vancouver. So watch for that. Should be out late summer, early fall, if I had to guess.


By the way, while you're at it check also all the other goodies on SP RECORDS

DEPARTURE KIDS - On the Go: Garage / Power pop from Marseille.  Their music is way better than their ugly front cover!

THE SWEATSHOP BOYS -  The Great Depression : This quartet from Israel cranks out quite a hodge podge of garage, power-pop, '70s rock and punk with a twist of new wave thrown in for good measure

PEACH KELLI POP III : Third full length effort of Peach Kelli Pop, best known for her catchy and tongue-in-cheek songs inspired by video games, Chinese food and conspiracy theorists.

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