Heaven’s Basement have had a meteoric rise over the past couple of years. Despite forming in 2008, it took until early 2013 before their first full-length record (Filthy Empire) hit the shelves which catapulted them into the international spotlight. In that time they saw numerous line-up changes, including going from a five-piece down to four. On Record caught up with them on one the Birmingham date of their most recent UK tour, nabbed an interview with guitarist Sid Glover, and stuck around to see them play to a sold out room.
So Sid, you guys are at the tail end of massive UK tour. How has it been?
It’s been amazing. We’ve done all the UK, on easily the biggest headline tour we’ve ever done. The crowds have been amazing, a lot of the shows have sold out, and it has been even better than ere expected to be.
So you’ve played a lot of support acts with a lot of bigger bands, which one has been the best to tour with, or the coolest to tour with?
We’ve been pretty lucky, they’ve all been great to tour with. Papa Roach are always great to tour with, we’ve had some really good times around Europe with those guys. The Pretty Reckless in America, we did probably the longest tour we’ve ever done with them, support wise. That was really fun. Halestorm, Buckcherry, Shinedown, Black Veil Bride. We’ve had a really good couple of years.
When I first started going to Heaven’s Basement shows you were a five-piece. How was the transition down to a four-piece? Did if feel natural?
It didn’t feel natural, but we just had to make it work. Which we did quite easily, we don’t really need another guitarist. I just had to work out how to play a few different parts differently, and try and blend two guitar parts at once, so we didn’t lose to much and we kept the main elements of the songs. We fiddled around with mine and Rob’s (Ellershaw, Bass Guitar) on stage rigs, now it sounds good. There is a lot more dynamics, as I don’t have to worry about what a second guitarist is playing, so I’ve got a lot more freedom.
So what took so long to make Filthy Empire happen?
Mainly just various line up changes. We don’t want to go in and record our first album with people who have only been in band for a few weeks. So, we took our time, and we knew the album we want to make and the bar we wanted to hit, and give the band enough to develop as a band with Aaron (Buchanan, Lead Vocals). The actual recording of the album only took eight days so it was more about getting to a point where we were ready and happy to do an album, and then when we were there we fired it out really quickly.
Will we have to wait as long for another album?
Oh, no, I hope not! I mean, we haven’t really planned the second album yet but we work pretty fast when get into a studio when we want to. It’s hard to say, but we will probably start working on it towards the end of this year.
I’ve seen you guys at a lot of venues, but what has you personal favourite show been?
Well weirdly the big highlights and things like Download Festival and Reading & Leeds and getting to tour America, I mean they’re great experiences, but then weird shows that just happen to be great. Like we played in Poland with Black Veil Brides and that was an awesome show, it wasn’t as big but the energy was just intense and the crowd were amazing. Montréal with The Pretty Reckless was insane as well. It is kind of up to the crowd really. Dallas House of Blues was awesome ‘cause Vinnie Paul from Pantera came down so playing in his home area in front of him was pretty cool.
So you guys have done a fair amount of acoustic sets like on the Jagermeister stage a Download, busking in Camden, playing the St Pancreas Platform Sessions. Is that something you guys particularly enjoy doing?
Yeah, yeah I do. We started doing it because Download asked us to come and play, and we weren’t playing electrically as it was just as we had re-launched with a new singer, and we decided if we were gonna play we were going to make it as good as if it were an electric set, went into it head first and developed out own sort of acoustic set that is full fucking on. I kinda get off on it, it’s fun.
Over the past couple of years you guys have really blown up in size. What do you attribute that to? Do you think it is finding the line up that stuck?
No, I attribute that to finally having an album we are happy with and touring a lot. It’s not really rocket science: Write a good album. Play it well live. And then repeat that cycle (laughs). And then you have people going away saying “Fuck yeah, that was awesome!”.
Sadly, interviewing Glover clashed with openers The Dirty Youth, but they sound great from the dressing rooms, and hopefully On Record will catch them at another show soon.
Taking second billing on the tour was Glamour of the Kill, a post-hardcore act hailing from York. Their particular brand of rock proved popular with the crowd, with a far higher proportion of females in it than most rock shows these days, but they were a little too “boy band meets rock band” for this reviewers tastes, and the set relied a little too much on click tracks.
Then it was the time for Heaven’s Basement to take to the stage. The last couple of times this reviewer has seen them they seemed to have gone off the boil slightly (even a Heaven’s Basement show with them not quite on form still outstrips most other bands) but they were definitely back to their old selves at this show. Each number was attacked with great ferocity with well over half the setlist having the feeling of a band putting all the effort into their final number, to then simply launch into the next song.
The setlist was a well chosen mix of album and the EPs they released prior, though could of perhaps done with something more well known in place of recent B side Straight to Hell. The band’s successive touring has resulted in a very tight performance, with a great deal of interplay between each member. The only down side was the front of house sound was a little lacking on the vocal department, which with Heaven’s Basement fast paced lyrics may have left those unfamiliar with them prior to the gig at a loss.
But that minor point aside, it was great to see a young, hungry, British hard rock act perform with such ferociousness and skill, and it really did leave me thinking “Fuck yeah, that was awesome!”