One listen to Hamilton, Ontario’s Basement Revolver and you’ll think you’ve died and went to 90’s alternative heaven. Following the success of the trio’s 2016 self-titled debut EP, they’ve dazzled us once more with new release Agatha – an introspective look into the struggles of mental health and all that lies in between.
In this exclusive guest blog, singer Chrisy Hurn delves into what it truly means to be an independent artist in 2017 while trying to build a name for themselves. Hint: you can’t half-ass this shit!
Being an independent artist – as is likely true for anyone pursuing an art form – is a wonderful and exciting emotional roller coaster. As a band that is still pretty new to the scene, we have learned a lot, and will likely continue to as we try to grow and make a name for ourselves.
Basement Revolver started out as a side project while I was a full time psychology and art major at university. Some of the songs that I was writing were not great for the folk band that Nimal and I were a part of, and I didn’t feel like I was getting my creativity out. I wanted to experiment with vocal effects, and delays and all the good distortion, and folk songs started to feel very boring. This brought us to the wonderful world of shoegaze music. I felt like I could finally make music that I liked. We worked out a couple of songs, tried out for a battle of the bands and won, asked Brandon to drum for us, and thus began Basement Revolver.
From there, we started playing shows around town, recorded our first EP which somehow blew up on Spotify, signed to our first label (fear of missing out), had our song played in a TV show, went on a mini tour, and a lot more. Basement Revolver just kind of fell in our laps, and I knew that it was what we ought to be doing. I feel like our experience has been different from most, as we have been really fortunate to live in a city like Hamilton – the city is small enough that we get to open for bigger names, like Said the Whale, but big enough to have a somewhat thriving music scene. Hamilton is kind of like a city that is a small town at heart – we met our recording engineer, producer, PR, and local promoters through friends of friends.
Needless to say, I went from thinking it would be fun to play some shows with some songs that I made, to thinking that this is what I want to do with my life. If you’re dancing along the same lines, let me warn you; no one tells you that to be a musician, you also have to be good at bragging, writing grants, managing a business and also a billion things, booking tours, talking to strangers, being cool, understanding weird music industry jargon, commerce, the internet, and so much more. It is super hard work. It isn’t easy at all – and to be perfectly honest, a lot of it scares the shit out of me.
In a round about way, Basement Revolver has forced me to do a lot of personal work too. I am a very self-conscious person, and in an industry that places so much weight on image I am learning to be okay with my imperfections. I almost exclusively write about hard experiences in my life – and sharing those so publicly is hard but it is something that I feel convicted to do. I want to make music that is honest, that meets people where they are at, and that opens doors for conversation. There is also the potential for failure, or the impending doom that someone might not like what you make – you have to be okay with that.
In the past year, we have been working on our new EP, Agatha, which will be released on fear of missing out (UK) and Yellow K (US). We have also been writing for our first full length and embarking on another tour. I am so thankful for this band that I get to be a part of, and for the community that surrounds it. I have met so many quality people through writing music – from other bands, our team, blogs, and music lovers. I feel like the luckiest kid around, and I am excited to keep learning and growing.
Agatha is available now here.