At this year’s Download Festival, BIMM student Ash Edmonds talked to Basement’s Alex Henery about the difference between UK and US festivals, terrorism and chips.
How would you describe the atmosphere of Download festival?
I haven't been inside yet, so I am not 100% sure, but I've seen some friends and I'm having a good time, I think everyone else is too. The sun is out so no complaints from me!
What makes UK festivals like this so great?
I feel that British festival goers are always down to have a good time. I feel like everyone’s receptive to the music. We just saw some friends’ bands play and it was pretty packed out. People are just down to watch music, and I think that’s cool. The food as well! There are probably a good few burger vans that are selling some wicked chips. The weather is holding up, so maybe that as well.
You mentioned you saw some friends play?
I saw Dinosaur Pile-up, who we have toured with before. I also saw a bit of Touche Amore who we have also toured with. They’re good friends of ours and it was good to see them all again.
Who are you looking forward to seeing today?
I don't know if we are going to have time to see anyone else but we might watch a bit of Aerosmith and maybe a little bit of Slayer as well.
Basement has spent a lot of time in America, how do UK festivals differ?
The crowds in the UK are a little bit more rowdy, which I like. I feel as though I relate to these English festivals because I used to go to them as a kid growing up, such as Reading for instance. I have a special place in my heart for these British festivals. American festivals are cool too though - we played Riot Fest and that was really awesome.
We have played a crazy festival in Philadelphia called Made In America Fest, it was nuts! They had Rihanna and Coldplay there as well, which felt kind of weird. One American festival I would love to play is Coachella, just so I could just hang out and put some flowers in my hair. Download is always great and Reading is awesome. Maybe I lean more towards British festivals as we have played a few more over here.
Who is your favourite band that you have played with so far?
Probably Brand New. They were awesome every single night, and they are all really interesting and super nice guys. They gave us a lot of advice. We had just became a full time touring band at that point and they were really helpful and looked out for us.
Due to recent terror attacks, such as Manchester, how do you feel that live music can fight back?
When we played Rock Am Ring our set was cut short and we were rushed off stage because of a terror threat, so it was very real at that moment. If people want to do these terrible things, then they are going to do them. We can try our best to stop them, but the only way we can beat it is by keeping on doing what we are doing and keeping on living our lives.
We can’t live in fear, as much as they may want us to, we just have to press on and focus on the positives. If you focus on those negatives, the sadness and devastation, it is going to crush you. We have to think about these things and be vigilant. Pray that our leaders can do something to stop terror, hope the police do what they can do as well. As a citizen, just live your life and don't let that fear stop you from doing things that you love doing. Be aware, but don’t be silly, if you see something say something.
What can people expect from Basement’s live show if they have never seen you play before?
Hopefully a lot of energy and crowd participation. If we play smaller shows then we welcome stage diving, I love seeing a push pit, I love seeing moshing, it always gets me excited! I want people to be active when they see us play. Hopefully our music can bring that energy today.
There is more punk at this festival this year than there has been before, what are your thoughts on that?
I think that it is awesome! Obviously there will be some Metalheads that disagree and want it to go back to the ‘purest’ metal, but as someone who thought that their band would never get to play Download, I am stoked! It is a festival that I have always been interested in and now I get to play it. Maybe it’ll help get kids to listen to music that they may have not heard before, and I think that it is a good thing. I mean it hasn’t deviated too far away from its roots, but I am always down for a mixed bill.
Words by Ash Edmonds