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Interview with BASSET
What got you into music, and if you had not gotten into music what would you be doing today?
Sam: My family is full of musicians on both sides, so I’ve always been surrounded by it. I started playing violin when I was 5 years old, and later fell in love with the folk songs we’d sing at my summer camp in the Georgian Bay. If I weren’t in music I’d probably be teaching philosophy at a university somewhere.
Yasmine: My dad is very passionate about music, and I grew up with all kinds of music playing in the house so I’ve always been singing. At the same time, both my parents are visual artists and art supplies were always readily available, so where I’m passionate about music I’m entirely at ease when I draw. If I wasn’t a musician I might be a illustrator but it really is hard to imagine doing anything other singing.
We also both grew up listening to the “O Brother Where Art Thou” soundtrack, and that is a huge part of our shared musical upbringing.
What do you like to do when you are not playing music and how does that influence your creativity?
We like to go on long hikes or walks around the city, and when we have more time, we take camping or canoeing trips. Doing something like that for a long time lets your mind slow down a bit, and those become some of our most creative moments.
How long have you been making music?
We’ve been playing together for six years.
Where are you based out of and how did that influence your music?
We’re from Toronto. It’s a huge and diverse city with a wide spread of musical styles, and there’s always something new to dig into.
Tell me about your most memorable shows, if you haven’t played live what is your vision for a live show?
One of our favourite shows was opening for our friend Mia Kelly at the Blacksheep Inn in Wakefield, Quebec. We didn’t have a car at the time, so we had to take our instruments on a Megabus from Toronto to Ottawa, and catch a ride from Ottawa to the venue. The green room had a view over a snow-covered lake, and it just set the scene for one of the warmest and best-received performances we’ve ever had.
What is your favorite venue to play at, and do you have any places you want to play that you have not already?
To be honest, we haven’t quite found our place yet. We’ve got a lot of touring coming up, and I’m sure we’ll find some favourites soon. We’re about to play a show at Club Passim in Boston, which is something we’ve been trying to put together for a long time and we’re very excited about that.
If you could play any show with any lineup, who would be on the ticket?
Anaïs Mitchell and Florence & The Machine.
What is some advice that you would give to someone who is just getting into making music and some advice that you would give to your younger self?
The advice in both cases is the same: write a ton of songs. We’ve learned that you can’t turn a pretty good song into a great song by tinkering with it and agonizing over it. You just need to finish the song, and get started on a new one. The more you do this, the more you develop instincts for which ones are worth your energy.
Of your songs which one means the most to you and why?
In the Clay. Over the years we’ve written dozens of songs that tried to capture that feeling, and they all led to this one. It feels like a huge victory.
Which songs are your favorite to play and which get requested the most?
“Phenomenal” is the one that hits those two buttons the most. We also love to play Ships at Sea, and At My Feet.
What is your creative process, and what inspires you to write your music?
One of the coolest challenges of songwriting is being constantly on the lookout for the things that move us, and trying not to constrain where that inspiration comes from. We’ve been inspired by TV shows, radio hosts, books, paintings, landscapes, birds.. it goes on forever.
Do you have messages that you like to get across in your music, if so please tell me about them?
Our biggest message on this album is really a reminder to ourselves to make sure we take time to rest. We struggle a lot with burnout and anxiety, so it’s nice to have little reminders built into the music itself to keep us grounded.
What are your plans for the future, and do you have anything that you want to spotlight that is coming up?
We’re about to head out on a little tour of the American east coast in mid-November that’s taking us through New York, Massachussetts, and Connecticut, and then we’ll be back in the US in March of next year, starting in Vermont and then heading further down the east coast.
How can your fans best keep up to date with you, any socials you want people to check out?
We are most active on Instagram, so that’s the best place to find us. But social media is fleeting; email is forever. We keep an email list you can sign up for at our website.