It’s a warm Summer’s evening, there’s a slightly stinky ocean breeze wafting through the illuminated streets of Wollongong, and I’m on my way to one of our best local haunts; Rad Bar. At this point I was completely unaware that I was about to witness something so grand, something so majestic, that I would leave the venue with an energy only ’90s fitness instructor Richard Simmons could emanate.
It is with humbling honour that I am able to introduce Wollongong’s math rock auteurs with a band name paying homage to ’90s emo band Cap’n Jazz; your friendly neighbourhood Basil’s Kite.
Highly skilled, notoriously entertaining and entirely unserious, Basil’s Kite have spent seven years honing their musical prowess and getting banned from pubs in Katoomba.
Enjoying the conception during the dawn of the internet, Basil’s Kite’s chemistry on stage is nothing less than hypnotising and curious.
“Basil’s Kite began on 4chan actually! I met Jake Walker on /mu/ and we started talking on MSN. Next we found that we lived kind of close to each other and then I went to his house to have a jam! Imagine that, I could have been walking into a predator’s house but instead I ended up meeting a friend/bandmate. Jake played guitar with us for two years before leaving to pursue electronic music. He bought along his friend Andrew Hodgins and I brought along my friends Jacob and Reagen.”
“Our first full gig together was for a cover band competition, we entered as Basil’s Kite and played In the Aeroplane Over The Gong. Playing the entirety of Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over The Sea.”
The band describes their sound as experimental math rock, and for anybody who doesn’t know what that genre specifically entails, let BK spell it out for ya:
“It’s chaotic but meticulously composed music, drawing from all our independent influences and creating something unique. We’re all just huge nerds and love playing our instruments, after seven years of being together we’ve successfully fostered what I think is a great band dialogue.”
“It’s not uncommon for us to spend three or more hours in a rehearsal room composing together. It is really hard work, but so rewarding for us.”
After being banned from playing in any pubs or clubs in the Big K (Katoomba), the band has found a stark contrast between different communities amongst the Australian music scene.
“I’ve found the experience of living in Wollongong equally rewarding as it is stifling. There are a smaller pool of musicians there and fewer venues. However there is undeniably such a beautiful sense of community and comradery between bands. There are so many amazing figures that work tirelessly to make Wollongong a great place for music.”
“When we played Katoomba we found that that beautiful sense of regional town musician comradery was there as well. Unfortunately, as most fans (and haters) know by now they took issue with a joke presentation we made, and as a result we are no longer welcome to play any pubs or clubs in Katoomba. I guess that’s another potential downfall of a small town scene, conservatism. I’m not sure they fully comprehended much of our presentation, but yeah I saw a lot of happy faces become angry ones that night.”
During that infectiously enjoyable set at Rad Bar, the guys covered We Are The Champions by Queen with an extremely corny-yet-wholesome slideshow of the band members projected onto the wall behind them.
“We like to keep our audiences on their toes but also encourage them to surrender themselves to the moment and HAVE FUN.”
“Music like ours can sometimes have the capacity to attract a whole bunch of chin scratching dudes who analyse everything so deeply and afterwards just want to talk about guitar pedals and time signatures for an hour outside. Not really a fun conversation. We like to make people dance, we like to make people laugh and we absolutely LOVE showing people something new.”
After creeping on the band’s social media channels, I spied hints that Basil’s Kite are currently recording an album. I was quick to get on the case:
“We do have an album on the way! We began recording late April 2018 and things are going really smoothly. We’re happy to tentatively announce it will be launched around August/September.”
Basil’s Kite are a band that’s taking out the pretentious and putting in the fun. When you’re watching them perform it truly does feel like you’re in a garage amongst a group of really good mates, with a sense of community amongst the audience that’s second to none.