Kris Schroeder joined with Wouter “Wally” De Backer (better known as “Somebody That I Use To Know” Grammy-winning singer Gotye) in 2002 to form the band The Basics. They connected with Tim Heath two years later, and since then the trio has toured across their home country of Australia and released several albums including 2007’s Stand Out/Fit In.
After a three-year hiatus The Basics are set to reunite for a new tour this fall thanks to the success of their single “So Hard For You” off the compilation LP Leftovers. DZI: The Voice caught up with Schroeder to discuss a few topics like his initial meeting with Gotye, his view on his version of the Blues, and if a collection of new tracks from The Basics is on the way.
Yohance Kyles: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
Kris Schroeder: Actually that’s an interesting question to reflect on, because I really only feel like I’m finding it now. Sure, I’ve been playing music since I was 7 years old and with The Basics since I was 20, but my voice is only just starting to reveal itself to me.
YK: How did you first connect with Wally De Backer aka Gotye?
KS: Wout and I met at a mutual friend’s farewell party back in 2001. This friend, Chris O’Ryan (aka TEK), was heading over to L.A. to start work as an assistant engineer in a studio there, though in the meantime he himself has won a Grammy! Anyway, due to Chris being a musician, he had lots of musician friends like Wally and I, and he’d set up a bit of a jam session in his lounge room. So yeah I guess we both caught each others’ attention with our playing, got to chatting over a couple of beers and have been playing together ever since!
YK: Why do you think The Basics as a band hasn’t really garnered as much attention in the American press as other Australian bands like Atlas Genius and The Rubens?
KS: I’ve actually never heard of those bands (seriously)! We’ve never had a record company or anyone in the US to push us, so that’s likely got something to do with it… So I guess the answer might be that we haven’t tried?
YK: “So Hard For You” was recorded as a demo in 2010. Why did you decide to record a video for that particular track off the Leftovers compilation?
KS: Well our publisher and very good friend, Phil Mortlock, thought it was a good idea. He loved the song, seemingly so were a lot of other people, and maybe he thought it was a way of getting us out of hibernation? I guess it worked because we’re out and shortly about to go on our first tour in three years!
YK: Is there more unreleased material from The Basics that may appear on a future project?
KS: Oh we’ve done TONS of stuff.
YK: What about a full album of new songs?
KS: Yes. Very possibly.
YK: Do you have any plans to record another solo project?
KS: Not really. To be honest it wasn’t a solo project. I was recording with my girlfriend at the time. We broke up, I just finished off a few songs so I wasn’t so miserable (it was a pretty devastating time for me), and yeah – solo. But I’m not a solo guy, I like playing with bands.
To me the Blues isn’t about the music as such, it’s about the emotion and empathy…
YK: You’ve described your own personal sound as “the Blues without being the Blues”. Can you expound on that thought?
KS: Well you know, what I believe makes “the Blues” the Blues is empathy – to share and feel the pain of others, so you know you’re not alone. That’s what I mean. To me the Blues isn’t about the music as such, it’s about the emotion and empathy and all that stuff. That’s what I’m talking ‘bout!
YK: The Basics are also known for your cover songs of other bands. Are there any songs/bands that you would like to cover in the future that you haven’t already?
KS: Oh I’m sure there’s tons. We haven’t got around to covering Neil Young’s “Why Do I Keep Fucking Up?” which is a bit of a favorite.
YK: What has been your personal favorite cover so far?
SC: Ummm… crikey. We’ve done a lot. I think we actually did a really neat version of The Cure’s “Lovesong”.
YK: What songs are currently getting the most play on your music player right now?
KS: Eeeek! You’re not going to like this… I don’t listen to music much. But when I do it’s Aussie stuff like Dan Kelly, Crowded House, Cold Chisel, Midnight Oil.
YK: You’ve spent a lot of time in Kenya recently helping with the Red Cross. How is that effort going?
KS: Haha, I like the use of the word “effort” there. Yes, I was there for two years. I did LOTS of stuff, most recently opening the country’s first outdoor (traveling) cinema. It goes around to different villages and shows some movies and health videos and stuff. The effort is ongoing and will be for a long time. With the issues that country faces, in my humble opinion, it will be 2-3 generations before the place really gets its shit together.
YK: What’s next for Kris Schroeder?
KS: A beer, a bath, and bed. A long sleep. And then some Basics. 🙂
For more info about The Basics click it
To connect with Kris Schroeder and The Basics follow them on Twitter @the3basics
Check out The Basics’ video for “So Hard For You”: