Forget the Hounds of the Baskervilles, today we bring you the wonderful fuzzy rock sounds of The Baskervilles.
But what’s in a name? A lot if you ask the Ipswich four-piece’s frontman James Betts. As the band name suggests, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s most famous character is an inspiration that sums up the band’s ethos.
James tells us: “What drives us is summed up quite succinctly in our name, The Baskervilles is obviously a nod to the Sherlock Holmes novels. What always drove Sherlock to solve the grizzly crimes of the day wasn’t any morality, or message, it was the hunger to solve the puzzle. That’s kind of what it’s like for us, it isn’t about fashion or morality or a message, it’s a completely amoral hunger to write music purely bought about by a hunger to write music.”
And that hunger is bearing fruit in the fantastic music The Baskervilles howl out, which James succinctly defines as: “The sound of The Baskervilles? It’s like a weaponised fuzz pedal has gained sentience and teamed up with an average pub singer to upset people.”
He’s being a little harsh on himself here, James has a deliciously crooning voice that perfectly offsets Callum Ferguson’s engaging fuzzy guitar riffs. Case in point is their latest single Kalashnikov.
It opens up with a deliciously fat fuzzy riff followed by a relaxed opening verse with cool electronic noises in the background. The pace picks up through a fun winding chorus with fuzzy guitars, with the lyrics “Screaming peace and love with a Kalashnikov pointed at the ones in charge” summing up the fun feeling to the track. The guitars drop out with James singing out the chorus line alongside Callum’s brother Blair on drums, before one final rendition of the full funky chorus.
Check it out in the video below:
James explains: “Kalashnikov is the voice of anger for anyone who has the sense that we are currently being dealt a bleak future through the decisions made by the elite few. Though don’t mistake Kalashnikov as a war cry for violence, the message in both the song and video is about taking a hard look into the twisted mirror of our society and understanding it’s full of hypocrisy, the world needs to change but nothing good can come from screaming peace and love with a Kalashnikov in your hands.”
Previous single Yeah Yeah Yeah is equally cool, with an awesome riff and the ridiculously catchy cries of “Yeah yeah yeah” and cool backing vocals. You can check that out in the video below too:
In terms of what gets the band writing it’s a bit of an unusual one, as Callum tells us: “We’re always pumped after a gig, that’s always a good time for writing, and at night when everything’s quiet and everyone’s asleep it’s like time isn’t passing.
Some of our best riff ideas seem to come straight out of the blue at a rehearsal or soundcheck, after we’ve messed about with them for a bit it kind of starts fermenting into something larger.”
Kalashnikov hints that the band are politically charged, where in fact it’s the first song they’ve released that has an overtly political angle. James explains: “I like writing about politics, but I think it can be difficult without sounding like a beauty pageant winner asking for world peace and literacy for children. Kalashnikov kind of goes the other way which is why I think it works so well.
“We don’t tend to write happy songs, not because we’re miserable just because it can sound a bit mindless. There’s a lot of completely meaningless music out there and we’re always sure to avoid that. I think a good song makes you feel like someone out there feels exactly the same way you do, the words should sound like someone sat at the end of your bed articulating all the thoughts you’ve struggled to articulate yourself.
Instead, The Baskervilles are keen to be seen as the peoples’ voice of disenchantment. As James explains: “A lot of the lyrics come from this mentality of indifference. Our generation is in a unique position, being born in the 90s we were raised under the mentality of ‘work hard and you can achieve anything’ that held true for previous generations. But ours is different, the opportunities sit with a small chunk of the population now that the scale is tipped. There’s a bleakness in young peoples’ lives now and I think our songs really smack of that nihilistic world view so many people hold now.”
As for what’s next, they’ve got a new single coming soon that they tell us is ‘a break-up song but not in the typical sense,’ which sounds good to us. And they’re playing gigs, you can see the band play live at Nambucca in London on 18 January, then at V-Bar in Colchester on 26 January.
But there’s also more to The Baskervilles than their music. As James explains: “We also put a lot of effort into our videos and artwork. We created the videos for Death of a Pop Song and Kalashnikov ourselves, narrowly avoiding first degree burns whilst filming the latter. We’re all hugely passionate about our music and the visuals always feel like a extension to the songs, so being able to work on their visuals is a really exciting way for us to explore each song further.”