The Basics

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The Basics
File:The Basics at Oxford Art Factory, Sydney.jpg
The Basics at the Oxford Art Factory, 2010
Background information
Origin Melbourne, Australia
Genres Rock
Years active 2002–present
Labels Independent, Albert Records
Associated acts Gotye, Down Hills Home, Dog With Wheels, Blood Red Bird, Blood Burger, Dave Bramble
Website The Basics Official Website
Members Wally Andre De Backer
Kris J. Schroeder
Tim Heath
Past members Michael Hubbard
Notable instruments
Lead guitar, drums, bass guitar.

The Basics (/ˈbæzɪ/ BAZZ-ich) are an Australian band, formed by Wally De Backer (more commonly known as Gotye) and Kris Schroeder in 2002, later joined by Tim Heath. Their style has been described as anything from 'indie-pop' to 'rock'n'roll', though their records show they span a wide range of genres, including reggae, pop-rock, folk, country, and electro-pop. They are "recognised as one of Australia's hardest-working bands".[1]

With well over 2500 shows under their belt, their live performances are well known for their energy, sense of humour and proto-punk sensibilities.[2]


The Basics were formed after Kris met Wally at the March 2002 "going away party" in Melbourne of now LA-based engineer/producer Chris "Tek" O'Ryan.[3] The event was to see off the young aspiring producer, who was about to depart for Los Angeles, and together with a number of musician friends, the two jammed on some blues-rock standards. Later that night, they bonded over a mutual love of The Beatles, 70s and 80s cartoon theme songs and old Sierra adventure games.

Initially, they played around Melbourne as an acoustic guitar/drums combo, starting at The Opposition in Frankston and the House of Fools in Footscray, where in late 2002 they met Michael Hubbard and later invited him to join them on electric guitar.[4] Though lacking any real experience with the instrument, Kris willingly purchased his first bass guitar, and the trio was born. During this time, the group start performing songs with more complicated three-part harmony.

During late 2002 and early 2003, The Basics recorded and released an album called Get Back through MGM Distribution. They began what was to become regular tours of the East and West coasts of Australia.

2004–2005: Current lineup

Tim Heath joined the group in June 2004, after Michael decided to pursue his solo career, which has included being one half of Down Hills Home.[4] Tim was reportedly the only person to reply to an advertisement in Melbourne's Beat Magazine looking for a new guitarist. Tim apparently answered the advertisement – which said the applicant "must have a love of 50s and 60s rock'n'roll" – thinking that he would be meeting "a couple of old guys to play with on the weekends over some beers". They soon recorded For Girls Like You.

The Basics in 2005 continued to tour and play small festivals, and after releasing For Girls Like You through MGM Distribution, they departed for a national tour of Australia, which lasted for two months and took them to every Australian state and territory. Stuart Padbury, a young Melbourne sound engineer, joined them on much of this tour. On returning, the band began demonstrating songs for a new album.

2006–2009: Touring and soundtracks

In 2006, The Basics began recording what was to become known as Stand Out/Fit In. Taking several months, it was not completed until the end of the year, despite intentions to have it released in June. Instead, they held a successful 'album preview', where each of the tracks was demonstrated in 'rough form' accompanied by a music video for each (produced by Melbourne photographic artist James Bryans). The band also talked about the origins of the songs. This event brought a lot of attention to the band for the idea's originality. They pre-released a radio single 'Just Hold On' from the album. The band were invited to play the hugely popular Homebake Festival in Sydney, where they received a great response, after being introduced onto the stage by a short stocky Asian guy with big calves ("one of the highlights" wrote The Daily Telegraph).

In 2007, the band departed on a tri-state residency which saw them play Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane every week for the month of April – a bold move which brought further attention to the band for its original idea.[5] Riding on the wave of this tour, Schroeder, De Backer and Heath departed on their first overseas tour which saw them performing 26 shows around Japan, Norway and the United Kingdom.[6] They also toured twice more up the East Coast, one of which was with popular Japanese band The Bawdies. Their song 'Rattle My Chain' was used in a series of commercials for Volvo Australia. The song 'Hey There!' featured in the British film The Bank Job – starring Jason Statham – and was used as the backing for a February 2007 short film directed by Tim Longhurst called The Rip. Their song 'Better' was featured in a surfing documentary about the invention of the shortboard in 1967.

In 2008, the band appeared on Australia's Channel 9 for Australia Day celebrations, performing two of their songs – 'Just Hold On' and 'Hey There!' – to an estimated audience of 2 million. Securing an Australian Government grant, they embarked on a two-month tour of Australia, specifically targeting "culturally underprivileged groups" in rural and regional schoolchildren and Indigenous communities. The programme had them holding masterclasses and performing alongside Indigenous groups in the remote Northern Territory and Queensland.[7][8] Their initiative also had them raising money for the charity Lifeline, their contribution to which was recognised with a plaque at the end of the tour. Season two of Californication starring David Duchovny featured their cover of the classic 'Have Love, Will Travel', most famously covered by 'The Sonics'.

In 2009, The Basics for the first time enjoyed the support of Australian radio network Triple J, which had reportedly snubbed the band's previous material.[9] The singles 'With This Ship' and 'Like A Brother' were added to the station's playlist, and momentum carried The Basics overseas for a second tour of the United Kingdom and Norway, and also a series of shows in Dublin, Ireland. They were joined by the longtime front-of-house engineer Stuart Padbury, who had been mixing them since 2005. The band was often seen in the Grafton Street Mall in Dublin, busking to promote their concerts there. Their second show in Oslo, Norway, saw the band perform with Hot Tub, one of the members of the Norwegian boy band "Boyzvoice", in his first performance for several years. Season Eight of Scrubs featured the song 'Lookin' Over My Shoulder'.

Despite all this promise, the band's album Keep Your Friends Close – produced and part-recorded by Peter Cobbin at London's Abbey Road Studios – though enjoying many favourable reviews,[10][11][12][13] failed to impress Richard Kingsmill, music director of Triple J. This effectively ended the band's apparent upward spiral and the resulting album launch tour was reportedly "trying".

2010: live album

In 2010, following the band's fourth stint at the Tamworth Country Music Festival, and the recording of a yet-unreleased live album, an indefinite hiatus was announced on the band's websites. This was in part due to the impending release of a new album produced by Wally for his Gotye project, and also to reported tensions within the band following the previous year's disappointments.

However, this hiatus was soon broken with a two-month residency at the Northcote Social Club in Melbourne, which saw an apparent return to form.[14] The band's EP "Wait For You" enjoys airplay on Triple J.[15] The Basics also played a one-off show at Sydney's Oxford Art Factory.[16]

On 20 August 2010, The Basics released their fourth LP /ðəˈbæzɪtʃ/, available free and exclusively from their website for digital download.[17] The band had reportedly moved to expand their listenership through this free giveaway, though 300 "Deluxe" CD/vinyl versions have been printed. /ðəˈbæzɪtʃ/ was recorded at the Northcote Social Club on 6 February, "in front of a live studio audience", and like the previous record, was mixed by Peter Cobbin at Abbey Road Studios. Technically a self-titled album, the phonetics spell out the accurate pronunciation of the band’s name. Kris Schroeder: "For years we’ve worked at bringing our live energy into the studio and thus far it’s been a bit hit-and-miss. Our trick this time was to pull a switcheroo and bring the studio to us instead; the result is the best and closest to us we’ve sounded yet."

Melbourne thespian and Dog With Wheels bassist David Bramble – friends with Heath from university days – has occasionally joined the band on tour, playing keys, often while sporting a large moustache. Other guests have included Jake Mason (saxophone), also of Cookin' on 3 Burners and The Bamboos, Gideon Brazil (saxophone, flute), Simon Imrei (guitar and vocals) and Monty MacKenzie (saxophone).

Covers have often made an appearance from various sources: to date, some of the bands covered have been AC/DC, Cream, The Kinks, The Rolling Stones, The Police, Neil Young, Bob Dylan, New Kids on the Block, Richard Berry, Sonny Curtis and The Crickets, JJ Cale, Harry Nilsson, Bill Scott, Ryan Adams and The Coasters (via The Beatles for their cover of Three Cool Cats).

2010–2013: Hiatus and resumption

The band took a three-year hiatus, with an announced return to the stage together in late 2013. De Backer embarked on his solo act as Gotye with the release of the album Making Mirrors in August 2011. Tim Heath toured and recorded with Blood Red Bird. And Kris Schroeder recorded a solo EP titled, Patience in the Face of Control, before leaving Australia to work with the Red Cross in Kenya for a two-year sabbatical, during which he contracted Malaria.

On 9 November 2012, the 'best of' album Ingredients was released into stores and digitally. Leftovers, a record full of 38 unreleased tracks, is set to be released 22 February 2013, via a limited-edition 500 copy vinyl package. A one off gig was performed on October 24, 2012 at the Northcote Social Club to launch Ingredients and Leftovers, however without the presence of De Backer (though he did make a brief appearance and performance via Skype from New York).

The Basics announced an Australian tour starting September 2013 following the release of a new music video for Leftovers track "So Hard For You". [18]

Put on sale December 6, 2013, a CD/DVD live album + digital download My Brain's Off (And I Like It) was the first post-hiatus release. The live album was filmed on location at the Northcote Social Club and edited by Ryan Gaskett under close supervision by the band.[19]

Between March to April 2014, the band recorded new music at the famed Abbey Road Studios in London. This new music was released in the form of an EP entitled "The Lucky Country", which was released on 7 November 2014. The title track was released as the lead single in partnership with the progressive social justice movement "GetUp!" and was premiered by Richard Kingsmill on triple j. Another track "Tunaomba Saidia" was also released with an accompanying video clip filmed in Nairobi and Machakos Town in Kenya, where Kris had spent nearly 3 years working for the Kenya Red Cross Society.

The band toured extensively across Australia in support of the EP release, featuring shows at the Corner Hotel in Melbourne and the Newtown Social Club in Sydney.

On August 14, 2015, The Basics released their 4th studio LP The Age of Entitlement, recorded at the same time as The Lucky Country EP in London. The album proved to be critically successful, being described as "important and incredible" by Stack and "never less than gripping" by Rolling Stone magazine. Australian digital radio station Double J gave it "Album of the Week". Singles from the album include "Roundabout" and "A Coward's Prayer". The band toured the album extensively throughout October/November 2015, featuring critically acclaimed shows at all capital cities around Australia, including Elsewhere Festival, Melbourne Festival, the Triffid in Brisbane and the Railway Club in Darwin.

The band are due to perform in at Dawes Point for the City of Sydney's New Year's Eve 2015/2016 and a follow-up hometown show in Melbourne at the Northcote Social Club on January 2, 2016.

It is rumoured they are currently working on a 5th studio album, though Wally's continuing commitments to a 4th Gotye album leave this unconfirmed.


  • Wally De Backer – drums, vocals (2002–present)
  • Kris Schroeder – bass, vocals (2002–present)
  • Tim Heath – guitar, vocals (2004–present)
  • Michael Hubbard – guitar, vocals (2002–2004)


Studio Albums


  • For Girls Like You (11 July 2005)
  • Lookin' Over My Shoulder (10 February 2007)
  • Like A Brother (5 June 2009)
  • Wait for You (21 May 2010)
  • The Lucky Country (7 November 2014)

Non-Album Singles

Live Albums

  • /ðəˈbæzɪtʃ/ (20 August 2010)
  • My Brain's Off (And I Like It) (6 December 2013)


  • Ingredients (9 November 2012)
  • Leftovers (22 February 2013)


External links