"It's a very Australian-centric record in a lot of ways, particularly the issues and themes."
"It's kind of an ironic title," says Tim Heath of The Basics, the three-piece pop-fusion outfit operational since the early naughties, on the title of their first studio album in six years, The Age Of Entitlement, inspired by a recent quote from (ex-)treasurer, Joe Hockey.
"We wanted to spark discussion, and get people thinking about things like complacency within society in Australia. It's a very Australian-centric record in a lot of ways, particularly the issues and themes. [The Age Of Entitlement] encapsulates the irony of what Joe Hockey said, talking about the age of entitlement and who is entitled to what — it opens up a lot of questions and is quite a ridiculous thing to say."
Heath is chatting to The Music as the three-piece — rounded out by drummer and vocalist Wally De Backer (Gotye) and bass-slinger Kris Schneider — are preparing for a final rehearsal before their Australian tour begins, the band's first in half a decade.
"We've done a lot of touring in the past in regional areas … I think only then can you validly talk about Australian music in a broad sense."
"We're only a three-piece so it's not that hard to get the sound together again!" laughs Heath. "We haven't seen each other in maybe six months so it's been great and it's always refreshing to have some time away."
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The 17-date tour takes the lads across all seven states throughout October and November, including a string of regional and rural shows, which stand out as incredibly important to the Melbourne locals.
"There are a lot of bands who might just stay in Melbourne or Sydney, but they can't have a sense of Australian music because there is stuff going on in regional places. We've done a lot of touring in the past in regional areas and I think it's important, I think only then can you validly talk about Australian music in a broad sense."
The Basics are known for their varied musical style, blending pop with anything from folk or blues to ska and rockabilly. "We've got three quite individual tastes, but we certainly agree on a lot of styles and genres to be applied to our music."
This varied, but simple, musical style was an important consideration during the songwriting process, as their high-energy live show has always been a signature element of the band's appeal, as Heath explains: "We approached the recording to try and keep it as simple as possible, to have songs we can perform live without taking away from the sound."
The recording and writing for The Age of Entitlement took place at the legendary Abbey Road Studios, a past working place for the band, but this time working at the historic studio pushed them to experiment and work in a way the group never had before.
"It was exciting to be there given the history of the place, but that initial excitement kind of wore off and it became just a great place to be every day, being big fans of music that's been produced there over the years. It's inspiring and interesting, you feel really supported."
While the future of The Basics post-tour is still an open book, Heath does divulge that, "There's talk of recording a rock'n'roll record while on the road, at soundcheck and stuff — we'll see how that goes."