Bas Relief are a Montreal, Canada based project whose music draws heavily on the marriage of live instrumentation and chopped and warped sampling. Last week they released “Inconditional”, their excellent new record on cassette, via Little L Records. We sat down with the duo to discuss and delve into sampling, Canada and cassettes.
UC: Hey! Nice to chat to you. Tell us a little about Bas Relief and what you do.
BR: Bas Relief is usually comprised of David Mitchell and William Osiecki. The birth of the project was somewhat of a coincidence, spontaneously conceived in November 2014 when we began living together. We record, compile, arrange, repurpose, and compose sounds of various origins into songs. We’ve been playing music together for over ten years. As well, we’ve written somewhat extensively about our music and its place in the world. You can read that stuff here and here, preferably in that order!
UC: You released your new album “Inconditional” recently, what was the recording process like?
BR: We sort of did this one long distance, while David was on tour for a few months. He’d sent along some guitar and rhodes recordings that were to become the foundations of a few songs on the record. Usually it’s just about starting at an arbitrary musical point and seeing where the sounds take us. So I (Will) took those guitar and rhodes tracks, chopped up small clips, layered them, made some weirdo loops, and added my own drum samples, just arranging one-hits on a timeline into beats that sound organic and acoustic, but still retain an electronic playfulness or complexity. (I was really into these drum samples that I recorded from my own kit, so we did the whole album with those.) Generally when we’ve developed a decent backbone to the demo, we’ll dig through songs and such from our music libraries or rip things from youtube to get some other sounds to repurpose for our songs.
When David got home from tour we just sat down together on a bunch of tracks and picked out some ones that we’d like to finish together, just tidying up what were essentially demos, adding guitar here and there, and getting extensive help from our friends Milo and Xavier. They were endlessly gracious with their time and their attention to mixing, composing, arranging, and tweaking. (Various musics of theirs can be experienced here)
UC: Your music is very sample heavy, drawing from an eclectic mix of artists. Who was influencing you at the time while making the record?
David: Blithe Field, Clarity, Presha, Sam KDC, Balam Acab, Natalie Evans, Sales, Frederic Robinson.
William: Metome, Julien Mier, Monobody, Braids, Pinegrove, Julien Baker, Kara-Lis Coverdale, Haisuinonasa.
Our Sample Guide also has some other things that interest us!
UC:You also run Stack Your Roster, an incredible label in Montreal. What draws you to releasing music on tape?
Tapes are cheap and easy to make, and there’s people who want them. We love them, personally. I know David has a collection of tapes he loves, and I’ve got a bunch too. My own fascination with them is more out of a need for some traditional, physical representation of the music. Rather than a need for the non-digital media itself, I seek only that physical token of the band usually. I don’t listen to my tapes too often as a result. As SYR we’ll definitely keep releasing tapes, but be on the lookout for other fun things in the future!
UC: As Montreal based musicians is there anyone in the local scene our readers should be keeping tabs on?
Our good friend Valeda (Cat Lamoureux) is just about to put out her debut EP and it’s absolutely amazing! It’s called Unearth, and will be available from susy.technology, probably when this is finally published! And then there’s Gonima (Evan Magoni), another friend of ours, who just put out an excellently glitchy EP called, Out of Sides.
“Inconditional” is available to stream below and is also available for free download and to purchase on cassette via Little L Record’s Bandcamp.
photo credit: Charlotte Forbes