Basset is a young and rising all-acoustic group, consisting of vocalist Yasmine Shelton, songwriter/musician Sam Clark, and twin brothers Aaron and Noah Philipp-Muller. The band was formed in Winter of 2016 while all members were studying liberal arts at Victoria College, at the University of Toronto.
Their inventive new single “Waterloo” draws on folk inspiration with acoustic violin, mandolin, and cello. Listen below and read our interview!
Can you talk to us about the inspiration behind your new release?
As our first recording project, this whole EP was an attempt to capture the natural sound of our live performances, and the arrangements that we have been working on for years. Thematically, the single is meant to portray the effects of withdrawal amid the opioid crisis currently affecting North America.
How has your community contributed to your success?
Since we are new to the music industry, we’ve been consulting mentors, teachers, and friends in the folk world at every step of our process. This folk community in Ontario has been an incredibly warm and supportive place for us, and it feels like there’s always someone close by to give us a hand.
What advice would you give other musicians?
I recently read somewhere that every musician has something they can teach you, regardless of skill level, genre, or anything else. We try to learn from every new friend we make in the industry, and to never underestimate the value of someone else’s insight.
Describe to our audience your music-making process.
When we’re working on a new tune, Sam or Aaron will come to rehearsal with the song already written on guitar. Then all four of us get to pour all our creative ideas into the tune, and we go through the long process of arranging it. It’s kind of chaotic because no one is in charge, but it means that all four musical voices come through strongly in our arrangements.
How did it feel when you released your debut single?
Exhausted pride. We’re very forward-looking, so we’re not very good at enjoying those moments of completion, but this single was a big enough milestone that we got to take a second and reflect. It’s fun to imagine how excited we would have been if you had sat us down, say two years ago, and told us about what we’d be doing today.
If you could collaborate with any musician/band, who would it be? And why?
We have two: Rhiannon Giddens and Anaïs Mitchell. Both have taken heavy inspiration from traditional styles of folk music, and from it created original and powerful music that fits in the modern world. We could learn a great deal from Anaïs Mitchell’s unmatched songwriting, and Rhiannon Giddens’ use of her classical background in a folk setting. Also, both are commanding women at the top of their fields.
What first got you interested into music?
We’ve all been making music for as long as we can remember. All of our parents made sure we got a steady diet of whatever they thought was best, from Bob Dylan to The Inkspots to Louis Armstrong to Bach. Classical music also played a big role for all of us early on, giving us an appreciation for the joy of playing music with other people.