BASI is a rock’n roll band from Elektrėnai, an industrial town located between Lithuania’s capital, Vilnius, and its second city, Kaunas.
Made up of Tomas on drums, Karolis on vocals and bass guitar, Rokas on guitar and backing vocals, and keyboardist Edvardas, the foursome started out in 2012 with the simple wish to make good music and perform.
While their music is aimed largely at Lithuanian listeners, BASI’s increasing popularity is evident through the number of their songs played on the radio.
And despite them singing only in Lithuanian, they have experienced playing abroad – something they achieved through being invited to (and performing!) at a festival in Turkey.
Music Export Fund met with BASI right before their concert at Liverpool Bar, which was organised by the Lithuanian Music and Theatre Academy on October 8, and Tomas and Karolis took the time to share their thoughts on the band’s progress, its aims, and its plans for the future.
They were also on hand to give some pieces of useful advice for musicians who want to get big results from their music…
Music Export Fund: How did BASI get together?
Tomas: I’d been playing in couple of other bands before I met the other guys, but we just decided to get together.
And then the time to name our own band came. We’re thinking about such simple names like “tractors” or “machines” but we stopped at “Basi”(without shoes), when we saw Karolis asleep one night. He had one foot bare and we decided, “that’s the name!” Plus it sounds attractive and catchy in Lithuanian.
MXF: How do you feel right now before the concert?
Karolis: You will always feel something strange and exciting inside, especially when you go up to the stage, but it is not like the scary first time anymore, of course. Now it’s more adrenaline than nerves.
Tomas: Well, it depends. We had a long break from music, but still from time to time you feel more relaxed and self-confident during performances. Furthermore, you get experience, you trust the other guys and it continuously becomes more professional in your technique and your playing style.
MXF: You write your lyrics only in Lithuanian. Why?
Tomas: We actually were thinking about this a lot. The main principle is that if you want to be a really well-known, you need to know the language you’re singing in perfectly.
Songs have some special key points, which must be perceived in a correct way, and very often it’s difficult to describe everything when you’re not using your native language.
We mostly focus on Lithuanian listeners, so for them it’s easier to understand and absorb our message. Additionally, we wanted to make covers, or translate our own songs, but unless we go abroad, we don’t really have to.
That said, going abroad would be a really good opportunity, but unfortunately, that’s not for now.
MXF: Where do you get the inspiration for your lyrics?
Karolis: Mostly, it’s love… well, it’s everything actually. It depends on what you want to convey to people. One of the most important things on stage is knowing what you’re talking about.
Tomas: Love, country, patriotism, passion and truth. To be more precise, I mean the ugly truth. Life is not a beautiful flower. Sometimes it gives us unexpected adventures and we try to get that across in our lyrics.
MXF: Can you name BASI’s biggest career highlight?
Karolis: The most important thing for us people coming to concerts. More fans gives us more energy and more inspiration to work harder.
Tomas: And it’s good to know that we have really loyal fans, who listen to our music, support and follow us. Also we have new records, some songs on radio and that reflects positively on our career.
MXF: What is your most popular song, and what do you think makes it so popular?
Tomas: It’s probably “Gėris”, which means “beauty” – the beauty of life. I think people like this song because it has a double meaning. It says: “I believe that life is beauty, but I dream because it’s not”. It’s a tricky but honest description.
MXF: Are you pleased with the number of concerts you have right now? If not, why not?
Tomas: To be honest, I’m not pleased, but it’s only the beginning. We had a really tough situation in our creative process because I had to move to Romania for half a year to study. That’s why we had a big pause.
Karolis: I agree, to have more gigs would be better…
MXF: Does music interfere with studying/working?
Karolis: Obviously it’s hard to manage everything. For example I study acting at the LMTA and it’s really not easy to mix music and acting. But if you have a wish, and go for it…
MXF: Do you think your music is closer to a hobby, or a profession?
Tomas: It was a hobby but after some period of time, we’ve chosen our way of performing, so, it’s sort of hobby, but a profession too.
MXF: Would you like to have your music shared abroad more widely?
Karolis: Of course. We even were invited to a concert in Turkey for some European project. When we played a song “Pasitaiko”(“it happens”) and all the people from different countries there were singing with us.
It gave us confidence, which we really needed at that moment. They were drunk and I’m not sure if they knew the meaning of the words they were repeating. Nevertheless it was funny, impressive and inspiring.
MXF: Do you see yourself as professionals?
Karolis: Of course. You will see it.
Tomas: I don’t actually like the word “professionals” when talking about music. We just like to do a good job.
MXF: Can you give any advice to musicians who are starting out?
Tomas and Karolis: Yes, we can:
• Make your own songs
• Make records
• Make a lot of images for your Facebook page
• If it’s possible, make videos
• Be passionate, know exactly what you’re doing on stage, and figure out what you want to say…
MXF: Can a band make everything on its own or help is really needed?
Tomas: At first we started on our own. However, it’s not a surprise that we later got a manager. Everyone was busy with their own work and studies. It’s really tough to manage everything by yourself…
MXF: How do you see the future of BASI
Tomas: Bright, but we try not to look to the future. You know the philosophy – try to focus on the present and the future will come at a certain moment and at a certain perfect time. “Live right here, right now”. Of course, it’s philosophy, but it means a lot…