launch jukebox

The Basement



The Basement launched amid a mass of praise from the UK’s leading music press. Early singles wetted a feverant appetite and The Irish four piece went into the studio to record their heavily anticipated debut. After literally years in the studio, The Basement officially announced their arrival in July of 2006 the release of Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs. Now set for a North American release via Zealous Records in May, Americans will get a taste of what NME predicted “will sail way beyond all other pretenders ”.

Several years ago, before they were called The Basement, John Mullin, (singer, guitarist and songwriter), Mark McCausland (lead guitar) and Declan McManus (drums) got together in their hometown of Omagh, knowing they wanted to do something with music. "We decided to decamp to Liverpool the first chance we got," says Mullin. "There was no real mystical reason for Liverpool. It was the first place we hit land after Ireland." It was a fortuitous place to settle. Within a few months, they met bassist Graeme Hassall and began to rehearse day and night. Living in "a proper shit-hole" (their flat, not the city), they started to make a name on Liverpool’s rich, rising scene. The Basement name came as a nod to Dylan’s Subterranean Homesick Blues because, as Mullin says, "the place we were living and rehearsing in was like a basement and Mark used to take the piss out of me because of the line in the song that says ‘Johnny’s in The Basement’. So it stuck

Since work started on the record, two entire albums worth of songs have been scrapped. “It wasn’t because anyone thought they weren’t good enough. We wanted the album to be the best it could possibly be, for us to be proud of it.” To give themselves a musical education of a different kind, the band spent four months travelling around Ireland and playing in pubs with old men who they freely admit “were far better musicians than us.” Once they’d reached their final evolution, and with hundreds more songs under their belts, The Basement re-entered the studio. This time, it took a mere three weeks to record the finished article. Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs is a crafted debut that already sounds like a living and breathing classic.

You can hear a band at the height of their powers. Like the Flying Burrito Brothers with hips, like Van Morrison letting loose with some back-street white-boy soul shouting in his early, essential Them years.

Mullin is a front-man other bands would kill for. With hooded eyes and furrowed brow, he has a possessed Irish air that suggests much more going on than he’ll ever tell you. And he’s talking himself down. His lyrics are not just some cut-and-paste job, some smart observations on life; he has Shane MacGowan’s ability to turn the mundane into high, poignant art.

This is just the start of The Basement. This is a record with rare depth, with a wonderful melancholic air and an urgent bounce – a record that demanded to be written. In a few months you’ll wonder how you ever got along without The Basement.

Releases by The Basement

Visit the release page to hear streaming audio

Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs cover

Illicit Hugs and Playground Thugs

EP cover



Tour Dates

Contact Info

Gary Waldman
gary (at)

Traci Thomas
traci (at)
615 664 1167

Planetary Group
radio (at)
617 275 7660

Deltasonic Records

id = 11