One of my favorite releases of the year, by a long shot, was Sacred Ape’s self-titled debut back in April (check out my full review HERE). I’ve had it in pretty steady rotation since it came out and it has yet to grow stale for me in any way. When the opportunity came along to interview the very talented man behind Sacred Ape, to say I was pumped would be an understatement. John Bassett has his hands in many different projects across many different styles of music, as you’ll soon learn in his interview. I hope you enjoy our talk and be sure to follow the links within to check out all the great stuff he’s doing!
For readers who are new to Sacred Ape, what can you tell us about yourself?
Hello my name’s John Bassett, I’ve been making records for the last 14 years or so, I have many different projects, most of them are rock/metal projects, Sacred Ape is my first attempt at making electronic music, and more specifically 80s Synthwave Retrowave music that is more focused on songs rather than instrumentals.
You’re also involved in other music projects aren’t you?
Yes, there is 4 altogether. Arcade Messiah https://arcademessiah.bandcamp.com/ which is Progressive Metal / Post Rock Instrumental music, the original idea for this was to set out to make a soundtrack that would I personally love to listen to whilst driving a car. A Heavy Driving Sound that hopefully sounds contemporary and bleak. Then there is KingBathmat https://kingbathmat.bandcamp.com/ which is labelled as Progressive Rock, but is more a fusion of very different rock styles & also I release singer songwriter style of music under my name as well.
Your self titled debut came out in April. What has the reception been like?
It’s been fine, it has gotten a good reception from a lot of electronic music fans, which makes me happy. It divided opinion between the fans of the above Rock/Metal music I’ve made in the past, which is understandable as its very different to what they would expect and I understand many rock/metal music fans have a built in dislike of anything that is overly electronic and that’s perfectly alright.
Do you prefer the version with vocals or the extended instrumental version?
Personally I would say the instrumental version, mainly on account that I find listening to my vocals irritating, I find when I’m mixing a record for many days/weeks that the one instrument that starts to really irritate me are the vocals, this is not because i think the vocals are bad, its just that I’ve heard them so many times repeated over and over again during the mixing process, and with the nature of vocal performance being intrinsically personal and individual, I just feel I don’t need to hear them anymore. This doesn’t seem to be the case with other instruments such as guitars and synths etc. (*Editor’s Note: I actually prefer the version with vocals…sooooo good! Okay, back to the interview)
What got you started in music?
I think I just had the urge to pour out my feelings in someway, due to feeling sad over something or other. Needed an outlet to say something through music which I couldn’t say in a traditional way perhaps?
Who have been your biggest inspirations?
I always think the first records you hear as a child that you really like are the ones that leave the biggest impression, so for me that would be Frankie Goes To Hollywood – Welcome To The Pleasure Dome, ELO – Out Of The Blue. Those two albums seemed to be always playing in the background when I was a kid.
What drives your creative process?
Making music is now for me something I cannot stop doing, its like breathing, I just have to do it. It doesn’t matter if its successful or not, I just cannot stop and I don’t want to stop, as I love making music. In some ways I live my life in order to make as much music as possible. I’m not sure where this comes from? I don’t know if this could now be called an addiction, because I make sacrifices in other parts of my life to spend more time making music, and sometimes this is not financially the correct thing for me to do. Yet I still do it. I just have a lot of music and ideas running around in my head and I need to get them out.
Coffee or Tea?
Tea, it’s the weaker of the two drugs, but I wouldn’t recommend either of them. About 2 years ago I went 2 weeks without Coffee and Tea, and I felt dreadful, lethargic, depressed, irritable, couldn’t sleep etc, as soon as I had an espresso I felt as right as rain. Ever since then I gradually took coffee out of my daily intake of aromatic beverages, but tea is something I have yet to kick.
What is the prize record in your collection?
Sorry to be boring, but I don’t really have one, I’m not the collector type, saying that, I suppose though I have some very rare 1950’s blue note Jazz records that used to belong to my Dad, I would probably say them.
What’s on the horizon for you?
I’ve got a KingBathmat release in the next week or so, then after that a John Bassett solo release, then maybe Arcade Messiah/Sacred Ape after that. There’s a triple CD release of the first 3 Arcade Messiah albums from a label also forthcoming hopefully.
Anyone you’d like to thank or shout out?
Thanks to anyone who has supported me and the music I’ve made over the years. It means a lot to me and is a great motivator.