In an attempt to shine light on local music, The Lantern’s “Columbus’ Own” is a weekly series that profiles a new Columbus band/artist each week.
The synthesis of The Bascinets, one of Columbus’ latest indie rock acts, is one that reflects destiny.
Four of the members attended the same high school, one member was a superfan of the group and another brought a whole new element that is helping define the band’s contemporary sound.
“We worked for six months just to try to get comfortable with what we had in each other,” said Liam Bailey, drummer and a second-year in data analytics at Ohio State.
The Bascinets’ synergy, though, stems initially from high school friendships dating back more than five years.
While seniors at Grove City High School, vocalists and guitarists Nick Wellman and Tristan Huygen collaborated on songs, recording on an old-fashioned multitrack player. Bailey was a mutual high school friend, and within his first year at OSU he met keyboardist and percussionist Brooklyn Ludlow, a current third-year in jazz composition.
The aforementioned four started working on a five-song demo in the winter of 2014, and from there things progressed rather smoothly. “Here is a Little Demo” was released in June 2015.
“We were able to hit the ground running in the summer, so we’ve been playing pretty consistently since July,” said Huygen, a second-year in music technology at Capital University.
However, before bassist and backup vocalist Ethan Benton made The Bascinets complete after it mutually parted ways with two members, he was in the audience reciting the band’s songs.
Benton even has a collection of Wellman’s solo work on his iPod that has since been deleted from the Internet by the singer.
“Honestly I was just super excited for them and just crazy jealous, so jealous I wasn’t a part of it,” Benton said. “It worked out, I guess.”
The current nucleus of The Bascinets took very little time to master old material and begin creating its next project. Benton’s addition to the band was a seamless transition, only taking two to three practices before the newest member was gig-ready.
“Now we’re actually a functioning band, so we’re all working on creating this music together as opposed to us just laying something down and them coming in and learning it,” Huygen said.
The Bascinets aim to keep listeners at attention with the method the members use to create songs. An inside joke among the band members is how lengthy the band’s tracks can be, but the elongated songs equally feature each member and constantly lead audiences in unforeseen directions.
“There have been times where we’ve thought we’ve written, like, ‘Oh, this is a shorter, poppier thing,’ and then, ‘Oh, it’s like almost five minutes,’” Wellman said.
The most recent road that The Bascinets is traveling down in establishing its position in the Columbus music scene is being navigated by Ludlow’s charismatic keyboard playing and Wellman’s smooth, folk-esque voice.
“We’re extremely lucky to have (Ludlow), otherwise I always say we’d just be some guitarist-singing a–holes,” Huygen said. “We’d just be another guitar band.”
Beyond keyboard playing, Ludlow also plays percussive instruments, such as tambourine. Bailey described Ludlow’s ability to multitask as almost equivalent to adding two whole members to the ensemble, and “infuriatingly good.”
“For the past month I’ve just been learning all of the parts of the second keyboard player too and trying to play them all at the same time,” Ludlow said.
Wellman’s welcoming voice also bridges the individual talents of the other members. It compliments his confused and lighthearted lyrics, such as, “They tell me but I don’t understand / That somewhere underneath the skin of this boy is a man,” on “I’d Rather Not,” a track from the demo.
The major elements providing each song with multiple textures come from the two most polarizing members of The Bascinets, who also happen to be the most reserved. Wellman and Ludlow shrug off compliments from their band members, and not a trace of arrogance can be found within their musical DNA.
The modest attitudes are band-wide, and the members’ behavior has been rewarded thus far. Every show The Bascinets has performed up to now was set up by other local bands asking the group to accompany them onstage.
“We’ve met some really amazing, nice people who are probably way too nice to us,” Bailey said.
So the story of The Bascinets thus far seems like one linked with destiny, but maybe its early success is a reflection of Columbus musicians recognizing up-and-coming talent.
Either way, the members of The Bascinets are living in the moment after finally putting together an outfit that is all on the same wavelength and sharing a similar long-term vision and passion.
“I gotta say this is like the incarnation of the dream right here,” Huygen said.