The Southwest Michigan band plays Bell’s Back Room this weekend, with a new full-length album set for release in December. Learn more about the band in this Artist Spotlight feature.
SCROLL DOWN FOR VIDEO
Support our coverage of
West Michigan's music scene
Sometimes ethereal, sometimes grounded. Stressful lyrics over grooves. Sometimes funky, sometimes smooth. A jam sound from meticulous planning.
While Kalamazoo’s Basic Comfort soothes, band creators Tony Mitchell and Paul Schadig juxtapose their low-key and funky instrumental underpinnings with intense and stress-fueled realist lyrics.
The goal when it comes to listeners? “Dance at the show, then you can cry on the way home,” Mitchell said.
“Visions,” the band’s 2021 four-song EP, starts with the word “stress,” focusing on continuing despite life’s challenges. In October, the band plans to release a single, with a follow-up full-length album, “Dimensions,” coming out in December.
The band plays Bell’s Brewery Eccentric Cafe at 8 p.m. Saturday (Aug. 12), with FINKEL — a pop-oriented Southwest Michigan band now based in California — and Headband Henny. FINKEL also appears on the new Basic Comfort album. Tickets are $10 and available online at Etix.com.
Formed by Mitchell in 2017, the band’s moniker reflects the ache for basic comforts in life.
Consequently, the five band members — Mitchell on keys and vocals, Schadig and Minke Anyonga on guitar and vocals, Ryan Edgar on bass, and Sam Ephland on drums — have been “finding personal fulfillment” and going on to “bring that fulfillment to others” with their music, Mitchell said.
Built on alternative pop, Basic Comfort has gone through lineup changes but stayed consistent in its spacey, thoughtful sound.
LOVE, INTROSPECTION, DELIBERATE CHANGE & PLAYING BELL’S
Mitchell and Schadig cite ’80s alternative and bedroom pop respectively as more specific influences. Parcels, Daft Punk and Gorillaz are band inspirations, with Schadig referring to Glass Animals as the most mainstream band to sound like Basic Comfort.
The band takes special pains to mirror the vibe of a jam session, building a relaxed atmosphere from a methodical, self-directed process. The band meets on Wednesdays to share writing from the week, compose together, and record all at once, making individual demos and whittling them down until they sound perfect.
Schadig and Mitchell also run Texture House, a film and audio company, recording and producing their own music. This self-direction gives them the “time and flexibility to be able to move the band forward,” reducing costs and cutting out middlemen, said Schadig.
“Visions” came before COVID, before their company, before their houses or Mitchell’s marriage. Since then, band members have grown more mature in their songwriting and Schadig has honed his vocals; “Visions” marked the first time he sang or wrote lyrics.
They said the upcoming new album, “Dimensions,” won’t focus on a single thematic thread, but rather explore aspects of life, like love, introspection and deliberate change.
“Dimensions” was funded with help from a grant by the Kalamazoo Arts Council. It officially gets released Dec. 1, with the first single, “The Sunset,” coming out on Oct. 13.
Beyond that, the band hopes to release up to 10 singles a year, satiating fans impressed by Basic Comfort’s intriguing, settling and poignant style.
VIDEO: Basic Comfort, “Fed Up”
PHOTO GALLERY: Basic Comfort in the Studio
Photos by Derek Ketchum