Culturally diverse, nomadic duo Bassett have always strayed from the beaten path. It is this chronic search for identity, peace and creative release that led them to the vast landscapes of the California desert, which served as inspiration for their newest EP Ghost Hwy.
Multi-instrumentalist, singer and songwriter Josh Bassett grew up a drummer and orchestral percussionist in a religiously mixed New Jersey family. A hunger to expand led him to pick up the guitar and pursue jazz studies at the University of Miami. Still feeling unsettled, Josh took his deepened musical knowledge and continued his odyssey West, first to San Francisco and then to LA where he began developing his singing and songwriting style while working as a session musician for hire. He was quick to pick up production and mixing techniques while observing engineers in the studio scene and it wasn’t long before he was executing his own recordings.
Bassist Tak Ozaki grew up in Kobe, Japan and left for Dublin, Ireland where he learned English and toured Europe in his previous band. One tour led him to LA, where he crossed paths with kindred musical spirit Josh while playing the LA club scene. Since uniting, the duo has spent the majority of their bands life on the road. They have played extensively throughout the West, East and Midwest, fulfilling their dream of spreading deep, psychedelic musical vibrations while seeking out some of America’s culinary gems along the way. Josh is more the starving artist type and Tak the more ‘die hard foodie’, the duo use their musical travels to also search out new and exotic outlets for their cravings and Ozaki even moonlights as a professional chef.
Their pilgrimages to Joshua Tree and the surrounding areas acted as springboard for their new, introspective and trance-like material which explores uncharted emotional territory. Josh, who was processing some dark personal history at the time, explains “I was going through a period of intense shyness so I wasn’t cranking up the amps…I was tinkering on acoustic instruments and soul searching with my voice.” Ghost Hwy is a far stretch from Bassett’s debut, 2013’s Vanishing, which brandished fierce and heavy Zeppelin-esque rock; their vintage riffs and wily vocals falling right in step with the mainstream rise of Kurt Vile and War on Drugs. But the boys of Bassett were never searching for a timely affiliation…They were in search of inner truth.
Loaded up on desert vibes, Bassett decamped back to their East Hollywood studio, which is situated in a building steeped in its own ghostly LA folklore. Known as Ed Woods Plan 9 Studio, because of its affiliation with the B movie mogul, the building later became an infamous jam spot which was frequented by the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone and Jim Morrison in the 60’s and Guns N’ Roses in the 80’s. “Weird characters and energy are caught in its vortex” Josh asserts. “One night I had a shotgun pulled on me. There was definitely a spooky vibe around the building and it crept into the music.”
The resulting EP is filled with a depth and rawness that entices the listener into its strange sonic world. While Bassett’s music still sits in the vintage psych vein a la Pink Floyd & Nick Drake, Ghost Hwy is harder to pin down with its uncommon chords and visceral balladry. “I often feel like an outcast” notes Josh. “Not just because our music doesn’t click into a current genre but because we have always gone down our own road and that’s what we offer…A genuine reflection of our journey through the human experience.”
Bassett – Chost Hwy
Bassett – Hmm Hmm (Live in The Studio Venue)
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