Basic Elements is a project 35 years in the making. Produced by New Wave icon Ed Buller (Suede, Pulp, Psychedelic Furs) Basic Elements is not a throwback act – they’re an actual ‘80s band that’s reunited and recorded five of their earliest songs with one of their heroes. The first single, “Hide,” is a protest song that drops just in time for the U.S. Presidential Election in November.
Channeling the spirit of early U2, “Hide” was written in 1984 against the backdrop of the Cold War and George Orwell, but its anti-authoritarian lyrics about hiding your identity in a totalitarian state feel more relevant than ever. Early previews of the band’s tracks have earned them praise from ‘80s aficionados such as legendary KROQ DJ, Rodney Bingenheimer and VMA winning director Chris Applebaum (Rihanna, Fountains of Wayne, Britney Spears, EATS Channel) who declares, “It’s like Simple Minds and Scritti Politti rolling around in a sleeping bag together.” Applebaum is slated to direct a video for the band.
Over the next few months each track recorded with Buller will drop, building to the full release which will be pressed on collectible vinyl and include B-sides of the original, archived recordings. Each song delivers a euphoric mix of nostalgia for original fans of Post-Punk/New Wave, and an exciting sense of discovery for the next generation finding the band on streaming platforms.
Wunderkind music video director, Kansas Bowling, says, “I thought I was listening to the Stranger Things soundtrack — but no, it’s my dad’s New Wave band from the ‘80s!” Basic Elements still consists of their full original line-up featuring John Denis on vocals; Jonathan Goldman on synth; William Preston Bowling on bass; David Youssefi on guitar; and Matt Barton on drums. The band was formed in Phoenix, Arizona in 1984 after the five friends grew tired of being bullied for wearing eyeliner and shoulder-pads.
What started out as a survival mechanism ended up turning the tables. During their run Basic Elements played regularly alongside local legends like Gin Blossoms, Gentlemen After Dark and Caterwaul and opened up for touring acts like The Bolshoi and Gene Loves Jezebel — all while maintaining an average age of just 17-years old. After six years and hundreds of shows, they disbanded in 1990 — well before any of them were old enough to legally enter a bar.
The past three decades saw the band members moving on to become a sculptor, a TV producer, an attorney, a real-estate agent and a graphic artist. Basic Elements reunited in 2019 and played an overflow gig at The Mint as people from their hometown of Phoenix flocked to L.A. to see the band’s first show in 30 years. That launched the band’s second run as an L.A. based group who explain: “It’s fitting that a band from Phoenix would rise up after 30 years. We’ve all spent our adult lives being told we’re stuck in the ‘80s, so we feel right in our element. Even the new stuff we’re writing sounds like it’s from the ‘80s, so we’re just going to ride the new New Wave, because it never got old for us.”
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