The Agatha EP is out 21 July
It is true that there is not much particularly musically revolutionary about Hamilton, Ontario alternative rock trio Basement Revolver. But that’s really not the point. The music is the perfect foil for the delicate, reflective, and vulnerable reflections of singer / songwriter Chrisy Hurn. The lyrics and her voice are key. The words delve into the everyday (break ups / nature) through the medium of the lilting and unadorned vocals of Hurn.
We spoke to Chrisy about just what inspired each track on Agatha. Her candour is humbling.
I have to start out stating that a lot of what I am saying is really personal – but I want to be honest about where my songs are coming from in case there are people who are in similar situations. My hope with music has always been that it would open the door for conversation and communication – I think that is what art does.
1. Tree Trunks
The chorus for tree trunks originally came from an old poem that I wrote during an artist in residency internship at a church in Hamilton. The focus of my studies at the time was people whom I considered to be “environmental saints” – St. Francis of Assisi was my biggest influence. Skip forward a few years to a rough patch for my mental health, which spawned a series of writers block and panic attacks. It was around this time that I started looking for help, and I found a great counselor. I felt encouraged to go back to writing, but didn’t know where to find the words, so I looked through my old poetry book and found the Tree Trunks poem. From there I was able to write the first and second verse about my experience with anxiety, and the two worked really well together. Musically, the melody and guitars were heavily influenced by Manchester Orchestra and Frankie Cosmos.
2. Johnny Pt. 2
My breakup with “Johnny” on boxing day of 2015, and I had to drive him to Toronto. We both knew that it was coming before Christmas, but wanted to enjoy the holiday. So on our drive to downtown Toronto, we listened to Adele, I cried a lot, and we said our goodbyes. It was my first big breakup, and it was really hard – especially because I still cared deeply for this other person, we were just unhappy together. This song came as a plea to keep him in my life, as the good friend that he was.
I wrote mountains after summer of major self-discovery. I grew up in a somewhat religious environment, and while a lot of what I learned and experienced was good and important to my core beliefs today, there was a lot that I needed to unlearn. Probably the biggest part of this learning curve was understanding my identity as a woman – growing up there was a strange undercurrent in my perception of the world, that as a woman, my voice would not be heard or taken seriously, that I was less important than men (who were the head of the household, to whom I was told to submit). Strangely, I don’t think my parents lived this way, but my community modeled these beliefs. I felt stifled. So when I moved away for the summer, I started to ask the harder questions surrounding my faith, I went down some paths that left me vulnerable. From there, things get a little too personal to share, but a few months later I was in Alberta, in the mountains with my sister, and I have never felt so small – but I also felt a lot of love and healing. I wrote mountains in response to all of this.
4. Bread and Wine
This is my personal favorite on the EP – probably because it sum up the healing process that I went through after a really hard couple of years. I started to feel hope, safety, warmth, and love in my life again. I felt more comfortable with my beliefs, I felt more comfortable with my world. I felt more comfortable accepting myself, and the world around me. The words and melody came out as a folk song, but we adapted it more to our style, it was probably subconsciously influenced by Big Thief.
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