From rehearsing in a basement that could hardly fit a drum set to the big stage of Dusk Music Festival in downtown Tucson’s Jacomé Plaza, the fledgling band, The Basements have experienced their first taste of what it’s like to be rock stars in the spotlight.
The Basements competed against seven other local bands in the 2021 Dusk Battle of the Bands last month hosted at Club Congress. The winner took home $1,000 and a slot on the Dusk main stage
The band is formed by five University of Arizona students who just performed at 2:50 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 13, on the main stage of the two-day music festival after winning the 2021 Dusk Battle of the Bands.
The Basements’ members Sebastian Driver, Martin Calderon Jr., Dylan Goode, Brandon Pors and Alex Sciortino met through their fraternity, Theta Delta Chi and had only been in a band together since March when they played their first live performance at UA Unplugged.
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Following this event, The Basements had three small venue gigs before hearing about the Dusk contest.
When the band stepped onto the stage of Club Congress the crowd immediately shifted closer to the front and many in the audience raised their hands to the beat of The Basements’ original songs.
The win took the band by surprise.
“I was just jumping like a lunatic. I just didn’t expect it. I still don’t believe it,” Sciortino said.
The Basements did not intend to be in the position they are in now, but they are honored to be able to turn the many hours spent playing together in Goode’s small basement into a meaningful experience for a larger audience.
“There’s been live music for thousands of years and if we can be a part of that long-time tradition of making people feel good, communicating through notes and tones instead of words, then I think I would love to do that for the rest of my life,” Goode said.
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Each member of the band has their own unique musical upbringing which helps to establish the originality of the band. Driver is the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Calderon is the backup vocalist and keyboard player, Goode is the bass guitarist, Pors is the lead guitarist and Sciortino is the drummer.
Driver, who is from Anchorage, Alaska, was gifted his first guitar by his father at the age of 6. He spent the next few years taking classical guitar lessons. It was more of a hobby for him until he was a teen.
“I never got super into it until I started listening to music and playing the music that I liked. I started listening to classic rock around 14 and actually started enjoying it,” Driver said, who was in a band throughout high school.
Calderon, from Yuma, Arizona, started playing piano at the age of 18. After playing trumpet in middle school, he was able to learn the fundamentals of reading music, which helped him on the piano.
Goode, who is from San Francisco, had little to no music experience before he joined the band in March at the urging of his friends who taught him how to play the bass.
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“They taught me everything I know, and since we basically live with each other, I constantly get tips and reminders on how to be better and how to do better,” Goode said.
Pors from Peoria, Arizona, started playing guitar when he was 9 years old and took lessons until he was 12. He stopped the lessons but continued practicing.
Scortino, also from Peoria, was two lessons into his drum class when the teacher suggested he might be better suited for playing guitar. He responded by buying a $200 drum kit and spent the majority of his free time developing his skills.
“I don’t like drumming, I love drumming. It runs in my blood. My dad was a drummer, my uncle was a drummer and my cousins were all drummers. It’s what Sciortinos do; Sciortinos play drums,” Sciortino said.
Pors and Sciortino became friends in sixth grade when they attended the same middle school. They formed their first band, Lighthouse, when they were in high school and released one album.
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The group now lives in a house and has upgraded from their original small practice space to a larger room where they practice at night.
“There’s nothing better than performing with my best friends. No one can ever take that away from us. Even if no one was watching, I’d still have just as much fun and I’d still be doing it,” Martin said.
Following Dusk, the members of The Basements said they hope to continue working together to create new original music and see where this unexpected path leads them.
“We are on this little upward track that none of us expected to happen but we are all so grateful that we are here and we are thankful for everyone who loved and supported us through this process because it’s only going to get better,” Goode said.
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