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  • Writer's pictureBasement Leeds

The Boys Bringing Grunge Back to a Woodhouse Basement

Updated: Dec 1, 2021

I caught up with Ben Parry, guitarist and lead singer of Fuzz Lightyear in October to discuss recording a live session for Emily Pilbeam’s BBC Introducing, West Yorkshire. Where else would they record such a session, than our basement?

“There is just something about basements that sound really cool. We love that grotty vibe.” Having recorded previous sessions at Mabgate Bleach and their friend’s house, dubbed ‘the fortress’, the boys from Fuzz and their associates miced up the basement to record two of their tunes live: the old faithful ‘Animal’ and their latest release ‘Berlin, 1885’.

“We were so grateful to be asked to submit a live session to BBC introducing”, Ben tells me. “BBC introducing have helped to showcase some of our favourite artists including: Fehlt, L’Objectif and Yusuf Yellow. Emily Pilbeam is great at finding new acts and to be considered part of that is a compliment.’

Three-piece Fuzz Lightyear began in 2019. Getting their name from playing around from the word ‘fuzz’, a very important part of their sound. I ask Ben the question on everybody’s minds, “How would you feel if you played a gig and everyone dressed up as Buzz Lightyear?”. “I would probably cry with happiness.”

Released in early September, new track Berlin, 1885 characterises the maturing of the band’s song-writing to include more political themes. But what happened in Berlin in 1885? “The Great powers divided up Africa. It was band mate Varun’s idea to name it after this event. The song is about the rising racism across the world and the actions of these powers resonated. It is a very angry song, for this reason.” However, Ben adds that it is different from other tracks where they are exploring more psychedelic and melodic approaches.

(Photo: Basement Leeds)

Achieving their heavy, fuzzy sound through a mix of ‘a big muff, lots of reverb and then an overdrive that crunches everything up’, live shows are everything to Fuzz Lightyear. Ben tells me his favourite gig of the post-lockdown era was playing alongside Shakamoto Investigation at Headrow House. “Shakamoto are just so good. Easily the best I’ve ever played. Brude was also a very fun gig. I felt very privileged to be there.” Another recent highlight of the Fuzz tour was playing Sound City, a festival in Liverpool. “We haven’t played Liverpool for a while, so it was nice to get out there, be amongst it, get into the festival and watch some cool acts. Beabadoobee were really good.”

Emerging from the thriving Leeds post-punk scene, Fuzz pay tribute to the Leeds venues that have brought them to where they are today. Ben has a lot of admiration for Mabgate Bleach and it what it does for the scene. “It is the best venue in Leeds, hands down. It is just such a welcoming place. They have done a lot for the band. Not directly but just being around that scene has influenced us quite a lot. There are so many good acts that come out of there, such as The Shakamoto Investigation, HAMER and Belk, who are the best band in Leeds. If it wasn’t for Mabgate, we wouldn’t be the same band we are today. 100%.”

Having easily peaked by playing our basement, the future seems bright for Fuzz Lightyear. “We just want to have as many gigs booked as possible and write new music.” Upcoming Leeds dates include a support slot for Felt at The New Headingley Club on 3rd December and 18th December, supporting Psychotic Monks at Mabgate Bleach. I ask Ben about the longjevity of Fuzz and where he thinks they will be in five years. “Either in a Morgue or a basement in Headingley.” We very much hope it is the latter!

Watch the live sessions here:

Tracks engineered, mixed and mastered by Oscar McKie and Adam Bentham of the incredible The Recording Box. Videos filmed by Oscar McKie and Adam Bentham and edited by Josh Taylor (drummer of Fuzz).

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