From You To Us





the best band you've never heard in your life

Here we'll add artefacts of the band in the 1990's
Pictures, press-articles, playlists, more elaborate bio...

1989 – Band formed in minds of The Niz and Gino

1993 – Mario joined officially

1995 – Recording of “Secrets” demo

1995 – Recording of “Green” demo (16/12/1995)

1997 – Recording of “Kalamazoo” demo

1998 – Humo’s Rock Rally

1999 – Sabbatical year

2000 – Stop live playing to focus on creative aspect

2001 Included on tribute album

2002 – Start building of home recording studio

2006 – Completion of Bandatta Studio

2007 – Start recording of new album


1989 – Band formed in minds of The Niz and Gino

Basic Idea started in the minds of Dominique De Caigny  (aka The Niz) and Gino Vonck in the late eighties. Having been in the same class room as from kindergarten, the subject of conversation was (and still is) usually “music”.

The urge to do something creative with this obsession for music resulted in The Niz and Gino coming together multiple evenings per week to do some jamming (still without “real” instruments).

[Note: early recordings of these “pre-Basic Idea days” and even “pre-musical instruments days” still exist. But don't worry, we will not put them online :-)]

OK, you can only do so much without instruments, and after having borrowed a right-handed guitar from a friend of Gino’s, The Niz decided it was time for the real deal: the purchase of a REAL guitar.

A local musical instruments shop that had just gone bankrupt was a good place to look for a guitar being a teenager on a budget and so the instrument of choice was a cheap made-in-Asia Stratocaster copy of the illustrious make “Rockson” - in Ferrari red and with rosewood neck…An amplifier was not needed at first due to financially impossible, although the week after The Niz got a deal with his parents and a very small “Sunn” transistor amp was purchased.

Inspired by this act, shortly thereafter Gino bought his first drums – a black “Linko” kit.

Realising that real-world drums don’t come with a volume knob and that his guitar would be a bit overshadowed by the sheer volume of Gino’s acoustic kit, The Niz traded in the small amp for a bit more powerful “Aria” transistor amp.

A schoolmate of Gino named Peter was attracted by the way The Niz could play all the chords – all three of them - of the songs on the Ramones’ Mania album. He soon joined Basic Idea on second guitar.

They rehearsed in their parents’ garages at first and found a more definitive rehearsing space in the village’s “Katholieke Kring” where a small meeting room was rent for every other Saturday afternoon. This to the great relief of the band members’ parents and co-habitants.

(take me up!)

1993 – Mario joined officially

Gino’s brother Mario -whose hobby at that time was playing soccer in the local soccer team- was (and still is) like Gino also a music enthusiast. He came along every rehearsal as a sort of drum roadie to help his younger brother setting up the drums, and after a while we noticed that he stayed longer and longer every rehearsal to listen to the, euh, shall we say eardrum-moving molecules leaving the various instruments (both guitarists had in the meantime upgraded their guitars and amps to better instruments - also to be able to compete with the drums’ volume in the rather reverberant rehearsal room).

It became obvious that Mario was interested but was in a struggle as he had to choose between his beloved sport soccer and the fortune & fame & glory of being in a rock band.

Gino and The Niz finally talked him into buying a bass plus amp and into joining the band.

Hooray, we have a bass player!

After a couple of months we were playing in quite a nice way (but still music only) covers such as Pearl Jam’s “Alive”, songs of The Stooges, “Everything About You” by Ugly Kid Joe (we were young and ignorant), etcetera, and meanwhile we began making up tunes of our own.

The next hurdle was to find a suitable vocalist.

This seemed to be a rather impossible task. Quite some candidates were auditioned but didn’t pass for various reasons; until finally we decided to buy our own small PA-system with microphone and have The Niz do the vocals until we found a suitable candidate.

As it turned out to be better than first anticipated, it was decided to stop the search and to declare the band as complete. Next mission: to start looking for gigs.

(take me up!)

1995 – Recording of “Secrets” demo

It is no secret that in order to find gigs, a band needs to send the organising party a demo recording of themselves in order for the organiser to get a flavour of what to expect and to enable him to filter out unwanted sources of noise on his beloved event.

To be faithful to the chronological order of facts, we should say here that we had already changed second guitarist after our first gig as Peter was showing decreasing interest in the rehearsals and the music-making.

Wim was the new guitarist, armed with a nifty Gibson Les Paul Black Beauty and a ballsy playing style. It was he that proposed to use the facilities of studio “Heaven Eleven” in De Pinte, Belgium for the recording of our first demo.

And so we got to experience our first studio session. We had opted for a two-day arrangement: day 1 recording five songs; mixdown on day 2 – very common for this type of demos.

The songs recorded:

  1. Go On Me
  2. She’s A Lunatic
  3. Secrets
  4. Drippy Bullshit
  5. All I Know (Is Nothing)

Although we were learning a lot, the recordings with engineer René went smooth and the mixdown on day 2 as well. We didn’t have a lot of knowledge of the recording process and the tricks you can and can’t pull off in a studio, but it was a nice experience all in all.

[Note: although now there are about a thousand things we would do differently]

We decided to also take a cassette package as to have a “product” to send to the promoters and event organisers (internet was still in its infancy years, mp3 just began to flourish at the time so sending mails with links to a fancy informative website with mp3’s was not really an option).

  (take me up!)

1995 – Recording of “Green” demo (16/12/1995)

The first demo did get us some gigs, amongst which was a very important one at our hometown’s 700th birthday concert, opening for two rather big Belgian bands in those days: “De Mens” and “Noordkaap”.

On one occasion we got to play for a sort of contest with as first prize: a demo recording in a local studio (of which we didn’t know it was there). We just entered for fun and because it gave us another opportunity to play. One drawback: Wim couldn’t make it to the gig.

So in “power trio” style we won the contest and yet another chance to record ourselves – for free this time.

Unfortunately, this victory had an effect on Wim, whose motivation was already dwindling a bit at rehearsals: he began to feel redundant. This was just the final drop, or the perfect excuse, and he announced that he was leaving the band.

That left the three of us ahead of the task of recording yet another 6 songs in the Double Deuce Studio in Vrasene, right next to our hometown. How comfy.

The songs recorded during the “Green” sessions:

  1. Pan Banan
  2. Green
  3. 4 Legs On 2 Wheels
  4. 19 Years An Hour
  5. I Hear My Mind
  6. Be Aware Of Yourself

With a little more knowledge of the process of recording songs, and a much better idea of how certain songs and instruments should sound, we got the same two day arrangement, but without the cassette package.

Everything went again very smoothly, the engineer Nico understood us perfectly and the resulting sound was much more to our liking than the previous demo.

[Note: although again, there are some things we’d do differently now]

Just for you to hear how we performed these songs live, we've included some mp3's here. Keep in mind that these are cassette recordings straight from the PA-system, soundwise it's nothing superfancy, just to get a flavour. This is Basic Idea on Paletrock, an open air festival on July 13th of 1996, somewhere in the afternoon on a sunny Saturday:

19 Years An Hour


Quite different than the studio versions, no? We weren't in a hurry or so, it is just a fact that "live" one tends to play the tunes a bit faster...

(take me up!)

1997 – Recording of “Kalamazoo” demo

The second demo got us more opportunities to play and so we did. Having witnessed the recording process firsthand, and being a technical person with a love for music, The Niz had gathered some pieces of recording equipment and was heavily infected by the recording virus.

It is also true that after a while we felt that some songs on our demos would sound entirely different and better if we had been given the proper time to record them or if we’d have a second chance to alter the final mix. More experimentation would take place, definitively more overdubs would have been made, and the final outcome could have been a more mature sounding record. Obviously that wasn’t possible in a commercial studio unless some rich uncle would sponsor us and our recording activities, but as that was not likely to happen, the only way to go was to do it ourselves.

And so we did.

With only two decent microphones (Shure SM58’s), a crappy 8/4 mixing board, two non-synchronized open reel 8-track recorders and a guitar effects module, we were able to create and develop the new songs that we had made, let them mature, turn things upside down and make the mix when we felt like it. This took a certain period of time, but hey, that was OK, we weren’t on a tight schedule.

The technical limitations of our setup forced us to think ahead and to plan the recording process. We have to admit that the sound of that demo is not super-de-luxe hifi, but that was less important than the musicality.

In the mixing we put some more trickery. All in all we had fun, but equally important: we could spend time on the songs and learnt a lot.

The recorded songs:

  1. Kalamazoo
  2. Intermezzo
  3. You
  4. Tease Me
  5. In Her Eyes

Here's a live version, taped on cassette from the PA (again no hi-fi, and a mix with rather loud drums), but enough to get the idea. This is on "De Beverse Feesten" on August 27th 1997 in Beveren-Waas:

Tease Me

Some more songs that we recorded after the Kalamazoo sessions are on the sounds page.

(take me up!)

1998 – Humo’s Rock Rally

After we had finished our first completely self-written self-played self-recorded self-mixed new demo, we started to send it out for acquiring new gigs.

The most important opportunity we got with it was getting admission to play on Humo’s Rock Rally edition 1998’s pre-selections.

After the short set of 3 songs and a warm applause (and even a “bis bis bis” from a probably drunken audience member) all three of us had the same feeling of contentment when we got off-stage. Also the monitoring onstage was one of the best treats we’ve had up until now.

Anyway, the Humo jury didn’t share that opinion and put their comments in the next edition of their magazine. The comment went something like “three guys with the charisma of an English teacher who wants to make himself popular in a class filled with Deftones and Prodigy fans by discussing the new Mark Eitzel album” and “not fish, not meat, not veggie burger”.

It was obvious that the person who wrote the review would never apply for being chairman of our fan club. At first we were a bit surprised and let down because we felt super good about the concert and we were really ready to go a step further if someone had shown us the way in the business.

After this initial reaction we felt like it was actually a big complement that they could not really fit us in a certain category.

[Note: Gino still buys Humo. And we stopped the weekly ritual voodoo burnings ;-)]

(take me up!)

1999 – Sabbatical year

In the meantime we all three had gotten married, bought a house and moved, and Mario, not surprisingly one might add, was the first one to announce his fatherhood.

This all means other priorities than music and we agreed to stop the rehearsals on Saturdays.

All these years we were also meeting on Mondays to listen to the recorded rehearsal (we always taped these to be able to remember the ideas played). So we started to do kitchen rehearsals at The Niz’s. This practise never stopped and continues at present day. Although nowadays we’re using the home studio instead.

(take me up!)

2000 – Stop live playing to focus on creative aspect

Gigs do not fall out of the sky. In fact you have to put quite some effort in it to get some. Because we were family men with jobs now, we could not longer get ourselves to put a lot of effort in searching gigs, making contacts, sending demo's, and we were also getting tired of the gear-moving aspect that comes automatically with every gig.

Secondly, over time we also had added quite a lot of covers in our repertoire as to have more occasions to play, but we began to feel awkward about it, this was not our main goal or the reason we started playing music ten years before.

In fact, we realised that we were getting more and more satisfaction out of the creative process of song writing, so we decided to quit going out completely and to focus on what we enjoyed most: creating and shaping new songs:

(take me up!)

2001 - Included on tribute album

In our repertoire we always had a few covers of known songs at hand, so we could mingle these into our play lists as “crowd-pleasers”. Amongst them was a little tune of the Simple Minds, the title song of their first album “Life In A Day” which we used to play in a "guitar-rock" style with guitar and bass replacing the original synthesizer parts.

During one of the previous home-recording sessions in the late nineties we had taped the drums of this song on 8-track, but we left it untouched because we wanted to focus on our own songs first.

Almost by accident Gino came across a post at an internet forum where a certain guy named Michael Simpson wanted to compile a Simple Minds tribute album by unknown indie artists (the album was released in 2002 named "Swimming Towards The Sun"), and he was looking for bands/artists that could contribute.

We agreed to complete the “Life In A Day” part that we already had laying around and that would be it!

So we did it quick and dirty in a couple of our “Monday evening gatherings” and added bass, guitars, synths and lead vocal, and sent an mp3 to Michael for approval.

And as they say, the rest is history... (for more info click on album or here )

album cover

We are proud to be on there, and although we wish now we had invested more time and effort to exploit the potential of this version, it does have our signature.

Mario has put our mutual feeling about this track into words:

“A rehearsal-gimmick that got out of hand and by miracle went onto a tribute album in spite of its many imperfections and shortcomings.”

Or as The Niz put it: “Our Guided By Voices-version of Life In A Day”.

(take me up!)

2002 – Start building of home recording studio

Every musician’s dream is to be able to develop and work on ideas in all quietness, with all the necessary tools and space, at all times.

One of the least interesting things about playing in a rock'n'roll band is having to move all your gear before but especially after a gig or rehearsal.

The ideal solution is to have a place where you can work on music around the clock, without disturbing anyone and without having to start moving a drum kit or heavy amp when it’s time to go home.

So it was decided to build a recording studio in which we could fully concentrate on the creative aspect of music-making.

The studio was especially built for the purpose of recording Basic Idea. It needed a control room and a separate room for drums; the latter would be constructed as a “box-in-a-box” for reducing sound leakage.

All the work was done from scratch and in the DIY way. You can already look at a picture here and get an idea of the equipment that's in it. We think about adding more info about some of these "tools", and even some sound samples. This will follow soon.

(take me up!)

2006 – Completion of Bandatta Studio

Four years and a couple of babies further down the road, the studio was completed and finally Basic Idea could start working on a new album.

The studio was named after the first word that The Niz’s daughter Eva ever said (“bandatta”).

(take me up!)

2007 - Start recording new album

Currently we have three songs ready and put online for your review. But there's still plenty of other stuff to come. We'll be working on three new songs (working titles "Please Please Please", "Killing" and "Do You Love Me Too?") and we're seriously considering to freshen up a couple of "old" songs that we think deserve a second chance with the current professional equipment.

If you have a basic idea about which old BI-demo song you'd like to us to "facelift", let us know!


BASIC IDEA is back in business!

(take me up!)



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