The Bass Brothers are a trio of brothers (Nathan, Mark and Kieran Bass) who’ve already had a successful career as a former pop music boy band in the U.K. After a series of the highest highs and lowest lows, they’ve set their sights on a country music career in Nashville, and it seems as though they’ve found their niche. With to-die-for harmonies and a unique bond, they are most definitely one of Music City’s up-and-coming groups.
Hailing from Chelmsford, England, the brothers have always had an interest in music. They come from a family with a longtime love for music and recall listening to George Strait and Hal Ketchum, and later Rascal Flatts and Keith Urban, as kids. Their mother writes poems, one of which they turned into the first song they wrote titled “Can’t Find Me,” which ultimately led them to Nashville. The youngest brother, Mark was a childhood prodigy on the guitar. After taking lessons from Guthrie Govan, a renowned British guitarist and guitar teacher who has toured with the likes of Steven Wilson and Hans Zimmer, Govan suggested Mark entered the “Young Guitarist of the Year” contest. The contest was held at London’s Wembley Arena where he performed before a sold-out crowd including judges Eric Clapton, Steve Vai and Brian May. Mark won the completion along with an endorsement from Fender.
Soon after, his two brothers Nate and Kieran joined Mark on drums and bass and the three began performing at musical showcases throughout London highlighting Mark’s incredible talent and success in the contest. After a chance encounter in a local record store with a man named Ian Allen who encouraged them to learn a few songs, the brothers learned to play and sing “Boom Box” by Hanson and “Wonderwall” by Oasis. A week later they performed the songs for him, and Allen shared the music with labels. The trio, then performing under the name Next Of Kin, was heavily pursued by 14 major labels and ultimately were signed by Universal. They quickly found themselves making music videos and recording in the iconic Abbey Road Studios.
The band of brothers hit the road on the “Smash Hits Tour” throughout Europe, performing in front of hundreds of thousands of people while opening for acts such as The Backstreet Boys, The Spice Girls, and even Britney Spears. Over the course of 13 years, the band was on the road touring and recorded five studio albums. At the time Next of Kin was considered the Hanson of the UK. The success was not long lived, however, and the brothers were forced to go from living a life of fame and fortune to heading back home and working long hours laying carpet. Their production company folded, and they lost all of the money they had earned and found themselves facing enormous debt.
While faced with such adversity, the brothers never gave up their love for music. “[We] had fallen by the wayside and didn’t have anyone to represent us,” Nathan explains. “We came back to normality and started carpet fitting and floor laying with our dad, at the same time always playing and writing music. Basically we’d never ever met the right people to take us in the right direction. Someone always had a really bad agenda.”
In an effort pursue their dream, they sent new demos to Steve Dorff, who was impressed. Soon they made their way to Los Angeles, where they recorded an album with him at Capital Studios, collaborating with Michael Landau and Jimmy Nichols among others. However, Nathan explains that “It was an awkward time in the music industry – no one was signing anyone so we returned home and went back to floor laying again.” After the brothers returned to the U.K., another two years passed and seeing no other options on the horizon they reluctantly auditioned for the X Factor (UK) in 2013. The audition went so well that they were passed straight through to the judges room. The judges, Sharon Osborne, Gary Barlow, Nicole Scherzinger and Louis Walsh, were incredibly moved by their performance. Sharon Osborne suggested that the brothers head to Nashville, which didn’t make sense to them at the time. Through the exposure and response to their appearance on the X Factor, they started playing many local shows but they still weren’t earning money.
Still in need of a paying job and holding on to their dream of a successful career in music, the group took a job performing on a Disney Cruise Ship. It was on one particular cruise and a chance meeting of a couple from Indiana who insisted that they needed to head to Nashville. The couple had one contact at Blackbird Studio in Nashville: David Huff. Huff, an award winning songwriter and producer, was so impressed with their unique sound and near-perfect harmonies he brought his brother Dan to the studio to hear them. The brothers had originally thought of becoming session musicians, in fact, and the three had been fans of Dan Huff for years prior to actually meeting him. “We always knew the name Dan Huff – he was someone you wanted to work with and to be able to work in the same studio with him was amazing,” they recalled. After completing their EP, they played showcases throughout Nashville for music executives including Scott Borchetta and garnered many positive responses. But the trio had yet another obstacle to overcome: they needed to obtain their visas in order to move forward. The process took an entire year, and was yet another setback.
Now, having officially relocated to Nashville, they signed a deal with BMI and are eagerly looking ahead to what’s next. With the tremendous highs and lows they’ve experienced while on their journey to Nashville, they have a plethora of life experience to pull from. They enjoy writing and co-writing with other songwriters, and have found Nashville to be very welcoming. “Being in Nashville, we literally will just sing and play and people just gravitate towards us and it’s so warming,” they said. While in Nashville they recently bumped into artists John Schneider (Dukes of Hazzard) and Hal Ketchum, both of whom loved their story so much that they each invited the band to play a song on stage during their shows.
The brothers are extremely close to one another and have a unique bond. They explained the strength of their relationship: “The test of time is what we go by really. We don’t really fight about anything… If we did, I don’t think we’d be together at all after 20 years of playing music together.” Their plan in 2018 is to continue co-writing and working with talented songwriters such as Jeffery Steele, Gary Burr, John Oates (Hall & Oates), Jimmy Nichols and others. As they have grown and evolved over the last few years, they are planning to go back and revise the EP they recorded with Dan and David Huff. Their goal is to solidify their spot in Music City as the first British male pop-country group. “We want to be the Beatles of country music.”
Do yourselves a favor and keep your eyes on this impressive trio, The Bass Brothers. Their harmonies are top notch and their never-give-up work ethic is extremely impressive. Listen to one of their original songs “Some Dust Don’t Settle Down” below.