Bass player for Todd Kessler, Kevin Andrew Prchal, Nicole Amine, Jess Robbins and many others.
I am a Chicago based session bass player, singer, multi-instrumentalist, and producer. I've played on records by Todd Kessler, Kevin Andrew Prchal, Jess Robbins, Jeremy Keen, Jeremy Junkin and many others. Additionally, I've played on and produced many albums by artists including Nicole Amine, Jake Mack, Louise Kelly, and Andrea Dawn.
I love taking an artist's song to the next level, whether it's with a grooving bass line, stacked background vocals, or any myriad of overdubbed instruments and orchestral arrangements. While I hear every minute detail in a song, I still aspire to play to the melody or overall "message" of the music.
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2 ReviewsEndorse Zach Goforth
I hired Zach to do session bass for a folk Singer-songwriter record I was working on. Zach composed great parts, was timely, organized, and a true professional .
Zach will be the first person I hire for my next project.
The best there is. Thoughtful, smart, creative and boundlessly talented, Zach will take any song or idea you bring to him to new levels of sound, dynamic and musicianship.
Interview with Zach Goforth
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: In general, I do session bass work for singer-songwriters and bands. I also often lay down other instruments and vocals for live and mobile sessions. Additionally, I produce and co-produce songs and full albums.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: I am inspired by some of the great session bass players of past and present (James Jamerson, Donald "Duck" Dunn, Leland Sklar, Pino Palladino, Tim LeFebvre) as well dynamic band-oriented players (Paul McCartney, John Paul Jones, Nate Mendel). My favorite producers are Jon Brion, Tony Berg, John Alagía, T Bone Burnett, and Shawn Everett. My vocal influences range from Bing Crosby to Peter Gabriel to Pavarotti.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I run a small production studio. My main basses are a Nash JB-63 Jazz Bass and a Fender Deluxe Jass Bass. I also have a 3/4 plywood Upright Bass for folk/country sessions. My main acoustic guitar is a 1958 Epiphone Texan Flat Top (built during the Epiphone and Gibson merger). Mics include Mojave MA-1000, Oktava MK-219, and AKG C1000s, as well as Shure dynamic mics (57s and 58s). PreSonus and Focusrite pres, Pro Tools and Logic DAW.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: Typically, I like listen to a song several times away from my workspace to get an overall vibe, and see where the bass should "exist" in the arrangement. Sometimes I will do a quick number chart, but generally I play along to find the correct groove. I will often do several different takes to offer the songwriter/artist varying options (pocket, busier, riff based).
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I usually work with Acoustic and Indie Rock singer-songwriters, although I have also worked in a range of genres including metal, hard rock, country, musical theatre, jazz, and gospel.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Fiona Apple. She is a unique musical force, and an American treasure, and consistently puts out incredible records.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: I am a pocket player first, and I am obsessed with tone. From the type of strings I use, to the amp/mic/pre. I am always searching for the best way for the bass to sit in the mix and take the song to the next level.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I have been making music my entire life. My mother was in a professional a cappella group, and in our house growing up, singing was like breathing. In high school, I started teaching myself any instrument I could find: banjo, bass, guitar, drums, etc. I joined a friend’s garage band. I sang in a lot of musicals. In college, I studied opera during the week, and gigged in Metal and Indie bands on the weekends. After I got out of school, I found my niche playing bass and singing backups for various bands, making records, and touring the US.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Assuming my MacBook is already a give in, I would bring my Nash Jazz bass, an Ampeg B-15 flip top, my Epiphone Acoustic, a vintage Telefunken ELAM 251, and a Neve 1073 pre.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Look at what you want to create, stylistically, and then look for someone who fits your style. There are a lot of great players and producers out there, and each one brings something unique to the table.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: I usually ask a prospective client to tell me what other albums they love the sound of, or what type of sound they're going for. I also ask what their goals are for their project (single, EP, full album, commercial ,etc).
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: I think the biggest misconception about my job is what I do in my downtime. As boring as it sounds, I spend a lot of time practicing, hours and hours of scales and arpeggios and learning songs from old and new artists.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: The most common question I get is if I am interested in bringing something extra to the music (or if I'm inspired with the music to begin with). My answer is that, while I'd love to help everyone, I really only take on projects and artists I'm already stoked about. So it's a mutual creative process.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: While I love listening back in awe to something that came from nothing, my favorite part is actually interacting with new and inspiring songwriters and musicians. I love the breadth of the music community, and learning something new on every project I work on.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise that I will give 110% of myself to everything I work on. If I'm putting my name on something, I want to be as proud of it as you are. And as a perfectionist, it's just my nature to go above and beyond in the name of art.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: The great debate! This question deserves an entire gearslutz.com thread (and it probably already has many). I have recorded in both formats, and honestly, both have their pros and cons. Sonically, it is very hard to beat true Analog in terms of richness and authenticity (especially in terms of high transients with drums or guitars). But Digital offers much more flexibility, both in the studio and in the post-production and mixing. It really depends on the artist and their budget, and I'm happy to work in either.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: If you have a bigger project and can afford him, Sean Hurley is one of the best bass players in the industry. Highly recommended.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently, I'm playing on and producing the new EP by Nicole Amine. I'm also producing a new album by Louise Kelly, and will be recording new albums this coming year with Will Phalen and Jess Robbins.
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I am especially proud of my work on Andrea Dawn's sophomore LP, Doll. I played a majority of the instruments, co-produced, and worked closely with the mixing and mastering engineer, Brian Zieske.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: My strongest skill is that I have producer ears. I hear every instrument in a mix, every note, and this allows me to play to the song rather than exist in my own world.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I bring a combination of 20 years playing in bands and in the studio to every project I work on. I have been in many different situations and played many different styles. I also bring a hunger to make great art, and be a part of something bigger than myself.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: If you can't help but listen to a mix over and over again, you're onto a good take. And always trust your ears over your eyes.