Versed in jazz, r&b and improv/electronic/progressive styles, I work in many genres and delivery formats. I've studied the masters of studio bass from the 70s onward, and I can provide everything from the "Steely Dan" bass sound to avant approaches. I'm a quick study, good reader and can develop unique bass lines for your project.
Although electric bass is my instrument of choice, I’ll employ many types of acoustic and electronic sound palettes.
As the founder of Basic Food Group, formed in 1986, I have performed and recorded with Steve Boyles, Rik Sferra, Hall Sanders, Michael Bruns, Ben Glaros, Eliot Larson and others. The band continues to work on new music, and will release a follow-up to the critically acclaimed "Three Squares" as a two-volume edition of scores.
Performing and recording on the electric and acoustic bass since middle school, I've worked with artists across the spectrum, with concentrations in jazz, experimental, free improv, R&B and New Music. These musicians include Ginger Commodore and Slice, Paul Vachon, Peggy Clark, Bill Gabrys, Doug Keuhn, George Pettus, 2 Mikes In Racin' Wagon, and many uncredited appearances on commercials and demos. I also recorded bass for the recent “Cheap Charms” CD.
As a composer and sound designer I've created soundtracks for documentary and narrative films, including "Long Gone", directed by David Eberhard, Rik Sferra’s award winning video wall installation “Cultural Dysfunction in America”. Most recently, I worked with visual artist Clint Imboden on sound design for his installation at Root Division gallery in San Francisco and the Mind Prison series of short internet films.
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Interview with Todd Larson
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Timeline for completion, goals for the project, platforms for distribution and budget
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Interview them first, send them a demo or example of the sound/style you're looking for. See how they respond to your needs.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: an upright bass, nylon string guitar, vintage Fender bass/amp, marimba and drawing pad.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've studied music theory and jazz theory for decades. Playing bass since the 70's, professional off-and-on since 1977. Along the way I've studied visual art, technology, and creative technologies.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: All over the map, but melodic, groove oriented and ultimately serving the song.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Daniel Lanois. I'm a fan of his approach: employing amazing sonics to capture the emotional essence of a song.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Find a great drummer and capture their groove as best you can.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: experimental pop, jazz and soundtrack work
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Getting quickly to the songwriter's goals for the recording, and pushing the project along to it's greatest potential
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Creativity, openness to new ideas and strategies, flexibility, willing to experiment with the sonics. And most importantly, patience!
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I usually receive charts, scored bass parts, and rough reference tracks from the artist, then discuss various approaches: What purpose does the bass line serve in this particular song? What kind of sound are you looking for?
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Sadowsky 5-string NYC custom bass, 5 different vintage Fender basses, 1957-64, various effect pedals dieu jour. Apple Logic Pro, Melodyne, and various other softwares and plugins. Focusrite and SSL interfaces, Genelec monitors.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: All the great studio musicians: Will Lee, Chuck Rainey, Michael League, Bob Glaub, Leland Sklar. etc. Also the production ethic of Daniel Lanois.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Session work for independent projects, from singer-songwriter to jazz, instrumentals and experimental, new music.