Session Bass, Writer, etc.
30 yrs exp. Credits: Paul McCartney, Blondie, Elton John, Roy Orbison, Dave Vanian (Damned), Hugh Cornwell (Stranglers), Glen Matlock (Pistols), FKA Twigs, Chrome, James White (Contortions), Attractions, Zak Starkey (Who). Vintage bass / studio gear. RnR, Altv, Post / Punk, Funk, Glam, Classic Rock, Soul, Triphop, 60s-70s pop, Psych, hybrids.
Bass player, (writer-artist as well) with 30 yrs of pro experience. I understand song structure and production so am into feel, sound, groove, melodicism, counterpoint, attitude, vibe etc on bass . I know a wide range from classic rock, pop and funk of the 60s -80s and specialize in that to quite alternative and cutting edge music. As they say Abba to Zappa. Ive worked with punk & post-punk people as well as legends. I can make it a bit or a lot like; Beatles, Stranglers, Motown, Bowie, Iggy, Pistols, PIL, Who, Stones, Sly Stone, P-funk, JB, Cream, Costello, Radiohead, Clash, G of 4, Prince, Outkast, etc or something totally else. I welcome instructions and am at your service with usually a 48 hr turnaround. Check out www.majorrecs,com/musician for more info and music.
I use mainly vintage gear at Bassland my studio, 60s and 70s P basses, 1962 B15 portaflex ex James Jamerson, 1960s EMI Abbey Road 806 tube mic pres and vintage tube, ribbon and dynamic mics. I get a wide range of bass sounds on solid, semi and hollow basses using different strings (rounds, flats, coated etc). I also play upright and work as a multi-instrumentalist; guitars, vocal, kbds, ethnic instruments koto, oud, manjo. I have a collection of effects incl; synth pedals, ring modulators, fuzzes, etc
Click the 'Contact' above to get in touch. Looking forward to hearing from you.
Interview with Bassland
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: Attitude, character or flair, pro musicality, perspective and taste in terms of what might make the song more effective and infectious. I like to think I have big feel too.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: Amek desk, Logic, World class vintage mics including a 1962 Lomo 19A9 (probably closest mic to a U47) and a 1970s STC 4033 for bass. My preamps are EMI tube from the 60s and some '70s British Audix Broadcasts (no relation to the cheap mics and Neve's main competitors), vintage instruments galore, a selection of stunning tube amps. vintage and modern pedals, Im a gearslut for sure.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: Too many to list. It would need to be more specific to genre and period. But a few of my big ones are Beatles, Bowie, Hendrix, Sly, Kraftwerk, The Who, Pistols, Eno, Radiohead, Neu, Magazine, PIL, classic to obscure. I like dark, art, psychedelic, mystery, edginess, funk and that sorta thing. I prefer music for artistic adults rather than suburban tweenies. I use "Rock On" by David Essex to test speakers as its a great production.
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: Rock and roll and funky bass. it may be alternative, punky. glammy, poppy, noisy, indie, arty. I like hybrid music. Im very eclectic as well. I also play upright, guitar, kbds, vocals. I do some film, TV (and ad) composing, often in collaboration, sometimes alone.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: Paul McCartneys first live tv performance since the Beatles. I played bass. Hugh Cornwell's album Totem and Taboo with Steve Albini in Chicago. I played bass, some kbds and did the BVs.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Im the house bass player for Major Records so do new but cool bands. I do Hugh Cornwell and Chrome and a few more. Ive been selected by an MD (Bryan Ferry and Robbie Williams) for a new project. I write and record songs all the time and tour as well.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: Not sure yet. Im brand new here.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Both! The music and the performances are the main thing. If you use SSL or Neve and you have skills you'll probably be happy. I personally lean towards analog because I grew up on classic 60s and 70s music.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: To deliver world class stuff.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: Everything! Its a dream. I love the people, the travel, the studios and the gear. Love my collection of toys.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: Mostly about availability? Yes or no if thats the case.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: What do you want in terms of sound, style, attitude. Can you reference any artists, players, records or do you have instructions?. Who would you use if you had a wishlist (even combining players)? What is the goal? to give to Beyonce or to make Aphex Twin call you?
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Im the guy you choose if you want something with balls, a bit different, post modern or really old school retro or classic . If you want MOR, I can do it but so can most pros.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: My 73 P bass is very sentimental to me. Mr Jamerson's B15 and Joe Meeks EMI preamps for sure. Two more huh? My Ovation Magnums, Burns Bison basses and my mics are pretty bad ass. Id probably take the 1962 Lomo tube mic and a computer to write and record songs as 4 and 5.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I started in LA post punk with Deadbeats, James White and then lived in London for half my life. Guy Pratt (Pink Floyd, Roxy Music) recommended me to Steve Nieve for a TV house band (ala The Roots) with Steve and Pete from Elvis Costello and Kevin from Iggy and Bowie (kbds, drms and gtr respectively). You do every style of music. pop, rock, funk, punk, soul, reggae, 50's 60's 70's 80's even 30s and 40s standards. Im still at it years later.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: It depends on the song or artist but I like tough, edgy and classic that appeals to mind body and soul, Im a hybrid. Macca meets Burnell at Jamersons party for Entwistles album of Bowie covers but through my taste filters. Collecting records as a kid and the connoisseur environment I came up in which was very urbane and art-based. I like Abba to Zappa, Avant to Zydeco. Art Ensemble to Zombies, Archies to Zorn. I have very pop sensibilities but also like cutting edge.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: Bowie and Prince would have been the two main choices... Off the top Trent Reznor and Massive Attack for the diversity and integrity. Iggy Pop for the sheer originality and energy, Dr. Dre for the high level of production. Id like to do Bruno Mars and Daft Punk for funk and Nick Cave for atmosphere. Live it would be The Who for the material and magnitude.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: My mate John is a legendary producer who prefers to record and mix on different desks. Like track on an SSL and mix on Neve for example.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: Rock n roll, alternative, post-punk, dance punk, Indie, pop-rock, soul, funk. Not so big on MOR or disney pop but thats just me.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: After confirming the session, I like to get a briefing on what the client wants including references and any instructions. I load up tracks, do a couple of takes and send it back for comments, make revisions if needed. I usually send a couple of varied takes so the client can pick and choose favorite parts. Maybe a meat and potato take and a more elaborate one.