As the world continues to recover from the Coronavirus, we're all finding ourselves in unfamiliar territory given the subsequent lockdown that is keeping us off of stages and confined to our homes. Luckily, there's comfort in the fact that we're all in this together, and that there are still many outlets for us musicians to keep us active and sane throughout this quarantine. We're checking in with bass players from all over the world to see what they're doing to stay entertained, healthy, productive, and safe during this trying time.
Bass Player: Dane Alderson
Bands & Artists: Yellowjackets
Home: Charlottesville, Virginia
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I think the only word I can use to best describe my experience in the lockdown is “bittersweet,” which I’m sure other full-time musicians can relate to. I miss performing and touring very much, but not being able to do those things has given me a chance to focus on other parts of my life that I feel I was neglecting. Exercising, meditating, cooking, and reading are some activities that I’ve found very rewarding and helpful during this time.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I have a fairly basic daily practice routine which consists of hand and arm stretches, technical exercises, such as finger permutations, scales, and modes, and I try to spend some time practicing improvisation techniques. There’s a book that I’ve kept with me for many years by [trombonist and longtime Berklee professor] Hal Crook called How To Improvise, which I would recommend to any musician interested in improving or changing their approach to improvising. I enjoy picking a random chapter and spending as long as it takes to get it comfortably under my fingers before moving on to the next. There’s a vast wealth of knowledge in the book that will keep you busy and keep your improvising fresh!
Live with the Yellowjackets 2018:
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I’ve had Jacob Collier’s latest album, Djesse Vol.3, on repeat since its recent release. What a phenomenal musician he is! Some other albums I’ve been enjoying lately are SHEEESH, by MXXWLL; Small Moments, by Michael Manring; Ambitus of Beauty, by Natureboy Flako; The Tomb Raider Suite, by Nathan McCree and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra; Time, by Louis Cole; Bubba, by Kaytranada; and Be Up A Hello, by Squarepusher.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
David Segal from New York Bass Works built me a beautiful Reference Series 6-string bass last year that we call the Oceana. It’s a joy to play and it has been keeping my hands and ears busy ever since! He’s in the process of building me a 5-string fretless, which I am very excited about. For more information on David Segal and his work please visit [www.newyorkbassworks.com].
What non-music activities, books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?
I consider myself quite the film buff, especially in the thriller/horror genres. There were some amazing films released last year that I’ve been revisiting again: The Lighthouse, by Robert Eggers; Doctor Sleep, by Mike Flanagan; Midsommar, by Ari Aster; The Nightingale, by Jennifer Kent; and Once Upon A Time In Hollywood, by Quentin Tarantino. Some books I would recommend are British author Douglas Murray’s The Madness Of Crowds, which is a fascinating read; Victor Wooten’s The Music Lesson is an amazing book I revisit regularly; Donald Miller’s Building a Story Brand is a very informative perspective on marketing; and Karl Pilkington’s Happyslapped by a Jellyfish is absolutely hilarious.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
The Yellowjackets touring and performance itinerary has all been rescheduled to next year; our fingers are crossed that the Covid19 situation will be under control by then. Our new album, Jackets XL, that we recorded with the WDR Big Band in Germany, will be released in November. We’re currently in the process of building a new Yellowjackets website, which will be up and running very soon. [Jackets drummer] Will Kennedy and I are designing a drum and bass educational website. Information on our touring schedule and other activities can be found at [www.yellowjackets.com].
Yellowjackets Exclusive Premier: “One Day” from Jackets XL:
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
If you are struggling with motivation or discipline during the lockdown, set yourself some small, achievable, daily goals when approaching your practice routine. It can be overwhelming having a whole bunch of free time all of a sudden and you may feel inclined or pressured to set large, possibly unachievable goals at first. Start small and work your way up. You will be much more satisfied and you’ll experience a more positive state of mind. A little bit of focused practice each day is better than none at all!
Read our feature story on Dane: Here
Read all 180+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi