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: Keithen “Bassman” Foster
Bands & Artists: H.E.R.
Home: Boston, currently residing in Connecticut
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been producing a whole lot; with different artists, songwriters, and producers. Along with being blessed enough to still be performing—virtually of course—through the entire pandemic.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
One of my favorite exercises is the John Pattitucci “Spider” exercise. My whole forearm burns, no matter how much I’ve been playingl; it gets intense.
John Patitucci “Spider” exercise:
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 been getting back to what inspired me as a young bass player. When I first started playing and had my first [Sony] Walkman, I remember taking over my dad’s CD book sleeve. My top three albums at the time were D’Angelo’s Voodoo, to get a Pino Palladino fix; John Mayer’s Heavier Things, to get my David LaBruyere fix; and Tye Tribbett’s Life, to get my Thaddeus Tribbett fix—those are some of my favorite players. I wouldn’t have known their names had it not been for my mentor, [Berklee instructor and Brian McKnight bassist] Chris Loftlin. Our conversations about life have given me so much inspiration. During these crazy times, having healthy dialogue about the history of music, different ways to approach the business, and working on keeping mentally healthy have kept me inspired and hopeful that everything will work out.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve been digging my Aguilar Octamizer pedal lately. In the beginning of quarantine I was getting a lot of request for reggae feeling records, so that was my cheat code! Native Instruments Guitar Rig 6 has been a dope piece of gear; I’ve been building my own presets on it.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?
I have a top three: First is focusing on the body; going out for a walk often to get some fresh air and keep the blood circulating. I’ve fallen in love with meditating as well, it’s been keeping me balanced, especially having a four-year-old boy and four-month-old baby girl to look after. Second is three words: Call of Duty! It’s a great way to decompress, with loud, intense, heavy sound effects. I feel like I’m inside my Xbox! Third is broadening my investments. I’ve taken a deep dive into the stock market during these weird times; it’s been pretty interesting.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
Aside from numerous song releases coming out later this year with others, working along side my lil’ sis’ H.E.R. will always keep my life on the edge and eventful. I can’t say much specifically, but there’s a ton of performances the world will get to see very soon. I have an artist, Leo the Kind, from Boston, who my production partner, Swagg R’Celious and I are developing. We have some dope releases coming out soon.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
This advice can be for bassists or for any musician: I think it’s safe to say that the need for balance is imperative. Of course, the love for music and creating it will always be embedded in us. Enjoy the simplicity of what life gives us daily, that many of us overlooked. It’s easier said than done, but I believe in working on your mental health and having it in shape as much as you possibly can. All storms pass, this is just an aggressive one; we will be alright.
Read all 200+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi