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.
Bassist: Adam Ben Ezra
Bands & Artists: Solo artist
Home: Tel Aviv, Isreal
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve had the rare opportunity to relax and spend time with my family. Since we live in quite a rural area there isn't too much difference during a lockdown period. Everyone is home and forbidden to go to work, but we all feel fortunate to have the gift that is our garden and the fields around the village. The biggest change for me is not being able to tour. The positive side has been the time it has given me to spend writing and creating new material. I’ve also been lucky to be able to teach students across the world, online. What keeps me most busy is the privilege to be able to collaborate with other musicians across the world. I have some amazing projects going on and I can’t wait to share them with you.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
Early on, I had a very strict practice routine, beginning with bow excercises and moving to scales and arpeggio exercises, with an ear on my intonation. Then I would practice the percussion aspect, playing from different Latin bass line books and drumming books, using the different hits on the bass as the kick drum, snare, and hi-hat. Nowadays I hardly practice that way, instead I focus on improvising and composing. It is through this that my technique is constantly improving.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I recently became a father for the first time, so my days in lockdown, when I’m not writing or playing, have been spent listening to “Wheels on The Bus.” When my son finally falls asleep, perhaps my favorite album to listen to is Chick Corea’s Change [with Avishai Cohen on bass]. Corea has always been a strong inspiration to me and I find a lot of comfort listening to his work.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I'm using a Fishman Full Circle pickup and an Audio-Technica ATM350 clip mic to amplify my 5-string Nick Lloyd acoustic bass. I have my Boss GT-10B Bass Effects Processor and RC-300 Loop Station, but I’ve been connecting my bass to my computer using Ableton Live, with an effects plug-in called TH3. To control it by foot, I’m using a 12 Step MIDI Bass Pedal Foot Controller by Keith McMillen. I’ve also been using Analog Lab 4 by Arturia. It’s a terrific plug-in that contains all kind of synths, keyboards, and sounds; it’s a very easy, inspiring tool for creating.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
One of the more inspiring books I read recently was A Brief History of Human Kind, by Yuval Noah Harari. It’s definitely one of the most thought-provoking and interesting books I’ve read in a long time. It helps the reader understand who we are and what made us this way.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
Just before the lockdown I released my third album, Hide And Seek. It was an amazing process and my plan is to get back on tour and share it with those who want to listen. In the meantime, I’ve been performing on Zoom every few weeks and surprisingly it has turned out to be an excellent platform. I wasn’t sure as to how it would work out but the response has been phenomenal. People from all over the world are brought together. I feel in many ways that I can share even more of who I am as I play to them from my home. The audience is asking questions in-between the songs, making song requests, and even sharing their feedback. So far the atmosphere and vibe have been awesome and enjoyable for everyone. We’ve managed to build it so the sound comes out great, as well.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
This is a very challenging period for musicians but I do believe it has some good sides too. For many it has given us the time, space, and opportunity to develop and reinvent ourselves. We can try to use this time to find new ways to create and be original, even amongst the worry and chaos. I hope this stillness will in fact bring wonderful results for many, many artists.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi