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: Angeline Saris
Bands & Artists: Angelex, Ernest Ranglin, Narada Michael Walden
Home: San Francisco, California
How have you been passing the time during lockdown?
Like many, I’ve been forced to slow down quite a bit, but I’m actually sort of loving it—for now. It’s rare to look at a weekend and have absolutely no shows booked. I’ve been doing less social media and more quiet walks around my neighborhood, mountain biking, painting, cooking, listening to music, and just sitting and doing nothing but spacing out and chilling—which has been a lost art to me for some time now.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
The first couple weeks of shelter-in-place, my practice routine took a pretty big hit, what with getting many of my private students set up for video lessons. By the end of the day, I was pretty cooked. Now that I’m in a routine, I’ve been getting back in the woodshed. Pino’s fretless playing, Ray Brown’s walking bass, Thundercat, and Gary Willis’ masterclass with Scott Devine have been my go-to’s the last few weeks. I’ve also been spending time writing for my next album.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
Bill Evans live ’64-’75 has been on heavy rotation. His version of “Alone Together” feels particularly à propos right about now, and “Peace Piece” is like a massage for your central nervous system. Serge Gainsbourg's “Histoire de Melody Nelson” has also been in the fold recently. The production on that album is so unique, and the bass tone is so different from my own that I find it super inspiring.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I have this stack of about 20 new pedals that takes up half of my kitchen table and I’ve been dying to drop into exploration time for months. To name a few, I’ve been messing with the Spaceman Gemini IV, Future Impact 1, Iron Ether FMeron, and the MXR Sub Octave Bass Fuzz on my Warwick electric upright—which I use with both pizzicato and bow. I paired the MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay with the Harman Analog Flanger and my Fender Jazz for a funky track on my solo album, which is almost done.
What non-music activities, books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I’ve been making homemade bread. With Jim Lahey’s No-Knead recipe, it literally takes about five minutes to mix everything together, so it’s easy and fun [www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/no-knead-bread-56389453]. I’ve been playing Yahtzee! Meditation is my other big recommendation. I’ve always struggled to cultivate a regular practice and what better time than now? I’ve been shooting for 20 minutes a day, but I still struggle with that!
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I’m taking it one day at a time right now. Angelex had some festivals booked this summer, but most of those are cancelled or rescheduled. I’ve heard reports that live music gatherings might not be back in action until July 2021, which could really alter life for the next year. That kind of timeline is wild to imagine, so I’m just going to get through May and see how life is looking.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Take it one day at a time and don’t watch too much news! There’s so much positivity, kindness, and support on community levels. Stay focused on the good stuff—it’s there. Much love and low end to you all.
Follow Angeline: Here
For more visit: Angeline Saris
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria and Chris Jisi