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: Antonella Mazza
Bands & Artists: Session player, David Hallyday
Home: Paris, France
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
Lockdown has been a true pit stop moment! For the first few weeks I tried to keep a normal routine, waking up early, exercising, and practicing. Then I started living at my own rhythm, taking my time, slowing down, and doing things I always wanted to do, like watching entire movies, doing 1000-piece puzzles, taking care of plants, cooking, and reading. Last but not least, I have a ten-year-old, so I had to become a teacher, playmate, and inventor of activities to occupy his time.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
It seems I practice more in normal times than in lockdowns! Often we think we don’t have time but I’ve realized the truth is we find time for things we love! I normally have a lot of songs to learn for my gigs, so I took a pause and left music as a comfort zone and a safe refuge for when I feel lost. One technical aspect I worked on was my classical upright playing. I studied at the Conservatory Classical Double Bass for ten years when I was younger, so I broke out some pieces, including Double Bass Concerto No. 2 in B minor and Elegy No. 1 by Bottesini, and Eccles Sonata in G minor.
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 listening to the catalogues of Ella Fitzgerald and Duke Ellington, and daily doses of Jaco Pastorius—he is my safe place! I’ve also listened to and learned all of Tears for Fears’ songs.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I changed the strings on my old Warwick basses, keeping them in shape. I’m having fun learning how to use Ableton Live. And I’ve revisited some pedals, like my Electro-Harmonix Soul POG and my EBS UniChorus.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I think in this crazy moment we should do what we like to do. My best workout is cooking! I started a YouTube chain called “Groove in the Kitchen,” with some videos of Italian recipes mixed with a touch of french style, and I composed the soundtrack. I’ve watched Breaking Bad and Stranger Things on Netflix, and I read a Charlie Parker biography and Otto Karolyi’s Introducing Modern Music—that’s a huge source of inspiration!
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I hope to resume touring with David Hallyday in November. I recorded a lot of songs of mine thinking that maybe, after 30 years of playing for others it was time to realize my own compositions. I’m not sure it will become a record but it was important for me to make something concrete.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Music is the best company. My suggestion is to not put pressure on yourself with strict practice schedules, play what you like and follow your heart and your ears. We will have time for being stressed when the gigs restart. For now take your time. Enjoy music and love yourself for who you are. A better time will come soon!
Follow Antonella: Here
Read all 180+ Bass Magazine Check-in Features: Here
All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi