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: Ashley Reeve
Bands & Artists: Cher, Filter, Cee-Lo Green, Adam Lambert
Home: Las Vegas, NV
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
My drummer husband, Chris Reeve [Tom Morello, Avril Lavigne, Filter], and I have been doing little DIY home renovations since we bought our first home last year. We’re currently working on building our studio, which is something we’ve wanted to do for some time, and now- time is all we have.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I’ve been playing more upright than usual...It’s not something I’ve always had the luxury of bringing on the road, so I kinda feel like I’m still in the honeymoon period of my relationship with it- where we’re still getting to know each other and it’s exciting. Translating electric bass parts to upright really forces you to think about where you’re playing things on the neck. I try to keep things in the 1st position “sweet spot” on upright, whereas on the electric, I tend to use a much wider range of the neck; so it can feel like completely re-learning a tune that’s become muscle memory played one way on electric, and then completely different fingerings and positions when played on the upright.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
I’m going through this massive Moog synthesizer phase. I love synth-wave bands like M83, Big Black Delta, CHVRCHES, the soundtrack to Stranger Things.....I’m crazy about the electro vibe of all those vintage synths. They’re particularly comforting from the speakers of my hot tub.
Which albums bring you the most comfort when you listen to them?
I find comfort in escapism. Radiohead’s “Kid A” takes me back to being in high school and listening to it while taking the train to school every day, a time where my love for bass really ignited. I also enjoy feel-good albums like “Fresh” by Sly and the Family Stone or just the pure beauty of John Williams’ scores, especially Jurassic Park. I love how a song can recall a particular scene of a movie or show and you’re suddenly flooded with all the same emotions as if you’re actually watching it. That speaks volumes to the power of that kind of masterful writing.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’m in love with my new Dingwall basses. I have a beautiful sparkle Aquamarine D-Roc and a custom Super PJ 5-string bass which is my favorite bass I own. I've been running them through a number of Darkglass pedals; including the Microbes B7K Ultra or the Vintage Ultra (which I use for Cher), Alpa-Omega and Harmonic Booster. Dingwall basses really go hand in hand, tonally, with Darkglass pedals.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
Knitting is a great form of therapy. It’s something I really took refuge in during a rough patch in my life. The hypnotic motion of knitting was a great escape. I’m actually gonna be selling some of my creations online under the brand “Pizza Monster,” which is what I feel like I’ve become now that we’ve eaten our way through the fresh goods in our pantry and have been relegated to surviving off of the frozen pizza collection in our freezer. We take lots of walks in our direct neighborhood so we feel less guilty about it.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
Assuming that there’s a demand for live music this year (which I like to remain optimistic about), there should be some national touring with Cher later this year. The future of everything seems a bit in limbo, though....so- that’s in a perfect world where life returns to a similar version of itself. Also, my husband has a really fun project called “Deadline Collective” which I’ll be involved with. The idea is to have a revolving cast of musicians where we record, mix and release an entire album in a single weekend, hence the name. Should be fun and chaotic!
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
It gets better...It has to. This is a weird time for everyone. Even those of us who may have felt like we were on top of the world a month ago are filing for unemployment. As isolated as we all might feel currently, we’re definitely in this together. Use this time to reach out via FaceTime, Zoom, HouseParty or whatever platform that works for you to reconnect with old friends and family members. I’ve definitely had more phone conversations in the last month of quarantine than I would have if this all hadn’t happened. Use this time to remember what made you fall in love with music in the first place. Loads of musicians are finding ways to collaborate remotely- find friends who want to write with you, even if you’re just using your phone to record. Also, online lessons are a great way to study with some greats from afar. Scott Devine’s “Scott’s Bass Lessons” allows students access to a massive archive of musical knowledge and interactive workshops with master bassists. Music is what connects us. Stay home and focus on the little things that inspire you most.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi