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: Emily Retsas
Bands & Artists: Kim Gordon, Phoebe Bridgers, Better Oblivion Community Center, Shirley Manson, Fiona Apple
Home: Los Angeles, CA & Smoky Bay South Australia
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been working on building Sound Travels, it’s a remote-hire platform for music industry professionals that was born as a direct result of the lockdown. Members can promote themselves and their skillsets, and contact others in regards to collaboration and job opportunities, as well as offer tutorials/advice for generating professional grade audio content from home. [https://soundcantravel.com].
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I had a lot of new material to learn for tours that were upcoming, so I’ve been enjoying spending time diving deeper into that. Experimenting with different sounds and techniques. And just playing for the fun of it!
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 inspired by indie electronic/dance artists like LCD Soundsystem, Felix da Housecat, Soulwax, CAN, and The Postal Service. On the other side of ther spectrum, it’s been John Cale, J.J Cale, The Magnetic Fields, and Rufus Wainwright. I watched Talking Heads’ Stop Making Sense for the first time. The way the whole live show grows is complete entertainment from start to end, and you can’t go wrong with Tina Weymouth. My favorite new song is “Aries,” by Gorillaz featuring Peter Hook; it’s such a fun bass line to play.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I recently got the EarthQuaker Devices pedals, Avalanche Run, Sea Machine, and The Warden. It’s been fun to get acquainted with new toys and to create new sounds. I love their pedals and I’m exited about getting to use them on new songs.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I love cooking; I’ve been spending a lot of time doing that each day, with a heavy middle-eastern/Mediterranean focus. I’ve been cooking a lot of Yotam Ottolenghi recipes. Podcast-wise, I listen to Reply All, Making Sense with Sam Harris, and Shruti Kumar’s Let’s Shake on It. I’m also re-watching Twin Peaks. Ballet Beautiful and Sadie Nardini have some great Barre and yoga workouts online that are my go-to routines.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I’m looking forward to resuming a tour with Phoebe Bridgers. Her new album, Punisher, comes out June 19th. I’m excited to get to play those songs live.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Adapt to change. Don’t get caught up in a productivity trap, but use this time to focus on things that make you happy. Learn a song you love or pick a small personal project to work on. I find setting your mind to small tasks to complete helps you feel a sense of achievement.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi