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: Hadrien Feraud
Bands & Artists: John McLaughlin, Chick Corea, Biréli Lagrène, The Zawinul Legacy Band, Hiromi, Solo artist
Home: Los Angeles, California and Paris, France
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been practicing, writing, giving Skype lessons, doing remote recording sessions from home, excercising, reading, looking at Netflix and youtube, and sleeping!
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
It ranges from an hour a day to skipping a day, which enables me to come back fresh. I’ll do my usual maintenance routine or try to polish up or refine certain areas. I’ll also transcribe musicians who play other instruments to try to get new sources of inspiration. The truth is you can’t always be growing, so in the meantime the goal is to make what you already have second nature, and therefore better.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
My personal comfort zone list is massive, including Motown, the Beatles, Stung and the Police, Prince, Stevie Wonder Steely Dan, Earrh, Wind & Fire, Tower of Power, Chick Corea, Weather Report, Herbie Hancock, Joni Mitchell, Beethoven, Rachmaninov, Stravinsky, Debussy, and Ravel. Aming contemporary artists I dig Thundercat, Louis Cole, Anderson Paak, Laura M’Vula, Bird and the Bee, Kamasi Washington, Snarky Puppy, John Mayer, and James Bay. Bass go-tos range from Jamerson, Jaco, Rocco, Anthony Jackson, Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke, Ron Carter, Scott LaFaro, Ray Brown, Mingus, Paul Chambers, John Patitucci, Renaud Garcia Fons, Dominique DiPiazza, Andrew Gouche, and Matt Garrison to contemporary bassists who inspire me and kick my butt, like Federico Malaman, Teymur Phell, Anton Davidyants, Thundercat, Christian Galvez, Michael Pipoquinha, Armando Gola, Junior Braguiña, Janek, Dan Alderson, Felix Pastorius, Mike Bendy, Ben Sheperd, Henrik Linder, Ethan Farmer, Damo Farmer, Alex Al, Daric Benett, Alan Snoop Evans, Robin Mullarkey, Swaelli M’Bappe, Romain Labaye, Derick Hodge, Francisco Fattoruso, and many more.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
My usual rotation of Markbass amps and Ken Smith, F-Bass, and Mayones basses, with Elixir strings, as well as my vintage Fender, Gibson, and Hofner basses.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies, or workout recommendations do you have?
I usually do strength training at the gym, so I’ve had to come with other methods using the minimal gear I have at home. That includes bodyweight workouts, longer reps, and time under tension to try to maintain the muscle mass and muscle endurance. I’ve been trying to read a few books about society, science, and theories of all kinds, and I’ve been watching a mix of classic films I’ve never seen and new movies.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I’ll try to find a home for my upcoming album, which features Bastien Picot on vocals, Chris Coleman on drums, Eddie Brown on keys, and Oz Noy on guitar. I’m working on a group project with a killin’ young singer from the east coast named Ryan Quinn, which includes keyboardists Scott Kinsey and Ruslan Sirota. Thundercat and I have co-written songs over the past four years that we might make into a collaboration to release later this year. And I hope to resume my gigs with Lee Ritenour, Dean Brown, Frank Gambale, and occasionally Blood, Sweat & Tears—subbing for Ric Fierabracci, who’s a baddass.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
For me, what has been the biggest help to my mood and morale in all of this is excercising. Do something with your body. Because if you’re serious about it, it incorporates other healthy concepts, such as a good diet and mental fitness. When you feel good your energy level is up. A key saying to remember is, “Success and therefore happiness lies outside the comfort zone.”
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria and Chris Jisi