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: Jon Munnier
Band & Artists: On the Shoulders of Giants, Anathame
Home: Evansville, Indiana.
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
In addition to being a bassist, I’m a respiratory therapist who has been temporarily out of work. I’m getting ready to go to Michigan and help out there. It’s going to be a less chaotic work assignment with much less Covid exposure, but ironically, some of those types of hospitals are needing help right now as much as some of the “hot zone” hospitals. It's definitely been the most frustratingly weird period of my career in healthcare.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
The main focus for me has been consistency. This has been the longest period of time in a while that I've spent playing at least 30 minutes every day, which has been invigorating. I’ve been doing a lot of collaborating with my friends and other band members. Rehearsing the parts I’ve written with a click track has been great practice each day.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
The main source of comfort and inspiration I’ve had lately is getting to collaborate with some of my fellow Warwick endorsers and friends that I’ve tried to get something going with for years, but haven’t had the time to make happen. I just did a project with my good bud, fellow Warwick artist and 7-stringer Jeff Hughell from Six Feet Under. We titled it Swimming in Covid, in honor of the circumstances that made it finally come together. I’ve also been working on new songs with my band On the Shoulders of Giants, which includes Matt McDonough from Mudvayne. My other project, Anathame, is finally starting to find the time to work on new stuff, too. As for other bands I listen too, Gojira is always inspiring, and I’ve been listening to Jinjer a lot lately.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I used to not be a huge fan of pedals, but since I tried out and started endorsing DarkGlass, Morley, and Red Panda, I’ve found myself getting sucked back into the pedal world. I’ve been having fun with the Red Panda Bitmap pedal—which helped inspire the idea for the collaboration I did with Jeff Hughell—as well as the Particle 2 that Red Panda makes. The Hyper Luminal, X7, and B7K Ultra pedals by DarkGlass have become staples of my sound, and I’ve been using the Mini Dragon 2 and Power Fuzz Wahs by Morley. For the rest of my gear, I play my beloved Warwicks with Bartolini pickups and GHS strings, which I protect with Enki cases, and I use predominately Telefunken mics and InTune Guitar Picks. I recently switched my recording gear and DAW to Presonus interfaces and Studio One. Up to this point, I’ve used Pro Tools, but I felt it was the perfect time to make the transition away from it now that there’s been time to learn a new DAW.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I’m a huge fantasy nerd, and I’ve read almost all of the major fantasy franchises. I'm a fan of The Witcher games, so that's been the most recent book series and show I've nerded out to. I'm a Star Wars nerd, so the new Mandalorian and Clone Wars seasons have been great. with regard to workouts, I’m also a certified DDPYoga instructor, and I would highly encourage anyone to try it out [http://www.ddpyoga.com]. If you wouldn't normally be caught dead doing yoga, you're the type of person it was designed for.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
My main goal is to be able to get together and record the new songs I’ve written with On the Shoulders of Giants and Anathame. Like everyone, I have no idea what the rest of the year will have in store for us, but if it's within my power to make it happen, I'm going to do my best!
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Stay off social media as much as possible and quit listening to a lot of what the major news outlets are saying in regards to what’s going on with the pandemic. My Facebook account is still active, but I deleted the app and I’ve just been cross-posting from Instagram to my other social media accounts. The best thing you can do for yourself is get educated on how to properly wear and use masks and gloves. It’s easier said than done, but focus only on what you can control and not what you can’t, and roll with the punches the best you can. Live your life. Take care of your own and deal with things however you feel necessary, preferably not letting fear determine your every decision. You’ll feel much better mentally if you try to be productive. You’ll have nothing to lose for it and everything to gain!
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi