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: Marius Goldhammer
Bands & Artists: Session Player, Rudiger Baldauf Quartett, Dino Soldo, BAP
Home: Cologne, Germany
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I immediately started with a routine of getting up early, practicing, working out, eating healthy, and spending as much time as possible with my wife and kids. I was a bit worried at first, but it worked out just fine. Planning my day with post-its on my desk helped a lot. I’ve started a Patreon page with videos/reviews of all my basses, one after the other. I’ve also put out short video lessons there, and a bunch of other bass goodies. Parallel, I’ve created an Instagram series called “#coroboration,” on which I play one-minute grooves and little pieces with famous and not so famous drummers. It helps my composing as well as the technical side in terms of recording and video editing. It kind of redefined my sound and it keeps me productive. I’ll keep doing all of this after the lockdown, that’s very clear! My upright playing got better, as well as my Moog bass chops. I’ve been doing weekly bass lessons online via www.doozzoo.com for my students at the music conservatory in Cologne. I am lucky to be the electric bass tutor there, so at least a little bit of my income stays stable.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I’ve been working on sight-reading by playing James Jamerson transcriptions, and pick playing via checking out vintage Carol Kaye recordings and Tim Lefebvre’s lines on the Ocean’s Twelve soundtrack. I’ve also jammed with my favorite songs and checked out Scott’s Bass Lessons.
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 listening to albums of Ego Mondo, with Tim Lefebvre, FORQ, with Michael League and Kevin Scott, Scary Goldings, with Nick Campbell, and Jordan Rakei’s Origin, with the amazing Rob Mullarkey on bass. I also get inspired by my all-time favorite bass player, Tommy Sims. When Tommy commented on one of my Instagram videos two weeks ago, it blew me away! He influenced me more than anybody else, and he still does.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
Darryl Anders from Dunlop sent me a package with strings and pedals; I immediately fell in love with the MXR Vintage Bass Octave. I’ve been trying thinner flatwound strings on some of my basses, which gives them a more singing quality. It brought my 1963 Fender Precision back to life. I got an endorsement deal with Trickfish Amps, so I’ve been experimenting with their Bullhead 1K and TF208 and TF408 cabinets, which are all killin’! Through home recording, I’ve tried as many combinations of plug-ins from Universal Audio and Logic as I could, just because I have the time. I’ve learned a lot in the last weeks, that’s for sure.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I’ve been reading Al Schmitt’s biography, On the Record, Geddy Lee’s Big Beautiful Book of Bass, and your Lockdown interviews in Bass Magazine. I’m watching the Netflix shows Better Call Saul, Tiger King, Ozark, and After Life. Here in Germany, the gyms finally re-opened last week, so I went there for the first time in nine weeks. It still hurts!
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
We were in the middle of arranging and recording a new album with the Rudiger Baldauf Quartett, and that’s now re-scheduled for June. We have some shows in the books that will take place, hopefully. I’m in the house band for the Mallorca Smooth Jazz Festival, which is postponed until October. Some studio sessions are planned, as well.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Staying positive in this hopeless situation is not easy, but once you realize that negativity doesn’t help anybody, you will see the world differently. The first thing I did in this pandemic was stay away from negative people, conspiracy theories, and Facebook. I do my best to be a part of the solution and not the problem. Knowing some friends that had the virus helped to get my head straight, too. Spend your time wisely and stop worrying. Make music, support your family, and spread love. That’s what the world needs right now!
Follow Marius: Here
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi