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: Stu Brooks
Bands & Artists: Dub Trio, GRIZ, Matisyahu, Mark Giuliana, Danny Elfman
Home: Los Angeles, California
What have you been doing to keep yourself occupied during the lockdown?
Tons of practicing the bass, writing and recording, and collaborating musically with friends via email and file sharing.
What have you been working on in your personal bass practice?
I’ve been working a lot with picking technique and sight-reading. Basically, anything I’m sight reading I will do using a pick, creating two challenges at once. On top of that, I’m trying to memorize more tunes and build a repertoire by memory.
Which bass have you been playing the most right now?
My new signature bass. It’s a P-Bass by Olinto [pictured below]. Built by Mas Hino and James Carbonetti at LaBella Strings. I’m totally in love with it!
Have you been writing songs, recording tracks, teaching lessons, or woodshedding more with the extra time?
I’ve definitely been practicing more but I’m staying pretty busy with various projects. I’ve started a project that I think is now becoming my solo record. Lately, I’ve been producing, writing and recording for one of my new favourite bands called Fever333, as well as the singer’s solo project, Jason Aalon Butler. And continuing to do so through quarantine.
Up until quarantine, I had been a couple of months deep into rehearsals with Danny Elfman’s new project “From Boingo, To Batman and Beyond”. The first shows were headlining Coachella both weekends. Which was supposed to be this week, actually. I’m super bummed that we had to postpone until October. The rehearsals were really getting to another level the week Coachella decided to postpone and we we’re all sent home to hunker down. So I’m continuing to prep for that by digging deeper into the amazing music of Danny’s film scores, Oingo Boingo and other music from that era. Punk, Industrial, Post Punk, New Wave, Ska, Reggae, Funk, Rock.
What music have you been listening to through this?
I’ve been listening to a lot of Gary Numan. I’m addicted to his album The Pleasure Principle. Also Oingo Boingo, Ministry, NIN, Skinny Puppy, Sigue Sigue Sputnik, Einsturzende Neubauten, The Gun Club, The Birthday Party, The Jesus Lizard, Barkmarket, Pretenders, Kate Bush, and Joe Jackson. On the reggae tip, Pupajim, Busy Signal, Protoje, Sizzla, Carleton, Midnite, King Tubby, Scientist, Koffee, Movado, Vybz Kartel, Aswad, Mutabaruka, Horace Andy, Mungo’s Hi Fi. And on the electronic, hip hop, noise, doom, side, Arca, serpentwithfeet, Machine Girl, A. Fruit, Ghostmane, Murcof, Vaetxh, Holly Herndon, Death Grips, Oval, Mr. Scruff, Seefeel, Vince Staples, Autechre, Boris, Sunn 0))), Squarepusher, Jimmy Edgar, Moody Good, A Perfect Circle, Scorn, Ivy Lab, Big Brave. Some other comforting titles include Brian Eno’s Music For Airports, Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2, Max Richter’s On The Nature Of Daylight, Huey Lewis & The News’ Sports, Garth Stevenson’s Flying, and Nils Frahm’s Felt and Solo.
What non-musical things have you been doing to stay busy?
Cooking, yoga and meditation, and collecting vinyls. DJ’ing at the house with my wife with the occasional after dinner dance party!
What books, shows, or movie recs do you have for us?
Podcasts I recommend are: Hanging Out With Audiophiles, Intercepted, Making Sense with Sam Harris, Sound Matters, Meet The Composer, Twenty Thousand Hertz, RadioLab, and 99% Invisible. I love these shows on Netflix: Ozark, Rotten, Salt Fat Acid Heat, and The Game Changers. I’m reading The Heart of Yoga by Desikachar, Hallucinations by Oliver Sacks, and Waking Up by Sam Harris. My wife just bought the Playstation VR (Virtual Reality), the ultimate escapism. Astrobot! WOAH.
What are you most looking forward to when this all passes?
I’m mostly looking forward to hugging all my loved ones, playing live music, and traveling!
What’s the best advice you’d give to musicians during this time?
Honestly, any advice I give would be something I’m striving for. I think it’s important to create a work day for yourself. Build a fulfilling routine and try to maintain discipline. Try to exercise, eat well, and have a yoga and/or meditation practice for mental health. Try to have balance in your life. Don’t give yourself too much to do in one day. Set yourself up to feel accomplished. Practice hard, work hard, but also allow yourself to let go and not always strive. Be passive sometimes. Maybe try to find the “in-between,” the space between effort and ease. Try to remember that everyone at all levels of success is going through the same thing, so go through your day with love and compassion. Take the time to acknowledge what you have to be grateful for. Sending love and big hugs to all the people who find themselves alone, hungry or who have lost their job or who have lost love ones during this time of separation.
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D'Auria & Chris Jisi