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: Julie Slick
Bands & Artists: Adrian Belew Power Trio, Crimson ProjeKct, EchoTest
Home: Seattle, WA
How have you been passing time during the lockdown?
I’ve been taking advantage of Bandcamp’s monthly revenue share fee waive day and I’ve been coming up with different releases—recordings of live performances, limited edition hand-drawn CDs, and so on. I also performed a live stream set for the Uncancelled Music Festival about a month ago—or was it a year ago? I’ve lost all track of time! And I’ve been cooking a lot! One of these days I’ll get back into the habit of writing down my recipes and put out a cookbook.
What have you been working on in terms of your bass practice routine?
I’ve been learning and recording my own versions of some of my favorite songs. So far I’ve worked on tunes by Radiohead, Air, Annie Lennox, and Kate Bush. I’m talking all of the elements of the song, not just the bass lines. As a songwriter/sound designer, I think it’s important to study and understand how artists work with melody, harmony, rhythm—basically analyzing overall arrangements.
What music, songs, recordings, artists, bass players have you been listening to as a source of comfort and inspiration that you can recommend?
Besides the aforementioned artists, old standbys like Portishead, Massive Attack, Talk Talk, Bonobo, The Duke Ellington station on Apple Music. As for new stuff, I’ve been digging, Earth, Ed O’Brien’s solo debut, and Fetch the Bolt Cutters, Fiona Apple’s latest.
What bass gear have you been playing and trying out?
I’ve been delving into post-loop effects, particularly the Eventide Rose with an expression pedal. It gets weird and wild! I’ve also set up my KMI SoftStep 2 to operate my Infinity Looper, so I can more easily bank between presets, hands-free, using the Rose as a nifty transition assistant.
What non-music activities books, shows, movies or workout recommendations do you have?
I read and thoroughly enjoyed Abbi Jacobson’s I Might Regret This. As for shows, The Great British Menu, Top Chef All Stars, RuPaul’s Drag Race, Killing Eve, Ozark, Unorthodox, The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Bojack Horseman. Guilty pleasures include You, How to Get Away with Murderand of course, Tiger King. I try to get outside at least once per day—usually around sunset—just to walk around the neighborhood and say hi to all of the dogs in their yards. it’s so difficult to resist petting them, but I keep my distance.
What projects do you have coming up when the world gets going again?
I was already expecting a kind of slow year since Adrian [Belew] was supposed to be out with Jerry Harrison and Turkuaz, celebrating Remain in Light’s 40-year anniversary with select shows across the US. I had some Talking Heads tribute gigs of my own with Start Making Sense in Chicago and Denver, and hopefully those will be rescheduled at the end of the year. I’m working on new EchoTest music; our fifth record is essentially finished, structurally, we just need to record the drums, some additional vocals and auxiliary tracks, and then mix the dang thing. However, that will have to wait until we can take a plane to Philly, since we always work with honorary EchoTester, master producer Todd Mecaughey at Cambridge Sound Studios. I’m hoping for a 2021 release.
What advice can you offer fellow bassists for staying positive and keeping morale high?
Try to stay safe and healthy, keep practicing, keep experimenting, keep it weird, and know that we’re all in this together, everywhere in the world. Have faith that people will be desperate for human interaction once this is all over—especially to go out and experience live music, so be prepared to book some shows!
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All check-ins compiled and edited by Jon D’Auria & Chris Jisi