Bergantino Welcomes Karina Rykman to Their Family of Artists

The high-energy bassist discusses her path on bass, her upcoming tour, how she came to find Bergantino through another Bergantino artist, and more!

Bergantino Welcomes Karina Rykman to Their Family of Artists

The high-energy bassist discusses her path on bass, her upcoming tour, how she came to find Bergantino through another Bergantino artist, and more!

Photo by Jesse Fraatz

Interview and text by Bergantino Audio Systems: A lifelong Manhattanite diehard New Yorker, Bergantino welcomes new Artist Karina Rykman. Jim and Holly had the privilege of meeting Karina and her band in Boston to see her perform. She lights up a stage with her charismatic passion as a bass player and singer – a true powerhouse of joy and energy. On stage, she smiles from ear to ear, hopping, jumping, and dancing; the entire room overflowing with positivity! If you don’t know this titan-of-bass yet, you will soon enough. Karina’s JOYRIDE 2024 tour picks up this month with the debut her new album. We had the opportunity to ask Karina some questions about her career so far.

You have quite the career that began at a very young age. You have so much going on!! Can you share some of your musical path highlights you are most proud of?
Oh man, thank you! What a long, strange trip it’s been. I’m proud of still being so
absolutely enthralled by music after playing in a million bands and finally ending
up at this current juncture: being able to make my own music and tour under my
own name. It just seems completely surreal – every gig, every recording…I’m on
cloud 9 being able to continue to do this, and we’re just getting started. I’m
extremely proud of being so young and being able to learn so much from Marco
Benevento, without whom I’d be absolutely nowhere. Being put up to a large task
with enormous shoes to fill, and stepping in even though I barely knew what I
was doing at the time. Every gig with Marco is extremely special to me.

Tell us about your new album release Joyride and your 2024 tour.
Joyride is my debut record! It came out in August 2023, and we’ve been touring
behind it nonstop ever since. You only make your first record once, and I’m so
proud of this one – it’s fun, searing, lush, with chantable choruses and, of course,
incredibly thick bass and infectious grooves. It was produced by Phish’s Trey
Anastasio, who also contributes guitar parts to 5 of the 9 tunes.

What makes the bass so special to you particularly, and how did you gravitate towards it?
There’s nothing quite like feeling the subs rumbling under your feet in a venue,
and being responsible for those sounds is thrilling. I played guitar first, at age 12,
but essentially completely switched over to bass when I was 22 and got the gig
playing bass with Marco Benevento. I haven’t looked back since, except for a few
gigs on guitar here and there (notably in the house band on Late Night with Seth
Meyers and on The Today Show backing up Julia Michaels).

People hate this question, but: If you were constructing your personal Bass Mt.
Rushmore, who are the four players that would make the cut and why?

Geddy Lee, Cliff Burton, Bootsy Collins, Les Claypool. The list goes on and on, of
course, but those four have imprinted their unique styles upon my brain since I
was so young, and I’m perpetually learning from them – even in the case of the
deceased Cliff (RIP), going back and watching Cliff ‘Em All videos is something I
do all the time. Endlessly compelled by these four players and their original takes
on the instrument.

How did you learn to play?
I never took lessons, but in middle school and high school I just surrounded
myself with equally music-obsessed people. All we did was play music and go
and see live music, which is wildly accessible when you grow up in New York
City. I had a really tight-knit crew of amazing players as my friends, and everyone
would teach each other riffs and licks. I was fearless – playing with people much
better than me and saying “yes” to every cool opportunity that came my way. I
essentially learned from playing in a million bands and playing along to Black
Sabbath and Led Zeppelin records.

Are there any other instruments you play?
I started on guitar, and still love to write on guitar. I can get around on keyboards
a bit, but you’d never hire me as a keyboardist. Same goes for drums – I LOVE
playing drums but you’d never hire me as a drummer.

Describe your playing style(s), tone, strengths and/or areas that can be improved on the bass.
I play both with a pick and my fingers, depending on the specific needs of / vibe
of the tune. I love playing fuzz bass and writing bombastic “lead bass” moments,
which are a staple of my live show. I’d say I’m about the least “traditional” bassist
in just about every way – which is both a strength and a weakness depending on
how you frame it. I play what I hear, what I like, and I adhere to very few rules.
I’ve always hated rules, and I didn’t start playing rock n roll to follow them.

How did you find Bergantino Audio Systems?
I’m pals with Mike Gordon, bassist of Phish, and his tech is named Ed
Grasmeyer. Ed suggested he bring Mike’s Bergantino for me to try out at a show
I was playing in Vermont, and I fell instantly in love.

You have been using the Bergantino Forté HP2 head. How have you been setting
the controls on this and what changes to those settings might you make as you plug into your other individual instruments?

I love my Forté HP2! The versatility and headroom are incredible, and I’ve been
having a lot of fun dialing it in at home. The real fun will begin this weekend,
when I take it out for 2.5 weeks of tour – dialing something in an apartment just
isn’t the same as on a big stage with a PA and subs and all that good stuff. I like
to roll my highs a bit and I keep “punch” on all the time. So far, it’s been a dream.

You are the inspiration behind Bergantino cab the new NXT410-C. Can you tell us more about this cab and your experience so far?
Firstly, I’m beyond touched to be the inspiration behind, well…anything! But this
is truly insane, and such an honor. I love this cab. Not only is it light and
extremely good looking, it can handle all my loudest, most abrasive and
obnoxious effects. My old amp didn’t come close, and could just fart out or I’d
have to turn down to appease it. I’m a big fan of playing at earth-shattering
volumes, so this is going to be a match made in heaven.

We all love your custom- made Goldie Hawn bass guitar! Can you share more with us about this bass design and why it is so special to you?
Thanks! That’s made by “Zeke Guitars” – it’s the second custom bass he’s made
for me! He reached out in the summer of 2019 and asked what my dream bass
would be, and I said it was basically my 1978 Fender P-Bass, but lighter, whiter,
with Lindy Fralins, gold hardware, and shorter scale. And, well..he did exactly
that! I love that bass so much. And the gold, which is refer to as Goldie Hawn,
was born in December of 2022, and has the same specs. I just love it, it sounds
amazing and looks, arguably, even better.

Jim and I were lucky to get to meet you in person when you came to Boston with the band. The members of the band are such a great group of people! Can you share more with all about the band and crew.
I’m so lucky to keep such incredible company. My bandmates, Adam November
and Chris Corsico, are not only unbelievable musicians but also incredible
humans. We just laugh and laugh, and we’re there for each other when the road
gets tough or we’re exhausted or whatever life throws at us. It’s the joy of my life
to get to tour the world with these guys. And the crew! That night was Connor
Milton on sound and Nick Koski on lights – we have a rotating cast of people who
fill those roles based on availability, and everyone who works for us are absolute
consummate professionals and the sweetest humans. They are my team of
experts and I just adore them so much. Shout out to Zach Rosenberg, Jeff
Volckhausen, Dylan Hinds, Dom Chang, for being the best rotating crew a gal
could ask for!

What else do you do besides music?
Not much! I love going to the beach! I love eating dinner!

Because I am a foodie, I always ask people what their favorite food is!
Oysters, caviar, sushi. I’m a raw bar fanatic.

About Bergantino Audio Systems: Bergantino Audio Systems has been dedicated to developing and building the highest quality audio products and bass guitar amplification systems since 2001. Founder Jim Bergantino has worked in a number of fields in his career, from high-tech electrical engineering to the high-end professional audio world. After designing custom bass cabinets for many other leading brands, he started his own Bergantino Audio Systems. BAS has received numerous accolades within the musical instrument industry and continues to look forward via their designs and unique approach to developing products. https://bergantino.com

Follow Karina Rykman:
Instagram: @karinarykman
X (formerly Twitter): @KarinaRykman
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karinarykman/

Bass Magazine   By: Bass Magazine