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Bassist Brad Cantor, Bass Musician Magazine Q&A

Bassist-Brad-CantorBass Musician Magazine Q&A with Bassist Brad Cantor…

Current Band(s) I Play With:
Dance for the Dying

Former Bands I Have Played With: 
Four Volts, Exit Ocean

CD’s I’ve Released/ Been a Part Of:
Dance for the Dying: Self-Titled EP and Puzzles for the Traveler EP

Describe The Way You Play Bass:
My style is a bit all over the place. I started out primarily as a guitar player. And like a lot of guitar-turned-bass players, I wrongly considered the bass, a 4-string guitar. So early on there was a lot of weird stuff I did that just didn’t work. I eventually started to learn that bass was a versatile instrument with its own set of rules. Now, I tend to favor a pretty aggressive punchy-style that looks for the right notes to play, but also tries to add to the rhythm without confusing it. I mostly use a pick and do a lot of string skipping, but I like using my fingers if I need more control of the dynamics.

What Made Me Decide to Play Bass:
I don’t actually know, but now I’m hooked. It all just sorta happened – not the best answer, I know. I’ve always been drawn to stringed instruments.  I can’t really remember a time where I didn’t play something with strings, bass or otherwise.

Musical Influences:
Huge list. When it comes to playing bass I tend to favor the more melodic punchy stuff. Peter Hook, Simon Gallup, Mick Taylor. Although, Chuck Rainey’s bass work on Aja had a big impact on me. Jaco Pastorius is up there as well.  Brent Oberlin’s – from Thought Industry – bass playing knocked me out. I saw them live back in the early 90’s.  It was aggressive, loud and really stood out. Mods Carve the Pig is a sick album. The list is pretty expansive, but I’ll stop there

Favorite Musical Styles:
If left to my own devices, I tend towards the noisier stuff. I like messing around with pedals. But in Dance for the Dying I really like adapting funk, disco and post-punk styles to our music.

My Bass(es):
I have a Mint Green 55 P-bass reissue. I think its from the mid 80’s. The serial number dates it to 83, but the stamp on the neck says 91. So, who knows.

My Amps and Other Gear:
I use a Mark Bass combo as my amp. When you are regularly playing clubs you need something portable with a big sound. I shared someone’s Mark Bass combo once during a set and I was hooked. I also use Boss Bass chorus, Rat Distortion, an electro-harmonix freeze pedal, and a bit crusher pedal to make annoying noises. I sometimes use a delay.

Best Bass Advice You’ve Ever Received:
You can make dissonant notes work to your advantage. Experiment with them underneath a riff or phrase.  Don’t give up on them if they seem like they aren’t working.  Victor Wooten had a video where he talked about that, among other things. He also gave some examples which really resonated with me. It was the single most important piece of musical advice I ever heard. Seems so simple, but it changed how I thought about music.

One Piece Of Advice For Other Bassists:
Don’t let other people undervalue the importance of bass presence in a song or mix.

Favorite Quote or Life Philosophy: 
Party semi-naked…..sometimes

Most Amazing Gig so Far:
Opening up for The Psychedelic Furs blew my mind. They are among the best acts I’ve seen live.

Dream Gig:
Being part of the Quintette of the Hot Club of France during its heyday

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