Connect with us

Features

SA With Martin Simpson: An Interview with Vuyani Wakaba

Published

on

Meet Martin Simpson

Vuyani Wakaba is a South African lad living and working in the Chicago area. I’ve known Vuyani for about six years now and not only do we have a lot in common (although our approach to actually playing the bass is radically different), we have many mutual friends. I asked Vuyani if he would allow me to interview him for this magazine at the tail end of last year and although he agreed, I think he felt he wasn’t worthy – he’s such a humble Human Being. Anyway, I eventually coaxed an interview out of him and this is what he had to say.

Martin: How long have you been playing Vuyani?

Vuyani: I began playing bass when I was 27 years old, which is pretty late according to most people. However, I started playing gigs three months after I got my first bass, and I haven’t stopped. I was also blessed enough to meet some world class bassists who shared some of their knowledge and experience with me.

Martin: How did you get started?

Vuyani: I used to be a terrible trombone player (it’s true!). One day I realized that my solo’s weren’t melodic, instead, they sounded like they would make better bass lines. So, I decided to try the bass. Coincidentally, the next day, a co-worker of mine approached me to loan him the money to get one of his basses out of the pawn shop. In return, I would get to keep it till he could afford to pay me back. I used that time to figure out if I enjoyed playing bass or not. I was hooked from day one!

Martin: Can you remember what bass it was?

Vuyani: Yes I can! It was a very cheap half scale Memphis fretted electric bass. Of course I didn’t know that it was half scale at the time….in fact, I didn’t even know how to tune it! I ended up playing my first few performances with that bass with a gospel choir. They were so patient! When I finally bought my first bass, the 1975 American Fender Precision, I then had to get used to playing a full scale instrument.

Martin: Have you tried your hand at any other instruments since picking up the bass?

Vuyani: No, I haven’t yet. I’ve had my hands full with the bass. I do plan on learning how to play keys, mainly to help me with my composition and to be able to comp for myself when I record myself. Another interest of mine is the drum set. I’ve come to believe that bassists who are also drummers have an advantage of truly understanding rhythm better than those of us who do only one thing. I could be wrong, but it sure seems that way.

Martin: What’s your favourite band / solo artist?

Vuyani: Very tough question! I’d have to say my favourite artist is Prince. His originality, creativity, sense of rhythm, musicianship, and unusually high expectations make him a musician’s musician. Though, to me, he’s one of the most creative guitarists, I mostly enjoy hearing this multi-instrumentalist when he is playing drums and/or the bass. His timing and rhythm are like no one else’s. I thoroughly respect his courage to march to the beat of a different drummer.

As far as bass players I like? There are far too many for me to name without missing someone. I’m always amazed by Victor Wooten’s originality; I really dig Alain Caron – especially his fretless sound, I’m a real nerd for Meshell Ndegeocello’s playing; Adam Nitti’s doing some ridiculous work on his recordings; of course, I can’t leave out Matt Garrison, oh…and Quintin Berry….and Marcus Miller… You see? I can go on indefinitely. I know I’ve left some important artists out of this list already! For the most part, I feel I can learn something from every bass player I come across.

Martin: I know what you mean! There are a lot of great bass players out there. In reference to Prince, I think he is one of those characters that you either love or totally despise – depending on whether you understand the man or not. – he comes across (to me) as an extremely intelligent person that you shouldn’t ever mess with!!!

Vuyani: Prince is a genius! Even those who do not like his music must admit that he is a serious creative force of nature. A friend of mine who used to play bass with Prince as they were growing up told me that he is a perfectionist. Not only that, but when he was trying to get his first record deal, the record label made him come in and audition on every instrument that was played on his demo because they didn’t believe that he had recorded the whole demo by himself. Even the way he has chosen to structure the business end of his music is revolutionary. He records his music himself at his Paisley Park facility in Minneapolis, he presses his own cd’s, he has his own marketing team, and all he needs from the major labels is distribution. Even the distribution is not as big a need as it is with most artists because he has a very strong internet based marketing system in place. That is why he makes more money per cd than any other major artist out there today. When I attended his Musicology concert, I noticed that Prince was giving away the full length Musicology cd to each ticket holder! Now, that is unheard of! He’s an innovator, which is why I admire him so much.

Pages: 1 2 3

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Published

on

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

Bassist Ciara Moser…

Ciara and I sat down for this interview a few months after the launch of her debut album, “Blind. So what?”

Blind since birth, she is a powerhouse of talent; she is not only a professional bassist, but also composes music, and is a producer and educator. I am just blown away by her talent and perseverance.

Join me as we hear about Ciara’s musical journey, the details of her album, how she gets her sound, and her plans for the future.

Visit online:

www.ciara-moser.com 
IG @ moserciara
FB @ ciara.moser

Photos by Manuela Haeussler

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Published

on

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

Interview With Bassist Travis Book…

Bluegrass music has had a very solid following over many years and I am always happy to hear from one of the pioneers in that genre.

Travis Book plays bass for the Grammy award-winning band “The Infamous Stringdusters” and has recently released his first solo album “Love and Other Strange Emotions”. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Travis also hosts a podcast, Plays a Jerry Garcia music show with Guitarist Andy Falco, and is constantly gigging locally in his neck of the woods.

Photo, Seyl Park

Visit Online:

www.thetravisbook.com
www.thestringdusters.com
FB @ TheTravisBook
IG @ travisbook

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Published

on

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Malcolm-Jamal Warner…

I am pretty sure that everyone is aware of Malcom-Jamal Warner’s work as an actor. What may be less known is his work as a director, poet, musician, and most importantly for us, a bass player. With four albums of his own, Grammy nominations and wins, as well as a sizable amount of ongoing live gigs, Malcolm is dedicating a serious amount of his attention to his music.

Join me as we hear about Malcom’s musical journey, projects, his gear choices, and plans for the future.

Here is Malcom-Jamal Warner!

Photos: Dwain Govan @dwain_go / Conrad Montgomery Mckethan @eyeconimages

Visit Online:

malcolmjamalwarner.com
IG @malcolmjamalwar
Twitter @malcolmjamalwar 
Facebook: Malcolm-Jamal Warner

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With The Labex Funk Project

Published

on

Interview With The Labex Funk Project

Interview With The Labex Funk Project…

Time really flies when you are having fun! Just over a decade ago, I had the pleasure of interviewing Michel “Labex” Labaki for our July 2013 cover.

At that time, much of our conversation concerned his personal approach to bass playing and his techniques. Fast forward to now and I am pleased to discover Michel’s new endeavor, the Labex Funk Project.

Join me as we meet the band:
Kynion Lanier on vocals
Pablo Batista on percussion
Jake Brightman on Guitar
Daniel Gonzalez on Drums
And Michel “Labex”Labaki on bass

As a bonus, we have the band’s producer Phillippe Dib in on this video chat as well.

Here is the Labex Funk Project!

Visit online:

michellabaki.com
www.facebook.com/MichelLabexLabaki/
www.instagram.com/michellabaki
www.youtube.com/c/MichelLabaki
FB @LabexFunkProject
IG @ Labex Funk Project

Continue Reading

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

Published

on

Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

Bassist Tony Newton…

I am always learning new details about Bass history when I get the opportunity to talk with seasoned players like Tony Newton. Tony, a Detroit native, came up in the golden years of Motown and laid down the low end for countless performers and studio sessions; he has performed on over 25 gold and platinum hit recordings.

As time went by, and the whole Detroit scene dwindled, Tony relocated to LA where he worked a busy schedule, even going back to school to learn about music theory and composition.

Over the years he performed on many historic hit recordings and tours with Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Diana Ross, Smokey Robinson(music Director), the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Funk Brothers and more, as well as working with veteran rock guitarist, Gary Moore in the British group G-Force.

Presently, Tony is super busy and on the verge of releasing a movie titled “Mars Quest” among his numerous other projects.

Join me as we get to enjoy all the history and knowledge that Tony has to share along with the details about his new Signature bass from BITE Guitars named “The  Punchtown Bass”.

Here is Tony Newton…

Photos: Mary K. Brand, Mitch Snyder, Haneefa Karrim, Hans Adamsen

Visit Online:

tonynewtonmusic.com/
FB @ TonyNewtonMusic Artist
YTB @ antoniotonynewtonmusic

Continue Reading

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Facebook

Trending