Bassist Brad Cantor, Bass Musician Magazine Q&A
Bass 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.
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.
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:
Most Amazing Gig so Far:
Opening up for The Psychedelic Furs blew my mind. They are among the best acts I’ve seen live.
Being part of the Quintette of the Hot Club of France during its heyday
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