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Interview with Ivan Rougny – Bassist for French Band Mörglbl

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This month I have the pleasure of interviewing Ivan Rougny, the Bassist for French Band Mörglbl.

Bass Musician Magazine (BMM):  Thank you so much Ivan for making yourself available to talk about your career as a bassist, as well as your upcoming U.S. tour with your band Mörglbl.  I look forward to your concert at Reggie’s in Chicago.  I’ll start from the beginning by asking you what made you choose to play the bass?

Ivan Rougny (IR):  Hi Vuyani, Thank you very much to you and Bass Musician Magazine for your interest.  It is a great pleasure to be interviewed by you.

When I was young, I was very interested in the rhythmic side of music.  There was always music at home.  I listened to a lot of English Pop.  My older brother was a drummer and he listened to a lot of jazz-rock from the 70’s. And it was with him that I really discovered the bass.

One day he made me listen to Marcus Miller (with Miles Davis) and Alain Caron (Uzeb), and it was a real revelation for me.  I said to myself, “This is great! This instrument is the perfect mix between rhythm and harmony.”  Then I begged my parents to buy my first bass.  They surprised me with my first bass for Christmas in 1984.  That was the beginning!

BMM: What was your music education?  Did you attend a music school or are you self-taught?

IR: I started with music when I was nine years old in a small school of classical music.  My first instrument was the clarinet, and I have to say that I was very bad!  But it allowed me to learn the basics of music theory, and it helped me a lot.  I stopped the clarinet when I started bass.

I learned the bass on my own because there were no teachers where I lived.  So I began to reproduce by ear the bass lines of everything I listened to.  And I had the great opportunity to perform very quickly in a lot of local bands playing a lot of different styles of music.  My apprenticeship was done like that.  The only lessons I took were lessons to learn harmony at a jazz school in Paris years later.

BMM:  In the early years of being a bass player, which bass players were you listening to?  In other words, who were your influences?

IR:  My first two idols were Mark King from Level 42 and Alain Caron of Uzeb.  Mark King was really impressive, and he is still.  He had a fantastic groove.  He slapped like crazy and while singing in Level 42.  I loved that band.

I discovered Alain Caron with the album “Fast Emotion”.  He was great!  He grooved terribly well, slapped, played fretless bass, and played beautiful solos.  In addition, he played the double bass. Amazing bass player!  This was my first “shock” as a young bassist!

Then there was a French bassist, Michel Alibo, from the band “ Ixun”.  It’s an Afro Jazz band with Paco Sery on drums.  He’s probably the bass player I listened to the most and saw the most in concert.  I’m an ultra fan of his.

But there are plenty of others. I can’t mention everyone but I loved and still love bass players who have a big sound and a sound identity. These are players who have a real culture of bass and who have the ability to play behind artists to support them and also be in the spotlight.  Artists like Tony Levin (King Crimson), Gary Willis (Tribal Tech), Pino Paladino, Anthony Jackson, Francis “Rocco” Prestia, Marcus Miller, Chris Squire, Verdine White, Flea, Less Claypool, John Deacon, etc.

BMM:  That is an impressive list of bass players! That explains why you groove so hard.  What kinds of music were you listening to as you were developing as a player?  Other than your brother, were any of your family members musicians?

IR:  As I said at the beginning of this interview, there was a lot of music at home.  My father was quite a music lover.  He listened to classical music, jazz, Dixieland, etc.  He loved Supertramp, Chic, Earth Wind and Fire, and many different things in fact. My mother listened to French singers like Jacques Brel, George Brassens, and Edith Piaf.

My maternal grandfather was a musician.  I did not know him, but he played violin and accordion in orchestras in Paris. My brother was playing drums and one of my sisters was playing Saxophone.  I am the last of the family, so even before I started bass I was immersed in music.

Then, when I started bass, I immediately listened to many styles of music. And I tried to reproduce everything I could but still trying to play the bass lines my way.  It went from Rock to Pop through funk and Hard Rock.  I had a very long period of Jazz-Rock, ethnic music, Latin music, etc.  I never set limits and I was very curious.

I was listening to the Police, Queen, Level 42, Uzeb, Weather Report, Sixun, Supertramp, The Cure, Bob Marley, The Beatles, James Brown, The Headhunters, Joe Zawinul, Stanley Clarke, Gilberto Gil, Whitesnake, Winger, AC/DC, U2 , YES, Genesis, Prefab SProot, Peter Gabriel..etc.  What amused me the most was to be able to do many different styles and mix all that to try to make my way of playing and to create my own sound.

BMM:  It sounds like you had a great music education from just listening to a wide variety of music with your family.  That prepared you very well to play with Mörglbl, the band you are touring the United States with.   How did you become the bass player for Mörglbl and how long have you been in the band?

IR:  Christophe Godin, Mörglbl’s guitar player, and I have known each other for almost 28 years. We met in Annecy, Christophe’s hometown, when I settled there. He was already the local “phenomenon” and I regularly went  see him in concerts.  And he came to see me play too. We quickly wanted to play together.

Our first group together was “Future Primitive”.  It was Prog-Rock music, a mix of covers and original compositions. Then Christophe participated in a compilation that brought together many French guitarists, and when we had to do the concert to promote this album, we formed a trio (bass / Guitar / Drums). It was the beginning of Mörglbl. The group celebrated its 20th anniversary in 2018.

BMM:  Celebrating your 20th Anniversary as a band is incredible! You and the band must be doing all the right things to stay together that long.  Congratulations to all of you!

Your band Mörglbl has a U.S. tour coming up.   Is this the first tour of the United States with the band?  What are you most looking forward to during this tour?

IR:  Yes we will be on tour between August 28 and September 13, it will be I think the 7th tour of the United States.
It is always a pleasure to go on tour with Mörglbl.  We love it, helping people discover our music around the world.  It’s just great.  So that’s the purpose of this tour.

Whenever we have been to the United States, we have had a great reception.  We are assimilated to the Metal/Prog-Rock scene, and we’ve had the chance to play on several festivals, like Prog Day, Near Fest, Summercamp, and the pre-show for Prog Power. And the audience was fantastic every time. The idea is to make our music known to as many people as possible.

But all of that would not be possible without Julie and Rodney Cord from Blue Mouth Promotions, LLC and Ken Golden from The Laser’s Edge Music record company. It is thanks to them that we were able to come and make all that happen here. 1000 thanks to them.

BMM:  Your band has a great support team in those companies.  What bass equipment do you use on tour?

IR:  For the bass, I use the 5-string Passion model from Vigier.  My amps is the Laney Nexus SL head and an N410 cabinet. I have worked with these two brands for many years. I use a lot of effects pedals as well – chorus and other modulations that I generate with two Zoom pedals, two octavers from T-Rex, a Big Muff from Electro-Harmonix and two Delays from Digitech.

BMM:  Mörglbl is a great gig for you because it requires you to use a lot of technique and it sounds like you have a lot of creative freedom as a bass player.  What is the most important advice you can give to developing bass players?

IR:  Yes I have a lot of space in Mörglbl.  I do all the sound architecture, and it allows me to use many different techniques in the development of bass lines or in the search for sounds. I give bass lessons in a school in Geneva, Switzerland called ETM.  I also teach masters classes, and what I say all the time to my students is to be as versatile as possible, listen to many different styles of music and “feed” on that. Work on the necessary techniques to be able to do as many things as possible, but especially to play as much as possible with bands, and try to develop your own style of play, your own personality.  I think the best results are when people recognize you by your sound identity and the way you play.

BMM:  Thank you so much for taking the time to talk about your career, your band, and your upcoming U.S. tour.  I am sure you will meet many of our readers at your various shows around the United States.  Have a successful tour!

Mörglbl U.S. Tour Dates
(Please check with your local venue for show times)

Friday, August 30
Local Motive Brewing
123 North Dargan Street
Florence, SC  29506
lomobrew.com

Saturday, August 31
Living Room Florence
Invitation Only

Sunday, September 1
Prog Day Festival
Storybrook Farm
Chapel Hill, North Carolina
progday.net

Monday, September 2 (Labor Day)
Empty Glass
410 Elizabeth St.
Charleston, West Virginia 25311
emptyglass.com/home

Tuesday, September 3
The Coterie
107 West Sycamore Street
Kokomo, Indiana 46901
www.facebook.com/coteriekokomo/

Wednesday, September 4
Reggie’s – Music Joint
2105 South State Street
Chicago, Illinois 60616
www.reggieslive.com

Friday, September 6
New Jersey Proghouse
At Roxy and Dukes
w/Jimmy Robinson and Ad Astra
745 Boundbrook Road
Dunellen, New Jersey 08812
www.njproghouse.com

Saturday, September 7
Orion Studios
w/Jimmy Robinson
2903 Whittington Avenue
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
www.orionsound.com

Sunday, September 8
The Rail
w/Ethan Meixsell and Ad Astra
281 West Main Street
Smithtown, New York 11787
therailsmithtown.com

Thursday, September 12
Francis Marion University
Artist Series
Florence, South Carolina

Visit online at morglblmusic.com

Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Ciara Moser

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Travis Book

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview with Malcolm-Jamal Warner

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview With The Labex Funk Project

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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

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Bass Videos

Interview With Bassist Tony Newton

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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

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