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Interview with Bassist Keven Eknes

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Keven Eknes, a highly sought after session musician and sideman in Nashville has just released a stunning, highly eclectic instrumental EP entitled “Northern Lights.”

Inspired by the arctic lights (Eknes grew up in Norway), this gorgeous 4-song collection combines rock, country and jazz in a way that you probably haven’t heard before. We chatted with Eknes about his unique fusion of genres and picking style, and which basses he reaches for when he opts to law down some low end.

You had 2 pretty killer bassists appear on the new EP, Jacob Umansky (Intervals, Painted In Exile, and The Faceless) and session musician, Alex Gorchesky. Who played on each song? 

Yeah they’re badass! Jacob for “Into the Maze” (1) and “Diminished Blues” (2), Alex for “Hemispheres” (4). 

You’re a Berklee alum yourself. Do you know them both from your tenure there? 

Yeah, although I didn’t really get to know them until the very end (Alex) and after (Jacob). I met Alex during the final graduation concert, thought he was awesome to hang with and an amazing player so we kept in touch. Jacob and I randomly started chatting on socials a couple years after Berklee. We did have an art class together at some point, where we were improvising to different paintings. 

Jacob is pretty well known, especially in the metal community specifically. What made you choose his particular playing style for your latest effort, which leans more in the direction of rock, country and jazz? 

I like experimenting with the settings musicians are put in. Jacob has such an evolved and notable sound, and whatever music he is a part of, is gonna have that “Umansky” sound. Jacob’s sound helps carry the songs immensely, especially energy-wise, and the strong djent sound really adds a cool vibe to the more “Country” and “Blues” songs. Similarly, Alex has a lot of experience in Jazz, and I thought his sense of harmony would be very cool in the more “Prog” song, as well as having the capacity to maneuver the chord changes in a very creative way. 

The new EP as I mentioned earlier employs many different styles. One thing I love about your playing in particular is your incorporation of country. One minute, you’ll be shredding a super proggy, Steve Vai-esque solo, and then the next you’re on to some lightning fast chicken pickin’. Has your tenure in Nashville inspired that, or have you always been a fan of country? 

Thank you so much! Very kind. Definitely something that has been added to my vocabulary the past couple years, since moving here. I’m a bit of a wanderlust, and I try to learn and adapt the musical languages from the environments I live in. Nashville has such a prominent style that can really add a new depth to the more rock sound, and I am having a blast exploring my own sound with the current surroundings. 

The EP is entirely instrumental. Do you think you’ll incorporate some singing the next time around? 

Probably not “singing” with lyrics and everything, but the human voice is definitely something I can see added for pads or melodies in the future. 

In addition to being a very accomplished guitarist, I also learned that you do play bass casually and for demos. Do you think you have a more of a guitarist’s approach to bass since that’s your main instrument, or can you completely switch gears and attack it more like a bass player when you play? 

I do, however I am definitely a guitar player playing the bass. The lines are often very minimalistic covering the tonality in the low-end, or is based off of the guitar riffs and hooks. I think the modal heavy guitar approach targets other “colors” than a more traditional bass mindset would, and through the demos I think I can often contribute or sparks ideas that would not be there otherwise, to whoever does the final recording performance. 

Which bass(es) do you normally jam on when you do decide to pick one up? 

I have a Black Fender Jazz Bass from the early 90s, loaded with J-Style JBE Pickups (Joe Barden). 

Can we expect to see you on tour following the EP release, and will you be bringing Alex and/or Jacob with you? 

I wish! I am booked with sessions and sideman gigs until late December, however after that, I would love to! Hoping to release more music, gathering enough traction to maybe split the bill with someone else very soon.

Visit online: INSTAGRAM | YOUTUBE | KEVENEKNES.COM

Photo, Cat Collins

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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