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INTERVIEW: Bergantino Audio Systems Welcomes Bassist Matthew Meyers

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Bergantino Audio Systems Welcomes Bassist Matthew Meyers

Bergantino Audio Systems is proud to welcome Matthew Meyers to their family of artists

Interview by Holly Bergantino

Matthew Meyers hails from Sydney, Ohio and is not only known for his massively impressive Appalachain-style beard but his funky and soulful bass playing.  Read about what drives this gentle giant and how he formed into the player he is today.

Okay Matt, right out of the gate, we need to know about that awesome outstanding beard of yours. This is a question Lee Presgrave made me ask you! 

Ah yes, the bet! So, I’m a hockey fan and I might make a side bet here or there. Seven years ago, my bearded bassist buddy (say that five times fast) and I made a bet we would shave our beards if our team missed the playoffs and well…we didn’t and I saw my baby face for the first time in a long time. And since then I have not shaved once.

What have you been up to lately?

The pandemic really threw a wrench in my plans for 2020 as I’m sure other folks as well. I dumped my fretless bass funds into a Pro Tools studio build and began learning to use that DAW. It really is nice to be able to organize your thoughts and to have an outlet for ideas. I also began Jeff Berlin’s lessons to improve my reading/writing skills and that has been an amazing experience. I have recorded bass with The Funk Factory on our EP we released this summer and I’m back in the studio Dec 5th and 6th to do another EP so we’ve been busy writing as well as doing live streams and limited outdoor events. 

Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Xenia, Ohio and then moved to Mobile, Alabama at an early age. I went to school in Mobile Alabama, Marietta Georgia, and Sidney Ohio growing up.

What makes the bass so special to you and how did you gravitate to it? 

Bass is the best part of the music I grew up with, all of the Motown and music my mother played growing up. I was exposed to some of the best bass players of our times. So, I’m sure that has to be what made me appreciate the instrument and maybe obsess a bit, too! It’s amazing to hear what folks have done with the instrument throughout the years from the introduction and reintroduction of tapping and slap bass to how bass-forward the mix bass has become in modern recordings.

How did you learn to play?

When I was still in high school, my best friend, Mitch Lawson, played guitar in a metal cover band on the weekends and their bassist departed a week before they had a show. He honestly showed me how to play 13 songs in a week and I practiced on my mom’s old acoustic with five strings until his brother lent me his bass to use. We went on to form the first original band I ever played with who are still a great band playing today! Ever since then, I have been trying to adapt to different styles and playing techniques while working on reading and music theory as I am a “self-taught” bassist.

Are there any other instruments you play?

I have been known to play bass and drums at the same time when there isn’t a drummer available and I did get my first drum lesson from Doug Johns at a clinic but I’m just going to stick with bass if it’s all the same. 

How has your playing evolved over the years and have you made changes from your start until now? 

I’d say that my playing has made some drastic progression in life, no doubt. I started off with metal, then after learning some punk covers we began to write and I have been doing mostly original music ever since. So far I have played with punk bands, metal bands, bluegrass bands, jazz bands and jam bands. I started playing a four string with three fingers to learn that gallop in the Iron Maiden songs then moved to using a pick for fast punk rock. Then I heard Les Claypool and began learning how to slap and tap which threw me down the rabbit hole of Flea, Victor, Larry, Marcus and the folks who can do it justice. Along the way I’ve learned the importance of giving the songs what they need on bass and to serve the music in whatever technique I use to approach it.

Describe your playing style, tone, strengths and areas that can be improved on the bass.

I’m a big (6’3”) fan of diversity in music so I like to play and learn as many styles as is humanly possible. I can do slap, double-thumb, fingerstyle, plectrum, tapping, and right-hand muting well. I would love to know more about soloing vocabulary and harmonics, as well as reading and writing so those are parts that I focus on the most in my daily routine.

Where do you see the instrument 5, 10 or even 20 years from now?

I see live instrumental music coming back into the fold again and that’s a great future for all bassists. I’ve recently gone with a Midi setup and that changes the game on the flexibility of the bass quite a bit and it’s a new road for me and one I look forward to exploring.

What four bass players influenced you the most?  

Growing up in the punk scene, we were lucky enough to have folks like Matt Freeman show us the ropes on rock bass and how to destroy a four string. The first time I heard “Sailing the Seas of Cheese” by Primus, I locked myself down and really began to see the instrument in a whole new light, so Les Claypool for the win and the reason I play 6 string basses. I’m not exactly sure how it happened and I believe that all bass players have him in their blood the first time a broken string cuts you, but Jaco has been a huge influence but more as an idol than a direct influence. “Soul Intro” is just huge and his version of “Donna Lee” is mind altering. Lastly.was Mr. BakithiKumalo. I’d give credit to my folks for listening to Paul Simon a lot and giving me the opportunity to hear, once again, what potential the instrument has. His style of speaking with a fretless bass is mesmerizing. I’ve never been a fretless player myself but he definitely makes you want to be one.

Let us know what you are currently working on.

I have a recording studio now so I’ve been hard at work learning how to use Pro Tools. I have also gone Midi with my effects pedals and that has quite the learning curve, but I love the ease of operation now. The Funk Factory has an EP out and we are headed to the studio to record our next album. 

Howd you find Bergantino, and can you share your thoughts on our bass gear?

Ah, Bergantino…the worst kept secret of NAMM. I first got to hear the B|Amp at the winter NAMM show and was glued to the floor listening to the flexibility and tone that it put out. That was my first time hearing where I wanted to be, sonically. So, now I have a forté HP and an HG312 cabinet. I really couldn’t be more content with my tone. I think there are two crowds in the bass world: The baked-in-sound amp folks and the transparent amp folks. I’d like to think I fall in the latter category. I have a very, very nice bass and I love to listen to it sing. I think my Bergantino forté HP really lets the instrument come through without being sterile or dry. I assume it’s magic but my EQ is pretty near neutral now and it’s HUGE sounding!

Tell us about your favorite bass or basses.

Easy Question: I have one bass, It’s pretty famous and I call her Helga. Helga is a Michael Tobias Design 635-24 made with an ash body and neck with a birdseye maple fretboard and a myrtle burl top. If you could pull the sound a bass makes out of my head, that would be it.

What else do you like to do besides playing bass?

I’m an avid gamer and one day would love to have a restaurant because I love to cook. Bass is pretty much my life for a while, honestly.

What have you had more time to work on or explore since COVID?

I’ve really had more time to focus on reading music and getting ideas out of my mind and into recorded material. It’s a lot of fun to explore ideas and hear the final outcome as you originally expected it to turn out and then have your band mates take it a step further to its fullest potential. I don’t have much time to put ideas down while out playing all the time so it really is nice. 

Is there anything else you would like to share with us?

Yes, I would like to let folks know how kind and helpful all of the folks at Bergantino have been to me and let you know you are appreciated very much by so many in the bass world. I can’t wait to see what you think of next! Thanks everyone who loves music and thanks to my sister Sue, I miss ya…

Visit Bassist Matthew Meyers online:

FB matthew.c.meyers
IG matthewcmeyers
Bandcamp thefunkfactory.bandcamp.com
FB FunkFactoryToledo
FB birdintobear
FB dragonwagonband

Bass Videos

Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

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Artist Update With Mark Egan, Cross Currents

I am sure many of you are very familiar with Mark Egan as we have been following him and his music for many years now. The last time we chatted was in 2020.

Mark teamed up with drummer Shawn Pelton and guitarist Shane Theriot to produce a new album, “Cross Currents” released on March 8th, 2024. I have been listening to this album in its entirety and it is simply superb (See my review).

Now, I am excited to hear about this project from Mark himself and share this conversation with our bass community in Bass Musician Magazine.

Photo courtesy of Mark Egan

Visit Online:

markegan.com
markegan.bandcamp.com
Apple Music
Amazon Music

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Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

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Interview With By the Thousands Bassist Adam Sullivan

Bassist Adam Sullivan…

Hailing from Minnesota since 2012, By the Thousands has produced some serious Technical Metal/Deathcore music. Following their recent EP “The Decent”s release, I have the great opportunity to chat with bassist Adam Sullivan.

Join me as we hear about Adam’s musical Journey, his Influences, how he gets his sound, and the band’s plans for the future

Photo, Laura Baker

Follow On Social

IG &FB @bythethousands
YTB @BytheThousands

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Gear News: Bergantino Welcomes Marc Brownstein to Their Family of Artists

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bassist marc browstein

Bergantino Welcomes Marc Brownstein to Their Family of Artists

Bergantino Shares: The innovative bassist/sonic explorer/DJ Marc Brownstein discusses his life of touring with Disco Biscuits, the current tour with the new album “Revolution in Motion, and more!

By Holly Bergantino

Marc Brownstein is the king of “Trance-Fusion” – a subgenre that his band Disco Biscuits has been in the center of for the past two decades. As a founding member of the band from their days at UPenn, Marc has quite the experience under his belt, and each tour has gotten more and more exciting. Disco Biscuits is currently on tour with their new album Revolution in Motion, a full multimedia experience accompanied by a 25-minute animated film that tells a story of intergalactic travelers finding their way on Earth. 

D. J. Brownie! What made you want to be a musician and start playing bass and who drew you to it? 

I was drawn to music after John Lennon was assassinated. I was raised in NYC and the city was just going crazy. I was 7 years old at the time and my thought was, wow why is everyone freaking out so much, this guy must be really special. And so I started to check the Beatles out and that was the beginning of my journey with music.  

A question from one of your fans and fellow bass players Karina Rykman: “How do you keep your bubble of positivity intact and thriving”?

Well it’s funny she should ask. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the run of positivity we are experiencing now began right at the beginning of tour at the beginning of January 2023 when we had Karina opening for us for a week. I can say that her positive energy on tour definitely left its mark on the rest of our tour. Some people are so naturally happy and positive that it leaves you feeling that way, sometimes permanently! 

Besides the bass guitar, what other instruments do you play? 

I dabble with piano, guitar, and I can make my way around a drum kit if I get into it for a few weeks. I’ve played flute and saxophone as well at different times. I also play the double bass. But I would say Piano is my second instrument at this point. I play everyday. 

What is your favorite (and least favorite) thing about touring? 

The best part of touring is the 4 hours on stage with the band. But also getting to visit so many great places all of the time. That’s the silver lining.  The only thing I don’t love about touring is missing my family. 

Tell us about your first music teacher. What lesson did you learn from this person and still use today? 

My first music teacher, Mrs. Koslov, 2nd grade, I just was at her funeral a few weeks ago. I eventually became best friends with Mrs Koslov’s son and we stayed in touch for my whole life. She taught me a lot but really she was the one who gave me the courage to perform. My first public performance ever was a piano version of Eleanor Rigby. 

What was the first bass you had? 

This is tough. I think I had a standard Ibanez jazz style bass first. Within a year or two I got an American Fender Jazz bass. 

What are the basses you have and use now? 

My main bass is an Elrick 5 string by Rob Elrick. I also have a Q5 Modulus and an Alembic 5 as well. Oteil (Burbridge) sent me a Roscoe custom 6 during the Pandemic that I like to play. I also have a Sire Marcus Miller, a newer American Fender Jazz bass, a custom Ibanez SDGR, an Ibanez BTB and an Elrick 5 string Fretless bass which is my main bass at home. 

Who were the musicians who inspired you and what qualities do you admire about them? 

I was deeply influenced by Phish when I discovered them in college. I admired their ability to mesh jazz, classical and rock Improvisational styles. I was very inspired by classic jazz musicians. Miles. Monk. Coltrane. Dexter Gordon. Cannonball Adderly. Mingus. This is the generation of musicians that laid the groundwork for what we do now. 

You studied and started the band Disco Biscuits at UPenn. Tell us more about the origins. 

The band just sort of linked up in the quad (dormitory) and we started to set up our gear and jam for fun. Within a short time I realized the guys I was playing with were really talented and so I applied to the New School for jazz and went and spent a year crash coursing music at a high level so I could return to Penn and start a band with them. 

You have a new album “Revolution in Motion,” that you’re currently touring on. How is it going? 

The tour has been amazing. It’s one of the best tours we ever had in our career. We sold out more than half of the shows and are receiving really great feedback across the country. 

I watched the video on YT for Revolution in Motion. The Choreography, production, color, cartoon characters, and theme were so much fun. Space aliens and psychedelic art, pop ups like a comic book, and you in your alien jump suit with your baseball cap were amazing. Loved! How was this collaborated?  

We have a co-writer on this project named Joey friedman. He conceived of the concept for the album and he had a very specific vision for what the visuals would look like. He spent hours and hours with the animators (Blunt Action) and the AI animator (Todd Kushnir) working through each iteration to make it come to life in the way that it was conceived. 

How would you describe the music you create for Disco Biscuits? 

We always hoped that the music we created would be the weirdest and craziest music of all time but we describe it as Trance-Fusion, which was a name that was drawn from jazz-fusion, the mixing of jazz with rock and roll instruments. We found our own sound by mixing trance music with rock and roll instruments, hence the genre title. It was renamed jamtronica many years later by the folks over at SiriusXM who started a radio show called the Jamtronica show to highlight acts from our scene. I was the host of that show for the first 3 years. 

Describe the creative process when you write new music. 

These days the creative process is a team effort. Usually we start by combing through improvisational sections of music from the tours to see if we can find any melodies or chord structures that are song worthy. When we find it we bring it into our DAW (ableton) and creating a grid. This is easy for us because we often play to a time clock on stage. From there we start building out the structures of the new piece of music while Joey and maybe me or Aron or Jon will start working on some lyrical concepts. Within an hour or two we start to record some of these initial lyrics and melodies and Jon usually starts to adapt them and tweak them to make them comfortable for him to sing. Usually within a few hours we are able to walk away with a very advanced demo of a new song. It’s been an extremely fruitful experience that has left us with albums worth of the best material we’ve had in decades. 

The lighting for your shows is amazing. Who does the lighting design work and choreography for the tours? 

Our new LD is known as Herm, but his name is Alex. We know him as Herm though. He came to us from the band Twiddle at the beginning of this year and has totally revitalized the visual elements of the stage show. He’s a really great fit and we feel grateful to have been linked up with such a massive talent. It was luck and timing and some might call it fate. 

How would your bandmates describe you? 

My bandmates would probably describe me as energetic and talkative and headstrong but also they might notice that I’ve become really good at going with the flow and backing their creative instincts. They may further describe me as anxious and nervous but may also notice that these elements have been remediated of recent. Mostly I think they would describe me as loyal and dedicated. 

How did you find Bergantino Audio systems? 

I was first introduced to it by Ed Grasmeyer who I know as Mike Gordon’s tech in Burlington. I was playing a show at Nectars and needed a backline and Ed came and set me up with the ForteHP2 and I was blown away by the tone. I then noticed Karina Rykman was using Bergantino as well and that’s when I started to think I needed to get in contact with the company. Karina was opening for the Biscuits on Boston and that’s where I had the chance to demo the forte hp2 in the context of the biscuits stage show. I haven’t looked back since that night. 

Tell us about your experience with the Forté HP2 on the tour? 

There are so many things that I can say about it but the most notable is that I’m not struggling to hear the frequencies that I want to hear on stage anymore. I used to have to boost the bass everywhere. In an EQ pedal, on the preamp on the actual bass. But every time you add a little of those low frequencies in those other places you risk degrading the tone of the signal. With the Forte HP2 there is a punch button that gives me exactly the frequency I’m looking for. 100 hz. 4 db. It’s perfect. 

Did you think Jim talked too much when you met him in Boston? 

I will never notice when someone talks too much because chances are I’m out talking them. 

What’s your process for dealing with performance anxiety? 

I used to self-medicate for this purpose but I was recently in touch with a psychiatrist who has helped me regulate my own chemical imbalances and I have found that my performance anxiety isn’t really an issue when I have the proper amount of dopamine in the system! 

Imagine that you’re at a party and it’s a little stale. What’s the “party trick” (or hidden talent) that you’d bust out to liven the place up? 

Before the app existed I was known as a real life fruit ninja. I take a big knife and people throw fruit from across the room and I chop it in half in mid-air. It’s not the safest party trick anymore because I lost vision in my right eye a few years ago and I’m not as accurate as I used to be! 

What hobbies do you have outside of music? 

I love sports. I love reading. I love word games. I love gardening. I love hiking/running/moving. My biggest hobby was snowboarding for many years but I’ve grown injury prone and stay off the mountain these days. 

What is the most trouble you ever got into? 

Well, I managed to stay out of trouble until college. But before weed was legalized I had a series of run-ins with the law and spent a night in the clink in Amherst Mass during my freshman year fraternity pledge trip. Luckily this isn’t an issue anymore for those of us who don’t drink or smoke cigarettes but prefer a little of the wacky tabacky to cool down. 

What is the message you would give to your fans? 

Well I give them so many messages all the time but the most important one that I try to remember to keep constant is a message of gratitude. Thank you so much for sticking with us through thick and thin, through ups and downs, for decades now you have allowed us to live our dreams and have the most blessed lives possible. 

How do you feel social media has impacted your music? 

Social media is a double edged sword. It has allowed us to create a strong community where everyone feels like a family but for someone like me who gets addicted to things easily, I really have to be vigilant with practice and writing and other aspects of my life not to spend the whole day scrolling and wasting the time away. 

What is your favorite song of all time? 

Right now my favorite song of all time is probably a short and beautiful little ditty by Labi Siffre called Bless the Telephone. I would suggest everyone take the 1:29 to listen to it and feel the bliss. 

What did I miss for a question that you would like to share? 

Bass players don’t really get to play solo shows, at least not my style of bass, so I’ve had to learn how to DJ in order to perform by myself at times and I would suggest coming out to see a DJ Brownie show at some point. 

Last one! Describe your perfect meal! 

I love to eat great meals. I’m partial to Asian foods but the perfect meal to me is one slice of pizza from Freddie and Peppers on 72nd and Amsterdam in NYC. PERFECTION. 

Follow Marc Brownstein:
Instagram: @marcbrownstein
X (formerly Twitter): @marc_brownstein
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcbrownstein4
www.discobiscuits.com

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Interview With Bassist Curly Hendo

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Interview Wity Bassist Curly Hendo

Bassist Curly Hendo…

Hailing from Sydney, Australia, bassist Curly Hendo has been super busy. Starting with dance from a young age, Curly took up bass shortly after and has been going strong ever since. She has collaborated with numerous acts worldwide and is an in-demand session/touring bassist and musical director.

Join me as we learn about Curly’s musical journey, how she gets her sound, and her plans for a very bright future.

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

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Artist Update With Bassist Derek Frank

Bassist Derek Frank…

Many of you will remember the last time I chatted with Derek Frank was back in 2017. The main thing that impressed me was how busy Derek was and how he juggled playing with many huge acts.

Now, I am happy to hear that Derek launched a new album last March titled “Origin Story” where he digs deep into his roots and pays homage to Pittsburg.

Join me as we get caught up after all these years and hear the details about the new album, how Derek gets his sound, and his plans for the future.

Photo, Stephen Bradley

Visit Online:

www.derekfrank.com
www.instagram.com/derekfrankbass
www.youtube.com/derekfrankbass
www.facebook.com/derekfrankbass

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