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Interview With Multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Emilio

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Interview With Nicholas Emilio…

We sat down with LA-based singer, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Emilio about his new single “Kitchenware and Candybars” which debuted on what would have been the late Scott Weiland’s birthday (October 27th). Emilio’s reinterpretation of the classic Stone Temple Pilots tune pays homage to the singer and band that helped shape him as an artist, while also displaying his impressive musicality and production abilities. Read on as Emilio discusses how he painstakingly recreated Robert DeLeo’s bass tone and why this STP song choice seemed best as far as paying tribute to one of the most celebrated vocalists in rock and roll.  

Interview With Multi-instrumentalist Nicholas Emilio

How did you and your producer divvy up instrumental duties for your new single? Who played what?

Hm. I don’t think we really divided it up in a strategic way. Tom Chandler, my producer, is a great multi-instrumentalist, and he did a lot of cool stuff on this record. He made it easy for me to lay on the parts that I cared most about, the vocals, keyboards, and guitar solo.

How did you capture the Robert DeLeo bass tone in your cover?

Personally, I’m still heavily obsessed with analog amplifiers, preamps, compressors, etc., The bass itself was run through an API preamp and a Distressor, which sets you up for success, right out of the box. I’d say API is one of the best preamps for bass, especially if you want fat, gritty tone. Then, finding the bass amplifier sound itself was actually done “in the box”, for better or worse! Like I said, I love the analog stuff, but modern recording and instrument software is getting really, really good… surprisingly good… kind of scary good. Finding this particular amp sound was done through a lot of testing and sifting through myriad options. Also, beyond that, it also comes down to the mix, of course – how you use EQ and compression in post-production to season it properly, so it sits well within the song. Tom was the mixer, so again, credit to him on that, but we went over a ton of tonal options to land on the chain and settings.

When you’re producing your own material, is it common for you to play all the instruments on the recording?

Yes. Haha. I was always a Billy Corgan fan, and he was notorious for recording all the parts himself, or even re-recording the parts that his bandmates played. I learned this as a wee lad… maybe consciously or subconsciously this affected me as I was growing up and learning how to play and make records. Even when I was in bands, I would re-track things if it wasn’t up to snuff, but I tried to do it with care and sensitivity. It’s not always easy. Playing everything myself certainly has pros and cons… the main benefit is being able to do it consistently and have things mesh well. For example, if you’re tracking a bunch of rhythm guitars, and you want them to be really tight, it’s better if the same person does them. James Hetfield from Metallica would double all of the heavy rhythm guitars, and as you probably know, that stuff was uber tight. The downside of playing everything, of course, is you could potentially lose some nice, subtle, analog variations, or lose diverse perspectives or additions. I’ve done some stuff with multiple players contributing, and it’s also great, sometimes beautiful, but I guess for the Icarus Landing stuff or my solo stuff, I’ve done a lot of it myself. Partially out of necessity. The one area where I often did not play was drums. I’m okay as a drummer, I can hold my own, and I played in a couple pop/rock groups back in the day, but I’d rather have a seasoned pro play the drums. An exception to that would be electronic tracks/drums. 

Would you call yourself a bassist or do you just kind of know enough about the instrument to add some low end to a song?

I’ve played bass in a few bands, with quite wide range, actually – I’ve played in everything from old school hardcore punk bands, to metal bands, to Christian churn bands! And I enjoyed all of those experiences, in their own way, but I don’t know if I’d call myself a bonafide bassist, simply because my first/primary instrument was/is guitar. But I can throw down on a bass if needed. And knowing how bass works, and how it should fit into a composition, and into a mix, is super critical to writing and producing better songs. It helps you get better at everything else, including guitar, drums, piano, mixing, you name it. 

What are your plans for playing this song and the crop of new songs that you’re putting out in a live setting? Do you have a bassist in mind or are you accepting applications?

Ah, yes… I’m in the process of putting together a killer new live band! And I do have a bassist in mind… Mr. Gregg Cash! He played on a few of my earlier songs, brought a ton of love and flavor, and is also a great engineer and producer in his own right.

How did you approach the bass in ”Kitchenware and Candybars”? Were you looking to completely emulate Robert’s playing, or did you want to put your own stamp on it?

I think we took inspiration from Robert in that we wanted to ensure that the bass was right for the song, and for this treatment. That is what’s most important. And we also wanted to keep it kind of simple to let the vocal stand out and shine. This is a pretty raw, emotional song, and it’s all about the words and the vibe of the vocal. So I think that was the guiding light. 

Is Robert among your bass heroes? You said STP was a favorite of yours growing up.

I remember hearing STP as a very young kid, and being immediately drawn to the rawness, the visceral power, the unique sonic landscapes that they created, often with just the 4 of them and the core instruments. I also remember Robert’s bass playing standing out, more so than some of the other bands of that time. He’s super creative, plays in the pocket, but still stretches the boundaries. I also always loved his stage stance and presence. Long story short, yeah, he was a big inspiration as a bass player and as a band member. He’s got some heavy mojo and amplified those songs in special ways.

What made you choose this song to pay tribute to Scott Weiland and STP over some of their others?

It was meant to be a raw, pure, emotional tribute. The inherent starkness and nakedness of the original Kitchenware, and the heavy emotions in the lyrics and presentation made it ripe for an honest, raw homage. I didn’t want to pick one of the big mainstream hits. That would almost be too obvious, and I don’t think it would’ve carried the emotional weight and feeling that Kitchenware can and does. The song is about loss. We lost Scott Weiland way too early, and he influenced so many musicians and fans, so in the end, this is a lament. 

Be sure to check out the official video, directed by Wesley Alley and co-produced by Emilio.

For more about Nicholas Emilio, visit the following:

linktr.ee/nicholasemilio
instagram.com/nicholasemilio
facebook.com/NicholasEmilioOfficial/
facebook.com/icaruslanding

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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