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BASS EXPO 2014: For those of you who always keep one eye on the bass player in any band, this round-up is for you. Taking in funk, pop, indie, hard rock, metal, and southern-infused sounds, we've rounded up some of our favourite brand new and new(ish) bands who will be releasing new music, and playing the UK this spring and summer.
Through a series of quick fire interviews, we get them to talk about their gear, musical heroes, and writing bass lines. From the Prince funk pop stylings of Bad Rabbits to the Led Zeppelin inspired riffs of J Roddy Walston & The Business, if you love low-end you'll be sure to find something inspirational here. First up is Logan Davis...
With comparisons drawn to Kings of Leon and Mother Love Bone, you know you're in for one heck of a free spirited rock 'n' roll ride with J Roddy Walston & The Business. Featuring a piano-pounding, intensely energetic singer backed by a super tight trio, this Tennessee band recently charted at number 14 in the States with their gloriously rowdy and ramshackle single Heavy Bells (listen out for a killer Led Zeppelin meets Black Sabbath riff at 2:38).
Better known in the US than UK, bassist Logan Davis is hoping their new album, Essential Tremors, will change that. A man who loves John Paul Jones, it comes across in his playing: tight, heavy, and full of attitude.
How would you describe your bass playing style and sound?
“I like to think that a version of my younger self - a pimply faced teenager squealing second gear on his way out of symphony rehearsal with Notorious BIG's Ready to Die making a statement out of my car speakers - comes through in my bass playing. Or maybe just a dude who plays with a pick and tries to rip off John Paul Jones as much as possible.”
How do you get your sound, and what gear do you use?
“Heavy pick and a slight mute with the right hand. Otherwise, pick up a fender bass and put it through something with a 15 inch speaker. I bring out the 8x10(s) for the huge live shows but anywhere else I love those low mids the 15s give you.”
J Roddy Walston & The Business' debut album is being released in March. From a bass point of view, which tracks should we make a bee-line for?
“For most of the album I tried not to be flashy, and instead support the other players in the band. I definitely stretch my legs a bit on Nobody Knows, and I would say pay attention to Take It As It Comes, and Sweat Shock, as I throw in a few licks you might not notice at first.”
What were the recording sessions like?
“Sweaty, off balance, and all in the same room. I learned a load tracking the bass on this record - our producer showed me a different picking style that recorded better; I played a different scale bass than I normally did; and we were working with no headphones in a small room in humid south Georgia. [It's either] step up to the plate or expect to be surrounded by a circle of glistening, heavily furrowed foreheads.”
Who were your musical heroes when you were first starting out, and why were there so inspiring to you?
“When I first started playing music it was on the violin, in which case I worshipped Mozart and Paganini. Starting out on bass, I'd say it was our guitar player Billy Gordon, who wrote all of the bass parts on our self-titled album that I learned when I joined the band for that CD release tour. Otherwise it was a crash course in rock bass - Paul McCartney and John Paul Jones.”
J Roddy Walston & The Business' new album, Essential Tremors, is out now on ATO Records. The band play their first ever UK shows this week, with London on Feb 25 and Manchester on Feb 26.