Andrea Goldsworthy: “Never assume it’s fine. It’s not like, ‘I only do arenas now, I don’t need to prepare’ - I do. Everybody does”

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(Image: © Ed Fielding)

Last time we interviewed Andrea Goldsworthy was in 2008, when she told us that she’d recently started playing with Paloma Faith, a singer who was hosting her own DIY shows in London and struggling to make music pay. 

Paloma was always really cool; to make sure the band got paid, she would sometimes forfeit her own fee

Within a year, Faith’s debut album Do You Want The Truth Or Something Beautiful? had skyrocketed the singer and her band to international stardom. Now, after another three highly successful albums and countless international shows, Goldsworthy is loving her job more than ever. So much so, in fact, that it doesn’t even feel like work - it’s family.

Faith released her fourth studio album The Architect in November last year, which debuted at number one on the UK album charts. Since then, Goldsworthy has been extremely busy playing shows all over the globe; fortunately for us, she took time out of her schedule for a quick natter with us. Let’s find out why her Fender Precision is the only bass she’ll ever need, why slap has got a bad name, and why it’s so important to give yourself time before a gig… Well, that was a quick 10 years, Andrea.

“That’s right! My first gig with Paloma was on May 31, 2008, so it’s literally been a decade, which is amazing. In that first year, she hadn’t been signed and was just putting gigs on for herself. Paloma was always really cool; to make sure the band got paid, she would sometimes forfeit her own fee. She used to go to a fancy dress store to get balloons to decorate the stage, because she would rather pay for that than getting paid herself. She’s my friend as much as anything else; the whole band is super close.”

You were in Ladytron before that, correct?

“Yes, I toured with them for three years and did hundreds of gigs. One day I’m going to sit down and count them. We did three tours of the States, playing the obvious places as well as going way off the ballpark. And I don’t know how many gigs I’ve done with Paloma, it must be thousands by now. We did an arena tour for the last album and now we’re starting another for the new one. I think the band’s the best it’s been, and everybody is at the top of their game. I completely respect every single person in the band as a musician.”

Precision gear

Tell us about your gear.

“I’ve got a Fender Precision from 1974. It’s been my bass for 11 years. I’m really simple. Some people need loads of basses, but for me, I’ve got that and a spare bass just in case. I had the spare made for me, it’s a Fender P body with a Jazz neck. I thought I should really try something else, but nothing else comes even close to my P-Bass. I’ve tried other Precisions too. The first time I tried it out I thought, ‘This is it, this is perfect’. I just can’t find anything else that I like as much.”

For me, [with slap] it’s like, where has the bass gone?

How about amps?

“I use an Orange AD 200 head and an 8x10 cab. I love that really pure bass tone, it’s so warm. On this tour, I can’t have a massive 8x10 onstage because they couldn’t fit it on the set, so I’m using a Sansamp VT, which I love; it sounds fantastic. Then I’ve got an MXR Bass Fuzz Deluxe pedal, which I use on a couple of songs. It took me a while to find a decent fuzz pedal and I really like that one. But that’s it, apart from my tuner. I’ve got the world’s smallest pedalboard.”

Who are your favourite players?

“Bernard Edwards, George Porter Jr, Paul Jackson, Herbie Hancock, William Allen, Roy Ayers - that’s the music I was listening to when I was starting to get good.”

Do you slap?

“Only when I’m at home, practising. For me, it’s like, where has the bass gone? There are some amazing people who do it, though. It’s funny how it divides opinion. I reckon people who hate it can’t do it, haha! I think slapping has a place but I think it’s been abused and has been done terribly, that’s why it has a bad name. I’ll pop the D and G occasionally, though. I won’t slap, but I’ll pop!”

(Image: © Andrew Benge / Getty)

Tour tips

You’ve got tour dates lined up for the rest of the year.

“Yes. Someone asked me if I was looking forward to the tour, and I was like, ‘I’m crapping myself!’, but it’s still a massive buzz, so you just try to focus on that and have a good show.”

Do you still get the fear before shows, then?

I think it’s really important to get in the zone before a show. You really have to allow yourself time before you go on

“Yes, sometimes. There was a TV performance for the Brits recently, where I was standing on this tall podium, which was rocking. You know nothing’s going to go wrong, but you still think, ‘Oh my God’… The backing vocalists were in high heels and they all came off saying they’d been worried about falling off. Paloma is the expert, though. With the stage set we’ve got at the minute, she’ll be running up and down stairs in heels; she’s the master, she’s got proper skills.”

What do you do to prepare yourself for a gig?

“I think it’s really important to get in the zone before a show. You really have to allow yourself enough time so that before you go on, you can just be chilled out. My main thing is never to get complacent and never assume it’s fine. It’s not like, ‘I only do arenas now, I don’t need to prepare’ - I do. Everybody does. I don’t pretend otherwise!”

For more information, head to Andrea Goldsworthy's website.

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