“This definitely needs Moog bass”: Watch Snarky Puppy keyboard player Justin Stanton jamming over just the vocals and drums of Dua Lipa’s Don’t Start Now, a song he’s never heard before

Dua Lipa’s Don’t Start Now is rippling with groove, particularly in the bassline, but would Snarky Puppy keyboard player Justin Stanton be able to capture any of that - or add some special sauce of his own - when he was asked to jam along to just the vocals and drums of the song, having never heard the finished version before?

This was the question posed by Pianote and, perhaps unsurprisingly, given his jazz predilections, Stanton’s version ended up sounding rather different to the original, particularly in terms of harmonic structure. The pre-chorus, in particular, is taken to another place entirely.

That said, on hearing the stripped-back version of the song for the first time, Stanton does immediately recognise that a funky low end is a no-brainer. “This definitely needs Moog bass,” he says, as he jumps on his Little Phatty to provide it.

There’s some hefty Prophet-5 and Nord Stage work here, too, particularly when Stanton is asked to solo over the entire track.

When the big reveal comes, and he’s played the full arrangement of the original, the decidedly un-snarky and actually very friendly pup and laughs as he realises that it’s rather different to what he’s come up with. “I got the bass slide!” he chuckles, celebrating one of the two versions’ similarities.

Interestingly, although it sounds like it was recorded on a bass guitar, the bassline on the original was actually created 'synthetically', too. “It’s MIDI, don’t get mad at me!” producer Ian Kirkpatrick explained in 2020. “But it’s programmed responsibly, so people can actually play it. It’s meant to sound real and it might as well be. If I could play bass like that, I would!”

“In certain ways it was sort of close,” Stanton concludes when discussing his take on the song, but “not even close, harmonically," which is possibly an understatement.

“I like the track as is but I also like what we did with it, too,” he adds, and we’d go along with that.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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