Breaking free from all the “rules”
By Jon Liebman
Week of April 29, 2019
As musicians, bass players especially, we’re admonished, repeatedly, to do just what we’re called upon to do: Lay down the groove. Don’t overplay. Keep it simple. Just give the music what it needs. Serve the song. If you play too much, we’re told, you’ll get fired. When you’re in the studio, especially if you’re playing on someone else’s project, you need to play what’s expected of you, remembering why you got called in the first place.
On the other hand, there is a place, apparently, for breaking free of all the so-called “restrictions” placed upon us, finding a way to express ourselves on our own terms.
But be careful.
Case in point, our interview with Dirty Loops bassist Henrik Linder, published this week, addresses that very sentiment. Trying to classify Dirty Loops into a nice, neat style or musical genre can be all but impossible, given their penchant for injecting elements of jazz, funk, rock, pop, fusion… whatever, into their songs. What’s more, in addition to their own compositions, they’re known for doing covers of songs of everyone from Justin Bieber to Adele, but very much on their own terms.
“We were session musicians,” says Henrik, “and we started the trio so that we could do everything that people told us not to do in sessions… all of those things that would get you fired from a normal job.” Not exactly the same mindset as Abraham Laboriel, Leland Sklar, Neil Stubenhaus or any of the other studio moguls have when entering the studio, no doubt. But those guys don’t have the same mission in mind when they walk in the door.
It’s important to understand your role as a musician, a bass player, and to provide what’s needed in each particular setting. If you’ve just gotta break the rules in order to feel liberated and express yourself, there may be an avenue for you, as there is with Dirty Loops. Just be sure you don’t forget where you are and the goal you’re setting out to accomplish.
Have a thought on the subject? Leave a comment below. I’d like to know what you think. In the meantime, check out my interview with Henrik here.