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Singing Bassist does a long interview with Steve Print E-mail
Tuesday, 08 September 2009

What a cool topic for an interview! talks to Steve about musicianship and having the role of bassist and singer in The Church. Their summary of the interview is below, but register at their site to see the interview itself.


Keep looking in simplicity …. I think the secret … for a bass-playing singer songwriter, is that the song is the most important thing, then the singing, and then the bass playing, and yet paradoxically, the bass playing is the foundation that holds the whole thing up. It’s a good position to be in, a singing-bassist, because you are at the very top end and you’re right at the bottom as well. So it’s as if you’re working on the roof and you’re working on the drains, and everything in between. So I think being a singing songwriting bass player is definitely a good place to get in the band, especially if you have some ideas that you kind of want to impose on some other players, I definitely think being a singing songwriter bass player is a good place to come from and quite a position of power.
-Steve Kilbey

I recently had the chance to interview Steve Kilbey, the bassist and vocalist of the Australian Rock Band The Church. Fourty-Four of his Answers about Singing, Playing Bass, band-formation, band-evolution, and a little about songwriting, all of which are included in the video. Here are some highlights:


Steve Kilbey gives the impression in this interview that he does not get caught up in the geeky trappings of large home-recording setups – he prefers Garage Band – or of large equipment – he performs without an amplifier. Instead, he focuses his energy on song-writing, or “song-construction” as he calls it. He likens his song-creation process, and his process of learning to perform his songs as a singing-bassist, to the use of aggregate creative tools such as iMovie or Garage Band, and characterizes his song-creation process as a jam, either with music from The Church or with music from himself.

Performance Schizophrenia

Steve’s description of performing as a singing-bassist is one of an uneasy co-existence between the inner bass-guitarist with the inner vocalist. The inner bassist and the inner-vocalist must be constantly restrained from communicating or meddling with one-another, because they will otherwise “ruin everything”. For Steve, learning to perform certain songs is akin to learning a new language, and it requires abandoning natural instinct and forging new neural pathways.

Marking the neck of the bass for vision-free fretboard-sliding

Reacting to a suggestion made in one of the interview questions, Steve ponders notching his bass-neck at the octave-mark to coordinate his sliding. To be followed up!

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