|To view the video (40 minutes) of the interview with Steve Kilbey of The Church, please view it in the Subscribers Section.|
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. Itâ€™s a good position to be in, a singing-bassist, because you are at the very top end and youâ€™re right at the bottom as well. So itâ€™s as if youâ€™re working on the roof and youâ€™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.
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.
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!
Check out the Video!
Steve was kind enough to share about an hour of his time and about an acre of his patience, as our conversation narrowly avoided being thwarted by connection-difficulties on several occasions. The fascinating conversation covered topics from bass-guitar types to Yoga as fitness training for musicians. If you are a Singer-Songwriter considering picking up the bass as your instrument of mass-creation, or are a big fan of The Church, then you are advised to subscribe to singingbassist.com, and proceed to the subscribers-section to watch the full interview with Steve Kilbey.
Here are some concert videos of the church from this year and from twenty years ago:
The Church have a enjoyed a successful career spanning more than two decades and twenty long-players. Made possible in part by the band-configuration including a singing-bassist.