Canadian Musician - March-April 2022 - Page 57

usually want two or three very different takes . They want one that ’ s very pocket , one take where you ’ re still [ in the ] pocket but you ’ re stepping out and doing a bit of things , then one take where you ’ re just pulling out all the tricks . Then they have those three takes to work with and just chop it up however they want . That ’ s basically what I did . I just made sure everything was tasteful for everything that he ’ s asking for , and then after that , just let the producer do what he does and he decides which parts he wants to use .
CM : Do you feel you have a distinctive tone ? If so , how do you get it ?
Siala : I believe I do , and I ’ ve been told that a lot . But how do I get it ? Honestly , it has to do with the bass I use . I use a Sire Marcus Miller M2 and that bass ; honestly , I ’ ve taken the time to analyze that bass and other basses , and that bass itself has its unique tone . It ’ s very bright , bottom-heavy , and just very powerful . I mix that with a Gallien-Krueger amp and that ’ s my setup .
Honestly , it ’ s just understanding what sounds good , what doesn ’ t , and also what makes an engineer ’ s job easier . The amount of times I ’ ve done records for people and I ’ ve spoken to the engineers and they ’ ve told me how I make their job so easy when it came to mixing the bass because the tone was clean . For sure , fresh strings plays a part in it and brings out the best sound of the bass . But yeah , if I ’ m talking about EQing on my bass , I leave everything flat , depending on the type of genre I ’ m playing . Some genre will call for more or less bass , or for me to use the front pickups or the back pickups . So , it really just depends what it calls for .
CM : Is there anything related to bass or music overall that you ’ ve been working on during the pandemic ?
Siala : I ’ ve definitely been working on keybass , because I realized a lot of these gigs lately require the bass player to know how to play keybass and emulate the tones on the record .
So , a perfect example : I just recently started playing for Charlotte Day Wilson . I did my first two shows with her back in September and we ’ re actually going on tour in March in the States . With that gig , the MD told me it ’ s required that I play keybass . He gave me the specific songs from the record that he wants me to match the tones for . Before , because a lot of the gigs I was doing didn ’ t really call for keybass , I wasn ’ t usually practicing it . But then I told myself that it ’ s the perfect time to practice because it ’ s better to be prepared than not be prepared whenever that opportunity comes . So luckily , because I ’ d been practicing during a pandemic , when it came time for that gig , I was prepared . I was able to play comfortably without transposing . So , when I got the playing down , it was just a matter of me getting used to the board and understanding what each part of the keyboard does so I can be faster with matching tones .
CM : Is there any key advice you ’ ve received at any point that really sticks out to you and has influenced your development as a musician ?
Siala : Most definitely : One of them I already stated , which is be a student . Number two actually goes beyond your playing , which is be a nice person . There ’ s a lot of amazing musicians that have gotten kicked off a gig because they had a bad personality . I ’ ve been told that people will choose the person that ’ s nice and who ’ s an okay player over the person who plays amazing but who is mean . A lot of people don ’ t look at your playing anymore , they look at if you have good energy and , “ Can I be around you ? Can I invite you out when the whole crew is going out ?” and stuff like that because you ’ re on a tour bus with people for countless amount of days .
Also , for sure , keep on practicing your craft . One thing I had to realize myself is don ’ t get comfortable . Once you get comfortable , you kind of hit a plateau . So , just always push yourself to learn things that you ’ re not used to and listen to music you ’ re not used to , so you can get over that hump and just get even better .
CM : You mentioned the Sire bass and Gallien-Krueger amp , but anything else in your rig you want to add ?
Siala : Yes , actually , there ’ s another thing I forgot to mention . For the Charlotte gig , I had to start using effects pedals . This was my first gig ever using an effects pedal . So , that was something new to me . I ’ m still getting used to it right now . I use a Boss GT-1 [ effect processor ] pedal . I eventually want to build an actual pedalboard with different pedals , because I realized with that it ’ s a lot easier to tweak things compared to just one big board .
CM : Do you enjoy it ?
Siala : I do ! It ’ s fun because , especially with the different sounds , it just brings a different creativity out of me . I started creating things , like grooves or even lines that I ’ ve never thought of before because of the specific sound . It just triggered something in my brain to create something new .
Michael Raine is the Editor-in-Chief of Canadian Musician .