Bassist Jamie Mills hooked us with his very first sentence in his Reader Spotlight profile. Jamie has seen a lot of styles in the 14 years he’s played bass, and he’s as humble as he is talented from everything we can see.
Jamie is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight.
I’m a 28 year old Northern Irish bass player who has spent the last 14 years attempting to find the true limitations of the electric bass guitar. To date I’ve played in metal bands, rock bands, wedding cover bands, pop bands and yet I am still looking.
Larne, Northern Ireland
Bands & Gigs:
I’m currently involved in a few projects, but the most active is Apache Gunship. We are a Thrash Metal band with a few progressive and atmospheric twists here and there. One of the main differences between us and other stereotypical thrash bands is that we don’t have a lead guitarist, and because of this, many of the progressive and atmospheric parts are very bass centered. We’ve just recorded and released a new track which you can listen to on our Bandcamp website.
Aside from that I’m involved in a melodic death metal project which is in its early stages. I also record bass lines in my home studio setup for various different artists and friends and I’m working on a solo bass project (although I’ve been working on it for a while!).
Spector Euro 5LX, ESP F-204 upgraded with EMG BQS pre-amp and active pickups, Genz Benz Shuttle 9.0 amp with Uber Bass 4×10 cab. Loads of effects but a special mention to the most important which is my Sansamp bass driver.
Why I play the bass:
As with many, I started as a guitarist in a band with a group of friends. We couldn’t really play our instruments properly but thought we could. We booked our first gig bass player-less and on the night before the gig it was decided (read: I was told) that I would play bass. I made up all the lines based on the root notes from the chords, but threw in a few (read: far too many) pentatonic (the only scale I knew) fills. After the gig, I got quite a few compliments on my playing and I though “this is alright.”
Shortly after, my dad introduced me to Black Sabbath. Once I heard the first few notes of the intro to “N.I.B.”, I was hooked. It was then that bass became my first instrument. My initial “this is alright” thought has grown into a love for the instrument and the vital role it plays. I soon got into more complex players and techniques and realized that there is so much to the bass that isn’t really utilized fully in the genre I enjoy most.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
There is room for improvement on everything; striving for absolute perfection is what drives us all to improve!
That being said, my right hand technique needs to be pretty good for the style of music I play. I play with my fingers because utilizing techniques like tapping wouldn’t really work with a pick. I’d also say that my sense of melody is quite good, something that can be heard in some of the more progressive parts of the ‘Apache Gunship’ tracks.
Geezer Butler is King, but Cliff Burton and Alex Webster also have a big influence on my playing. Stu Hamm pretty much single-handedly got me into two-handed tapping, and I love what Justin Chancellor does with effects.
Then there’s Billy Sheehan because, well, he’s Billy Sheehan.
Ryan Martinie also has an influence on me although you wouldn’t know from my playing.