Meet bassist Eliot Roby. Eliot is a young bassist hailing from Canada, but he seems wise beyond his years. When asked why he chose to play bass, his answer was priceless. In short, he said he wanted something that gave him “a sense of individuality”, and he didn’t want to be like “those guys” (guitarists). More on this below, along with the rest of his story.
Eliot is No Treble’s reader in the spotlight for the week of September 29, 2014.
I grew up listening to desert blues (Tinariwen, Bombino) and Talking Heads. My dad had this beautiful Aria Pro II lying around that he bought (used) in England. I remember picking it up one day, probably inspired by seeing School of Rock and just playing the open and third fret and thinking it was so cool.
Later I picked up my sister’s guitar/amp, “stole” my dad’s looping pedal and started creating loops and posting them on Youtube.
I also played upright in my high school’s orchestra.
One day, a friend brought me to a show in someone’s basement and from that moment on I knew I wanted music to be a bit more than a hobby.
There’s a video of Jaco playing “A Portrait of Tracy” in Montreux that was the first bass-focused music I really loved.
I’m currently in a transition period, having just finished high school and moving on to a more relevant education. I’m going to try and start a really weird band in Montreal. It doesn’t matter so much what instrument I play, just as long as I enjoy playing with and being around people I’m doing it with.
Toronto / Montreal / Canada
I just finished high school and begin studying electroacoustic engineering in September.
Five or so years.
Bands & Gigs:
During high school I was in a couple of funk/blues bands with some really great musicians my age, but nobody could ever agree on anything in the writing aspect, so it didn’t work out. I was in a band until very recently with my best friends called Skwid that was very low, and very sludgy. Antons, the guitarist, tuned down an octave and wrote songs that we all agreed on. I tuned my bass to CDAD, so it was that kind of music.
- Aria pro II Cardinal bass
- Fender Blacktop P (tuned down with flatwounds)
- Peavey Delta Blues
- Fender Bassman 100
- 86 MIJ Telecaster Thinline guitar
Why I play the bass:
I was in middle school and was looking for something to give myself a sense of individuality, so I decided to learn an instrument. All the guitar players I knew at the time acted like they were the king of the world, but we were all 13 or 14 years old, so nobody really had any idea about anything. I didn’t want to be like those guys, so my dad taught me the bass line to “I will Possess your Heart” by Death Cab for Cutie, and I stuck with it.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
I guess being able to switch off with any member of the band was really cool. I play a bit of drums as well.
Hella, Guerilla Toss, Mum, Black Moth Super Rainbow, Don Caballero, Tera Melos, Sonic Youth, Ilkae, Foals (pre antidotes album), Converge, Zach Hill and Mount Kimbie are some of my favourites. Pretty much any music with sweet chords and space.