Meet Joshua Hall, a bassist who is anything but a music snob, which has served him well in his musical quest. His musical interests and knowledge are quiet broad, to say the least.
Joshua is the No Treble reader in the spotlight for the week of October 6, 2014. Be sure to check out his answer to the “why I play bass” question.
I am a bassist hailing from the north of England but living in Nottingham in the Midlands. I have a massive array of musical influences, whether directly related to bass or not. This ranges from bands like Arcane Roots (one of my biggest influences) to the 70s/80s sounds of Whitehead and McFadden.
My parents never really gave me much music to listen to when I was younger due to all their music being stolen in a burglary. Therefore I’ve always had to find my own music. I did have an older sister whoever who got me listening to The Maccabees, The Strokes and The Arctic Monkeys, as well as a few friends who got me into the likes of Gorillza and Late Of The Pier in my younger high school days, but most of my musical taste came from internet searches.
Shying away from indie music when I started getting older caused my taste to becoming increasing eclectic; math-rock of ttng and the mathcore of The Dillinger Escape Plan really started to push the boundaries of what accessible, yet complicated music could be. Guys like Zu and Mr. Bungle also got me experimenting with styles and sounds when jamming with my friends, which had a profound impact when I was younger (having a lack of handed-down music) – being almost beneficial. There’s a lack of snobbery with what I listen to, and this proves increasingly helpful when listening to, and learning, whatever I choose.
Nottingham, United Kingdom
Studying Broadcast Journalism at Nottingham Trent University.
Bands & Gigs:
Yes, I was in a couple of bands. One being wearenotdolphins (alternative, kinda mathy, modern-art rocky whatever-we-felt-like stuff) and the other being Beesley (90s emo). The first broke up due to drummers being drummers, but the latter is performing very strongly, having already released an EP (without bass titled ‘blossom’) and a two-track mini EP with bass (they saw the light) which will be dropping very soon.
- Fender Jazz Bass American Standard 2009
- SWR SM-500 Amp
- Trace Elliot 1518H Amp
- Modded Boss GE7 Pedal
- Tech 21 VT Bass Pedal
- EHX Big Muff Deluxe Pedal
- Boss TU2 Pedal
Why I play the bass:
I first picked one up because I played drums and my mum wanted me to play something quieter. I then went to a guitar shop and bought a bass. It wasn’t something I really wanted to pick up, it kinda just happened (like a lot of stuff as a kid) but since then I just got obsessed with the instrument.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
I’m very versatile. I love all music, and if I hear something with a cool bassline, or something that musically interests me, I’ll learn it. That means stripping it down and learning what it is that makes their sound appeal to me, as well as hearing what the notes are. I can slap, use fingers and play with a pic all very efficiently, and have a very good knowledge of the fretboard. Also, being able to play drums and guitar to a good standard allows me to apply my bass playing to work around the knowledge of the other instruments.
I have a huge range of influences. I grew up on Arctic Monkeys, so Andy Nicholson was my first influence (I remember playing From The Fitz To The Rubble to death). I was also a big fan of The Killers back then and learnt loads of their stuff. But it was only in the discovery of Flea that I broke from my indie bass playing ways and started to explore other ways of playing. Guys like Stuart Zender, Paul McCartney and Nathan Watts also had a profound influence on me. Other players include the likes of Adam Burton (Arcane Roots) and Dirk Lance (older Incubus) as well as bands like Fugazi, BADBADNOTGOOD, John Frusciante, Tommy Guerrero, Tame Impala, Sunny Day Real Estate (massive Nate Mendel fan), This Town Needs Guns, Placebo, Modest Mouse, Melt Yourself Down, The Jesus Lizard, Israel Houghton, I Kill Giants, The Flaming Lips… the list goes on and on.