Meet Miguel Trapezaris, a bassist who lives quite the diverse musical life. Miguel is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Check out his story and you’ll see what I mean…
I’ve been a heavy metal fan since I was about 11. I’m not quite sure how that happened, but I always liked loud music. I started listening to Iron Maiden, Metallica, Iced Earth, Black Sabbath, Stratovarius – all that sort of stuff. Stratovarius were the band that then got me interested in classical music, and I started listening to all the really intense Romantic era stuff. After I started playing bass, I figured I might as well give a shot at doing music professionally. I did a degree in Music at the University of Surrey in the UK, focusing mostly on orchestration and musicology, and I also learned to play double bass at university, which was an incredible opportunity. I then followed that up with a Masters in Music at Kingston University, London.
I got involved with a lot of different projects, most of them of the rock/metal variety, but also a few more experimental things, like drone, fusion and classical/punk (which was about as weird as it sounds).
Currently in Nicosia, Cyprus
I’m a solicitor by profession. I went to law school after my Masters degree when I realized that being a rock star doesn’t pay quite as well as one would hope. While I enjoy my job and its challenges, having a musical outlet is vital for me. It keeps everything in perspective and allows me to really feel like myself. If I couldn’t play music, I’d probably go mad. It’s more than a hobby for me – it’s a way of life. I am living proof that you can have a “respectable” day job but still be an active musician. It depends how much you love it.
18 years now
Bands & Gigs:
I play in 4 bands currently – Winter’s Verge (power/epic/melodic metal), Infected Syren (punk thrash), Neon Knights (classic rock) and Kuzka’s Mother (another punk band because why not!) I also took part in a load of different projects, done a lot of session work for various local artists, and occasionally perform solo.
- Warwick Thumb 6 Bolt on with SD Basslines
- Music Man Stingray 4
- Peavey Grind 6 (customised with Aguilar preamp and SD pickups)
- Beat up Slammer 4-string P-bass copy (my first bass, with SD Steve Harris Custom pickup)
- Hora Elite double bass with Shadow pickup (GREAT fun to plug effects into)
- Gallien Krueger 700RB
- Gallien Krueger NEO 410
And an ever-evolving collection of compressor, distortion, chorus, EQ and synth pedals. My favourite ones though:
- EBS Billy Sheehan distortion
- Boss SYB-5 synth
- Electro Harmonix Big Muff (a really old black Russian model that I got for about 10 pounds).
I also take my SansAmp BDDI to every gig with me because you never know…
Why I play the bass:
I was lent a tape of Seventh Son of a Seventh Son by Iron Maiden by a friend. All of a sudden I was like, “what the hell is that?!”, until I realised I was listening to Steve Harris holding down the low end for Moonchild. I got an old classical guitar we had lying around the house, tuned the strings an octave lower, and started trying to play along. I then started playing along to Black Sabbath albums. Eventually I got fed up of doing that and got my first bass.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
With Winter’s Verge we’ve released four albums on a variety of European metal labels like Massacre Records, LMP and Limelight, and are currently working on a few EPs. In 2010 we went on a European tour with Stratovarius, which was an incredible experience. We played before huge crowds, who loved our music and we made a lot of fans. We’ve played quite extensively around Europe, and are currently preparing for a number of festivals and another European tour. I’ve also started working on a series of instructional videos, mostly talking about gear, a few technique pointers, and playing through various WInter’s Verge songs for any prospective bass players to work through.
At university, I was part of the orchestra and took part in some amazing performances at some of the most incredible venues in London, like the Royal Festival Hall, Royal Albert Hall, LSO St Lukes, and the Barbican to name a few. I had the opportunity to perform with some of the best young soloists in the UK. We even performed for the score of an independent film, which was also really cool.
Steve Harris is the big one – he’s the reason I picked up the bass. John Myung (for his innovative approach), Billy Sheehan (especially for his sound and speed), Jari Kainulainen, Lauri Porra (it was an incredible experience to tour with him and I learned a lot) Cliff Burton, Geezer Butler, John Paul Jones, Geddy Lee… a combination of all of those rolled together. As far as electric bass is concerned I’ve very much got rock/metal DNA through and through.
I also take a lot from the classical composers in terms of songwriting and approach – Liszt, Wagner, J.S. Bach, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky are the ones I feel the most attached to, and of course Dragonetti.
As for double bass, Renaud Garcia Fons is probably my favourite one out there at the moment – his work is astonishing. Francois Rabbath is a living legend that we all owe a lot to and someone I deeply admire.