Meet Mischa Marcks, a bassist with a real focus on music and making music his work. Mischa has studied the world in his travels, and keeps busy playing in bands, teaching, producing, composing and more.
Mischa is this week’s No Treble reader in the spotlight. Here’s his story…
Heartbeat. Pulse. Groove. Five strings, one vibe. An ongoing, perpetually varying baseline. That defines my life and who I am. Luckily, I’ve been able to make my passion my career and not the other way round.
My philosophy can be described best with two words: STRICTLY BASS.
At the age of 15 I held a bass for the first time. 17 years later I still haven’t let go and I keep being mesmerised by this instrument. My first real inspiration was my first teacher: German bass legend Lars Lehmann. He taught me everything I needed to know to be ready to study at the prestigious ArtEZ Hogeschool voor de Kunsten Arnhem (NL). After my studies I refined my capabilities as a professional session player and teacher learning from the best. I visited workshops and masterclasses around the world where I have learnt a variety of techniques from bassist such as: Victor Wooten, John Patitucci, Marcus Miller, Bobby Vega, Chuck Rainey, Leland Sklar, Alphonso Johnson, Matthew Garrison and many more.
In 2012 I build my own recording studio, STRICTLY STUDIO. With a focus on HD audio recording, I record, mix and master everything from bands to soundtracks to spoken words.
Besides playing in various bands, teaching at a conservatory and giving private lessons, I am the owner and founder of STRICTLY STUDIO. Here, I produce, compose, engineer, mix and master my own as well as clients projects. This, ultimately, has opened my eyes to music from a different perspective and I can’t put in words how much being able to produce what I play myself has helped and still helps me with my bass playing.
Bands & Gigs:
I have done a lot of session jobs with different bands of all kinds and styles. One of my most interesting gigs was with the New York Hardcore Rap band ONYX. These guys are pure madness. Since my daughter was born in 2012 I started focusing on composing and arranging music for “bass heavy” bands. My solo project, STRICTLY BASS, being one of them. This project is all about bass and breaking with old conventions. Taking the bass out of its role as an accompanying instrument by playing melodies and harmonies. My first ‘Strictly Bass’ album is in the making so stay tuned. In 2015 I started the bass trio called the RHEINGOLD TRIO. Three bassists covering well known songs and giving them a completely new dimension by only relying on our three basses to translate the original emotion of the song.
- Maruszczyk 5-string custom build
- Mayones 5-string Comodous
- Fender 1972 Telecaster
- Rheingold B80
- Rheingold BA12
- MarkBass Little Mark Tube 800
- MarkBass STD 104 HF
- MarkBass STD 151 HF
- Line6 Echo Pro
- Boss Loop Station RC-300
- Rheingold cables
Why I play the bass:
My first two bandmates had already picked their instruments. They were in need of a bassist. It’s as simple as that! More interesting is the question why I stuck with bass. It’s the best instrument in the world! It perfectly fits my character. I’m not an in-your-face guy. I consider myself a humble and quiet person. I believe in the power of essence. You could compare it to Bauhaus. Form follows function. I like everything I do to have a meaning. Playing the bass reinforces this philosophy. A bassline doesn’t need many notes to be meaningful. All it needs is a few meaningful notes.
My bass superpower/claim to fame:
I don’t consider myself having superpowers. Maybe you could call me a super listener. I don’t interrupt someone to get my point across. I don’t like to judge until whoever is talking has finished what they are saying. The same applies to playing music. Listening carefully to what my clients want or bandmates are playing, helps me to give them the musical support they need to sound even better. That should be the ultimate goal for every accompanying instrument and producer. And it does make playing music a lot more fun and harmonious.
Victor Wooten, Matthew Garrison, Family Man, Phil Chen, Ryan Martinie, Mike Patton, Max Cavalera, Michael Jackson, Bob Marley, John Holt, D’Angelo, Björk, Rick Rubin, Bruce Swedien, Terry Date and last but not not least my kids and wife.