New School: Steve Metcalf

Steve MetcalfWe’ve featured double bassist Steve Metcalf plenty of times for his incredible arrangements of popular songs including the Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Can’t Stop”, Coldplay’s “Clocks” and Radiohead’s “Reckoner.” Every time he makes a new video, he tops the last one and blows our minds again.

A graduate of Indiana University, Metcalf lists his goal in making music to “open minds of those underexposed to classical music” through use of his YouTube channel, which has over 1.9 million video views so far.

We reached out to find more out about Metcalf and his style.

What makes you new school?

I arrange pop-songs for a traditionally classical instrument and film them in visually stimulating ways; I guess by definition this is new school since very few classically trained musicians brandish their training in this fashion.

How did you discover your new school style?

When I was a junior at Indiana University in 2010, I arranged MGMT’s song “Kids” for bass quartet. I recorded it alone and decided to add a visually stimulating element to accompany the music. I put it on YouTube and received some positive feedback, so I kept at it.

Share some of your videos with us.

What kind of gear do you use?

I play on a bass made by Christopher Threlkeld who is based out of Iowa City, Iowa and my bow was made by Reid Hudson. I have used D’Addario Kaplan strings in the past, but I currently use Thomastik Bel Cantos.

To record and film my videos I use the following: Logic Pro 9, Adobe Premiere Pro CS6, Zoom H4, Canon T3i with a Canon 50mm 1.8, Sigma 30mm, and the Canon 17-55mm 3.5 – 5.6.

What kind of gigs do you get with your new school style?

I have not ever publicly performed any of my arrangements… yet. Once I figure out how, I will.

Any traditional playing gigs?

I’m pursuing a career to play full time in an orchestra, so I play a lot of traditional orchestra concerts and small outreach concerts through the Colburn Conservatory in Los Angeles where I am enrolled in their graduate school program. I also love chamber music when I can be involved.

Do you have albums where we can hear your new school style?

Yes! A couple months ago, I put out an collection of songs – I guess it’s an EP – called Broken Stones and Collarbones, which you can listen to on Bandcamp.

Where can we find you on the web?

You can find out way too much about me at, as well as Twitter, Facebook, Reddit and Bandcamp. The Internet is a strange and big place, you guys.

What’s next for you?

I would really love to win a job with an orchestra in the next few years. That would be rad!

What else do you want to share?

To everyone that watches and supports me, THANK YOU. To all the young players: never forget why you play. What we do as musicians is a very special and unique privilege many will never know. Don’t forget that and remember to HAVE A BLAST!

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