Reader Spotlight: Sophie Danielle Lord
Meet Sophie Danielle Lord, a bassist who is also known in her circles as “Lord of the Bass”. Pretty cool title.
Sophie is the No Treble reader in the spotlight for the week of September 9, 2013.
I am the Lord of the bass. That is all you really need to know. Well, that and that it is normally customary to bow down before me (I jest, though worryingly someone has obliged and knelt at my feet before). Oh, you should also probably know that I rather enjoy talking…
UK (Based all over – but originally from the Pirate county ie Devon)
I am currently a student studying Music at degree level – originally at the University of Salford, Manchester, but soon to be the London College of Music in, er, London. Other than that, I dedicate myself full time to ripping off John Paul Jones’ bass lines. I am also a music journalist (when I can fit it in) and do work as a dep bass player.
Bands & Gigs:
Since I started gigging at 16, I have been in countless bands in a wide range of genres in various corners of the UK.
My current bands are a Manchester PJ-Harvey/Nirvana-esque girl grunge group (wow, that’s a tongue twister) by the name of Mr. Heart. Tamsin, the singer, has rightly been compared to the likes of Siouxsie Sioux of Siouxsie and the Banshees and Helen, the drummer is an absolute monster on the kit. I am also in a wicked Unnamed Bluesy Band from Manchester that are very Zeppelin/QOTSA inspired.
I also do dep work back in my home town in Devon for various bands. I am moving to London come September so will be on the hunt for musicians to join and collaborate with! So if you do fancy a jam, please get in touch – I am always up for a jam with anyone!
- Fender Highway One U.S.A Jazz Bass (2003) – Red w/Black Scratch plate and lots of flecks of paint coming off it. (It is a well loved piece of gear)
- Ibanez ATK – my back-up bass.
- Coming soon! Custom made ‘Tele bass’ style P-Bass – basically a ’51 style P-bass in Seafoam Green with a Tortoise shell scratch plate – made by the amazing Josephkayeguitars in London. Check them out, Joe truly makes the best sounding basses/instruments I have ever heard.
- Hartke HA3500
- Hartke VX115
- Hartke VX410
Why I play the bass:
As much as I hate to admit it as it is hideously girly of me, one of the reasons I first took an interest in the bass was because somebody I had somewhat of a school girl-esque crush on at the time was a bass player (who says bloke bassists don’t get the chicks eh?!) I had played guitar since age 13 (I can hear people booing and hissing me already), but in reality I was always a bass player trapped in a guitar-player’s body! I always loved the power of the bass in all of the music I was listening to and its ability to get one’s guts and innards rattling. The first bass player that really got under my skin was Andy Rourke of The Smiths – his melodic, groovy playing on tracks such as ‘Barbarism begins at Home’ and ‘This Charming Man’ opened me up to the idea of the bass guitar providing a solid means of melody in itself. Since then I have always been into melodic, rhythmically interesting players – for me, it has never necessarily been about being flash – but rather being solid and melodic. (Check me out with my half rhyming skills!)
My bass superpower/claim to fame
As far as claims to fame go, I have been very, very lucky to have met some amazing people and musicians through my bass playing – two of whom are my bass heroes.
First of all, I have been fortunate enough to receive lessons from Ian Dury and The Blockheads’ bass legend Norman Watt-Roy… and I’ve given him a lesson or two as well ( ; whether he likes to admit it or not! (The best one was re-teaching him how to play Sueperman’s Big Sister… which he’ll probably kill me for telling you.. Sorry Norm!!) Norm has always been an inspiration to me and I have learnt so much from him – I am forever indebted to him for helping make me the bass player I am today! (Cheesy as sin, but true!)
Although not strictly related to my own bass playing, one of the other GREATEST bass-related moments of my life was when I got to meet another hero of mine, John Paul Jones. At a recent show in Manchester, Seasick Steve pulled me on stage and serenaded me with JPJ during his song ‘Walkin’ Man’ – it was truly the most surreal moment of my life to hear Seasick Steve say ‘play for her John’ and turn around to see JPJ looking at me, smiling and soloing on his mandolin… I also got to give him and Seasick Steve a massive cuddle at the end… some of my friends would say that they are both very lucky I released them from my clutches!
In terms of my playing, whilst I am no superhero (although I have been known to occasionally dress up as Batgirl) I suppose I would say some of my biggest strengths are my ability to learn and adapt quickly – helps out big time when you’ve got to learn a set for a dep gig at short notice! And also the fact that I am a solid player who can sit on a groove.
My main influences/inspirations are: Norman Watt-Roy (Ian Dury and The Blockheads), John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin and countless others), James Jamerson (God), Tina Weymouth (Talking Heads) Rocco Prestia, Bernard Edwards (How can one man embody so much funk?!), Jaco… the list goes on.
It needs mentioning that I am also MASSIVELY influenced/inspired by bass players I’ve known personally throughout my life and that have helped me out along the way – to name but a few these include my good friend Phil Curtis (Kiki Dee, Arthur Brown), Jimi Galvin (a local guy who was one of my first favourite players) and Mike Isaac (Another Devon-based player who is an absolute monster on the 4, 5 and 6 stringed thing(s)! Seriously, check him out).
Basically, I love any good groovy, melodic player as one should. It’s ALL about the groove and serving the song. I also, like any bass player, love good drummers – two of my favourite ones to work with being my good mate Chris Harrison in Manchester/North West England and my old friend Steve Taylor(d) in Devon.
More on the web:
- The Unspeakable Mr. Heart (latest album)
- Joseph Kaye Guitars – an amazing London-based Luthier
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