Still Waters Run deep
Soon to be releasing his second solo CD, Edo Castro has already proven to all concerned that he is a master bass player and a very mature composer of both elegant and soulful tunes. As he is in the process of gearing up the “machinery” so to speak, for this second release, we wanted to know what he would be doing with this opportunity to reach even farther afield and find new appreciation for his music. A thoughtful and intelligent man and not afraid to put his musical heart on the line, he measures each thing he says to find just that “right” meaning in this insightful interview. It must be said that though he comes across as a gentle person, one can soon sense the personal power that comes from his convictions. In this competitive age, that is a much-needed attribute.
Bass Inside Magazine (BMI): The solo project you sent me that initiated our talks was released in 2003. I have also noticed that you are preparing a new release. Will this be something that comes to pass fairly soon?
Edo: As soon as the 1st CD was finished I started planning the 2nd CD. Originally it was going to be titled “Lines Of Inquiry”. But due to some changes with people I was working with the project fell through the cracks and I trashed all but one session. I found another engineer, Ray Cooper. He was really into what I was doing and encouraged me to continue and that he’d help out. He really listens to what I’m trying to do instead of trying to claim authorship and arrangements on my music. This should be completed and boxed by May 2006.
BIM: Can you tell me where you stand with this project and whether it will be a continuation of the tone and sensibilities of your first solo project or a branching off into other areas?
Edo: This next CD is my exploration in textures, revisiting old material and covering other artist’s material. It’s a bit further away from my first CD but not by much. What I was trying to do in my first CD was overshadowed by a lot by guitar stuff occupying space considered “nothing happening here, so I can put my guitar here.” My 2nd CD will be more about exploring space and letting things grow and develop. It’s a kind of minimalist approach.
BIM: Do you have a working title for the new project?
Edo: The album will be called “Phoenix”. This title represents personal changes, musical changes and a renewed sense of self. Besides it’s a beautiful name.
BIM: If so, what do you hope to convey with that title?
Edo: Transformation. After some personal conflicts with people I was working with I lost my direction and I was rattled from within. It took some time to get back on my feet. There are people who for whatever reason have this ability to cloud your vision, tell you you’re wrong and take what’s yours and try to make it theirs. (Editors Notes: Lesser minds are never short of cunning, nor are they slow in recognising things they themselves will never own or create out of their own muse.)
The ultimate goal is that when you play this CD you might experience a change in your day, if only for a moment. I remember when I first heard Pat Metheny’s tune “San Lorenzo” in a music store. I was wandering the isles looking for new music when the opening line from the song came through the store stereo, I stood there in awe. Mesmerized, I felt like time had stopped. The only thing I could hear was the music. From the moment that song came on and ended seemed like an eternity. I knew from that moment something had changed me. I think music of this nature touches (well any music that speaks to you) something in all of us. We spend much of our day bombarded by so much input that when we hear something that is outside the “typical drone” that becomes desirable if not more noticeable.
BIM: You had mentioned in one of our conversations, that some of these songs, both in the first release and with this new one in the making, were writing quite some time ago. Is that correct?
Edo: Yes. I began writing my own music because I found it hard to play other artists music. This was on many levels, technically and mentally. Back then I was a babe in the woods, wanting to do a lot but unable to execute it because of my inexperience. To this day there are some pieces of music that I dare not attempt for various reasons. Despite all that, I do continue to study the masters who came before me. Some of my best ideas come from other artists. Two pieces on the next CD, “Blue Asia” and “Phoenix”, were written over 25 years ago. Back then, I was focusing on composing and sacrificed my bass practice. I think my bass playing has caught up with my writing so I think I’ve grown in both areas. I think one of the true tests of a good composition is how well it stands the test of time. I think these two held up pretty well.
BIM: With the two projects will you then have brought yourself up to date musically, not only where you are now as a player, but also the material that you have created thus far?
Edo: I’m not sure I could emphatically say “yes”or “no”. It’s an evolving process of exploring ground you’ve never walked on and building on material you’ve bashed around for some time. I practice constantly so in that I’m always revisiting old material. With new gear, new basses, pedals, etc., I start trying new ideas. As a bassist I’m always striving to be my best in the supportive role. Not a day goes by I don’t touch my instrument. I know I can never have a perfect day but I can always reach for a quality nearing perfection. Some days are better than others. I try to keep a positive view of my playing and not be consumed by my internal voices. Where I am today may change in a few months. Not so much in sound perhaps but in attitude and my ability to execute ideas thoroughly. The recordings are definite snapshots of who I was as an artist at that time. I don’t think I’m the same person musically right now. What I’m striving for right now is the ability to go out and play a show by myself like a folk musician with just a bass in hand, a few gadgets and a melody that can be propelled over a bass part. There are a few guys out there who can really tell a story with just a bass and nothing else around them. My next CD hints at this.
BIM: While I think to ask, I do realize you have done considerable work for other folks as a studio person and as a sideman. When you take on a studio schedule, is it often the case that you do not know if you will be with the person in the live environment as well?
Edo: For every CD I’ve recorded on except maybe one, I pretty much ended up playing live with the artist if only for a few gigs.
BIM: Do you have a preference as to live versus studio work when working with and for others?
Edo: I love both. Is one more fulfilling? In the studio you get many chances to make it right. Live on stage, you have to be able to let go of any imperfections and move on very quickly. That in itself is another form of practice: Overlooking bloopers. You can’t dwell on sour notes or you’re out of the musical moment. That is much more hazardous than missing a note or playing a wrong note. You can be out of the musical moment quite easily. All you have to do is pay attention to anything else that’s not music while you’re playing and you’re no longer “in the moment.” For instance like looking at the woman in the front row, or how much money you’re making playing this gig, or did you lock the front door when you left for the gig? This kind of brain chatter during a performance is hazardous. It takes a lot of focus to just be there silent mentally and at the same time be aware of the music going by. One bad habit I have is I stop breathing. I have to remember to breath.
BIM: Does one bring you more fulfilment and joy than the other?
Edo: They are both equal to me.
BIM: Considering your own music and that the fact that you are a very melodic player, do you ever find you have to let your prospective studio clients know that you are more than capable of playing straight-forward conventional bass in its traditional support role?
Edo: – I find myself usually more in the supportive role. What I do to amuse myself is purely for me. If anyone likes what I do, then I’m glad. But what I do that is unconventional as a bassist is about my own joy. If I engaged myself with what people might think then it becomes this dysfunctional type of relationship where I’m trying to please everyone but myself. Needless to say but that’s self-defeating. Of course this is all null and void when you are asked to play in someone’s band, it’s not about you. I believe you must conform to the music or don’t bother. Don’t waste your time or the artist time. There are exceptions but rarely do I go out and start playing groovy melodic parts while the song requires me to go boom-boom-boom. Does that make sense? As a bassist my job is to serve the music. So I do what is required to make the music happen and give it the same intensity as if it were my own music. I read in a magazine about a bassist who got a gig playing with Sting. The bassist was told that he had to exclusively play Sting’s P-bass, no exceptions. For me, I can’t stand playing basses that aren’t set up for my playing style. But If Sting asked me to play his bass I’d have to honour that. It’s his show and what the hell do I know? I guess that’s why Sting isn’t calling me. (Laughs) Personally this goes against my feeling that if we’re asked to play in someone’s band it’s because they love the way we play and the sound we have. I know there’s a caveat, if your livelihood is playing as a sideman, well then you have to suck it in and take whatever it is they demand of you. It’s a catch 22. How do you stay true to who and what you are when you’re asked to play and sound like someone else? I could never in a million years sound like Jaco, Marcus or Stanley nor would I want to. That is what they do and who they are. I am for the very same reasons.
BIM: Back to your own new project that is in the making, did you chose on this second album to use any or none of the same players as were used in the first album?
Edo: I’m using all new players except for drummer Paul Van Wageningen. I love his playing and have a good working musical relationship. Why mess with a good thing? This CD is about creating a mood from start to finish. I wanted it to have texture outside the usual”bass” albums. It’s not about bass really but what I do as an artist and composer. The bass just happens to be my voice. I was very fortunate to get one of my biggest bass heroes Mark Egan to play on Blue Asia. Mark was one of the very first guys who I emulated. He has a great sound and a very melodic approach. I finally got to meet him in person when I was at the NAMM show 2006. On Blue Asia it’s just 2 basses and drums. I begged him to play 8 string fretless bass for the melody and solo. He agreed. It sounds great. Mark and I exchange many emails. I sent him several cuts and once he chose the tune he wanted to play on, he told me his scale wage and I said great and sent him a check. I used a local Pedal Steel player named Rob Powell for a couple of ambient pieces I wrote. He has that sound that I love. It’s very atmospheric. He’s fantastic. I wrote a piece that was calling for Tabla. So after many phone calls I got this artist named Debapriya Sarkar to play. He did a fantastic job. He blew us away in the studio. I got Tommy Kesecker to play vibraphones. He’s a local musician in the Bay Area. I love the vibes. Coincidently my friend Joe Sonnefeldt who played vibes on my first CD borrowed Tommy’s Vibes to do the session for my first CD. I like those 6 degrees of separation. I got Tommy’s vibes on the first recording then got both Tommy and his vibes. Not bad eh? For guitar I got a New York Player named Lorn Leber. He relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area. He’s got great tone and skill with his axe. He’s quite modest but one hell of a guitar player. And he’s very willing to give to the music. Plus we get along great. Last year I met a musician named Blue, a vertical flutist. We played together for my first CD release gig. It went over so well I got him to record a prelude for me. It’s a very haunting melody played on a double vertical flute. Blue is a sweet soul to work with. For the cut Phoenix, I brought in Saxophonist George Brooks. He’s got a beautiful tone and is a great player. At one point bassist Al Caldwell and I recorded a duet together but the track didn’t make it on this project. But it will be on my 3rd CD, which will be duets and perhaps some trio stuff. I also have some singers coming in on one piece. But as of this interview they aren’t known. This is going to be a special CD. It has nothing to do with musical prowess on the bass, but more to do with creating an atmosphere. I’m very fortunate to have these great players on this CD.
BIM: For those that know you, your approach in your music is as very much the melody player. The album is not a “whankfest” for bass players, but there is considerable technical skill there. When you began preparation for the actual recording of this first album and now with this second one, did you set yourself guidelines as to what you want the outcome to be?
Edo: Yes well, if I play melodically it’s very much something I prepare for. I’m not gifted with hearing melodies, so I have to practice a lot, play and learn melodies and try to create them. It’s a daunting task to recreate yourself in the moment moving from bass to melodic voice but with practice the magic can happen. The practice time allows for me to get all the wanking out, so when the time comes I’ll have something real to say with a minimal amount of dribble. I do my best not to rely on “licks” but when I’m out on a limb, they sure do come in handy.
BIM: Were you close to achieving that in your first release and as things are going now, will you think you will reach the same musical port as you initially set out for at the inception of this project?
Edo: I’m always working for what’s musically most interesting for me as a listener. I’m not very interested in bass pyro techniques and lots of tricky time changes. I went back and listened to all the Progressive rock from the 70’s that I loved at one time and I felt empty. Everything that I held in high esteem then, was vapid to me now. Not that they aren’t great artists but something in me changed. Whatever that “something” is that is what I use as guide.
BIM: With this first album, did you opt for touring it at all? Edo – I wish I had more to say about this except that it was purely for me. I think I would like to tour some of this material and the next CD someday soon. BIM – With the next project, will touring be one of the goals?
Edo: I’ll see what will happen. I would like to yes.
BIM: What factors are involved in the decision to tour or not?
Edo: Money. Other than that it’s a matter of finding players who understand what I’m trying to achieve and not have them impose some other ideas that aren’t suitable… like Fusion guitar licks all the time or incessant keyboard sounds or dribble. The care and feeding of a “band” is somewhat costly depending on how old they are. Younger players are willing to live with less while seasoned players won’t put up with sleeping in a van or eating at 7-11. It’s a shame but it’s the bottom line: How much money do I have to pay the guys? More importantly though, we have to be friends in order to go out and tour. Music is about chemistry. If you have players who are talking BS behind your back or don’t respect you, that kind of energy comes through. It’s very corrosive. For me, I’d hate to be out on the road stuck with someone who disrespects you or isn’t your friend off stage.
BIM: As well, are you garnering much radio play with the current release and if so, what kinds of radio stations are responding?
Edo: Attention Span Radio and Smoothjazz.com have been very supportive.
BIM: Have there been parts of the world that you had reactions from that pleased and surprised you? Moreso than where you live now in the US?
Edo: I’m pleased that people like the CD and took the time to email me and tell me so. I’ve sold Cds in Norway, Switzerland, Germany, France, Japan, Spain, Argentina, Italy and England.
BIM: Why do you think that is?
Edo: It’s a fickle world and I think the “big” labels tend to saturate the market with what they think you ought to listen to marketing their latest idea of “hot” sound. I think people like what I do because I’ve done something to change their moment. When they heard my music, it transformed them. Not permanently. I mean it cause them to stop and listen. I think we have this internal placeholder that vibrates when something it’s seeking has been found. You know when it happens. It’s very mystical experience: You get soft vision, your breathing slows down and you sense an aura of peace. I’m not sure if that really happens but I know it’s true for me when I hear music of “special” significance.
BIM: It is often an uphill battle to get people interested and to listen and more importantly to help you promote it via reviews, interviews, the whole promotional dance. I just wanted to find out how the response has been, what you have learnt not only to do, but what not to do.) Would you say that you have been somewhat enlightened in the very real and competitive world of promoting your music? Has it proven difficult capturing peoples attention?
Edo: I think the more I focus on what I do and not worry about attracting attention, people will notice. But I’m perfectly fine if people don’t take notice. Oh, but that kind of attitude doesn’t sell CD’s I know. So part of me has to deal with that. I’m still new to “selling” myself. So there’s some aspect of promotion that I must learn regardless of how I feel about “getting attention.” There’s no real formula for selling success but you can define what is successful for your self and live by those rules. I mean look at William Hung. That guy was a nobody student from UC Berkeley and became an overnight sensation from his TV appearance. It’s weird. Anyway, my attitude is do what you do and the rest follows.
BIM: As to the songs from this first CD themselves, does song writing come to you naturally? Do they flow or do you have to wrestle the songs into consciousness?
Edo: Oh my, it’s a task because songs don’t come naturally. Not a horrible task mind you. It’s one that needs nurturing. But there are moments when you’re given a gift and it happens in seconds. 3 songs off my first CD were gifts: “Intuition”, “Quietly” and “Beneath a Painted Sky”. I haven’t had very many gifts so I patiently practice and try to recreate moments for those things to happen.
BIM: In research for this interview, I came across the fact that you grew up in the San Francisco area and that you were surrounded by the music of the likes of Tower of Power, Sly and the Family Stone, Santana and others. As you say, “the music was practically oozing out into the neighbourhood. You couldn’t help not being affected.” I have observed however that this current CD does seem to reflect different influences than that. In fact, one could also cite some elements of a World Music voice. Would I be correct in saying that the influences in today’s music play a bigger part in whom you are as a player and a composer now than those early influences? In other words, you live in the now and you create from the now?
Edo: Yes. Like wine, which grapes you use influences the flavor and body of that wine. I try to absorb as much from my surroundings infusing that into my sound.
BIM: You mentioned to me once earlier that you have spent time in your earlier years with a four-string and in conventional bands. At what point did it seem that this was changing for you?
Edo: I think when I started to realize I was hearing a sound in my head that was more than just bass. No matter what I did on 4 strings, it sounded like a bass.
BIM: What brought about those changes?
Edo: The Chapman Stick. But it was hard to play but I managed to get pretty decent playing it. Not great but good enough to record and perform. Once Conklin came on the market the ballgame changed radically. I didn’t have to relearn my technique to play on a multi-stringed bass. Staying with an all 4ths tuning was wonderful and much easier on the brain.
BIM: You mentioned in our talks that for some time you event went as far as 7 and a 9 string basses. Since then you have settled upon on upper limit of 6 strings. What were the reasons for moving back to a 6 from even higher numbered string basses?
Edo: I found that 7 strings was optimal for what I was trying to do. Anything less confuses me. Anything more does the same thing. Weird huh? I can deal with the width of the 7-string neck, keep the strings quiet and execute ideas without trying to work with the physics of the instrument. I do have an 8-string and that’s about as far as I’ll go.
BIM: Would you say there is some risk to be taken into account when it comes to injury in playing larger range basses if one is not careful to approach it correctly?
Edo: Oh that would add to it. But I hurt myself playing 4-string Acoustic Upright. So there’s no telling how or when an injury can occur. Good Technique has a role in preventing injuries but fatigue can lead to injuries.
BIM: What have you learned to be the most â€˜correctâ€™ way to handle the larger necked basses to therefore avoid problems later?
Edo: I use the Claw technique. The left hand thumb rest center on the back of the neck and the fingers press down. Itâ€™s taken years to get this to work but itâ€™s worth it. Itâ€™s the same technique I use on 4-string basses.
BIM: Did you yourself ever found yourself negatively affected physically in playing the larger basses?
Edo: Mostly if the instrument was too heavy. That can happen with a Fender 4 string. Another problem is keeping the other strings quiet when you’re not playing quiet. There’s a lot of palming and muting going on with both hands across 7 strings.
BIM: What was your first extended range bass?
Edo: The very first was the Chapman Stick. Then I got an Ibanez 5 string (that was a horrible instrument). Then Guild came out with the Pilot 5- String. At that time that was perhaps the best on the market for the price and features. I still like that bass, but I don’t own one anymore. Then I had a custom built 6-string made by Kim Schwarz in Chicago.
BIM: And have you moved on to include other basses in your musical arsenal? Can you describe them a bit, including some info on the Conklin basses and the Aquilina Basses from France.
Edo: I have 4 Conklin basses now: Two 7-strings, one 8-string and one 6-String. 7 String #1 has a Zebrawood top with Conklin Pickups and I believe a Bartolini Pre-amp. This is my main bass. 7 String #2 has a burled redwood top, mahogany back and maple center. 2 Bartolini Pickups and 3 band EQ. The top was damaged when one of the pots got slammed. But it plays really well. It has an extended fingerboard. 36 frets and 35-inch scale. Both of my 7 strings are tuned low B to High F. My 8-String Conklin is gorgeous. It has a walnut top and matching headstock and is fretless. The electronics are very similar to my Zebrawood 7-string. This bass sounds like a Sitar at times. My Aquilina bass has a sycamore top and mahogany back. Benedetti Pickups and Aguilar 3 band EQ. Fretless epoxied Fingerboard. This is a gorgeous bass. Sabastien is a wonderful builder and unknown in the US. He’s got a following in France and other parts of Europe. You Better hurry and get your order in before it takes a year or two to get a Bass.
BIM: Now from the research I have done, I have repeatedly found references with other extended range bass players that Accugroove makes a very good cabinet for this, and that they are so clearly detailed and articulated that often one has to adjust their playing somewhat to accommodate for the fact the cabinet does not color or cover up the bass sounds. Was this true with you as well?
Edo: I think this is all very personal. What I like and what somebody else likes will always vary. There’s an illusion out there propelled by this endorsement thing. What artist like to use and what they’re seen using are sometimes 2 different things. But that’s not always the case, so please forgive me for assuming. I’ve come to realize over the last 20 years that your instrument only sounds as good as the amp and speakers it’s going through. AccuGroove has given the bass community an audiophile product that is articulate and very forgiving. You can plug any amp into it and you’ll hear good sound. The better the amp, the better the sound. When you put great components together starting with a great instrument to a great amp to a great bass cabinet the results are quite stunning. But this sound isn’t for everybody. I happen to love the sound of these cabinets. Punk rockers or Melodic Metal Trip Hop guys might want another sound. I knew guys in the 80’s who used to poke holes in their speakers with a pencil to get their “sound.” Again this is all very weird and very personal. It’s not for everybody.
BIM: Was some adjustment in your technique needed as well?
Edo: Not at all. I’ve been working on my technique since day one. Getting all the clicks and noises out of your playing is a life-long pursuit. That’s what I usually warm up with is string crossings and listening for clicks, unwanted ringing strings, etc.
BIM: Can you tell me a bit about the other equipment you endorse as well? I believe you also use Nordstrand basses.
Edo: I don’t own or have a Nordstrand bass (yet… maybe one day). Carey is a great builder and a wonderful person. I think he’s one of best out there. But I’m hoping to have one. Money is tight. Barker Vertical basses are wonderful too and have their own sound, particularly the fretless models. Wow! I have a 5-string fretless Barker Bass but it’s not in my main arsenal. Outside of that I don’t endorse much of anything else. When I say I “endorse” this means I really use it and no one pays me to say good things about their product. I pay for the gear and I really love it. There are lot of fortunate players out there who get paid to play other manufacturer’s gear. It must be nice.
BIM: For these larger basses, do you use one uniform kind of string or manufacturer or different kinds and styles of strings for different basses?
Edo: I try to use the same gauge strings and brand. As of late I’m using Conklin Snake Skins and GHS Contact Core Super Steels. They both have a similar feel and tension that I’m used to. The gauges are: 127 100 80 60 45 27 22 (18 for my 8 String)
BIM: Do you find much use for bass forums including the extended range forums and conventional bass forums as a way to promote your work?
Edo: Community is a powerful thing. I need to hang out at these sites a bit more but it’s hard when your time is limited. Between keeping a roof over my head, food on the table, practicing, gigging and hustling my music, there’s not much time for me.
BIM: You started out originally as a self taught bassist but later decided to attend some formal training at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. What brought you to the decision to pursue formal training?
Edo: I think a college education is a beautiful thing. If you get a college degree you’ve achieved something grand. That will open many doors for you. I felt that a formal music education would give me a good foundation. It took a while to get it but I did it. I must admit it has a dark side too. Schooling can change your natural instincts to react in the music. I think your natural instincts teach you to trust your ears. Again this is all up for debate. It’s taken me some time to undo this and get me back to trusting my instincts.
BIM: Also I understand that it was through that time in Chicago that you started to bring a more professional approach to your playing as well as a good amount of live work as well as some great experiences, including one with Miles Davis Guitarist Pete Cosey and drummer Roy Haynes. Tell a bit about that time and others, if you would.
Edo: My time in Chicago was a wonderful time. I was learning new things, meeting great players and just absorbing whatever came my way. Pete Cosey is the man. He would quietly advise me and encouraged me to follow my sound. Oddly enough he knew my Uncle, Reice Hamel. Reice was a recording engineer. Pete and Maurice White used to go to my Uncle’s place in Chicago and record demos there. So we had a lot to talk about. I got to meet and play with Roy Haynes when I was in music school. He was doing a clinic there and he wanted to start off with a jam session. So a guitar teacher grabbed me on his way up to the stage and said “Come on.” I was petrified. I actually lost color in my face as we were preparing to play. Then the count-off came and we started off with a standard. Roy kept smiling at me and saying “Come on man, it’s cool, play with me.” Then something happened that I’ll never forget, I fell in and we played a killer set of 3 tunes. All my classmates were amazed and said that they had never heard me play like that. Roy came up to me and gave me his card in front of everyone and said, “When you’re ready, give me a call.”
BIM: You have yet to collect in that invite from Roy Haynes to look him up if you ever hit New York. Do you think you will ever follow up on that?
Edo: Maybe. What I would love to do is have him play on a recording of mine.
BIM: What was it that brought you back to San Francisco after acquiring all this great experience in Chicago?
Edo: I love the weather, the geology that I grew up with. It’s powerful and grounding. I don’t live in SF proper. I live across the bay in Berkeley. I think it’s important for your well being to be where you feel good. If you don’t like your surroundings, this affects all other aspects of your life. Some American Indian tribes believed that they got their strength from the ground they were born on. I have similar thoughts to this.
BIM: Has there been any times where you wondered what your life would have been like if you had taken Roy up on his offer and moved to New York or some other place than back to California?
Edo: Oh yes, there have been moments where I pondered that along with all the other “what-if’s” in my life. I live by my decisions and have no regrets. What I focus in on is where I am at in my life and not dwell with where I’m not at in my life. Meeting and playing with Roy was a special moment I’ll grant you that.
BIM: You have done considerable studio work for other people since getting back. How long has it been since it first occurred to you that you would also like to do something under your own banner, with you as composer and band leader?
Edo: I think I knew this from the start but it has taken me a lifetime to realize it. Better late than never. The reason for my “late arrival” is that I lacked in any self-confidence and felt that I had nothing of any real quality to say as an artist. Once I realized that I was my own worst enemy I took a 180-degree turn and began working on my music and seeking my own voice. That set the wheels in motion for me.
BIM: A quote lifted from your bio says, “Oddly enough the real Jazz players consider me a rock musician. The rock musicians see me more of a Jazz guy. So there’s the dilemma of my life: I belong to no tribe. A free spirit following my own heart’s desire taking in whatever I feel is good for my soul.” This is both a ticket to freedom but it can also work against you because might not know how to package you. Most people in the industry when it comes to promotion need to put you in a little box so they can make their job of describing you easier. Is it difficult getting people to understand what you are trying to do and say and at the same time, not be trapped by limiting descriptions?
Edo: It’s a difficult thing to not run with the pack. I mean in one sense I do all the things that bass players ought to do and try to achieve as a bassist. But at some point your start to understand you do what you do. Anyone asking you to try to play like someone else is ludicrous. I could never play like Marcus Miller although I can take ideas from him and make them mine. I love all kinds of music so telling people “I’m a jazz artist” could be a misnomer. What I write could be perceived as “jazz” but I don’t abide by the Jazz norms nor do I fit into the Rock world. Yes it’s difficult to describe what I do as an artist. But it’s like you have to take things as how you perceive them. If you label people by their appearance than you’re practicing bigotry. But if you try to see them for the content of their character, then you’re working on another level. The music industry likes to put things into categories. I guess it helps them market the music and helps the listener make decisions on what they want. It’s very tricky. Yes it’s difficult to describe what I do as an artist.
BIM: You have described to me in conversation that you find your life “interesting.” You describe life as seeming to be a place of pain. That there is too much pain down here on this plane. Then in a later paragraph you say, “I love my life. It’s very rich with new friends, new experiences and a general veneer of peace. I pretty much live day-to-day, moment to moment as best as I can. And best of all find fulfillment in everything I do. I can only hope this course continues until the end of my days.” These seemingly contrary statements are how most of us feel, as we both struggle though and relish life. I am not sure if you are aware of this or if this was even intended, but these thoughts you expressed in this previous paragraph come across in your first release very clearly. There is both beauty and conflict, aggression and passivity. This continuing balance could be seen as one of the strengths of your album. If you are aware of this, and agree, was this musical window into your heart intentional or just a matter of honesty?
Edo: Wow! I never really considered this but now that you place it in this context I do begin to understand that my subconscious is not hidden but speaks through my music. It’s true that I see a lot of pain in the world. Look at all the conflict around the world. Yet how do we stop from killing ourselves or going insane? I think the secret lies in being in the moment. Finding joy in the tiniest of things in your life, create peace in yourself, even if for 5 minutes. Life is very complicated and like music, needs nurturing. It takes a lot of energy to keep things in prospective. But once you can feel it, it gets easier. Just like music.
BIM: When the new project is finished, will there be things you will do differently than you did with your first venture into being a project leader and composer?
Edo: Everything takes time, money and surrounding yourself with a supportive group of people. 2 out of 3, and you can accomplish a lot. If you get 3 out of 3 you can do just about anything. I’m shooting for 3 for 3.
BIM: Have you managed to both learn from your first album but also retain the hunger and wish for new conquests in the new project?
Edo: HA! I hope so. For me I’m never totally satisfied and I’m always hungry. I do think that some artists get burned out. I have friends who do a lot of jobbing dates for a living. They love playing music but they’re tired and not doing much in the “creative” aspects of playing. So it’s more of a job to them. For me there’s no wrong or right for musicians as to how to lead a fruitful musical life. Each of us has our own path and no one can tell you how to walk that path. What we learn and how we learn is all very personal so what’s good for me may be totally ludicrous and stupid to someone else. And that’s OK.
– Warren Murchie -Bass Insider Magazine