just in case the whole idea of this looping stuff has passed you by, basically what I’ve got are a few effects boxes that are capable of recording what I’m playing live and playing it back over and over as a loop for me to play over. I then have the option to add more to that loop, and in the case of some of the boxes, flip it back to front, double the speed, replace bits, re-sample sections from within the loop, double the length, fade parts out, switch between different loops, and post-process a loop to make it evolve into something unrecogniseable from where it started – basically remixing what I’ve just played, all live. nothing is pre-recorded, and nothing is stored for use again later.
It means that with one bass, I don’t have to rely on a dazzling arsenal of techniques to be able to create a full sound – I’m able to sit back and approach it from a more relaxed compositional stance, whilst still creating a huge ever evolving sound. My current solo gig set up consists of three basses, one Looperlative, two multi FX processors (which loop as well!), a mixing desk, one poweramp, two cabs and an E-Bow, give or take half a mile of guitar cable and a pedal board or two.
My career as a solo bassist began when I was commissioned to write and perform the music for a contemporary dance performance, by a London based dance company, which was performed to capacity audiences in an ourdoor car park in the centre of London!! The material was largely ambient and pretty abstract, putting my Lexicon JamMan and ART Nightbass to good use. It also helped set the scene for a large part of what I now do.
I also performed solo at the 1997, ’98 and ’99 National Music Shows at the Wembley Conference Centre. Each year I played on the Future Publishing stage. In ’97 I conducted a seminar on using effects with a bass, performing a number of improvised pieces over real-time sample loops courtesy of the JamMan.
In ’98 I demonstrated the Yamaha MIDI bass system, using the B1D MIDI pickup and the G50 guitar to MIDI convertor, controlling sounds from a Yamaha MU50, and performed a number of
specially written pieces showcasing the range of sounds possible.
In ’99 I was showing what could be done with a sampler and an effects unit in a performance/seminar entitled ‘sack your band!’ – the response was fantastic, despite some stiff
sonic competition from the 12 Drummers Drumming about 20 feet away!!!
I also performed a solo tune, ‘St Luke’, at the Ragatal concert at St Luke’s church in Holloway (hence the name!), back in February ’99 (which was my first ‘proper’ public performance with the Jamman), along with a duet that I’d written for bass and violin called ‘Binky’s Blues’.
Then in December 99, I had my first full solo show at the Troubadour in Earl’s Court, London which was remarkably well received, and spurred me on to do more of this solo stuff.
Since then I’ve gigged pretty consistently in the UK and abroad, including eight trips to California – one of which was the solo bass looping tour with Michael Manring and Rick Walker – and a number of visits to France. 2002 saw me tour opening for Level 42 and 21st Century Schizoid Band, as well as
undertaking a three bassist tour with Michael Manring and David Friesen. in 2004 and 2005 I performed a run of solo shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. I’ve also gigged solo alongside Muriel Anderson, Brian Bromberg, Victor Bailey, Mike Watt, Adam Nitti, Keith Horne, Dave Pomeroy, Antonio Forcione, Jim Lampi, Mike Roe, and a host of others.
In between all that, I’ve released seven full length solo bass albums:
And Nothing But The Bass, Not Dancing For Chicken, Lessons Learned From An Aged Feline, Grace And Gratitude, Lessons Learned From An
Aged Feline Pt II, Behind Every Word, Lessons Learned From The Fairly Aged Felines (Lessons Learned Pt III) and three collaborative CDs – Conversations (with
pianist Jez Carr), for the love of open spaces and it’s not gonna happen (which again was a limited edition preorder option) with theo travis