Meet the musicians - introducing bass player Dan Hawkins...
This week we are talking to London musician Dan Hawkins. Dan is a much in demand bass player and has played for some huge acts such as Katie Melua, Martha Reeves, Rod Stewart and Olly Murs...
Dan is exactly the kind of player that Kollab was created for - not only is he a truly gifted and hardworking freelance musician, but he's ahead of the game in terms of the potential of remote recording. Although a much in-demand bass player in the studio and on the live circuit (Buckingham Palace? Not a bad venue for the resume!), Dan has been working online with clients all over the world for the past few years and is now ready to bring his skills to Kollab.
We are thrilled to welcome Dan to the Kollab family and if you're looking for a versatile, professional bassist who can deliver quick results, look no further! Lets find out a little more about the man himself and what you can expect...
Tell us about the kind of projects you typically work on...
There doesn’t really seem to be a typical one. I’ve worked on music for TV, film, jingles, songs, albums. demos and - one time - even some music that plays in a Swiss chocolate maker's visitor centre! Just this week I played upright on a nursery rhyme and bass guitar on a heavy metal album. The thing I love most about online sessions is the sheer variety of music that comes my way from both amateur and professional musicians and everyone in between.
Who are your top five musical influences?
It’s almost impossible for me to answer this as there are hundreds of people that were (and still are) very, very influential. But…. Pat Metheny, Stevie Wonder, Jaco Pastorius, Prince, and a few key music teachers I was lucky to meet.
Tell us about your home studio setup...
It’s fairly simple. I run Logic on an iMac and use an Apollo 8. That is the brains of the set up. I have a few pieces of outboard from the likes of Universal Audio and Avalon and a very nice handmade all tube bass preamp (Monique by Jules Amps). Then I have a fairly big collection of vintage and modern basses. The vintage ones tend to get the most use: I have a few Fenders and MusicMan, Gibson, Rickenbacker feature too. I bought Pino Palladino’s old Lakland fretless and recently bought a beautiful 130 year old German upright. The idea is to cover most of the bass sounds you’re going to want to hear on a track.
Tell us what you can bring to a song...
Each song is unique so I always look at it on a case by case basis but hopefully I can bring a great bass line to the party! I like a solid, groovy bass line with fantastic tone that’s appropriate to the music. Feel, timing and tone mean a lot to me. I’m not too flashy but do like to provide a little flair if possible. There is so much you can do with the length of the notes you play, the placement of the notes against the beat and simple note choices.
What has been the highlight of your musical career so far?
I think the highlight is all the characters I’ve met. Musicians can be pretty cool/funny/crazy! In terms of gigs Buckingham Palace was up there as well as a festival 200 miles north of the Arctic Circle. I’m always looking for the next highlight.
How do you approach remote recording sessions?
They are different to regular sessions as you are engineer, producer (sometimes), fixer and player. I try to make sure I’m on the same page as the client and then my process doesn’t deviate much. I have a studio set up where I can get recording very quickly and I then choose the correct instrument and get to work. I don’t press send on the files until I’m totally satisfied with what I’ve played. If I can hit that standard it means - to use a sporting phrase - I’ve ‘left everything on the field’. That really is my approach for every remote session.
What genre(s) of music do you specialise in?
The nursery rhyme to heavy metal anecdote shows the variety a professional session musician is expected to cover. The thing I love most is groove and feel so that tends to mean pop, rock, funk, blues. For me, the bass is the heart and soul and the pulse of music and that idea covers many genres. That said I’d happily give Moldovan folk-jazz a stab. Or is that Moldovan jazz-folk?
How do you think Kollab benefits you and other musicians?
I think the connection of genuinely serious and like minded musicians is the benefit. It’s great for musicians to know they can use Kollab to find professional musicians who will do a great job on their pride and joy.
What advice do you have for anyone looking to hire a musician like you?
Get in touch. Really simple advice but you will know how reliable someone is depending on how and when they get back to you. Were they fast in responding and did they answer your questions? This seems so simple but you’d be surprised!! Online sessions require mutual trust and respect and it’s not always easy to find someone trustworthy. To avoid any disasters just do your research (obviously look at Kollab!) and don’t hesitate to contact the musician you want to hire.
You can message Dan direct at his Kollab page here.