Darwish talks kit
When and how did you start playing?
I was lucky enough to grow up in a time when you could learn an instrument through your Borough’s music service in school. I started playing the violin when I was 8 at Gayhurst Primary School in Hackney and got free lessons. They’ve taken that away now. Through that I joined the Hackney Youth Orchestra, then switched to bass guitar at 13 and joined the Hackney Youth Jazz Ensemble and it all followed on from that.
Darwish - pic Terry Tyldesley
Who has inspired you musically in general, and also your playing style?
In general I would say that I love mavericks that just make what they want to make. Peter Gabriel is a huge influence. He is a true artist, aesthetically, conceptually and musically. All his albums are so different and then you have the whole stint that he did in Genesis. I love Paul Weller. Everything that he’s ever done is just brilliant from the Jam to the Style Council. He evolves and just writes great music.
I’ve been inspired by Talking Heads, Depeche Mode, The Clash, Ian Dury and the Blockheads, Jeff Buckley, Radiohead, The Smiths, Faith No More, Neil Young and John Martyn, Joni Mitchell, Sly and the Family Stone, Steely Dan, The Red Hot Chili Peppers. Also certain artists’ earlier stuff or just one off albums. Simply Red’s first album for example is just brilliant. Wasn’t a massive fan of the later stuff but that first album ‘Picture Book’ is fantastic. Alice in Chains ‘Jar Of Flies’ is just beautiful and vastly different to any music they made. So I like a lot of contrasting music…there is often a beauty to be found in many forms.
Then there is the whole Jazz side. Again the mavericks like Mingus, Miles Davis, Chet Baker the ‘difficult’ characters that may not of been the nicest of humans but certainly had vision and something to say. I love Charlie Haden, Chick Corea, Herbie Hancock, Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane, Horace Silver, Wes Montgomery…. loads and loads!
Of course from a Bass perspective I love James Jamerson he’s probably my favourite electric bass player of all time…. his bass lines are like melodies within themselves…. no one writes bass lines like that anymore. Then there is Jaco. Whilst actually listening to Jaco now there is certainly ego in abundance and over playing to extremes but he revolutionised the electric bass.
Darwish - pic Terry Tyldesley
What is your go to music gear?
Juno-106 – This was all over the album I love how amazingly warm these are. It’s like having a musical bath.
Roland VP550 – They don’t make these anymore but it’s an amazing vocal ensemble. That’s how I got lots of the vocoder sounding BVs and it added a real ambience all over the album it’s a beautiful writing device as you just end up coming up with uniquely different ideas on it. I was after one of these for so long. They are so sought after that they either never come up or if they do they are ludicrously over priced. Then I saw one eBay for a great price…it turned out the guy loved about 2 roads away!!
Fender Rhodes - what can I say? Everything sounds great on a Rhodes!
Upright Piano - I adore writing on piano. No matter how good a VST is it just cant come close. You play one note on ta real piano and there is a universe happening within that …they harmonics and overtones of a real piano are just something else.
Fender Rhodes - pic by Darwish
Fender Rhodes Stage 73
Everything sounds great on a Rhodes
Fender Princeton 1960’s- this amp!! Not mine but my studio partners …however. …Just beautiful, incredible reverb and warm valve sound.
Fender Telecaster - I love Tele’s. They have a particular sound that’s not for everyone but I always loved them after hearing Jeff Buckley. This one has original hand wired 50’s pick ups courtesy of Joe Dobson (Joseph Kaye Guitars) he has some original wring form the fender factory and it sounds massive!!
12 String Yamaha acoustic – I love writing on a 12 …it’s just a different vibe completely. I got this on Ebay and it’s lovely. You can actually play lines on it which is rare for a 12.
Custom ‘ 51 P-bass - This looks like Tele bass but again is a Joseph Kaye Bass. Hand made and sounds amazing with original 50’s pick up again. These were the original P basses and then they went split coil pick up after that. This is a seriously beautiful sounding bass.
Fender P Bass- I’m in love with this P Bass. It’s just a 90’s American Standard with a Badass bridge but it’s so playable …and I’ve used it on countless sessions, tours and so on …really reliable and lovely.
Vantage Fretless Bass - I needed a fretless as I was doing a concert of the whole of the Hejira album by Joni Mitchell which was Jaco Pastorius (no pressure). I wanted a fretless anyway and went to the Bass gallery. After trying it I couldn’t believe it as it was very cheap …but it’s a winner.
Roland Jazz Chorus 160 Amp
The chorus on them is amazing and they are seriously loud
Roland Jazz Chorus – Need to buy one of these again! They are just awesome amps …I really love them. The chorus on them is amazing and they are seriously LOUD.
H&H 1x15 Bass Valve Amp - although a fair bit of the album was DI Bass…I did use this on a few tunes. H&H are a British make big in the 70’s /80’s based in Cambridge. They are just wicked sounding Amps and Prince was a huge fan so that’s got to mean something! The Valve sound is very fat and round and I like it a lot.
My 19th Century German Double Bass which is just a beautiful sounding instrument! This old girl has a serious tone and every engineer/producer or soundperson says she’s just the best sounding bass they have heard.
MXR Pedals – These bass pedals are lovely analogue pedals … they are pretty expensive but actually they have a unique and organic sound that you can’t get from a multi effects. I often fid that the digital multi units sound like plastic if that makes sense? My favourite combo is the Envelope filter with the Octave pedal. Outrageous squelch.
Pic by Darwish
MXR Bass Octave Deluxe
Dual-voice octave pedal
Electroharmonix Super Ego – My favourite name ever. Just an awesome pedal, kind of acts as a freeze/synth engine pedal by multi sampling somehow live but you can get that amazing kind of in Floyd sound and it’s a go to for me.
TC Electronic mini flashback - Love this, very tiny but powerful. You can download sounds from the tone print app on your phone and beam them straight from your through the pick up star trek style. It makes a noise like a dial up modem and then the effect is in the pedal …brilliant!
Boss Super Chorus - I remember the 80’s. I love chorus. This is just a really nice pedal.
Electro-Harmonix Superego Synth Engine
Awesome pedal, acts as a freeze/synth engine
Digitech Polara Reverb - Great reverb pedal …it has some interesting ones including modulated, reverse, plates rooms etc. Nice to play with the tail and decays on this but I like it.
Electro-Harmonix Voice Box - I use this live, it reads what you are playing on the guitar and creates some harmonies …but not cheesy crappy bv’s kind of weird phased /chorused things and is very cool.
Electro-Harmonix Voice Box
Creates some harmonies, kind of weird phased/chorused things and is very cool
Boss Super Chorus CH-1
I love chorus, a really nice pedal
I love Tele’s. They have a particular sound that’s not for everyone but I always loved them after hearing Jeff Buckley
Fender Precision Bass
I’ve used it on countless sessions, tours