A live bass player, studio owner, band member, teacher and session player, Malcolm Joseph has seen all the shifts in the music industry throughout his 40-year career. From UK pop-stardom with his band 7th-Heaven in the 80s to mastering the skills of the studio and becoming the first choice bassist for the iconic disco-funk legend, Grace Jones.
Now he’s released his awesome debut sample-pack of bass grooves for BandLab Sounds. So, we tracked him down in his home town of Cornwall in the UK to find out more about his career and the brand new free sound pack of funky bass.
Tell us how you got started playing the bass?
I started playing the bass at secondary school at about 14 years old after initially hacking an old guitar into a bass by removing the E and B strings!
What are some of the career highlights playing bass so far?
The highlights of my career include playing in my first band, 7th Heaven, which I was co-founder of and we went on to work with producer Derek Bramble from the disco band Heatwave. We had a little success with our first single, Hot Fun in the mid-80s. I then went on and played for Neneh Cheery, Massive attack and then on to Grace Jones.
What was the vibe for the BandLab sample pack?
The BandLab pack idea was to create a groovy session of funky bass lines that people can use to inspire their own tracks. I hope people will get how grooves work and feel. Then be able to use that knowledge and those sounds within their own projects.
Tell us about how you’ve coped with the Pandemic, did you have tour plans with Grace Jones that have been cancelled or delayed?
The pandemic for all musicians and artists has been devastating. We had a succession of gigs lined up with Grace Jones for 2020, now some of the shows have been moved and hopefully will be played in the summer of 2021. I have been giving one-to-one online bass lessons and a few masterclasses and Q&As for Leeds Conservatoire in the UK and currently working with different collaborations around the world til we can tour again. My latest venture has been presenting for the online music streaming program, The Nub Sessions.
For any aspiring bass-players, what would your advice be to them?
You need to read and play, have confidence in yourself, Be professional with your approach, and show respect to who you work with and those around you. Use your sense of feeling which I try to express on the Loop Pack too. Listen. Don’t overplay the bass line to a track and create your own feel. But also, have fun and use space with simple groove melodies. Technically, make sure all your basses and amps are at peak performance.
Who’s your all-time favourite bass player and why?
Anthony Jackson is one of many players I admire, He has a unique playing ability and sound. But, when it comes to my favourite bass line of all time it would be a track called Glide by a band called Pleasure. Nathaniel Phillips plays bass on the track.
Ever wished you could just use some of the best session players in the world and get them on your tracks? Well, you can with BandLab! Grab this session player pack from Grace Jones’ bassist Malcolm Joseph and don’t forget to check out other great session packs such as McCoy Mrubata’s Saxophone pack and Bollywood Percussion by Jon Sterckx
Read more: BandLab Sounds: Introducing Sample Editor