Bassist Dave Hill discusses how he got into jazz and playing double bass.
“I didn’t actually start playing until I was nineteen. I always loved music but I didn’t come from a musical family, and I had no musical understanding whatsoever. When I got to university, studying Anthropology and Theology I moved in with a musician and he had a load of instruments in his room. I was starstruck. It was a completely unique experience to be around someone who made music. I chose the instrument with the least number of strings, thinking that’ll be easier.”
“I took it into my room and messed around with it. It was really nice and relaxed because I wasn’t doing it to be a musician, I wasn’t doing it for any reason. I was just doing it to make noises and enjoy what I was doing. It kind of gave me a unique approach, I guess. I wasn’t regimented. I wasn’t learning bass lines, I was learning to get the instrument to make a sound. And that was all.
And then because I didn’t view it as anything serious, I took every opportunity I could get.”
“Within a couple of months of playing bass guitar I’d been to a recording studio and I’d done my first gig. Because I knew it was crap. I was playing punk music at the time, so first it didn’t matter and secondly I wasn’t thinking ‘Oh no, I’ll wait ‘til I get better and then I’ll begin’, because I thought ‘this is just for this period in my life, I’m never going to do it again so I’ll go out and do it. And I’ll take any opportunity that I can at the time and at least I can look back and say I’ve done those things’. And then I carried on taking those opportunities and it opened up this creative realm that I hadn’t had since college. And all this creativity came back.”
“And within a year it just overtook my studies at university and I just lost interest in what I was studying. Music became what it was about.”
“I’d been doing singer-songwriting stuff. When I had enough money I decided that I was going to get a double bass. So I bought a double bass. I started just playing it a little bit every day, and integrating it into the original music that I was making. And then I started really enjoying playing double bass. My last original band split up. I invested so much energy into it that I didn’t know what to do with it. I wanted to continue learning and growing.”
“I was either going classical or jazz. And in my explorations into the two I came across Brighton Jazz School. Before I knew it I was at the Brunswick playing jazz without really thinking about it. All the forums said ‘you’ve just got to be around jazz people’. As soon as I started I found it so difficult and such a learning curve. That’s what really appealed to me. I was in at the deep end.”
This interview was first published on Sunday 1st September, 2013 and first appeared in issue 1 of The Sussex Jazz Mag, available here.