Originally from Westchester County, NY, Eugene Bisdikian started playing upright when he was nine years old. His story has an interesting beginning and he’s going places at a very quick pace. Watch out for Eugene! Please enjoy his story…
I had originally opted not to participate in my school’s music program, to my mom’s disapproval. She told me I had to do music or some other after school program, and having participated in Mad Science for three years, I figured upright bass would be a good choice. I was drawn to the bass because the orchestra parts looked easy and you couldn’t really hear them from the audience. Guess that backfired on me because I picked up electric bass a year later…oops! I continued to learn and grow as a bassist at Lagond Music, in Elmsford, NY. They helped me become a full-fledged performer, and set a strong foundation for my ability to perform in musically diverse styles.
I take great inspiration from both my peers and great bassists’ playing. It is always a privilege to play with some awesome musicians and those around me really allowed me to grow as a player. I’ve had the most fun getting to experiment with different embellishments and rhythm patterns, often shown to me by my friends. Two bassists that I love are Adam “Nolly” Getgood and Paul Chambers. Despite the obvious differences between these two, they both have elements in their playing that I am completely drawn to. Nolly’s ideas of using the bass to link the drummer and support the rhythm guitar speak directly to the way I think about my playing. I look to Paul Chambers for articulation and phrasing, especially for soloing.
Tell us about the music you enjoy and your playing style.
I’m fortunate to have a wide variety of groups that I get to play with! Currently, I’m playing in rock, jazz, pop, soul, musical theater, funk bands, and pretty much everything in between. I have training in Latin and classical music, which also helps increase my versatility. To me, making the song feel good is my priority. If I’m not locking up with the drummer, if I’m not serving the groove, then I’m not doing my job. I take pride in providing a strong foundation for the other players, and in responding musically with complimentary lines. I love when I can set up others to sound good!
I love the challenges that come with each genre of music, and finding the similarities that exist between them. For example, while funk and rock bass lines seem to differ dramatically, I find that I can approach both with a similar attitude and intensity. With jazz, I love to find ways to interweave my walking line with the melodic line on top. I usually will leave my mark through improvisation on the bass lines, and I don’t ever play a tune the same way twice.
Eugene, what are you working on these days?
I’m fortunate to have active projects in every group I’m with. My main gigs are with Melia, an alt rock singer/guitarist; Transient Mammals, an indie rock band; and Bellwether Breaks, a new soul group. I frequently play with a couple of different wedding bands – PopStyle and The Uptown Groove – as well as Rochester jazz locals Dave Rivello and Laura Dubin. You can find the complete list of fantastic artists I play with on my website – http://eugenebmusic.com/bass.
Coming super soon, Transient Mammals is releasing a new EP called “The Moonlit Chaparral” on April 10th, mixed by me!
Do you have any musical accomplishments or achievements you’d like to share?
I completed a Bachelor’s degree in Jazz Studies at the Eastman School of Music in 2017, and will complete a Master’s degree in Music Education this summer. Recently, I was also endorsed by Payson Fanned Bass Strings!
What do you like to do besides playing bass?
In addition to performing, I work as a bass instructor and a recording engineer.
Last fall, I was hired as the Faculty of Jazz Bass at the Eastman Community Music School, where I teach students of all ages. I love how the position challenges me to constantly evaluate and think about the instrument in new ways!
Since I was a kid I loved electronics and pushing buttons, and I always had a fascination for music recording. I come from a family of engineers, and did a minor in Audio & Music Engineering as part of my undergraduate degree. Similar to my playing, I record a huge diversity of genres, including classical, jazz, rock, etc.
Do you play any other instruments?
Though I don’t currently take gigs on it, I love the drums too! I started playing drums when I was 16, but haven’t really put in the time to solidify my playing.
Tell us about your “mobile studio” concept.
I’m fresh out of grad school, so the dream of having my own studio is still a little far away. Instead, I bring my equipment to whatever venue my clients want to record in, and set up there. I have a laptop running Reaper, a 6U rack with microphone preamps and an audio interface, and a selection of microphones to tackle the various recording situations.
This style of work allows my clients to select a space that fits their wants, needs, and budget. In this way, a classical soloist can perform in a church or concert hall with a beautiful natural reverb; a pianist can play on their favorite Steinway Model D; a jazz quartet can capture their live show at a local venue; local artists can have me record at their homes. This setup has proven quite advantageous for both myself and my clients. Because I am completely mobile, I have a lot of flexibility. I can afford to keep costs down because I don’t have to maintain my own studio space. Though each environment poses its own unique challenge, that’s part of the fun and magic!
Why did you choose Bergantino gear?
The B|Amp perfectly suits my needs as a multi-stylistic electric and upright bassist. The parametric EQ section allows me to have precise control over my tone, which as an audio engineer I really appreciate. Plus, the ability to save different presets for my different basses make switching on a gig a breeze. The NXT/ENXT112 cabinet reproduce the sound of the B|Amp perfectly: clean, articulate, and full. They offer immense clarity and a ton of power, and I couldn’t ask for a better pairing with the B|Amp.
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