Wendy Phua
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Wendy Phua

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"Wendy Phua – Session And Solo Bassist By Brent Anthony Johnson"

Wendy Phua – Session and Solo Bassist
By Brent-Anthony Johnson

“Masterful Diminutive Powerhouse” is the easiest way to describe my friend Wendy “Wen” Phua! A “player’s player” beyond all doubt, Wendy approaches the instrument with tough-guy technique and a huge sound while blissfully wringing the instrument, producing a continuous cascade of notes. As I listened to the cool demo and read the press kit “Wen” sent to me last week, I was reminded of how much better is my bass world as a result of chatting with her (she is one of my favorite people on earth) and how much the readers of Bass Frontiers Magazine could benefit from reading her story.

Wendy Phua studied classical piano during her early childhood, but was swept away by the bass mastery of Michael Manring, Stuart Zender, and Victor Wooten - which led her to join her first bands. After knocking around with various rock-oriented bands in the early 2K’s, Wendy formed and managed Zhen, which went on to perform for the ESPN Star Sports Asian X-Games, and as part of Baybeats – Singapore’s Indie music festival. Also, Zhen performed very high-profile gigs at Barone’s Monday Sessions, and Mosaic Fringe Festival, and garnered a feature in IS Magazine which moved them into very popular territory.
In 2005 Wendy decided to disband Zhen and join cinematic psychedelic guitarist Randolf Arriola and his original music project, The Embryo, which led to the release “Fragments” in 2007. It was also in 2007 that Wendy began focusing on her career as a solo bassist.

Wendy’s demo features her exquisite tapping and looping with cozy keyboard beds, broad tunings and deep samples. Each motif and melody engages and develops the whole of her compositions – all the while displaying a cool 3-dimensional groove and steadfast focus to each note. You need to check her out, folks! You can see more at: www.wendyphua.com/ and at www.myspace.com/wendyphua

BAJ: Hi Wendy! Its great to finally have an opportunity to feature you on our pages! If I haven’t said so in the past couple days, your demo ROCKS! Did you play the keyboard parts for “Sojourn”? Also, let’s talk about your composition process. How do songs form and what happens after the idea forms?

Wen: Hey BAJ, thank you for inviting me to do this interview! It was really a very pleasant surprise to hear from you all the way from the US.

And glad you like the songs! Yes I played the keyboard parts for “Sojourn” and basically all the parts you hear on the EP except for the drums. I started out learning music on the piano for 7years before going onto the bass so that really gives me the flexibility to compose on an instrument other than the bass.

I get my musical ideas from everywhere – from a passing emotion after an event occurred, the spirit of a classical piece, percussions (I get a lot of inspiration from these for my tapping rhythms), a saxophone solo and of course from listening to some of my favourite bassplayers. Of course, it always helps to have a melody “hook” in my head that just won’t go away. This was the case for the song “Between Here And Then”. It started out as a trial on my new Boss RC50 looper when I was just figuring out how to navigate it. After the first loop, the subsequent loops just came out so naturally like the song was just waiting for me to compose.

Mostly I try to capture a certain emotion in my music, like a freeze-frame on a point in time. I am usually quite visual about my music. It is probably a residue from my earlier days dabbling in video art and painting; I used to weave together video shots that eventually “describe” a mood rather than relate a linear tale. This approach definitely lingered on in my song writing. Learning the piano also opened up my musical horizons, so when I think about a song, I’m hearing everything in my head from the chord progressions to the melody and rhythms.

BAJ: Congratulations on signing with Yamaha-Singapore! Please tell our readers about our current gear and about your relationship with Yamaha.

Wen: Thanks! It is the first time in the history of Yamaha-Singapore to sign an endorsement deal with artists and I am very fortunate that I have been chosen to endorse the Yamaha BBNE-II Nathan East Wh.

The 5-string bass comes with an excellent 3-band EQ and switchable mid-cut, making it incredibly flexible for playing on the very diverse range of gigs I session in from jazz/R&B to Chinese folk and heavy rock. I also really appreciate the maple and alder body as that helps to give me a crisp bright sound which is still full – great for my solo tapping or slapping.

I have done a few workshops for Yamaha since I got the BBNE and you can view a video of one of the workshops at http://www.wendyphua.com/2008/10/20/168/. At these workshops I also perform my bass solo songs using “live” looping. This never fails to interest audiences tremendously as they get to see the bass move away from its supportive role into the limelight, where it gets to also play the primary components of a song like chordal changes, to solo lines.

BAJ: Since we’re on the subject of gear… when did you begin playing with the violin bow, and what are some of the other ‘toys” in your musical tool kit?

Wen: The violin bow was actually first inspired by Jimmy Page on Dazed & Confused. I figured, hey it worked on the guitar, why not bass? So I posted an ad online for anyone who wanted to throw away a used violin bow (well it would be a waste for me to wreck a nice new piece) and amazingly enough this lady contacted me and GAVE me her old violin and the bow that came with it!. From there on, after a lot of squawking on the bass I eventually wrangled a fairly decent sound out. I then slapped on some massive delay and managed to get an ethereal symphonic sound.

Amongst the list of instruments I have performed onstage, includes my grandmother’s wind-up alarm clock and my nokia handphone! It was an experimental gig where my band and I were just looping whatever we can get our hands on and tweaking its sounds, then relooping those jumbled sounds and reverse the tweak. You can imagine the howls and horrid bunch of white noise we were making, but from my classical piano background, it was liberation to a certain extent hahaha.

My other main toy is my Boss RC60 looper. I got the idea to do live looping when I began sessioning for Randolf Arriola a few years back. He is an amazing guitarist here in Singapore who is always at the vanguard of new music technology. His extensive usage of live looping really inspired me to loop the other musical parts in my head and play my solos on top.

My looping adventures first began with the Line6 DL4 but I quite dissatisfied about being limited to just one looping channel. I went on to use Mobius as a plugin within Abletone Live, and triggered the loops via a Behringer FCB1010. While this opened up 8 more channels for me, the new setup was a real headache to configure at first as no one in Singapore was able to help me with this. With much patient help from the excellent live looping community at www.loopers-delight.com, to some very useful information and encouragement from Steve Lawson himself, I finally managed to get my setup working after about a month. It was like seeing light for the first time hahahaha.

However though I have not performed with the Mobius in public, I read a lot of incidents where live loopers were always at risk of their laptops crashing during a performance. This was when I decided to get the RC50 and though it only provide 3 channels of looping, this is enough for me with some planning. Needless to say I had no problems with it, except with myself when I might accidentally step on a wrong loop to playback/stop or even reverse on the wrong loop!

BAJ: What important lessons did you learn through managing ZHEN, and what advice could you give our readers about entering into the “business aspect” of the music business?

Wen: In Singapore, the “business aspect” of the music business has always been quite haphazard. We do not have music attorneys or music unions or even a decent music school. The culture here is that music should stay as a hobby and earning a real living means working in finance or legal.

When I started ZHEN, it was an answer to the disappointment I felt after being in a few bands with musicians that treated music as second priority whilst I felt so strongly about it. I wanted to apply my vision in a band that took music seriously and was self –driven.

I learnt a lot setting up the band, from songwriting to arranging and creating a public image for the band. Most importantly I learnt how to strike a balance between the diverse personalities in a band, and building personal endurance to multi-task like I did in ZHEN. So it was really fulfilling for me when ZHEN eventually got to play at the ESPN Star Sports Asian X-Games and the Mosaic Fringe Festival amongst some other memorable shows. We were also voted “Best Rocking Band” at a show by one of Singapore Mediacorp’s biggest radio stations Power 98 and "Best Breakthrough Performance” for our show at the huge music festival Baybeats in Singapore Esplanade.

Playing at the ESPN Star Sports Asian X-Games in Kuala Lumpur 2 years in a row was really interesting as that saw the band working as a team. Of course this was not without hiccups like band members oversleeping and missing the coach, the onslaught of a thunderstorm before the show etc. But it all turned out great in the end.

BAJ: What techniques are you currently working on, and how do you practice your art? Also, what is most likely to happen if you’re alone in a room with a bass and an amplifier – with no effects?

Wen: There are so many things I am trying to improve on but at the moment I am reviving a song I wrote years back that involves extensive use of harmonics. So you can say I am a little more focused in that area at the moment.

I try to practice my scales using pinch harmonics and experiments with alternate tunings where I play the root note on an open string while playing the voicings with harmonics. I do not have a fixe alternate tuning system and the “errors” I make sometimes can lead to very interesting harmonies.

About my use of effects, I am actually most comfortable with using just a chorus and compressor as they help to thicken my sound with some punch to it. For these I am using a Digitech Multi-chorus pedal and a modified Boss compressor CS-3 in simple gigs.

BAJ: What are the essential elements a “Wendy Phua Groove” must possess? Also, can you give our readers your thoughts on breathing and note placement? Thanks!

Wen: I have always felt that Jan Garbark and Pat Metheny’s compositions are almost architectural with their counterpointing planes of elegant lyricism. I try to apply that in my own compositions, to create musical space that complement the notes. I really agree with Victor Wooten when he mentions in his book The Music Lesson on how a solo is like holding a conversation with someone – you begin with an opener like “How are you today?” then ease into the main idea of what you are trying to say.

Soloing is an art of persuasion. In his book Rhetoric, Artistotle outlined 3 types of persuasion for a speaker to win over an audience. Apart from establishing the logic of an “argument”, the speaker also needs to makes an emotional appeal to secure the goodwill (Pathos) of the hearer and also prove one’s own moral character (Ethos) to the audience.

This is not so different from a bass solo, as apart from outlining the logic of a melody line, some of the most hearfelt solos out there can convey humility and also musical prowess simultaneously. I have always felt that Michael Manring’s “When We Last Spoke” and Jaco’s “A Remark You Made” with Weather Report really nailed the 3 types of persuasions mentioned above.

To practice restraint in my playing, I sometimes loop a chord progression and challenge myself to play only with a limited number of notes and try to focus on the melody and ways of expressing a note. Like sliding into it, playing its harmonic, popping it, vibrato on it, tapping out an arpeggio and so many other ways.

BAJ: What are 3 things you want to accomplish in the next year? Also, what are some of the tunes that constitute your life’s “soundtrack”?

Wen: Firstly, to complete my full length solo bass album and to promote it outside Singapore with performances at least within the Asian region for a start.

Secondly, I hope to be involved in more recording projects. In the past, I have been asked to collaborate / session for other artists but only in performances, like with Rosli Mansor (acclaimed local instrumental rock guitarist) and Walking On Water (Singapore’s top all-female jazz/R&B band). But I am currently in the midst of recording for a young instrumental rock guitarist Shern in Singapore who has a lot of great potential and it is certainly always inspiring to work with enthusiastic talented musicians.

Lastly, I hope to get onto either the chapman stick or an upright bass by next year! Both are something I have been wanting to get down to but haven’t had the time. Hopefully I will be able to find some time next year to explore especially the chapman stick since I am so comfortable with tapping.

As for songs I keep coming back to, Pat Metheny’s “The Awakening” is a great song to start the day with – contemplative, strong and full of positive spirit.

Songs from Jan Garbarek’s album “I Took Up The Runes”, Manring’s “When We Last Spoke” and Jeff Beck’s “Nadia” are some songs I like to listen to in a rainy weather.

When I feel the need to be inspired or get an adrenaline rush, I listen to recordings by Shawn Lane, Jonas Hellborg and Jeff Sipe, Bela Fleck and The Flecktones, The Dave Weckl Band, Rush etc.

As for albums I cannot get enough of, Wooten’s latest Palmystery has been playing constantly on my Creative Zen player.

And lastly in terms of concept albums on bass, Marcus Miller’s Tales tops it all for me. What blows my mind was how he managed to play with such deep groove that the drum samples were almost wrapped round his playing.

BAJ: What are the benefits of growing-up in such a vast cultural wonderland as Singapore?

Wen: You get to encounter a crazy hotch potch of cultures that can be both confusing and inspiring. Our main local demographics here are Chinese, Malay, Indian, and Eurasians who originate from Singapore’s pre-colonial days when there were marriages between locals and the British or Portuguese.

Some musicians have tried to conjoin local musical influences like Malay and Indian rhythms with Western musical harmonies, but these songs tend to sound quite consciously ethnic and it’s getting a bit trite. I find there is always that pressure for an Asian musician to cater to wider musical audience by creating Western influenced songs and yet retain the “Asian” identity. The question here is, in this age of global confluence, is there really this need to emphasize the Asian roots? I think Japan did a wonderful job creating a contemporary musical culture that is not exactly ethnic Japanese but it definitely sounds quite different from Western contemporary pop and this goes for its fashion wear too. For me, I just try to avoid the Asian VS Western identity crisis and make music I like. I think at this point, it is more about discovering that individual voice instead of finding a genre/tribe/category to latch on to.

BAJ: We were chatting recently about your involvement in Chinese Folk Music! How can we hear more of that music, and what is your approach to that music from a bassist’s perspective?

Wen: Well in the 70s, Singapore had a group of local musicians who came together to form a collective called “Xin Yao” meaning local musicians who wrote original music. As the musicians are mainly China immigrants, a lot of the songs tend to be played with Chinese instruments like Di Zi flute, Erhu (2 string fretless instrument!), Hu Lu Tse flute and many others. Interestingly, some of the songs also had very strongly Japanese Enka influences and I believe this was due to the time of the Japanese occupation when the locals were exposed to classic Enka.

When I first played a Xin Yao gig, it was vastly different from my other gigs. Firstly, most of the songs are very slow and because the chord progressions are really easy also, it took a lot of effort for me to stay alert as I tend to drift off into a lull! But apart from that “inconvenience”, I found it very refreshing to play alongside a Di Zi or Erhu. Bass lines normally stick to the roots of the chord progressions, but I am given room to be more melodious in certain songs. You’ll be surprised at how some old Xin Yao recordings had really good bass lines and with beautiful fretless work too. Being in Singapore, you will also find a Malay or Indian musician playing in a Xin Yao gig with no idea of what the singer is singing about, but still grooving along fine – guess it’s still music at the end of the day, the language that crosses most cultural barriers ?

BAJ: How do you approach sessions, in general? Also, what suggestions would you make to a bassist who would like to have a career as a session bassist?

Wen: Well I maintain flexibility in my playing but also try to offer a style that is distinct. I usually take about 1 song’s jamming to “test the waters” and see if the music director or band prefers simple supportive bass lines or if they would like some flare to the bass playing. You can usually tell by their glances at each other after some riffing on the bass whether they are happy with that, which most times they are ?

It also definitely helps to have experience playing in different genres as that gives you an edge to anticipate certain chord changes or styles distinct to the genre. I have played in gigs as varied as goth rock, deth metal, classic rock, top 40s, Chinese folk, funk, jazz and R&B – it definitely keeps me on my toes.

Also I think for a bassist just starting out to session, knowing your theory definitely helps to get the job done faster and smarter. This knowledge goes a long way into learning to songs pronto and improvising on the spot when the occasion calls for it, especially when the band leader suddenly throws the solo spot at you in the middle of the song! It is also very helpful to play with bands that are willing to let you cut your teeth while playing with them. I found that I learn a lot more and faster by learning on the job with good players instead of practicing at home forever.

BAJ: Are there any particular exercises, or techniques, that apply to your ability to sing and play at the same time? That is a rare gift! How do you deal with singing parts and laying down a deep foundation?

Wen: Maybe it helps that I used to play classical piano for about 7 years, so I tend to think in contrapuntal melodies and rhythm. Plus I used to be in choir at school, which helps me in my pitching.

I usually start by nailing my playing first, then the singing and memorizing the lyrics. Once the playing becomes almost second nature, I try to do both simultaneously and let the fingers literally do the walking while I concentrate on my vocals pitching.

Interestingly, during the time when I started to sing in more lead roles, my bass lines became more “organic” and I become more fluid in “singing” on the bass. I think for most bassists, we start on the bass with safe pentatonic patterns and bass riffs stolen from favourite songs. But as our musicality develops, we start to listen more to what we play instead of always falling back on familiar finger patterns.

BAJ: You have incredible tone! How close is your tone to what you hear in your mind’s ear? What are the components (tools, technique, etc) of your tone, in general?

Wen: Thank you BAJ! When I play in a band, I usually go for a slightly scooped EQ with more dip on the low-mid range. However when the band requires more prominence on the bass, like a funk or progressive rock band, I turn up my mid-highs and treble to give the growl more colour. In my solo bass recordings and performances, I usually roll up the highs and mids and tie a scrungie to the bass nut area to dampen the strings when I do my usual tapping.

During performance, I am primarily using my Boss GT6B to pre-set my EQs, along with a Boss CS3 compressor that a friend modified for me to enhance my bass tone. Try as I might, I am still not comfortable with the compressors available on the GT6B.

For the recordings on my EP, I am doing direct into my DAW setup using the IK Multimedia Ampeg SVX to expand my tone. It really gives me such an incredible versatility on my tone that so far I have not had the need to mike up. But I am definitely not closing doors on always exploring my sound.

BAJ: What would you change about your world, if you were suddenly given the power to change anything?

Wen: I wish I am taller and with longer fingers! Being only 1.56cm tall, good quality basses like my Status S1 classic and Zon Legacy Elite are usually too heavy for me and while I can play them, it usually takes its toll on my back after 2-3 hours. Playing my 6 string Zon also began giving me sharp pains in the base of my left thumb as I was playing a lot of chordal works on it at one point. While my left hand is quite obviously more muscular and with longer fingers than the right thanks to all the stretching over the years, it is still just not long enough to play what I hear in my head.

BAJ: How do you rest? What do you do in your “down time” – away from the bass guitar?

Wen: Well, I play the drums in a band now! It has always been something I would love to master, especially after watching people like Antonio Sanchez, Steve Smith and Dave Weckl. I also play my Korg Triton or guitars to find inspiration for new songs.

Other than music, reading is another great passion that has followed me since I was young. Three books at the top of my list are 100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Name of The Rose by Umberto Eco and Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky. I am currently reading The Memory Keeper’s Daughter by Kim Edwards.

I also love good films like Fargo by the Cohen Brothers, Dogville and Dancer in the Dark by Lars von Trier, Eternal Sunshine Of A Spotless Mind by Michel Gondry and so many more. My most recent favourite is Burn After Reading by the Cohen Brothers.

BAJ: Thanks so much for taking a minute to speak with us, Wendy! You’re an incredible artist, and I love your music! Is there anything you’d like to say in closing to our readers?

Wen: Thank you very much BAJ! It is truly an honour to be invited for this interview and I sincerely hope to play in America someday and around the world in fact!
- Bass Frontiers Magazine

"Wendy Phua Singapursky Zazrak"

Obcas se najde mezi lidmi nekdo, kdo se nenechá spoutat
stávajícími hranicemi. Cas od casu si nekdo položí otázku „a co je
vlastne za hranicemi?“ nebo „kam až dosáhnu?“. Mezi basovými
hráci je nekolik takov ých velikánu, kte rí pretvo rili basovou hru
a urcili jí nové hranice – at už je to Marcus Miller, Stanley Clarke,
Jaco Pastorius, Tony Levin ci Michael Manring. Ze Singapuru se
zacíná ozývat cerstv ý prírustek do rodiny objevitelu a inovátoru
basov é hry – mladá a puvabná basistka Wendy Phua.
Dlouho jsem p rem ýšlel, jak tento clánek pojmout, nebo t Wendy
v n ásleduj ícím rozhovoru zm ínila v šechny nejd ule žitejší ve ci
a fakta o sv é m život e . Tak že samotn ý clánek bude sp íš e kr átk é
shrnut í toho, co si potom p re ctete v rozhovoru.
Wendy Phua se narodila v Singapuru, kde dosud žije. Jako mal á
se u cila hr át na klav ír, co ž jí, jak sama dod ává, pomohlo zp e tne
pri h re na baskytaru. V šestn ácti letech se rozhodla, že chce hr át
v rockov é kapele a kone cným rozhodnut ím pro ni byla baskytara.
Po po cáte cním p usoben í ve screamo kapele se za cala v íce
orientovat na jazz a fusion (p resto že na rock nezanev rela)
a za cala se u cit od mistr u basov é hry Marcuse Millera, Jaco
Pastoria, Stuarta Zendera ci Francise Rocco Prestii.
Brala i lekce na baskytaru, ale nejv íce se toho nau cila pr áve
z poslechu jin ých um e lcu. Nejvíce ji v tomto ohledu ovlivnily
nahr ávky americk é ho basov é ho kouzeln íka Michaela Manringa.
Od n ej odkoukala dokonalou tappingovou techniku, p retvo rila si ji
po sv é m a u cinila z n í svou zna cku.
Za svou kari é ru vystupovala hlavn e s um e lci z jihov ýchodn ího
kouta Asie, ale zahr ála si i se slavn ým rapperem Shaggym.
V sou casn é dob e je nesm írne aktivn í a pracuje na n e kolika
projektech z árove n – de lá na sv é prvn í desce (pokud nepo cítáme
prvn í EP), p íš e hudbu pro animovan ý film a hraje s jin ými
kapelami a um e lci.
V sou casn é dob e hraje hlavn e na baskytaru Yamaha BBNE –II, ale
v arzen álu m á i baskytary Zon, Ibanez ci Status. Z krabi cek
pou žívá predev ší m Line 6 DL4, Boss GT6B a Boss RC –50 Loop
Station. Co se t ýce apar átu, tak bere, co je pr áve k dispozici – at
už je to Trace Elliot, SWR, Peavey nebo Ampeg. Ob cas pou žívá
houslov ý smy cec.
Co te primelo, abys vzala baskytaru do ruky a zacala hrát?
Když mi bylo šestn áct let, byla jsem si naprosto jist á, že chci hr át
v rockov é kapele. Nebyla jsem si ale jist á, zda bych m e la hr át na
kytaru nebo na jin ý nástroj. Nakonec jsem za cala hr át na
baskytaru, proto že jsem potkala jednu screamo kapelu, kter á
hledala hr áce na basu, a rekli si, že bude zaj ímav é m ít hrácku na
baskytaru. Moje matka z toho nebyla dvakr át nad šen á, proto že
investovala nem álo pen e z do m é ho vzd e lání v klasick é hre na
klav ír. Ale moje srdce tehdy bilo pro rockovou hudbu. Dnes je to
samoz rejm e ne co úpln e jin é ho. Miluji klasickou hudbu pr áve pro
tu komplexnost, kter á stoj í za jej ím komponov áním.
Kdo byly vaše basové vzory a proc?
Muj prvn í baskytarov ý vzor byl jednozna cne Stuart Zender
z Jamiroquai. Je to funkov ý mistr! No a proto že byl on s ám
inspirov án Jaco Pastoriusem, za cala jsem tak é poslouchat
Weather Report, a odtud u ž byl mal ý krucek k tomu, abych za cala
pozn ávat takov é basisty, jako jsou Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten,
Brian Bromberg a pro m e nejd ule žitejší Michael Manring, kter ý
m už e za to, že jsem se za cala intenzivn e zaj ímat o tapping. Mezi
moje nejobl íben ejší alba pat rí urcite Tales od Marcuse Millera
a Unusual Weather od Michaela Manringa. V sou casn é dob e
poslouch ám Palmystery Victora Wootena.
Jak jste se naucila hrát na basu? Mela jste nejakého ucitele?
Proto že jsem nev e de la o basov é hre absolutn e nic, kdy ž jsem
za cala hr át v t é prvn í screamo kapele, bylo to jen d íky podpo re
m ých spoluhr ácu , že jsem se u cila na basu velice rychle a byla
jsem nakonec schopn á za n e kolik m e sícu absolvovat sv é prvn í
vystoupen í. Urcite mi nesm írne pomohlo m é vzd e lání v klasick é
hudb e , že jsem byla schopna rozum e t hudb e jako takov é
a zvl ádnut í baskytary se omezilo jen na osvojen í si z ákladn í
techniky hry. Nakonec jsem absolvovala i n e kolik lekc í u m ých
prátel a u citel u na baskytaru Jonathana Sima a Micah Lima (oba
vynikaj ící singapur ští basist é ) a hodn e jsem se nau cila i ze sv ých
obl íben ých nahr ávek. Vlastn e se inspiruji jak v s ólov ých basov ých
skladb ách, tak ve skladb ách, kde dominuj í jin é nástroje, a t už je
Groove v sukni Wendy
Wendy Phua
Esperanza Spalding Groove
v sukni
Groove v sukni: Rhonda Smith
Meshell Ndegeocello Groove
v sukni
Tal Wilkenfeld Groove
v sukních
Tina Weymouth Groove
v sukni
Groove v sukni: Vivi Rama
Gail Ann Dorsey Groove
v sukni
Antonella Mazza Groove
v sukni
Jen Zielenbach Groove
v sukních
Tipy, triky, nastaven í Ekvalizéry
(2) Ekvalizér
Tama Iron Cobra HP900F,
HP900P a HP900RS nové
modely pedálu Tama
Základy z hudební nauky v
otázkách a odpovedích Téma
12: Dejiny ceské hudby v kostce
12.2: rock (6. díl)
Esperanza Spalding Groove
Kde vzít a nekrást EasyVsyn
trochu retro
Pódiové sestavy slavn ých
klávesistu Jason
Jak jste se naucila hrát na basu? Mela jste nejakého ucitele?
Proto že jsem nev e de la o basov é hre absolutn e nic, kdy ž jsem
za cala hr át v t é prvn í screamo kapele, bylo to jen d íky podpo re
m ých spoluhr ácu , že jsem se u cila na basu velice rychle a byla
jsem nakonec schopn á za n e kolik m e sícu absolvovat sv é prvn í
vystoupen í. Urcite mi nesm írne pomohlo m é vzd e lání v klasick é
hudb e , že jsem byla schopna rozum e t hudb e jako takov é
a zvl ádnut í baskytary se omezilo jen na osvojen í si z ákladn í
techniky hry. Nakonec jsem absolvovala i n e kolik lekc í u m ých
prátel a u citel u na baskytaru Jonathana Sima a Micah Lima (oba
vynikaj ící singapur ští basist é ) a hodn e jsem se nau cila i ze sv ých
obl íben ých nahr ávek. Vlastn e se inspiruji jak v s ólov ých basov ých
skladb ách, tak ve skladb ách, kde dominuj í jin é nástroje, a t už je
to kytara, klav ír, saxofon nebo cokoli jin é ho. Je to proto, že miluji
sólov é melodie vystav e né na akordov ých postupech, kter é jsou
nejak zaj ímav e vystav e ny. D íky vlivu obrovsk é ho mno žství hudby
jsem se nakonec dostala a ž k poslouch ání fúze jazzu a funku.
Zdá se, že vaše skladby mají své koreny v klasické hudbe. Je to
pravda? Studujete kompozici?
Ano. Jak u ž jsem zmi novala p red chv ílí, studovala jsem sedm let
klasickou hru na klav ír, ale rozhodla jsem se rad eji pro rockovou
hudbu, nebo t se mi zd ála v íce vzru šující a siln ejší , nav íc jsem
m e la mo žnost experimentovat a ps át sv é vlastn í skladby.
Opravdu jsem se tehdy hodn e nau cila o tom, jak pou žívat
v hudb e svoje u ši a jak aplikovat to, co sly ší m, do skl ádání
hudby. P resto, kdy ž píš i sv é sólov é kompozice, m ám tendenci
sp íš e spol é hat na to, co sly ší m, a na n áladu hudby, kter á teprve
následn e získ ává formu. Ve chv íli,, kdy je hotov á základn í stavba
skladby, pou žiji sv é znalosti z oblasti kompozice a hudebn í teorie,
abych n ejak ým zp usobem dotvo rila skladbu a zjistila, jak ým
zp usobem bych ji je šte mohla vylep šit. Je to i d íky z áklad um ve
hre na klav ír, že jsem byla schopna se nau cit tapping velmi rychle
a jednodu še. Je to jako hra na klav ír. Kone cne , klav ír je p reci tak é
strunn ý nástroj.
Co cvicíte? A co si mysl íte že je duležitejší cvicit – techniku, nebo
Obvykle za cínám s lehk ým prota žen ím prst u, je to podobn é , jako
kdy ž se atlet protahuje p red z ávodem. Pak n ásleduj í nejak á
jednoduch á zah rívací cvicen í k uvoln e ní sval u v rukou, n e kdy
cvicím do n ejak ých jednoduch ých skladeb, kter é poslouch ám,
abych se l é pe dostala do n álady pracovat na hudb e . Mám
hromadu skladeb ci jen riff u, na kter ých se rozcvi cuji. Z ále ží na
tom, jak dlouh ý cas m ám na rozcvi cen í. Ne kter é rychlé tappingy
do m ých skladeb m e zah rejí do deseti minut, obvykle to
pou žívám t e sn e pred koncertem. V ždycky cvi cím s metronomem,
proto že nem ám r áda spol é hát se v tempu na buben íky. Podle
mne by cel á kapela m e la šlapat kolem stejn é doby, a ne se
spol é hat na buben íka jako na jedin é ho dirigenta. To ale
neznamen á, že neposlouch ám buben íka. Hodn e se soust red ím na
to, abych p ribila sv uj groove p resn e na buben ík uv, a v ždycky se
be hem zvukovky uji štuji, že m uj zvuk dob re lad í se zvukem
velk é ho bubnu.
Pro m e jsou harmonie, technika, stupnice a v šechno ostatn í jen
cásti jednoho velk é ho hudebn ího sch é matu – dos áhnout
muzik álnosti, kde nikdo nemus í prem ýšlet a uv e domovat si tyhle
jednotliv é cá sti, ale bude pou žívat jak ýkoli postup p ri vytv áren í
hudby. Osobn e si mysl ím, že harmonie je slo žitejší na pochopen í,
ne ž je technika. Harmonie je m é ne konkr é tní a velmi subjektivn í.
Technika je jen pr áce na svalech r uzn ých cástí ruky, ale v harmonii
je spousta je spousta r uzn ých zvrat u, kter ými se m už ete
vyjad rovat, sta cí pridat jednu notu, a v šechno je jinak.
S kým vším jste za svou kari éru hrála a co vám ty spolupráce
V minulosti jsem
v roce 2003 hr ála
s jamajsk ým reggae
zp e vákem Shaggym
pro MTV Asia, hr ála
s crossoverovou
zp e va ckou Emmou
Shapplin, kter á
zp ívá rockov é
opery, hr ála jsem
s kytaristou Riki
a dal ší mi. Byly to
pro mne
nezapomenuteln é
záž itky, d íky nim ž
jsem se ohromn e
moc nau cila hr át ve
velk ých ar é nách.
I d íky sv é vlastn í nahr ávce, EP Between Here and Then z roku
2008, jsem dostala spoustu nab ídek na session pr áci, nap ríklad
s rockov ými kytaristy Rosli Mansorem nebo Shern Wongem.
Hrála jsem tak é s Lion City Orchestra, co ž je osmi clenn á soulov á
kapela v Singapuru, jej íž sou cástí je i dechov á sekce. D ále jsem
hrála ve Walkin ’ on Water – to je žensk á kapela, kter á hraje jazz
a r &??b, a jej í clenky jsou absolventkami Berklee; hr ála jsem i v
TC Music Station – pro zaveden ý management v cínsk é produkci
a spoustu dal ší ch akc í.
Myslíte si, že je nejaký rozdíl mezi mužskými a ženskými basisty?
Mám na mysli rozdíl v prístupu k hudbe, protože v technice hry
žádný rozdíl není.
No, je vid e t siln ý trend, kdy se ženy coby zp e va cky ci klav íristky
a skladatelky dost ávají na stupe n hudebn í obratnosti a zdatnosti
srovnateln ý s jejich mu žsk ými prot ejšky. Kdy ž ale p rijde na m é ne
konven cní nástroje, co se t ýce v ýbe ru pro hudebnice, jako je pr áve
baskytara nebo t reba bic í, ženy maj í tendenci si myslet, že nikdy
nedos áhnou toho stupn e dokonalosti jako mu ži. I kdy ž vezmeme
v potaz to, že kytary a baskytary jsou stav e ny pro vy šší
a rozlo žitejší , tedy mu žskou, konstrukci t e la, nikdy m e to
neodradilo od hran í a od d e lání hudby. Prost e jsem si jen vyb írala
men ší baskytary, jako t reba Yamahu BX1, nebo jsem si jen na šla
krat ší popruh, abych dostala baskytaru v ýš – jako t reba Yamahu
BBNE, kter á je pro mne celkem velk á, ale ten n ádhern ý zvuk mi
vykompenzuje v šechna negativa. Je to jen o tom, kde a jak mohu
de lat svou hudbu.
Jste firemn í hráckou Yamahy. Pro c jste si vybrala práve jejich
Je to poprv é v historii, kdy singapursk á pobo cka Yamahy za cala
podporovat n ejak é ho hr áce. Jsem hrd á a štastn á, že jsem byla
vybrána, abych na jejich n ástroje mohla hr át. Konkr é tne pou žívám
baskytaru Yamaha BBNE –II Nathan East WH.
BBNE je ide ální baskytara pro v šechny styly a je velmi flexibiln í.
Má excelentn í trípásmov ý ekvaliz é r a vyp ínateln é stredy, co ž
umo žn uje hran í na naprosto odli šných koncertech, na kter ých hraji
– od jazzu a r & b p res cínskou lidovou hudbu a ž po heavy rock.
Hodn e mi vyhovuje kombinace ol še a javoru v t e le n ástroje, kter á
mi pom áhá dostat z n ástroje jisk rivý a cist ý zvuk, kter ý je ale
stále pln ý – je to ide ální pro moji s ólovou a tappingovou hru.
Od t é doby co m ám BBNE jsem d e lala pro Yamahu n e kolik
workshop u. Na te chto workshopech up rednost nuji sv é sólov é
Groove v sukni Wendy
Je to poprv é v historii, kdy singapursk á pobo cka Yamahy za cala
podporovat n ejak é ho hr áce. Jsem hrd á a štastn á, že jsem byla
vybrána, abych na jejich n ástroje mohla hr át. Konkr é tne pou žívám
baskytaru Yamaha BBNE –II Nathan East WH.
BBNE je ide ální baskytara pro v šechny styly a je velmi flexibiln í.
Má excelentn í trípásmov ý ekvaliz é r a vyp ínateln é stredy, co ž
umo žn uje hran í na naprosto odli šných koncertech, na kter ých hraji
– od jazzu a r & b p res cínskou lidovou hudbu a ž po heavy rock.
Hodn e mi vyhovuje kombinace ol še a javoru v t e le n ástroje, kter á
mi pom áhá dostat z n ástroje jisk rivý a cist ý zvuk, kter ý je ale
stále pln ý – je to ide ální pro moji s ólovou a tappingovou hru.
Od t é doby co m ám BBNE jsem d e lala pro Yamahu n e kolik
workshop u. Na te chto workshopech up rednost nuji sv é sólov é
basov é kompozice doprov ázen é ž ivými podklady. Nikdy to
nep restane publikum bavit, kdy ž vid í, jak se basov á hra dost ává
ze sv é pod rízen é a doprovodn é role do pop red í a na sv e tlo, kde
hraje ty nejd ule žitejší cá sti skladby, jako akordick é zm e ny
a s ólov é linky.
Jak é jsou vaše soucasné hudební aktivity, m užete nám o tom ríci
neco víc?
Díky sdru žen í singapursk ých hudebn ích instrumentalist u, kter é se
jmenuje Singapore Fretboard Frenzy and Terrabox Management,
jsem hr ála v ned ávné dob e pro Localisation in Esplanade
Concourse. N ádhern e m e tady doprov ázela perkusistka Audrey
Tang, zakladatelka a bubenice ji ž zmi novan é ž ensk é kapely
Walkin ’ on Water. Bylo to na tomto koncert e , kde jsem poprv é
zahr ála svou novou kompozici, kter á nese n ázev Windchimes.
Vystoupen í m už ete shl é dnout na www.wendyphua.com/videos/
Pripravuj í se dva dal ší zaj ímav é projekty. Byla jsem vybr ána,
abych napsala tituln í skladbu pro jednu kr átkou animaci. M e la
bych ji nato cit do m e síce a samotn á animace bude dokon cena do
konce tohoto roku.
Druh á ve c je, že jsem pr áve podepsala smlouvu s MTV Asia, kter á
mi d á prostor na sv ých internetov ých str ánk ách, kde budou
clánky, videa a hudba – po cítám že to bude asi do dvou m e sícu
hotov é . Tyto str ánky maj í obrovskou n ávšte vnost, od Singapuru
pres Malajsii, Hong Kong, Indon é sii, Thajsko, Vietnam a ž po
Filip íny. MTV Asia pro m e bude opravdu zaj ímav á platforma, d íky
kter é se mohu dostat do kontaktu s podobn e sm ýšlejícími
hudebn íky v cel é jihov ýchodn í Asii.
Práve jsem dokon cila nat ácen í nov é desky velmi nad ejn é ho
kytaristy Shern Wonga. Dokon cili šnu ru na podporu jeho EP.
V kapele je šte byli buben ík Alfe Kim a Simon Lai na kytaru.
V sou casnosti pokra cuji s Shern Wongem v dal ší m hran í.
Co si myslíte, že je pro zacátecníka nejduležitejší, když se chce
stát basov ým virtuosem?
Mus í pochopit, co je d ule žité ve h re na basu v r uzn ých stylech.
Nau cit se je a dokonale je zvl ádnout. Pak je mus í zahodit a naj ít
si sv é vlastn í postupy a principy hry. Kl ícem k inovac ím je nechat
otev renou mysl k basov é hre. Jak vid ím v sou casn é dob e ,
minim álne u singapursk ých basist u, mnoho jich nev í, jak
experimentovat na baskytaru, a maj í tendenci se schov ávat za
bicí. Ve chv íli, kdy se v ám hraje v ka ždé situaci pohodln e , je cas
prehodnotit sv uj p rístup a zkusit to jinak.
Jakou hudbu posloucháte?
Mám opravdu r áda jazzov é nahr ávky, cokoli z nahr ávací
spole cnosti ECM, miluji funk kapel jako Earth, Wind and Fire nebo
Tower of Power nebo dobrou elektronickou hudbu Lamb and
Imogen Heap. Hodn e se v sou casnosti vrac ím ke klasick é hudb e ,
zejm é na m ám r áda C ajkovsk é ho. M ám r áda The Awakening od
Pata Methenyho, album Jana Garbareka I Took up the Runes
a Jeff Beckovu Nadii. Vzru šují mne nahr ávky Shawna Lanea,
Jonase Hellborga a Jeffa Sipea, vynikaj ící jsou B é la Fleck and The
Flecktones, Dave Weckl Band, Rush a mnoho dal ší ch.
Jak é máte hudební plány do budoucna?
V sou casn é dob e pracuji na sv é m s ólov é m albu a na dal ší ch
projektech spolupracuji. Sna žím se tak é prosadit jako skladatelka
filmov é hudby, hudby do animac í nebo po cíta cových her.n - Muzikus Cezch Music Magazine


Between Here And Then EP
1. Sojourn
2. Stormy Weather
3. Between Here And Then - this song has received air-play on the Japanese radio station Radio Eigekai and on Singapore Mediacorp's Lush 99.5 FM. It has also been very popular on myspace.com/wendyphua



After knocking on classical piano keys for 6 years as a child, Wendy one day decided to pick up the bass and has not looked back since.

Drawing inspiration from bass heroes like Michael Manring, Victor Wooten, Jaco Pastorious and Rocco Prestia during her formative years, she finally plucked up enough courage to deliver her first show at age 15.

With a dose of sheer determination, this bassist kept striving to improve her playing and she has since gone on to session for the likes of Jamaican reggae rap super-star Shaggy, French opera-singer Emma Shapplin and heart-stopping guitarist Riki Hendrix, cousin of Blues Rock guitar legend Jimi Hendrix.

Having played at exciting events like the MTV Asia Awards (2004), ESPNStar Sports Asia X-Games (2005 & 2006) in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and Singapore’s biggest annual indie-music festival Baybeats (2005), this bassist indeed draws no boundaries when it comes to music. Her love for everything from african jazz to electronica and classical music has seen Wendy constantly striving to broaden her musical horizons.

Wendy was the founder and bassist of prog-rock band Zhen and is actively composing, recording and performing not only solo bass gigs, but also sessioning for guitarist Rosli Mansor and all-female jazz/R&B band Walking On Water. Wendy is also the bassist in cinematic rock group The Embryo.