Happenings

Happenings

Happenings

Happenings

System 10 Interview Series (Stompbox): Yazeid Rahman, Bassist of Simon Yong Band

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1.  Tell us a bit about your background. How did you become a bassist?

Apparently, my first instrument wasn’t the bass guitar, but an acoustic guitar, which was bought by my dad. As a kid, I was excited about it, but not for long. It took me years until when I was around 14, that I really learnt to play the guitar as I found classmates that play as well. I started to form up bands with several friends in school. I even did acoustic performances with some of them for a few celebrations, like Teachers’ Day. During those years, it was a period of “British Invasion” yet again, where many bands emerged from England, competing the top of the charts along with the American bands. So with no surprise, I formed a “rock” band to play our favourite tunes of that time. Eventually, my bassist decided to stop, and I bought his bass guitar, just so that my house will be almost completely equipped for any jams. Only several years later, during my 2.5yrs service in the army, where I met a fellow soldier, who plays the electric guitar really good. He decided to have a casual jam and asked me if I can play the bass guitar. Seeing a virtuoso on the electric guitar, I got excited and took on the bassist role. It was then where I really realised the essence and importance of the bass instrument in a band and how enjoyable it could be to play. Being new to the bass instrument, it was quite a challenge for me as we did instrumental songs of well respected musicians like, Eric Johnson, Billy Cobham, Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Herbie Hancock, etc, where the bass lines can be more than just playing the root notes or fifths. I began to appreciate the instrument more and loving the role as a bass player. From then on, if people were to ask if I play any musical instruments, I would say that I’m a bassist, I play the bass guitar.

 

2.  What made you want to continue pursuing music?

I would say that I was born without natural talent in music. In other words, I’m a trained musician. But music was instilled in me since I was young as my home is often filled with music from my father’s time. That gave me some good foundation in music, which helped me grow musically. Eventually I started to play music and often get appraised not just by friends but also strangers or audiences. Opportunities open up one after another, which made me feel appreciated and motived to carry on and pursue this art.

 

3.  What is your most memorable performance so far?

It will definitely be the very first time I joined a band competition. Not only that, it was also my second time playing in public as a bass player. I got stage frights every time I’m on stage performing in front of the public and the judges, but I really enjoyed the journey and experience. Much was learnt about crafting the bass in a band, musicianship and also showmanship, which are so valuable to me, till this day.

 

Yazeid with his current fellow band members Simon Yong and Joanna Lim, a long way from when he first started out at the age of 14

 

4.  How did you first hear about Audio-Technica and its microphones?

Audio-Technica is one brand that can easily be noticed. Not only in magazines, but also in public places, while commuting, I can see people having the headphones or even earpieces, as the logo is very noticeable. While at work, I have friends who will not leave home without bringing their Audio-Technica microphones for performances.

 

5.  Why did you choose to use the System 10 Stompbox and how do you incorporate it in your work?

Over the years, for most, we are still following the conventional way of gear setup, which is using cables. Even though wireless systems have been around for years, most are skeptical about their quality in sound and reliability in their performance, and of course including me. They may be some systems, which were vouched for quality, maybe even better than cables, but they are rather costly. There have been several occasions after my performances, where the musicians that I worked with, said how much they enjoyed and at the same time worried watching me moving around performing with the cables going in and out between my legs. I still didn’t get myself a wireless system, until the System 10 Stompbox came about. There are a few factors that got me convinced even before I could even try it. The design, as a stompbox, really makes it convenient for me to put it on my pedalboard along with my other stompboxes. The built, I should say, is like a tank. This definitely assures that it will not get into pieces while travelling and performing. Sound wise, even though I’m a bass player, I prefer my sound to be clear in all frequency range, from solid lows to crispy highs, thus with the system having to support frequency range from 20Hz to 20kHz is definitely an advantage. The system is designed on a world wide standard frequency band of 2.4Ghz, which is safe from interference, and with a very innovative way to maintain a reliable connection – frequency, time and space, are reasons why I’m convinced of its stability. And most of all, the price is amazingly affordable even though we are getting all the goodies of the system. I’ve not only used it for my performances with the bass guitar, but also when I play the acoustic guitar. It has definitely ‘cleaned up’ my workspace and let me roam freely and safely.

 

Yazeid and the Audio-Technica System 10 Stompbox 

 

6.  What is the greatest challenge in your work?

Having a different lifestyle, where our time is not fixed to the usual Mondays to Fridays and 9-5pm, is one thing that affects me in a few ways. One main thing will be, social time, be it with family or friends, will be like trying to juggle 3 oranges, or maybe more. It was tough initially, as our kind of work is usually during other peoples’ leisure time. But with enough “practice”, and of course understanding, we are still able to sort out some time.

 

7.  What is one band/musician you look up to?

One musician that amazed me the first time I watch him play, and continues to inspire me is, Victor Wooten, an American bass player and also a composer, producer. He is a very well respected bass player, as he not only has brought the ‘slap and pop’ technic to another level, but also presented the bass instrument in a way that is far from the conventional way. This can be heard from his album “A Show of Hands”, where he proved his versatility and his creativity in delivering different genres from the bass instrument.

 

8.  What are your plans for the future?

As a musician, like any other profession, we are always trying to improve our skills. There are still much for me to study and explore in music for myself. Apart from hoping to have opportunities to work with other musicians, I would also like to contribute to the individuals whom are trying to grasp musical knowledge by imparting them with my own methodology, where they not only are able to pick up music quickly with good understanding, but also adequately equipping them if they were to pursue further in music.

 

Yazeid Rahman doing the thing he loves the most: Playing the bass

 

9.   Any parting tips for aspiring musicians?

We all grew up with different styles or fashion of music, but don’t limit ourselves to it. They are much more of music that we can learn and appreciate. Crossing our boundaries could bring us to new opportunities that we could never have imagined of. All the best!

 

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