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Bass Things

Ranaan Meyer

profilepic.jpgPrimary Styles: Jazz, Classical, Solo, Other

Current Position: Bassist - Time for Three, Wabass Camps - Artistic Director, Composer, Alternate - Philadelphia Orchestra

Favorite Bass Things: Thomastik Spirocore (light) Strings, Pop's Rosin, David Gage Carbon-Fiber Trunk

Ranaan is sponsored by: Shank's Strings, Robertson & Son's Violin Shop, and David Gage String Instruments





Bio

Ranaan Meyer is a musical force that is quickly being recognized throughout the music world for his many projects, including his compositions and double bass work with the electrifying string trio, Time for Three. In addition to being a talented composer and double bass player, Meyer is also actively involved in education programs across the country, and is frequently called upon to solo with orchestras. As a composer and performer, Meyer has a rare versatility, and in addition to his classical work, he is an accomplished jazz musician, who has performed with the likes of Branford Marsalis, Jane Monheit, and many more. Mr. Meyer began studying music at the age of 4, soon graduating from piano to cello and then double bass. In 2003, Meyer graduated from the acclaimed Curtis Institute of Music. During his time at the Curtis Institute, Mr. Meyer began working with Zach DePue and Nick Kendall forming the string trio Time for Three. Their music, which proved to be a wildly popular mix of classical, country western, pop, gypsy and jazz, soon launched their careers as successful musicians, and they continue to collaborate, tour and record together releasing albums on the record label eOne.

Through all of Mr. Meyer's teaching experience he found himself compelled to begin two camps of his own.  He launched Wabass Institute in Wabash, Indiana: A Double Bass Camp formed in June 2008. Wabass teachers include Hal Robinson (Principle Bass of the Philadelphia Orchestra/bass teacher at the Curtis Institute of Music) and Eric Larson (Houston Symphony Double Bassist). The camp is free of tuition to the 9 elite double bass students that are accepted every year. The other camp is called Wabass Workshop which is held at the Curtis Institute of Music where Ranaan collaborates with Joe Conyers (Assistant Principle Bassist of the Philadelphia Orchestra. Also Ranaan performs regularly with his mother Norma Meyer whom is a pianist. In addition he is regularly commissioned to compose for solo bass, bass and piano, and other ensembles.


See Ranaan in action in Time for Three's newest music video:



BassThings: How did you pick the bass?

Ranaan Meyer: Well, the bass picked me, in a way. My mom is a pianist, and when I was four years old, I wanted her to teach me. And then when I was nine, I went to the cello, but ended up quitting because my brother said something bad about cello players. My mom told me that I was going to have to go tell my public school cello teacher that I was quitting. I was nine years old, so that was a big deal. She cried when I told her that I didn’t want to play the cello anymore. I didn’t really understand exactly why she was so upset. My mom explained it to me when I came home that my teacher was probably doing that because she thought I had talent and she was sad that she couldn't get through to me.

Because I was such a quitter - I quit the sporting teams, I quit the piano several times, I quit the cello -  when I was eleven, my mom told me, “Look, now you’re going to be a big boy. You’re going on to junior high school. You’re gonna pick an instrument and stick with it until you’re eighteen or out of the house, whichever comes sooner.”  And I said, "ok". There was this cool kid named Luke who was very popular and played the bass; I wanted to be friends with him so I could be popular too, and I decided to play the bass for those reasons. Of course, I didn’t tell my mom that. I started to play it and I became friends with Luke, but then I didn’t want to play anymore. After three months I wanted to quit the bass, but my mom said, “No. This time I mean it. You’re not quitting. You’re playing this for at least seven more years.”

I’m really glad she did that because when I was fifteen years old, I got introduced to the language of jazz and immediately, I found extreme passion for the instrument. I just couldn’t put it down, I couldn’t stop playing, I couldn’t stop learning and getting better because I was so excited to be able to do new things on the instrument. I understood it in a way that made sense to me all of the sudden. I realized that the point of playing an instrument, for me, was to communicate - a way to share emotions on a whole different level than I could with my voice or actions. That really excited me, and that’s when it all began.

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BassThings: Having found your passion playing jazz, how did you then also get into the classical element?

Ranaan Meyer: Well, I studied with a teacher, Douglas Mapp, who is what I call a 'switch hitter'. He played all sorts of different genres, but his primary ones were classical and jazz. One of the first things he said to me after he found out that I wanted to be a jazz bass player was: “Ok. If you want to do that, you’re gonna have to really take the classical music seriously.”  And that’s all I needed to hear from a teacher that I respected so much. It’s what I had to do and I just started to do it. And so then, slowly but surely, I realized how incredible classical music is. So, I started taking classical music very seriously at that point. All of these music forms were conduits for me to communicate in a way I never could before. Jazz was my first conduit, and then it led to classical and to all these other styles of music. When I moved to New York, it evolved from jazz and classical to world music, to bossa nova, to funk, to playing in a rock band.

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BassThings: What instrument do you play on? Is there an interesting story behind it?

Ranaan Meyer: Owning basses is a journey, for sure. It’s very, very rare for a bass player to get their final bass on day one. So,  just like everyone else, I went through several basses before I got to the one I play now. I want to encourage the younger bass players, the bass students, not to be discouraged by their journey through bass ownership. It’s a hard thing to do because, when you start getting to a certain level as a player, you will want to have an instrument that suits your level. All I could say to comfort those people is that we’ve all been there, and we've all experienced this.

I started with a German bass that I bought for $1,500 back in the day; actually, my parents bought it. I don’t think I’d ever part with it, so I still own that. It makes for a great jazz instrument. Then I had two basses in between that one and the one that I have now. I had a Hawkes, which is a very large instrument - great orchestral sound and really challenging to get around in the upper register. When I went to study with Hal Robinson at Curtis, one of the first things he encouraged me to do was to get a bass that’s a lot more user-friendly. Then I got a French bass that was really good for me. It wasn’t the best sounding instrument in my opinion. It was a little raw, but it was very easy to do everything on it from top to bottom. That was a big breakthrough for me as a musician.

Again, I’d like to encourage the students that are reading this to really consider user-friendly instruments. It’s very easy for the sound to take over especially when you’re not as versed and knowledgeable about the variety of instruments that exist. You go into a store, pick up the first bass you see, and you play one note and it sounds golden. You might be extremely inspired by it, but you can’t play in the upper register because the shoulders are just so damn big. Sometimes, as you’re growing as a bass student, the most incredible sound is not necessarily of crucial importance, but being able to enforce good playing habits on the instrument is extremely valuable. So, it's really important to consider instruments from top to bottom.

So, after having that French bass for a while, I started looking for a bass with the same type of sloped shoulders, but on an instrument with extreme depth. At that point, you’re talking about shelling out tens of thousands of dollars, but I was ready to make that move. I was serious about what I wanted to do with my life on a professional level. So, I went ahead and described exactly what I wanted to Aaron Robertson, my friend at Robertson & Sons Violin Shop, who I also went to Curtis with. I told him I wanted an Italian instrument that had this huge orchestral sound down low, and as it goes up to the top, a beautiful Yo-Yo Ma-like "celloistic" solo sound. The beautiful sloped shoulders make the instrument easy to play and user-friendly. Aaron sort of chuckled and humoured me a little bit, patronized me, hit me on my shoulder and said, “if that thing comes along, you‘ll be the first on the list” - sort of saying, “don’t hold your breath.”  Six months later, the bass that I described actually came along. Aaron immediately called me up and said, “Get some money together because your bass is here.” That's how I came to play on my Giovanni Cavani authentic bass from Genoa, Italy, 1892. For me, it’s absolutely priceless - and she has a name. I call her Xena, after the princess warrior. There was an accident in Time for Three’s first recording session where the producer, really nice guy, accidentally brushed up against the 80-pound sound barrier that was right above my bass - I had just bought it - and the sound barrier fell on the bass. It really should have just demolish the bass, but instead it just sort-of bounced off. Mr. Robertson did such a great restoration on the instrument. So, because she’s so beautiful and so strong, I call her Xena.

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BassThings: How do you practice, and how has your practice changed over time?
 
Ranaan Meyer: Practicing has been an evolving process for me. The way I practiced three months ago is different than it is now, and it is significantly different than when I was at Curtis, in high school, etc. The bottom line is: practicing is good. Period. That said, there are some things that I caution people against when it comes to practicing. It’s something that I call "monkey work". That means just going through the motions, but not putting thought into what it is you’re doing. That, to me, is bad practice.

In order to engage in good practice, you must know what your objective is and figure out the best way to go about that objective for you. In tandem with that, using music as your guide is another fundamental. There needs to be a reason for practice - a musical goal. An example of that may be a phrase that you want to shape, a piece that you want to send a message to your audience with, a character, emotion, story, and then what goes into the line to make that happen. When you’re a younger musician, you don’t always know what the right moves are musically, stylistically, in character, all those things. But even for the really young guys and gals, I encourage them to think about that and to get to that point where they’re beginning to make their own decisions.

I don’t want you to think that books and etudes aren't valuable, but they’re only valuable with some sort of a "Yoda" or mentor attached to it. I was given etude books by my teachers, and I know they definitely helped me. For instance, there's the Billé thumb position book that just made me so strong up there - and I think that’s one of the reasons that I can do what I’m capable of in the thumb position today. So, sometimes you do need to just kind of shape something that’s hard for you to do, but be sure to put considerable thought into it. I find that practicing the repertoire or practicing things that you’re in love with on a musical level just enables your technique. The goal is to be disciplined as a musician, so that when you’re practicing your music-making, you can develop your own exercises for the piece - to make the piece stronger and to make you a better bass player.

Whether it’s my original compositions, whether it’s standard repertoire, whether it’s orchestral excerpts, whether it’s a jazz piece, blue grass, any or all of the above, I try to play it to the best of my ability, and sometimes I have to put in some really tedious work in the process of fixing things. The important thing is that I’m working on fixing the music, and fixing the details within the music-making, as opposed to saying, “ok, I’m gonna practice my etudes book for 45 minutes, I’m gonna practice my concerto for 45 minutes, my scales, my arpeggios, and that’s what I’m gonna do every day.”  I don’t think that's a very good strategy.

For example, Fred Zimmerman wrote a book called Art of the Bow, which basically uses open strings as a way to separate your right hand from your left hand. I’ve taken its principals into my own individual way of practicing where I’ve established exercises based on the pieces that I play. Based on the decisions that you make with your fingerings and bowings, with what string you’re on, and the musical solutions that you’re going for, I encourage using a technique called "hand separation" to really nit-pick and figure out how to make everything sound as best as you possibly can.

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BassThings: What do you think is the most important aspect of your musicianship or your craft?

Ranaan Meyer: What I’ve been finding, as a performer playing with all sorts of different orchestras and Time for Three, is that we know and understand the element of the music. There’s an aspect that is extremely challenging to communicate to even the highest level musician, which is not intonation, not counting, not accents, not vibrato - all the dressing. What I find to be extremely challenging for these high level musicians is understanding the essence and the groove of this music.

ranaan3.jpgThere have been a lot of other great musicians in my life that I’ve had the pleasure of collaborating with, communicating with, playing with  - and I find what differentiates truly great musicians from the rest is that they are able to  fully embrace the joy of the groove - of the feel. I notice that with singer-songwriters, or rock musicians or any type of genre that’s more pop-based or mainstream-based in our world of music, that feel is what the human spirit latches on to. Sometimes you don’t even have to be in tune, you don’t even have to have a good voice, you don’t have to have so many things that a lot of great musicians have. But what these people have, and are able to communicate, is the essence of the groove, the essence of the feel, the style that is them, that is that person.

A lot of times I will think I’ve played a really horrible show and be really down on myself. But I don’t get a response that’s negative from the audience. And what I’ve come to realize is that, no matter what, at all cost, no matter how lousy I think I’m playing, no matter how bad things get up on stage, that feel thing, the style, the groove doesn’t go, doesn’t diminish, doesn’t leave. And so I feel that that’s a huge part of music-making, and capturing the audience.

Even if you know you want to be a classical musician, or a jazz musician, or a rock musician - whatever it is - you should definitely push your extremes, check out other sources, other styles, other things, other musicians that you respect - even if you think you’ll never do those styles of music. That exposure can really, really enable you to find your feel, your groove, and your individuality and style.

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BassThings: What would be the most critical piece of advice you would give to a new bass player?

Ranaan Meyer: As a young student, as an novice, really, really try to find a teacher that cares about you to the point where they’re gonna try to discover who you are and build. Teacher and student relationships are about working together. Every now and then, a teacher would say to me, “I kicked this person's butt the other day”, and they’re all proud of themselves. I’ve never felt proud about something like that. For me, it’s about working as a team. It’s all about that student getting better and feeling good about what they’re doing on the instrument, and bringing them to the next level. Make sure that you’re getting a teacher that you feel extremely comfortable with.

I took a lesson once with my second teacher on a high school level, Neil Courtney, who was in the Philly Orchestra for fifty years. At my first lesson with him, I was so nervous. I played a piece to audition for him, and at the end of the lesson he said, “you’re really great and you should know that today, the lesson is just as much an audition for you to me.” - basically saying to me that I should be auditioning him as a teacher. It’s a shared thing, and I think there is a balance of equality between the teacher and the student that should be very, very present for all ages and for all teacher-student relationships.

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BassThings: What would be the most critical piece of advice you would give to an intermediate or advanced bass player?

Ranaan Meyer: A lot of times, students build the music up to be a lot more complicated than it is. I've found that one of the biggest things that helped me as a musician, as a bass player, is to simplify - to find ways to make it so it's easy, not challenging - not difficult, but easy - simplified. I want to remind everyone that we’re dealing with twelve notes and four strings, a bow in your right hand, and your left hand pushing down the strings.

One time, in a master class environment, Hal Robinson got up to the podium to speak. He said that "Teaching the bass is like teaching kindergarten". We all laughed our butts off, but I think there’s so much truth to that. You’re talking A to G - you’re not even talking the whole alphabet. There’s a lot of simplicity to it. Finding that simplicity and making it so that it’s less of a mountain to climb and more of a wonderful journey is, I think, a real good and healthy approach.

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BassThings: What are your favorite bass things?

Ranaan Meyer: That’s always an individual thing as well. For strings, currently, I use Thomastik Spirocore Weich (light) made famous by Ray Brown. As far as strings go, and things of that nature, I usually find luthiers that I trust. Right now, Mike Shank of Shank's Strings sponsors me - from Elizabethtown, PA. I think he’s so trustworthy, extremely ethical, and unbelievably knowledgeable. The short of it is: find a luthier that you can trust and feel good about, and leech off of their knowledge.

The rosin I use is Pop’s. For bow hair, I use fairly coarse hair. And for my bow, I currently play on a Rodney Mohr Olympic gold medal winner from 2000. For travel I use the David Gage carbon-fiber trunk.

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BassThings: What is your favorite bass music to perform?

Ranaan Meyer: One of the things I like doing in our concerts is performing a complete, improvised solo. I really do enjoy the freedom of that - getting up on stage after a whole bunch of structure and just completely improvising for an audience.

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BassThings: What’s your favorite bass music to listen to?

Ranaan Meyer: I love listening to Edgar Meyer. I haven’t found many bass players who don’t enjoy listening to him. I love his creative compositional style and his general approach to the bass. I think it's absolutely brilliant.

I really love listening to innovative bass players who are doing stuff that’s a little different from the ordinary. I love the people that push the envelope throughout times, like for instance, throughout the 1900’s it was Cachao Lopez. Later, it's been Garcia-Fons, Niels Henning Orsted Pedersen, Dave Holland, and Ray Brown. I love listening to electric bass too - to Jaco Pastorius and Victor Wooten. Sometimes I enjoy just listening to bass players function in a certain way, in a certain band. Take, for instance, the bass player for Phish. Something about the style and the approach - the jam band mentality, the way he plays bass for that band is really cool and it inspired me on a compositional level as far as bass lines go and writing for the bass. I just love the simplicity of what he’s doing fundamentally to supply the bass for each arrangement or each song that they’re playing. So, sometimes I’ll listen to a band just because the bass player does it for me.

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BassThings: Is there anything specific as to the way these players influenced you?

Ranaan Meyer: Yeah. With Ray Brown, I never knew a bass could do what he did, which was play foundational lines that had a melodic expression and a melodic approach to those functional lines. And then of course, all the cool muted things that he would do within the style of jazz. Really, he has inspired me to do what I do on the bass - whether it’s playing in jazz or when I play with Time for Three, which draws on all these different styles and genres. I use snippets of his approach all the time in my pizzicato stuff along with hitting the bass for the different percussive sounds, etc. One thing I'm doing with Time For Three is using my bass as a drum as much I’m using it as a toned instrument. So, that’s what I got from Ray.

And from Dave Holland, I was influenced by his overall interesting soloistic approach to the bass. To this day, I feel like it’s different than anybody else. It’s like he’s such an individual. I feel like his approach to jazz on the bass is something that specifically, really changed the way that I’ve thought about the bass, as far as realizing what the instrument could do.

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BassThings: What are your favorite pieces of music ever written?

Ranaan Meyer: I feel that some of Debussy’s writing changed my musical life. The colors that he pulls out of music are incredible, for instance, in Prelude to the Afternoon of a Fawn and La Mer. Also, in the Symphonie Pathetique by Tchaikovsky - every time they come to the second theme, especially in the Chicago Symphony, Fritz Reiner recording, it makes my heart melt. And then, definitely a life-changing piece the first time I heard it, Symphonie Fantastique, by Hector Berlioz. I’d never realized exactly what a composer could do with a tone poem until I heard that piece, and the story that goes along with it. I think the music is perfect. Sometimes, a composer will explain what a piece is supposed to be about, and you hear it and say, “Ok. That makes a lot of sense. I get it. I hear the waterfalls, whatever.”  But with Symphonie Fantastique, from beginning to end, from the first note to the last note, everything that he does makes complete sense to me pertaining to the story he wrote it for.

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BassThings: Who are some of your favorite groups and artists?

Ranaan Meyer: Yo-Yo Ma, for me, is one of the most expressive musicians alive. As far as groups go, I feel that… well, it goes back to Phish. I love the team effort of what they do, what they have captured as a group. Believe it or not, Billy Joel was a huge influence in my life growing up. I bought every single album. That was the group that I followed. I love the story-telling, the Broadway sound that went along with its rock-and-roll approach. It's been a big influence, still to this day, on my piano writing and even when it comes to the more sophisticated stuff that I write. I find that when I’m writing for the piano, a lot of the stuff from him comes out.

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BassThings: What activities do you enjoy when you’re not performing or practicing?

Ranaan Meyer: I love to exercise. I love to cook. I love spending time with my girlfriend and with my dog. My family is very important to me - hanging out with my parents, my friends. Ultimate Frisbee is my sport of choice. I love to ski; I try to do a few ski trips every year. Some of the activities that I do are even risky for my fingers and hands but I just can’t imagine life without them. I enjoy great wine and great beer.

I also really enjoy spending time interacting with my colleagues and learning from them, because I don’t do music for the money. Some people do it because they have to, or they feel they have to. Other people do it because they feel it defines them. But for me, it’s not a choice. Music is in my blood. It’s who I am. My favorite moments and experiences in life come from music-making and the experiences that I have with music. And that’s not to say that other things don’t bring me great joy, because they do, but music is number one and I’m definitely not doing it just because I fell into it. I’m doing it because I can’t imagine life without it.

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BassThings: You’re very involved in bass education. In addition to teaching private lessons, you’ve started a series of bass camps and programs including Wabass and Classical Jam Band Camp. What have you found to be the most important accomplishments of these ventures, and what do you consider as the most important aspects of teaching the bass?

Ranaan Meyer: The feeling of teaching the bass is just as important as the description that I just gave for performing and the feeling that I get from music - but it’s in a different way. I feel, as an artist, that I can’t imagine life without variations of what I do. I need to perform. I need to compose. I need to teach. And without any one of those in my life, something just doesn’t feel right.

 I get so much reward out of, number one, collaborating with other human beings, or another human being; trying to help that person brings me great joy. When we really accomplish something and they have success, the student gets something, I just feel so good. It’s a feeling that’s hard to describe, but I equate my helping a student’s success to that of a coach winning an important game. For example, when one of my students got into the Curtis Institute of Music a few years back, I literally felt like I had coached a winning world series team.

Number two is being able to share my feelings on the bass world and how I see it moving forward. I want to make sure that that message is spread, and that people are accelerating and pushing the bass forward. So, I’m doing it for the sake of the instrument as well.

Another reason that I teach is because, if it wasn’t for people that helped me, I would not be where I am in my career. Along my journey, I got so many tools that I needed to do what I’m doing today, and I want to do my part in passing that on as well.

As to my ventures in the bass world, I'm currently involved in a bass workshop at Curtis with Joe Conyers and then the Wabass camp in Wabash, Indiana. To my knowledge, in the entire world, there is no double bass camp that’s full scholarship except for Wabass. I think it’s extremely important to have a very advanced double bass camp that doesn’t charge any money to go to. There are, of course, festival orchestras and things like that - camps out there in the world that have scholarships or have everybody attend tuition-free, but this is just for the bass.

I also feel like the collaboration of teachers at Wabass is really great. We have Eric Larson from the Houston Symphony, Hal Robinson from Curtis and principal bass of the Philly orchestra, and myself who teach there, and we accept nine students for the week. We all learn so much as we become a 12-person bass team, along with a pianist to accompany us, who happens to be my mom, for the week. It’s a wonderful environment, and Charley Creek is the institution that hosts us there. It’s funded by two people: the Harry Halloran Foundation and Richard Ford. Without their philanthropic help, we couldn’t do this. Thanks to them, we’re going to be in our fifth year of Wabass.

I believe in collaborative teaching, and collaboration. I feel that having more than one coach or teacher at a time is an extremely positive thing and I feel that it’s the way that it should be. It becomes an incredible working environment where teachers help and aid other teachers as well as the students. Even if you’re hanging out with the most brilliant person in the world and spending time with the biggest genius you can find, that genius is still going to make mistakes, still going to forget to say things. No one is perfect. So what I really love about collaboration, especially in a teaching environment, is that if one teacher forgets something or doesn’t put something in the most effective way towards that student, the other teacher could pick up the slack. That makes it so a lot less is left behind.

It’s amazing to see the progress that goes on for each one of these students that attends the camp, not to mention the progress for the teachers - as teachers as well as performers - because we all  learn so much together. We also have a Wabass Workshop at the Curtis Institute of Music, which is usually a week or two before Wabass every year in June. Wabass Workshop is not quite as high of a level as Wabass itself, and is for the students that didn’t get into the main program, or may be younger and not ready to audition. The point is to gear them up for the next step in their life, whether that be auditioning for Wabass next year or auditions to other places, or just improving their playing. So for me, that’s the reason for doing these camps - to accelerate the bass world.

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BassThings: Playing for a group like Time for Three is obviously a very different experience from orchestral playing. How, if at all, has your involvement in Time for Three evolved or changed your orchestral playing, and also perhaps your teaching style?

timeforthree2.jpgRanaan Meyer: It’s been tremendous. I feel like I am the player that I am today because of my serious classical training and approach, and study to classical music. In order to do all this other stuff at a high level, I would be very much at a loss without the background and knowledge of orchestral music and classical solo literature. As far as the orchestral playing goes, when I was at Curtis and taking auditions, I would basically go into an Olympic training mode and practice for anywhere from 2 to 4 months, 9 hours a day, without missing a day. It was also very smart practice. Not only was I practicing a lot, but I was also trying to be as efficient as possible with gaining knowledge and bettering each excerpt and each note, phrase, the intonation, the rhythm, the feel, all that stuff. I feel like I was not a natural-born orchestral bass player, but working for that goal allowed me to acquire great control of my instrument overall.

As far as the teaching approach, I feel like my experience with Time for Three and other musical styles has given me the power to teach and approach things in a really healthy way. More than anything, it has taught me to simplify things. No matter what style I’m playing now, whether it’s orchestral bass, or solo literature, or improv, or any other genre, I’m just trying to think of it as simplified as possible. So now, when I play with the Philadelphia Orchestra, it’s not a nerve-wracking experience. It’s just a lot of fun and extremely enjoyable. So, when a student is sort of freaking out about a passage that they need to play, we’ll just get down to the core and show how simple it is. For instance, if you need to go from an F to an A-flat, we just talk about the fact that that’s a minor 3rd - it’s not a big deal. How do you hear that? How do you visualize that?  How do you see it? Whether it’s solo literature or orchestral bass playing, or anything else, it should be the same ball game. It doesn’t have to be that big of a deal.

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BassThings: What would you say has been the most rewarding aspect of playing for Time for Three?

Ranaan Meyer: I love to perform with Time for Three. What I really love about playing with Nick and Zach is that we have a mojo together that really kicks butt; that’s my favorite thing about the group. We started our tour yesterday playing in Philly, and the first gig back is always a little rusty. We’ve learned that it’s just the nature of our business - that it’s not going to be perfect or exactly how we envisioned the first time out on the road, especially after taking a few weeks off from each other. But by the second one, we’re up and running. We realize that what’s going to happen is, when we get up on stage, if we just feel good about everything, most likely things will gel and they’re going to sound fine. We’re a team, we know what the Time for Three deal is,  and we take great pride and camaraderie in all of that.

When we’re up on stage, we’re there to emote. Some people would say we’re there to rock. We’re there to really get all the emotions out on the table and tell a story, and we're really trying to change lives through our music-making. That’s our goal. I love it because I take such pride when I get up there with those guys in trying to get our message across. That’s my favorite thing about the group.

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BassThings: What, do you feel, is the future of the bass?

Ranaan Meyer: I believe that the bass is an invention that is capable of doing great things in music. A lot of times, bass players will think of the bass as a fundamental, which, I believe, is extremely necessary and important and crucial to the existence of the instrument. Right now, most bass players are trained to be suppliers of roots and basic rhythm to hold down the groove - and that’s across all styles of music with the bass. The bass is the low end. It’s the bottom. It’s the foundation. It holds up the house.

But in addition to that, I want to encourage people to think of the bass as something that is uncharted - as something that still needs to be revolutionized and evolved. Every day when I pick my bass up, I learn something new about it, and I really want to encourage other bassists to think extremely creatively when they have their instrument in their hands. Whether your goal is to be a fundamental bass player, or whether your goal is to push the instrument forward, try to think of the instrument in the most creative way.

I also feel like the world is ready for the bass; they’re excited about it. When I go out to perform and play, people are constantly intrigued about the instrument. They want to know about all about it - the gadgets, the extensions, all sorts of things. So please, please let people in on it, because if you're reading this now, if you're on this website, you probably like the bass. That means that you should keep on pushing and show your love of the instrument not only for everyone else, but most importantly, for yourself, because it’s so important to not lose sight of why you chose the bass to begin with.