The 22 Magazine: How long having you been playing in Brooklyn?
Shayna Dulberger: I have been playing in Brooklyn since 2004. My first couple of gigs were at the Lucky Cat in Williamsburg. That club is not around anymore. I attended Manhattan School of Music’s Preparatory Division from age 16 to 18. I doubled in the Classical and Jazz program. I graduated from Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in 2005 with a degree in music. I studied to be a Jazz Musician.
22: What inspired the Basement recordings?
SD: I decided I needed to work on a conceptual project that would produce a lot of recordings. I was checking out the performance artist Tehching Hsieh. I was interested in his processes and focus on duration and repetition. For this project I was also influenced by the rhythmic elasticity and percussion of Southeast Asia, The Thai Elephant Orchestra for their sense of space and rhythm, and Throbbing Gristle for their experimentation with reverb and delay. I was also thinking a lot about the upright bass and how it doesn’t sound well on ear buds. I wanted to make recordings where the bass sounded like an upright bass but also had enough treble to cut through headphones on the subway. I made short pieces that would sound good on shuffle with a massive music library. After working a lot of odd jobs I thought a lot about ipod shuffles and meditation. I live pretty far south in Brooklyn.
22: How long did they take you?
SD: The album took me nine months to release. I recorded about one hundred pieces between November and December 2010. Most of the tracks on the release were recorded in my parents basement upstate during Xmas week. I was staying up there during a couple of snow storms. Just me and the dog. My plan was to work on The Basement Recordings (they were first called The November Recordings then The December Recordings) and take a break from working and the city. I needed the time to focus on something new and creative. I definitely felt like I was at a plateau in my work. I needed the concept of making loops and restriction of playing free form. My intentions were not necessarily to make an album for release. I ended up growing attached to certain tracks and then decided to mix, master and release them for the Spring.
22: They feel somewhat different, more experimental than your other work, any reason why?
SD: The Basement Recordings are definitely more minimal and conceptual then my other work. I do consider it a less traditional solo upright bass album because it isn’t acoustic sounding and doesn’t have a single voice playing a melody. Most of the tracks are made up of layers over layers.
22: How were they made?
SD: I used my 2005 W. De Sola wooden upright bass, Realist pickup, GK MB150S-III, loop pedal and recorded with an Edirol Mp3 player and a computer. I mixed it with a talented friend who used Digital Performer.
22: What appeals to you about your instrument?
SD: I might have picked the upright bass for a silly reason. I played piano and guitar for a couple of years and I wanted to join an ensemble in school. I think I was drawn to the sound of strings because I grew up listening to a lot of NPR, WQXR, going to Broadway Shows and the New York Phil. I picked what I thought was the most difficult instrument in the Orchestra. It was the end of the 7th grade just before summer break. I got to take home a blonde Kay bass just in time before the school closed. I fell in love.
22: Who are some of your favorite collaborators in Brooklyn?
SD: I work in Chis Welcome’s Quartet with Jonathan Moritz and John McLellan. We have been playing together since 2006 and we are about to record our fourth album. I also enjoy playing with Ras Moshe, who has been hiring me since 2005 and Bill Cole who I have been playing with since 2007. I met Bill when we were performing in William Parker’s “Double Sunrise Over Neptune”. I have also been fortunate enough to work in the New England area with Walter Wright, Joe Burgio, Andrew Eisenberg and Kit Demos. There is so much happening in the Boston area it feels like a second home to me. I perform in Brooklyn with all of these musicians at places like Goodbye Blue Monday, Douglass St. Music Collective, IBeam, Papacookie, wherever Valerie Kuehne puts on shows and Jonathan Moritz’s Prospect Series in Park Slope.
22: What are you currently doing music wise, recording, traveling?
SD: This past summer I have been working a lot in duo form with Chris Welcome. We have an acoustic improvised project and a noise one. We toy with the idea of calling the noise project “Hot Date” because we are married. Chris and I will be on a short European tour through Israel, Berlin and Amsterdam. We will be performing as a duo, a quartet with Pierre Borel and Hannes Lingens, and a quintet with Lori Freedman, John Dikeman and Michael Vatcher. I am looking forward to performing overseas. Chris and I will be recording a duo album this winter and a trio album with Boston percussionist Andrew Eisenberg . We’ve been playing with Eisenberg occasionally since 2006. He’s wonderful. I recommend seeing him perform if you get the chance. Eisenberg’s new album with Josh Jefferson: Skinny Vinny “The Elements of Style” is one of the best improvised music albums I’ve heard.
22: What’s in the future?
SD: My quartet with Yoni Kretzmer, Chris Welcome and Jason Nazary is stellar. I am writing compositions that are slightly more complex than my first record “TheKillMeTrio” but I still push for a high energy improvisation. I am looking forward to recording with this band in spring 2012. Stay tuned and keep listening.
For more of Shayna’s work visit: www.shaynadulberger.com