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Q&A: Andrew McKinney – BIMM London’s head of Bass

4th April 2018

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In order to give potential new students an idea of what to expect whilst studying bass at BIMM, we spoke with Andrew McKinney – Head of Bass at BIMM London – to hear all about his favourite masterclasses, what inspires him musically and which elements of his career he’s most proud of. 

What have been your top Masterclasses?

We recently had Duff McKagan visiting and I got to interview him. The 13-year-old me listened to nothing other than “Appetite For Destruction” for a year or more, so this was a great moment! TM Stevens was a real highlight – he spent the day with us in lessons as well as a masterclass. He was so fun and inspiring! He really encouraged everyone to throw their heart and soul into everything they did and express themselves as fully as possible – even in a sight reading class. This really rubbed off on the students (and me) and had a lasting effect, noticeable for weeks after. Nate Watts was like this too – we still talk about those visits now. Other highlights include Richard Bona, Robert Trujillo and Yolanda Charles.

What inspired you to pick up a bass guitar?

My best friends had a band so I wanted to join, and I already played the cello. I think music for me was something a bit different – not being that great at sports, or being loud and funny, it gave me something I could get into and do well at and made me stand out a bit. I liked the role of bass in a band in making music sound and feel good. Something about the unsung hero aspect appealed to me too. Musically I got really into RHCP and Rage Against The Machine, and then when the whole Acid Jazz thing arrived in the 90s that was massive for me. Hearing Stuart Zender with Jamiroquai connected with me very strongly and that sort of bass playing was what I really wanted to do.

What’s been the proudest moment of your career so far?

There have been many proud moments – I feel very lucky! Recently I faced a whole heap of new challenges for a gig, so I was proud that I took them on and went for it. The gig was with Jarvis Cocker in Iceland and it involved me playing rock bass with a pick, using loads of effects, playing Moog Taurus bass pedals and even singing BVs – none of which I normally do, so I felt proud in myself for accepting the challenge. I’m also amazed that I got an opportunity to something so different and exciting at this stage in my career.

What’s your #1 piece of advice for students?

Be prepared to work hard, and keep persevering. If you’re up for the challenge then it’s the best job in the world!

Read more about Andrew’s career so far in our tutor focus piece.

Thinking about signing up to study a course in Bass? We have degree-level courses in Professional Musicianship across all of our campuses! Check out a detailed description of what to expect from the course, here.

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James Watts

Social Media Assistant, Professional Bassist and Music Journalist. Career highlights include performing at some of the UK's premier music festivals, recording in Abbey Road and interviewing Debbie Harry.