Fresh from recording the 2017 BIMM Berlin Album, bassist extraordinaire Magnus Schroeter spoke to us about the realities of studying Bass at BIMM Berlin. From jamming with fellow musicians to recording and producing tracks with Pete Smith, Magnus explains how he’s learning while doing at BIMM.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you chose to study bass.
I learned bass in high school. I played in the school’s big band for nine years until I graduated. That has been very helpful in terms of arrangement skills, ear training and learning the importance of holding back and keeping the groove. In a big constellation like that, it’s all about pocket playing, since a full big band (of more than 30 people) is depending on your groove within the rhythm section.
Besides playing in the big band, I’ve always played in bands and worked as a session musician for different artists. I became familiar with recording in a studio situation very early on, and when I decided on a career in music, that was the thing I wanted to do: be a studio musician. I began studying bass in order to evolve as a bass player – and to get contacts within the music industry to work with in the future. But during my time studying bass, I also discovered my inner producer, so to speak, and I really got into music production and songwriting.
What are the coolest things that you’ve been involved in since starting your studies at BIMM?
Since I’m into songwriting now, attending the Songwriting Camp with Fink has been great. Luckily I got in as one of four producers, which was a great but also tough experience – very helpful though, because it offered me insight into this whole world of writing for other artists: one session a day meant creating one finished song a day, with people you’ve never met before.
Recording the BIMM album with Pete Smith has also been a great experience. He’s just such a legend and it’s great watching him do his magic. I’m constantly learning when I’m around Pete.
Which lessons or Masterclasses have you enjoyed the most?
In terms of Masterclasses, the ones I enjoyed the most were the Groove Workshop Masterclass with Yolanda Charles and Jack Pollitt. That was a real challenge in terms of rhythmical understanding. From Snarky Puppy’s bass player Michael League, I’ve learned a lot about songwriting and arranging for a big constellation like Snarky Puppy. Hearing Glyn Johns talk about the old days in the studio with Led Zeppelin, The Stones and The Beatles was also very inspiring.
Who are your top three favourite bass players of all time?
My three favourite bass players of all time are: James Jamerson, Sir Paul McCartney and Nathan East.
Has our interview with Magnus piqued your interest? Find out more about our Bass course or apply for it here. Additionally, check out the profiles of our ineffable Bass Tutors Martin Stumpf (Urban Soul Collective, Andreas Bourani, Blue) and Simon Horn (Frank Gambale, John Jorgenson) and get to know the people who’ll be helping you to hone your craft.