Bass Player first featured
Paul Green School of Rock graduate Julie
Slick in August ’06 when she had begun playing
in the Adrian Belew Power Trio. ABPT
recently capped a comprehensive American
tour, and Slick is currently focused on her
progressive bass duo with multi-instrumentalist
Marco Machera. Rather than sounding
like one too many cooks on their debut CD,
Fourth Dementia, Slick and Machera strike an
intriguing balance of highs and lows. Effected
sounds abound, but are never overbearing.
We wondered if Slick’s expertise in the actual
kitchen—she often plays chef for the Belew
crew on the road—informs her work in the
Can you draw a comparison about playing
live and cooking for guests?
Like playing a song or bass line that
you wrote, there is something very satisfying
about coming up with your own recipe
and cooking it for others, but I also love to
freely improvise in both the kitchen and
onstage. It’s important to balance both in
a show. The audience comes away more satisfied
when there are certain familiar hooks
or “flavors” displayed.
Can you draw a correlation regarding
Effects are like spices that punch up beautiful
ingredients and can sometimes turn the
simplest recipe or sequence of notes into a
unique experience—consider steamed broccoli
versus Thai curry. But sometimes salt and
pepper will do. Apply the proper technique,
and the song can speak for itself.
Improper seasoning is a common
mistake. It boils down to training the senses.
A well-trained palate leads to the right
balance of seasoning, or can help fix a disaster.
The same is true in the audio realm.
If your ears aren’t trained, the chance of
creating a successful song is diminished.
Over- or under-seasoning is like playing
too many or too few notes. It’s all about
taste in both cases.
How do you go about sharing the
kitchen, so to speak, with another bassist
such as Marco Machera?
It can be difficult to carve out space, but our
instruments themselves make it a bit easier.
On Dementia, I play mostly a 6-string tuned
E to E, so I have extended high range. Marco
mainly plays a Yamaha 5-string, which has
the predictable low B. We consciously avoid
playing in the same octave, and we hit a lot
of cool, heavy harmonies as a result. I mainly
play with a pick, whereas he plays finger-style
and uses Funk Fingers [made famous
by Tony Levin and reproduced by Expanding
Hands Music]. Additionally, I use my Eventide
PitchFactor and Roland VB-99 Virtual
Bass System to hit notes out of my acoustic
range and even access different types
of instruments via MIDI. It’s a delicate balance—just like cooking with two proteins.
We’re essentially a surf-and-turf platter!
Julie Slick & Marco
Dementia [2014, Slick
Sound]; Solo, Terroir
[2012, Slick Sound];
The Crimson Projekct,
Live in Tokyo [2014,
Decade 6 with
Nickel Wound Bass VI
strings, Lakland Bob
Glaub Signature with
Rig Aguilar Tone
Hammer 500 head,
212-II 2x12 cabinet
Effects Pigtronix Bass
Infinity Looper, Mantic
Creation Audio Grizzly