Whitinsville, Massachusetts, March 23, 2018 Bergantino Audio Systems welcomes bassist and mastering engineer Jonathan Kirchner to the Bergantino Family of Artists.
Kirchner is from San Francisco and has an ongoing career as a touring, gigging and recording electric and acoustic bassist and mastering engineer. He also has four years under his belt as a full-time architectural acoustics consultant for an international consulting firm. Jonathan is currently touring with Con Brio and also has toured with Kelly McFarling and Goodnight, Texas.
How long have you been playing bass and how did you get started?
I started taking lessons or both the trumpet and the piano in elementary school. My father was a big influence for me as a kid as he played guitar everyday when he would get home from work. He was a big music lover. I played trumpet in the band in high school and when I got to college, I picked up the guitar. Then one day on a whim, I picked up a friend’s bass and started playing and was like, This is it! I bought his bass and amp that day – a Danelectro Longhorn with a tiny Fender practice amp.
Where and what did you study?
I have a BA in Music with a minor in Physics from Duke University. After college I moved to San Francisco for an acoustics job, joined a couple bands as a bass player and loved it and decided to lose the desk job and focus on music full-time. I knew I couldn’t do what I wanted in music if I didn’t dedicate myself to it fully. I started as a self-taught player but took lessons from Jason Muscat here in San Francisco, whom I owe a big shout-out to.
How does being a mastering engineer play a role for you as a bassist?
“This plays a huge role in my playing for sure. Mixing bands and mastering records gives you an understanding of how your tone and your parts interact with the rest of the song. If your parts and tone are complementary to what’s going on around you, you make the engineer’s job a lot easier.
Tell me a little bit about the band Con Brio you are ready to go on tour with and what is the must have for you to take on tours?
Con Brio is a 7-piece soul band. We’ve got a killer frontman/singer, horns, keys, guitar/bass/drums - the whole bit - it’s a real dream gig for a bass player. They’re all great musicians. I learn so much from all of them on a daily basis.
I helped start the band back in 2009, then we went through a big lineup change in 2013 - the current group is going five years strong now. We started with house parties and open mic nights and it’s grown to where we get to tour internationally and play alongside a lot of our heroes. The band has developed its own personality along the way and has been satisfying the whole way through. At this point, after 3+ years of pretty constant touring, we’re all family - you can’t operate as a band on the road without trusting and taking care of each other. We have a new album coming out this summer, Explorer, so it’ll be another busy year.
When we’re on the road, I’d say my two ‘must-haves’ are noise cancelling headphones and a frisbee. The headphones for a little peace and quiet, and a frisbee to stretch my legs and move around after too much time in the van or on airplanes.
How did you hear about Bergantino and where did you find us?
I found out about Bergantino on the TalkBass forum. I bought a cab sight-unseen based on recommendations from people on TalkBass. I originally just had two of the AE112’s, but sold one of those and now have an AE112, HD410, and NV610. I like that Bergantino cabs are compact and sturdy and that the sound is true to what you put into it. I also like that they’re made by a company that will stand behind the product.
What music do you like to play and do you have any advice for your fellow bass players about your techniques?
I play finger style and like to play all kinds of music. I find that most musical styles have a lot more in common than they have different. As a bass player, it’s always about supporting and lifting what’s going on around you.
What bass do you play?
I have one main gigging bass, a semi-hollow jazz bass with a mahogany body from Fender Japan. It’s a pretty unique instrument - it takes a soft touch. I play Tomastik jazz flats, use Nordstrand noiseless pick-ups and I run everything through a Noble preamp and Milkman amplifiers.
Besides playing bass what is your favorite thing to do?
When I get off the road, I love to ride a bike and hang out with my wife and our two cats. We’re lucky to be a part of a great local scene, so we go to see a lot of our friends’ shows.
What is your favorite song for the bass?
If You Want Me To Stay” by Sly & the Family Stone. It was one of the first songs that inspired me on the bass, and it still feels just as good to listen to and even better to play along with!
Any Parting Thoughts?
For me music is all about creating and sharing a feeling. Whenever I meet a beginning player, young or old, I tell them to just play a little every day and enjoy themselves.
A great big thanks to Jonathan for sharing his history with us and best of luck on the current tour!
Bergantino Audio Systems has been dedicated to developing and building the highest quality audio products and bass guitar amplification systems since 2001. It has received numerous accolades within the music instrument industry and continues to be a leader with new designs as well as its unique approach to products and musical development.