On November 11, 2018, the first edition of Silesian Drum Festival took place at the Chorzowskie Centrum Kultury theater in Chorzów, Poland. It was organized by the Śląskie Centrum Perkusyjne drum store. Together with our editorial team, we set off for Chorzów in the middle of the night (it really is scandalous to have to start a journey at 6:00 am on a national holiday!), but the line-up featured two very strong bassist names: the Polish master Piotr Żaczek (along with his rhythm section mate, drummer Robert Luty) and American Geoff Kraly, who performed on stage as part of the Paris Monster duo together with drummer Josh Dion. We jumped at the opportunity and asked Geoff a few questions about the gear he uses, i. e. bass guitars, effects, mixers, amps, cabinets (see: HERE). Now, you can watch the full interview with this talented bass player.
BeatIt: We’re catching up with you at the Śląski Festiwal Perkusyjny, which is a drum festival, where you performed with your mate, Josh Dion, as Paris Monster. What did you think of the event?
Geoff Kraly: It was great. I mean, it was kinda interesting to be one of the two bass players here while there’s a lot of drummers. It’s a very professional festival, they took really good care of us, the sound was amazing. It was really cool that they let us perform as a band. That’s kinda rare. When we do a lot of drum festivals and clinics at drum institutions, and it tends to be pretty drum-heavy. Here, they mixed the sound like we were a band and not just like a drum guy up there. It was really cool. Felt like doing a show.
B: What was the basic idea for this performance? You knew it was going to be a drum festival but you actually decided to go for a head-on show, a music performance.
G. K.: Yeah. We kinda like to stay in character. We’re a loud rock band that’s experimental, likes to explore, take risks and make mistakes. We thought if we don’t bring that to this setting, we’re selling the idea short in a way. Doesn’t make a lot of sense to come to something like this that’s specifically for drummers or musicians and not still try to make music. That’s the whole point of what we’re doing.
B: How much space do you leave for improvising?
G. K.: A good amount. It is songwriting based so each song has a set form and we kinda know what events are gonna happen but so that the improvisational are such that we know when there’s a curve. Then, they’ll be wide open and can be any length. It can go any direction, but we know when These are gonna happen within a song or between songs.
B: There’s two of you performing. Josh is doing a lot of things at the same time and it’s visible, but you’re doing quite a lot of radical stuff on that stage as well.
G. K.: I guess.
B: There’s lots of synths and a palette of sounds. How do you go about deciding what you want to play for a given song?
G. K.: I guess it’s pretty collaborative. Josh has a keyboard that’s primarily synth-based. I’m the bass man with some pitch-shifting capabilities. At any point either of us can be the bass player or a lead instrument or something upper register.
B: There’s a lot of guitar soloing from you.
G. K.: Yeah. It’s kinda like a puzzle. Every song is different but we pass the baton a lot so we’re changing roles. So in terms of my effects it can be some foot controllable things where I can flip my sound up high, stop playing or go down low if he’s gonna stop playing bass and play two-handed drums or whatever. We like all the sounds to be flexible, yeah. Especially ’cause there’s two of us. If one of us stops, half the band stops so we need to do it seamlessly.
B: What’s happening next, both for Paris Monster and yourself?
G. K.: Paris Monster is on the road a lot right now. We just did a month in Europe and we’re back for another couple of weeks. We’re touring all over the States in December, January and February. We’re back to Europe for February and April, so it’s a full tour schedule for Paris Monster. All of that’s on parismonster.com, too. I do some work producing other artists. I’m producing an album for Benjamin Shawyer. He’s more of a folk singer/songwriter kinda guy, but for this album it’s voice and modular synth so he kinda gave me a wide open palette to use a lot of the sounds I use in Paris Monster on his album. I’m excited about that. That’s coming out at the end of 2019. We’re almost done. I think it’s on Atlantic or one of Atlantic’s imprints.