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Bassist Spotlight: Blake Fowler (Time and Pressure)

Photo: Nels Potvin

If it wasn't for this No Echo interview series, I would probably be in much worse shape mentally right now. This year has taken away so much from everyone and losing the ability to get together with my people and enjoy music/art has been one of the worse things I've dealt with. The music scene is a therapy for me.

With that said, I have done my best to keep in touch, and Carlos and No Echo have been a wonderful vehicle for me to keep working on art. It means a lot to me, and so do all of you.

I have been pumped on the band Time and Pressure from Saint Louis, Missouri for well over a year. I think my band, Miracle Drug, has played with them twice.

After texting with their guitarist James Carroll one day, I realized I hadn't interviewed their awesome bass player, Blake Fowler, yet.

Blake's story is great, and we both share a love for KISS. I think the 4th or 5th song I learned was "Detroit Rock City." Anyway, he's the best check out what he's got to say about everyone's favorite instrument.

Introduce yourself to everyone.
 
Hi, I am Blake Fowler, I play bass and jump around like an idiot in Time and Pressure.

How did you get into playing the bass guitar?
 
Honestly, it’s kind of lame but one day I just walked into a Guitar Center and told my parents that I wanted to get a guitar and start playing so I got a bass first.

Speaking of which, how does your family feel about your musical endeavors?
 
My family is pretty supportive of it. My dad wasn’t too stoked because I kind of put school on the back burner so I can work full time and still play as many shows and stuff when we are all able to. My mom is super supportive of it, she has bought multiple shirts and shit from us so it’s been pretty cool with her encouraging us and myself cause she sees how much joy I get out of it.

When Time and Pressure is writing, how do you come up with your parts?
 
Usually James (Carroll) and Dave (Shanle) come up with some hot riffs and then we just piece stuff together, we’ll decide what would sound the coolest if it was like just bass or just one of the guitars so it’s a pretty collaborative time with all of us. Our drummer Travis (Schaeffer) adds some really sick drum parts and him and I lock in together.

Most bass players say they focus on the kick and snare drum. Sometimes I'll leave the drummer, and play along with the guitar part or vocals. What's your approach?
 
I focus a lot on the kick as well but I also follow Drew (Maxey)‘s vocals a lot, he puts a lot of words in one spot so it makes it kind of fun to follow.

Do you use a guitar pick?
 
I use a pick 100% of the time, it’s too goddamn fast for me not to [laughs]. 

Photo: Gabe Becerra

What are you doing more downstrokes or upstrokes?
 
Downstrokes for sure but I alternate pretty frequently just because of the tempo we play at.

What bass players have inspired your style of playing?
 
I don’t care how lame this sounds, but Gene Simmons just because growing up KISS was a huge part of my life and if you don’t think KISS rocks, it’s ok to be wrong. Keith Freeman from Restraining Order is also a sick fucking bass player that I love listening to so that has inspired me in some ways for sure.

I've been blessed to play with several talented drummers in my life. I play differently with all of them. Who are your favorite drummers?
 
Currently, some of my favorite drummers are all coming out of the same area, shouts out Philadelphia. Micheal Walsh from Chemical Fix is one of the best drummers I’ve ever been lucky enough to spend time around.

Two other Philly drummers I’ve super enjoyed listening to is Dan White from Fixation, and Tom Alderson from Drowse. If you haven’t heard the new Drowse record you’re slacking.

What is your current amp, bass guitar, and pedal set up?
 
Currently, I am using a Peavey Centurion Mark III Series through a Janice Custom 4x12 cab, I am using a Fender Jaguar, and I have a pretty standard tuner, a Mosky noise suppressor, and a Darkglass Microtubes B7K v2.

Photo provided by Blake Fowler

How has COVID-19 affected your music and your family? How is Time & Pressure dealing with band practices? 

COVID-19 has really messed things up for a lot of people. We canceled a really cool west coast tour with Discourage and Spirits, also playing some of those shows was Berthold city which I was stoked to see. As far as my family I’ve been lucky enough that we have all been in good health regarding COVID.

As far as practicing goes we didn’t practice for a while just because it wasn’t safe and didn’t feel right. We slowly moved back into practicing when we thought it was safe and we finally finished this second LP, and we leave to record in a few days so that’s exciting.

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Do you guys have any plans that seem like they won't get canceled?
 
It seems like everything is cancelled at this point but we also haven’t been trying to have anything booked cause it just seems like there is no end in sight. We are probably going to do another livestream to help raise money for a local venue. Shoutout Sinkhole STL.

Is there anything is your personal life you'd like to tell us about?
 
The only thing from my personal life that really bleeds into hardcore would be that I’m straight edge, which will probably lead some into this next question [laughs].

Are there any bands past or present that you would love to fill in with on the bass?
 
There are so many bands I would kill to do this with, Have Heart, Judge, Title Fight, present would probably be DARE. 

What cities or countries are you, and Time and Pressure dying to play?
 
I know we have kicked around the idea of touring in Europe a little and it’s looking like they’ll be better before the United States so who knows. We were all super stoked on the California tour I previously mentioned, so we’ll probably try getting that back together when possible.

Photo: Nels Potvin

Finally, do you have any words of wisdom for someone picking up the bass guitar for the first time?
 
Just do it, it’s a ton of fun, and you never know what it’ll take you to, I never thought I would be playing with Time and Pressure but now I’ve got to do some cool shit like play LDB Fest and I’ve met some of my best friends doing it so just take the time and do it.

Start a band. If you aren’t musically inclined, start a zine or something else. Hardcore isn’t solely limited to music, so do something cool.

Also, Thanks a ton Jeremy for giving your time to do this, I truly appreciate it.

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Tagged: bassist spotlight, time and pressure

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