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Bassist Spotlight: Wy Rose (Prime, Transgression, Time2Shine)

Photo: Nels Potvin

The best thing that could come from this interview series is the idea that these people's interpretation of music “bass guitar” could inspire someone to take music seriously and make lifelong memories with their best friends and potentially make a career of the instrument. 

As I'm looking at the year coming to end, I have many more amazing human beings for you to hear from before 20121. I have really enjoyed the common thread that the majority of these players have told us about their lives, and musical journey. 

Wy Rose is probably one of my favorite people I have met since moving back to Louisville, KY. She has always been super kind to me, and an amazing talent. 

You absolutely need to hear her journey, what's happening new musically, and how she's dealt with this insane year.

Introduce yourself to everyone.
 
My name’s Wy Rose, I’m 23, and live in Louisville. I play bass in Prime, and some other bands I’ve been a part of include Transgression and Time2Shine.
 
I first met you as the singer for Transgression. How did you get into playing the bass guitar for the first time?

I didn’t play any instruments at all before I started playing bass in Prime. Mainly, I have to really give credit to my boyfriend, Neriah. I’ve always wanted to be able to pick up an instrument and do something in a band other than vocals. He really pushed me to make that actually become a reality, as he has with so much of my experience with music.

It’s only been barely a year that I’ve been playing bass now, and 2 years ago I wouldn’t even imagine myself being in this position at all, even though I really still barely know what I’m doing. But, it’s awesome. 

When I saw you perform with Transgression, I could tell you had musical sense to you because you were running your vocals through pedals. Your choices in which pedal you wanted to use at certain points in the songs was fascinating. Were you thinking about instrumentation while you were singing for Transgression?

The way I used pedals in Transgression was mostly adapted from music that inspired me outside of hardcore. I had ideas a couple of years before Transgression even actually started to mess around with things of that nature. Whether it was shoegaze or electronic/industrial music, I’ve always been interested in weird tones those genres create, especially when it comes to watching how people pull it off in a live context. 

I’d seen hardcore/punk bands do something similar, but it always seemed to be way more simplified; like just plugging straight into a delay pedal, turning it all the way up, and that’s it. So, I’d definitely say I was thinking about instrumentation when it comes to that because I wanted it to feel like the pedals actually had a purpose and to use certain ones at specific moments.

Does your family support your musical endeavors?

During my early attempts at making music, my dad was incredibly supportive. It was actually because of him that my first show could really happen since he for some insane reason allowed me to throw a show in our basement when we lived in Mt. Washington, Kentucky. It was really just a bunch of my friends’ bands at the time that wasn’t exactly hardcore but weren’t exactly not, having a weird little party and a bunch of other people showing up.

At the time I was just happy to be making music, and my dad really supported that and was really the reason music ever became an important thing in my life. He never got to see any recent things I ended up being a part of since he passed away shortly after I finished high school, but I think he’d be proud even if he didn’t necessarily get it. 

Same with my mother, although she doesn’t really “get” hardcore, she understands how important it is to me and that it is an incredible outlet. 

Transgression (Photo: Morgan Newell)

What's more fun for you right now, playing bass or singing?

I feel like I can be more involved with singing, so I guess it’s technically more fun. But really I greatly appreciate both. I’m excited to grow with playing bass and becoming more comfortable moving around and eventually reaching a point where the nerves don’t seem as intense.

I’ve always been thankful that when I’ve been in more than one band they feel like completely separate experiences to me, so honestly, I have a great time in general with making and playing music no matter what I’m doing.

Do you see yourself ever playing an instrument and singing at the same time for a band?

Actually, when I wanted to originally start playing bass, it was because I wanted to sing and play bass in a band. That never came to fruition, and honestly, I don’t think I would’ve been able to immediately jump right into doing both at the same time. It seems like it takes a lot of focus and effort, but hopefully, someday I could.

I’ve always loved the idea of playing bass and singing in something that leans more post-punk. 

Do you use a guitar pick? What do you think about playing with your fingers?

I use a pick exclusively and have since I started playing. I started playing just to play fast music most of the time in Prime, so a pick just made sense to me and felt more natural. Personally, I feel like playing with your fingers doesn’t seem like it would hit as hard. But what the hell do I know, I honestly have no idea what I’m doing. So, really you could convince me either way. 

Is there a bass player that inspires how you approach the instrument?

Immediately who came to mind is the bassist [Hunter Senft] of this band called Downward from Tulsa. I’ve probably been listening to that band’s record more than most things over these past few, strange months. They’re a “softer” band I guess you could say, even though they’re quite loud and have insane fuzz.

Anyway, I don’t know any of them but Neriah was about to leave for a Sidestep tour and play a show with them on it before COVID really hit. Neriah is who really put me on to Downward and we’ve watched a couple of videos of them playing because Olivia from Gadget was telling us about how their bassist was her favorite. And I gotta say it’s so awesome how he’s basically going off like they’re playing a hardcore set. That energy is always the goal. Really hope I can see that band soon. 

Other than that, I think about Ned from Title Fight but most people probably do. My friend Phil from the band Gumm is so awesome to watch and he uses some cool tones that I strive for.

Pre COVID, your band Prime was really ramping up, playing great shows, and the recordings are great.

Thanks! Yeah, it sucks we were literally supposed to play a show the day the shutdowns really hit. We put a lot of effort into really going out and fliering for that one, and really trying to push to get more of the younger punk kids to come out. We ended up pushing our EP coming out but put it out not that long ago.

It’s called Killing the Community and you can listen to it on the Bad Mouth Recordings Bandcamp page, and streaming soon (**** you Spotify for hating short songs). 

We’ve practiced a few times here and there, but we all got kinda caught up in different personal things. We’re planning on getting back in the lab soon though.

Prime (Photo: Morgan Newell)

We both live in Louisville, Kentucky, and the Breeona Taylor murder and COVID have destroyed lives, live shows, venues, etc. How are you dealing with all this upheaval?

It’s been really, really difficult. Honestly, there was a good chunk of time where I wasn’t really dealing at all. I’ve been out of work since shortly after COVID started, and at first, everything just truly felt fake. Music is the absolute most important thing to me, and for years I’ve scheduled and built my life around it. For some months I was really struggling with feeling like I wasn’t a person without it. 

I recently deleted social media and that’s been probably the best decision I could’ve made for myself. A lot of people have more time than they know what to do with, and during that time it’s very normalized now for us to infinitely scroll through stimulus after stimulus.

It really got to me during the lowest parts of the past few months, and I think there a lot of people out there that would instantly feel better without it. 

I’m trying to stay as plugged in as I can with things that are important regarding the protests and the long-overdue shift we’re experiencing right now, and at the same time not overextending on what I’m capable of. I hope that everyone can do the same and just take care of themselves! 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by TRANSGRESSION (@transgression__) on

How have you been able to seek peace without our normal ways of dealing with life?

I really try to reflect as much as I can on my emotions and whatever’s making me feel them. It sounds really simple, but setting aside time every day for that I’ve learned really keeps me leveled.

I’m working on music when I can, reading, writing, and seeing the people I love whenever it’s possible. Reaching out to friends when I think of them/need them. I wouldn’t be here without them. 

Is there any new music you are working on that you can tell us about?

Neriah and I started on a new project at the beginning of this year and have continued writing with it into COVID. I don’t like to talk too much about things and get excited until they’re really out into the ether, but I’ll say that I’m singing on it and musically it leans pretty and there’s some synth in there.

Prime has some things in the works and it’s pretty possible we’ll put out a song or two again soon. 

Transgression (Photo: Errick Easterday)

Are there any words of wisdom you can tell someone picking up the bass guitar for the first time?

Two years ago, I would not have thought I’d be playing bass in a band this soon, or really at all. I had no technical musical upbringing, no choir, no band, etc. I’m really not doing much and I have to dumb-down my parts until I get better, but I’m making it happen and I’ve played sets now and it feels awesome. I really think that if I can do it, I know anyone else can.

Do you have any words of wisdom for the No Echo community that could help people deal with their lives, and their musical endeavors during this current world chaos?

Don’t be afraid to reach out to people. I think people are desensitized to what that even means, but seriously you aren’t a burden to your friends if you just need to tell them what’s going on with you, and there’s no shame in asking for help.

Everything’s weird right now and everyone knows that, so I guess with music and other endeavors, it’s really important to do whatever you can that feels natural right now even when everything else feels so unnatural.

I’m not exactly sure about giving comfort, uncertainty is inevitably creeping up on all of us right now. Take the time you need to feel okay, but really you can work on so many things creatively right now. It’s the perfect time to hone in on what’s important. No one’s forcing you to put anything out right now or make anything specific.

Do what you can do to be prepared for when we are actually able to play music and shows again. It’ll give you something to look forward to, and probably will only increase that burning need inside us to let it out. I can’t wait.  

I love you, and I can't wait to see you and your bands again!

Love you so much, Jeremy. I can’t wait to see you again and your bands as well. Y’all mean the world to me.

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Tagged: bassist spotlight, prime, time2shine, transgression

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