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An Interview with David Dyson

Q: Hi David. Thanks for being here. First off, haven't seen a new David Dyson cd in some time, not since 2008 with Unleashed. Is there any chance of something new coming down the pike soon?

A. My pleasure. Yeah, I had started working on a new cd and then my studio computer went out on me. Took me a while to get things back up to par and back on track in between working on other projects and laying bass tracks. But I, definitely, plan to have my next release ready by early 2016.

Q: I'm really interested in your move to Skjold. For a while you played MTD basses, and your style seems to fit perfectly with the well-known MTD sound. What was it that you saw in Pete's work that caused you to make the switch?

A. MTD was my sound, but I was searching for something different. I wanted growth, and a blend of my past tone with the new one I was seeking. Listening to past live and studio tapes, and being on the road, I realized I couldn't always get my same tone depending on what back line equipment I had at any given show. I wanted to play something that didn't rely on amps or cabinets to get my sound. Now I'm not saying MTD's aren't great basses. They are, and the playability was phenomenal. But I wasn't getting what I needed at the time. At the time Mike Tobias wasn't doing signature series basses and I was trying to get my own for several years. I was frustrated and felt stuck because I had been with the company for 16 years. I went awhile feeling that way, until I did a show in Dallas with Pieces Of A Dream and Pete was there supporting one of his endorsees that played with the opening group. He said he knew of my work with "New Kids On The Block" and "Me'shell N'degeocello" and that he could get the sound I'm looking for. I thought to myself, "sure ... how many times have I heard that from a builder?" I told him next time I'm in town I will come to your shop. It turned out I was there a month later playing at a TD Jakes event and Pete picked me up and brought me to his shop. I had my favorite MTD with me and A/B 'd it with an old Skjold and I was hooked. I told him "This is my bass!" He said, "That is an old model. I will build you your own model." I said, "Cool but this one is still mine!" I was impressed with the phat bottom, even with the bass knob only half up and the crisp high end along with the playability. And the tone is so clean and growling. This led to my signature model that I am totally in love with! BTWAs a side note, from that disagreement with Mike Tobias, He started doing signature series basses. And we are still good friends. He is really a good cat.

Q: So do you think there are things that Pete brings to the table that other builders simply do not?

A. Absolutely! Pete not only has the gift of being an incredible luthier, but he also has a gift of tapping into the unique sound you are looking for as an individual. On top of that, he is consistent. I was amazed at how he did what he said he could do, and was on point. He tweaked my signature pre-amp to do exactly what I was looking for. And might I say, I have yet to have played a Skjold that wasn't outstanding in it's own right.

Q: Skjold basses have developed a reputation for meticulous attention to detail. With regards to performance, both live and when recording in the studio, do you think there is an advantage to having such finely tuned instruments over something off the shelf? Many producers seem to want to see a guy show up with a Fender of some sort and that's it. How have producers on projects you've played on reacted to your playing when using your Skjolds?

A. No doubt! That is one of the things I was looking for. I have heard some of my friends tell me stories about producer's tripping over them bringing in exotic basses as opposed to a 4 string Fender. I don't pay that foolishness any mind. Don't judge me by my bass. Judge my tone and my playing then we can talk. The Skjolds can deliver a variety of tones and my signature can get an almost fretless tone and at the turn of a knob get a meaty hardcore funk tone. Roll off some of the treble and you've got an old school phat R & B tone. The rest is in the hands!

As for impressed producers and house engineers, I get compliments 99% of the time about how they didn't have to do anything but bring me up in the channel and the killer tone is just there. All the time I get that! Along with "What kind of bass is that!!!???"

Q: You've also been doing a lot of producer/arranger gigs lately. Do you think there is anything about being a bass player that brings a unique perspective to that role? With so many musical options, what lies ahead for David Dyson?

A. Yes, of course. I love producing and arranging and being a bass player, I think you always make sure the track feels good and lays right. Mistakes and all!

As for the future, I am going to get the next cd done and possibly another bass app out. I am also still working with, and writing for, various artists. I'm working on original material for the next "Pieces Of A Dream" cd as we speak.

Q. Thanks for answering my questions David, I really appreciate it!

A. It was a pleasure!

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Interview conducted by Jared Morante