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Q&A With Byron Carter


1) Where did you grow up and was your family musical?

  • I grew up in a very small town in the state of Virginia called Martinsville. Although Martinsville is a small place it has bred many skillful and talented musicians. Keyboardist, drummers, and guitarist. I have an amazing family, my father is the only one who is a musician. My father plays the Hammond organ and the church that I grew up in. So although he did not play the bass guitar, he made sure that I was connected to some of the more proficient players in the area.


2) Tell us about your childhood and how you came to pursue music for a living?

  • byron carterAs a child I was constantly in the church setting. Church is a blessing to me musically not only because of my spiritual connection but because church is the biggest melting pot of musical genres there is. In a typical service it is likely to play 3 to 4 different styles of music in one setting. This was to my advantage because when I was introduced to other types of music such as rock, alternative, blues, funk, and jazz it all came naturally because I had been subliminally introduced to it already. As I began to work my way through school I was always in the jazz bands, some church bands, and R&B bands as well. By the time I reached the collegiate level I had to make a life changing decision. While in school I had become quite fond of engineering as a secondary to my music and was quite good at it. In the decision process of which university I would attend and what my major would be, my mother asked me a very important question…”Of the two things that you take most pride in, music and engineering, which one will make you the happiest.” The decision took me a while, but I chose to spend my life pursuing my musical dreams.


3) Did the bass choose you or did you choose the bass? Do you play other instruments?

  • I think the bass chose me! I do play other instruments such as drum and percussion, keyboard, and organ which I all proficient in. The reason I say bass chose me goes back to my root. I had an uncle who died when I was a child who was a bass prodigy. I never actually heard him play but the people who know me now and knew him then say that my playing reminds them so much of him. That is an honor to me. Not only that, but from the time I was 10 years until the age of 17 my parents bought me a different bass Guitar every year for Christmas. I think they were trying to tell me something! Me and the bass had a connection that was apparent and clear enough for them to put that much of an investment into me.


4) Tell us about your career in general?

  • My career so far is short lived, but I have the drive and will power to make sure that I achieve a lifetime musical journey. 6 years ago a few of my friends and I started a band on our college campus that became well known and we have been afforded the opportunity to play for hundreds of artists and shows not only in area, but all over the United States. From that I was exposed to many like minded industry professionals who I could use as mentors and coaches. This put me in many professional situations that prepared myself for the path in life I am taking now with the Eric Gales Band.


5) How did the Eric Gales gig come about? Do you enjoy that gig?

  • The Eric Gales gig came about through happenstance. The band that I mentioned earlier that I began with played a few shows that Eric attended which allowed him to be able to hear my playing. Besides that, I knew his previous bass player and was asked to fill in a few times in his absence. Once he decided to take his career in a different direction Eric kept me in mind for the bass position! So far, in the short time I have been on this gig, I have had nothing but an enjoyable time and met some musical greats while doing it.


6) Are you a schooled musician? If so where did you study? Tell us how you got your education even if it’s hard knocks, seat of the pants.

  • I am a schooled musician. I went the illustrious institution of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University located in Greensboro, North Carolina. I was a music performance major with a concentration in percussion. I guess the craziest thing about is, I went to school for something totally different than I have a profession in.


7) Tell us about your gear.

  • Eric has a on going endorsement with Mark Bass amplifiers and cabinets. When we are touring we have a complete mark bass setup. I run Mark Bass neo cabinets (4×10 &1×15) I also use the 800 watt half tube, half solid state Big Bang series bass head. These comments combined have given me and unforgettable tone. I also play and 9 pedal effects board. Within the board I have 4 different octave and pitch pedals, a bass big muff, ditto looper, tuner, and 2 MXR envelope filters. I’ve been building it for a litte over a year.


8) In your words and opinion What are the issues that work against young musicians out there today as in I feel it’s much harder to bang out a living playing music than ever before .. can you elaborate on this?

  • Man there are so many issues with us young musicians. There are two things I have have mind that could use a major change. One of the things is getting caught up in the musicians lifestyle. As a musician, women, money, and drugs can really work against us. These things can really affect our character and make a potentially successful career a dreadful failure. What we must realize is that all things aren’t for everybody and we must do what is necessary to keep our validity.


9) Who are your top 5 influences on bass and why?

  • In no particular order. Marcus Miller, Jaco Pastorious, Terrence Palmer, Mark King, and Michael League. I’m influenced by Marcus Miller because of his amazing tone, love for low end, and diverse resume. Jaco is an influence because of his precision playing and placement. Terrence Palmer isn’t as well know of a bass player, but he is an inspiration to me because most of the gospel records that took me to the next level of bass playing he was a part of. Mark King taught me what it was to make a bass talk! He is extremely tasteful and gave me a good clean slap technique. Michael League I believe is my most influential. After I was comfortable with my playing I came across his band Snarky Puppy. Snarky led me into a whole new realm of musicality and creativity. I was amazed at his use of not only the bass itself but also effects such as various pedals and analog synth boards. Everything that I have mentioned I have applied to my style of playing. These things are what have made me a well rounded bassist.


10) What do you draw inspiration from musically speaking?

  • I am about a 90% live player. Only about 10% of my playing is done in a recording or studio setting. In a live situation my inspiration comes from my musical knowledge base. I am a lover of all music, so when playing I love to apply what I’ve heard from a similar musical situation and will go over well. Most of this comes from having the ability to feel the music, not just knowing how to play it. Feeling can go so much further that what going by the book can do. Feeling something good in the music can inspire someone else in the band and make for some beautiful music. Also a fun fact about my musical inspiration. I do a lot more listening to organist and keyboard players in reference to their take on how the low end should sound. Most of the time their perception of the bass is far beyond the thinking of a bass player. Everyone hears differently. It absolutely helps with placement and tastefulness.


11)  In closing what’s on the Horizon for Byron Carter?

  • In the near future I am looking forward to gaining some producer credits. There are some live sessions that I will be taking a part in that will allow me to be able to work with some amazing musicians. The band that I mentioned earlier in the interview, the one I started with at my university, will be doing some studio recording as well. This is all very excited. Besides that I am going to continue to travel the world and do my best to positively impact lives through my playing, one city at a time!


12) CONTACT INFORMATION (For booking and social)

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