Kevin LeGall is the bassist of Brooklyn-based jamtronica group Space Bacon. Kevin’s tone is smooth yet it punches through the mix, and his playing supports drummer Sam Crespo’s groovy beats throughout the group’s compositions and jam sections. I met up with Kevin after Space Bacon’s Saturday set at Disc Jam (which you can check out here, video courtesy of mkDevo) to talk about his bass rig.
2015 Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass V Amp
Head: Orange OB1-500
Cab: Trace Elliot 1×15Pedalboard
Signal Chain: TC Electronic Polytune > SansAmp Bass Driver DI > Effects Loop: [MXR Bass Octave Deluxe > Boss OC-3 Super Octave > MXR Bass Chorus Deluxe > Maxon AF-9 Auto Filter > Electro-Harmonix Bass Balls > Noisekick FX Bertha > MXR Bass Envelope Filter > Electro-Harmonix Enigma: Q Balls] > Boss DD-7 Digital Delay (w/ Boss FS-5U for Tap Tempo)InterviewPhoto credit to Amanda Sandwicch Photography
JL: What is the one pedal on your board you couldn’t live without?
KL: As a bass player I can easily live without using a pedalboard for a gig if I had to. However, before I added the 5 string to my arsenal I couldn’t live without the MXR Octave pedal, but now I can reach those low notes without engaging anything.
JL: When was the first time you were exposed to the world of effects pedals?
KL: Space Bacon is the first “rock” band that I play bass for, before it was primarily a guitar player. There was a time in high school when I was a huge 311 fan and mimicking my style after Tim Mahoney, their lead guitar player. He had an extensive rig that I had printed on the side of my desktop computer for years, trying to figure out how the entire thing worked. It wasn’t until about 2 years into Space Bacon that I wanted to enhance and explore my sound more, so I bought an MXR Envelope Filter pedal. From that point on, I’ve been on a never ending quest for the perfect rig.
JL: Who are some of your inspirations as a bass player?
KL: Flea and Joe Dart are two off the top of my head that are influential. From a stylistic standpoint I enjoy Eric Wilson from Sublime, even though some of his bass lines are direct copies of earlier reggae pieces, but I guess that’s all reggae *shrugs*. He helped me understand style and how the bass can change the mood of a song without being in the foreground.
JL: What goes through your mind when you’re deciding which effects to turn on while you’re playing?
KL: I’m hoping that the volumes are set properly [laughs]. Mainly, it’s how smooth I can slip into a new tone, I’m always conscious of how I can seamlessly move from no effects to having effects on. Another thing that goes through my thought process is how I can create more dynamics through the improv sections by engaging certain pedals.
JL: What are some of your favorite pedal combos to play with?
KL: The MXR Octave and MXR Envelope combo is my favorite, has a nice wet and dirty low end vibe that gets the crowd dancing.
JL: Who are some of your favorite contemporaries on the scene currently?
KL: There’s too many to list. I appreciate musicians who bring swagger and style to the low end, bassists who create a melody for the listeners to dance to without know exactly why they’re moving.
JL: I noticed you run 5 different envelope filter pedals, why the need for so many different filters?
KL: I don’t necessarily need all of the different filter pedals, but it’s nice to have the option of choosing different textures. For a cleaner tone I use the Bertha or Maxon AF-9 and for more grit I use the Bassballs, MXR, and Enigma. They all have their unique shade of color and when combined with the octaves or chorus I can push the tone to a new frontier.
JL: You have most of your effects running through an effects loop, does this help your tone at all when you don’t have the loop engaged? Or is it purely for convenience’s sake?
KL: The loop pedal was implemented purely for convenience sake. Not only does it allow me to separate my rig to two physical pedal boards, but it helps me go back to my normal tone at the click of a switch. Sometimes when I get experimental and have 4 different pedals at the same time, it’s better to kill all of them at once instead of dancing around.
Big thanks to Kevin for doing this interview, and you can stream and download the audio from Space Bacon’s Disc Jam set on Bandcamp here.