Last week, our own Chris Bellamy sat down for an interview with David Curran, bass player for Elevation Worship, and had a conversation about playing music, worship, and how to be a better worship leader. Check out what he had to say!
Chris Bellamy: Hi David. How are you? Thanks so much for taking time out of your tour schedule to talk.
David Curran: I’m great! Thank you for reaching out to me. I haven’t really done a gear interview before so this is really great.
CB: So how long have you been playing bass?
DC: I have been playing bass for about fifteen years. I’m not really sure what drew me to the bass. I tend to be a quiet person and I think most bass players can be that way too.
CB: Have you taken any formal lessons?
DC: I took private lessons when I was a first starting out. I really hated the idea of lessons when I was eleven, but I am so thankful for them now. My drive to play bass didn’t really start until I began learning songs from bands I was really into at the time. I also played Alto Sax in middle/high school and I was able to incorporate my theory knowledge from Saxophone into playing bass. Knowing your scales is the key to success!
CB: How long have you been playing bass with Elevation Worship and how did you start playing with them?
DC: I started playing bass for EW around the age of nineteen. I auditioned and made the team but I didn’t start playing till about a year later. The team was pretty small back then and they didn’t really have a lot of available spots or new campuses opening up, but I knew God was calling me to the team so I just waited for my spot to open up. I tell our new musicians that what we are a part of is bigger than the role we play. I felt called to Elevation Worship whether I was consistently playing or not.
CB: How did you prepare for this tour individually and as a team?
DC: Our team does a great job of individual preparation. We know that we have a limited time to practice together so we spend time on our own working on our parts and showing up to rehearsal 100% prepared. That way we can be very efficient with our rehearsal dates and focus less on learning the song and more time on tighten up as a group.
CB: What do you do to prepare spiritually each night before you take the platform?
DC: I remind myself that each night is someone’s first night hearing the Gospel. Even though we have run the set multiple times, this is still someone’s first time experiencing God. Just that thought alone can bring new life to the songs we’ve played hundreds of times. It helps me focus in on what God wants to do each night. You just have to take yourself out of the equation. It’s really not about us.
CB: What is your setlist looking like for this tour?
DC: We have a really good mixture of songs off our new record (Wake up the Wonder) and songs from our previous live records. We don’t really play our old songs back home, so it’s been really nice revisiting some of our older songs.
CB: Do you have a favorite song from the set?
DC: I love playing “Jesus I Come.” There’s something about that song that just breaks down barriers in the room and people can just fully engage in worship.
CB: How do you balance family life with being on tour?
DC: Intentionality! It can be hard having a demanding schedule so I have to choose to make time for my family back home. Any down moments I have I’ll get in contact with them. Even if I can’t really talk that much I will still keep them informed on my day to day.
CB: Lets talk about the rig you’re using for this tour. What basses are you using?
DC: My #1 is my Elliott Plajio bass. There is nothing like it. Andy Elliott makes the best guitars out there, and I have yet to find something that plays our sounds better. For a back up I have my trusty 79 Fender Precision. It’s built like a tank and sounds really great. I really love vintage sounding tone with a hint of modern tone.
CB: Are you using an amp?
DC: I am using an Ampeg SVT Classic with a matching 810 cab.
CB: What is your signal chain to FOH?
DC: I have a PTJR board that I split my signal after the tuner so I can send an effected bass signal (OD/FUZZ/OCTAVE/REVERB) and a clean bass signal. I use a ReddiTube DI for my effected signal, and a Radial DI that I send a clean signal to.
CB: What IEM’s are you using?
DC: I use custom molded Westone triple drivers. If you can afford custom molds I would say they are worth the investment, especially for bass players. Having them custom fit to your ears helps preserve the low end in your mix unlike universal molded ears.
CB: Who are your favorite bassists?
DC: Man the list is long but I’d have to say Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Sir Paul McCartney, James Jamerson, Mark Stoermer and Roy Mitchell-Cárdenas. All of these guys have pushed the limits and changed the game for how Bass is played in music today. Their playing is so melodic, but the feel is still so present in their playing.
CB: What artists (secular & non-secular) are you listening to right now?
DC: I’m really loving Beck’s new album. It’s so nice to hear a great sounding album that isn’t produced that much. The songs are just great whether they are a full band or just him. Same with Bethel’s new album. Each song has the fire on it. It just sounds very natural and clean. It’s a nice change of pace.
CB: Are you excited for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens?”
DC: Yes. Yes I am. I am a huge Star Wars fan.
CB: Yes, sir! Who isn’t? Anyways, thank you so much for doing this interview David. Bassists are going to love this. Have a great night tonight.