Interview with Johnnie Gilmore

Tom Moorcroft sits down and chats virtually with bass sensation Johnnie Gilmore!

Tom Moorcroft
1st December 2020
One of the main takeaways I get from this album is that your music is universal. It's wild and travels from sound to sound. How have you been inspired by both the Boston and the LA music scene?

Boston is where I got started, and I owe everything to that scene. It's a very sweet and personable music community out there and it's also a great busking town, so that's really where I built up my confidence that I could play. The last few years in LA have been a ton of fun because the scene is so big and diverse—you can play anything and find an audience for it, and everyone plays at such a high level. LA has made me step up my game, and the hustle can be exhausting, but it's been fun and I'm super grateful to be working with so many people who are so amazing as musicians and as artists. The weather's not too bad either. 

What bassists would you say have inspired this EP?

As far as bass players, Victor Wooten is the big one for my solo repertoire—he's got incredible technique, but beyond that he's such a soulful player and he feels his music so deeply. I love that. But most of my influences for playing solo are actually not bass players: Tommy Emmanuel, Chet Atkins, Stevie Wonder, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Carole King...the bass isn't really the point, honestly, and I'd even love to make you forget you're hearing a bass.

There are already enough flashy bass players out there playing bass music—I'm more interested in playing music, and to me that means telling a story and making people feel something.

The bass is incidental—it just happens to be my voice where I can best express myself. 

Do you think you'll ever stop by Newcastle for a gig in the future?

Absolutely! I haven't gotten across the pond as much as I'd like yet, but I love the UK and now that I've toured around the US a bit, the next big dream is to play the UK once this stupid virus passes us by. Plus y'all in Newcastle gave us Mark Knopfler (!!), so that'd be pretty cool to play in his hometown. (Beyond Dire Straits, his late career fingerpicking stuff is incredible—I love his collaboration with Tommy Emmanuel.) 

What's in store for the future of Johnnie Gilmore?

Now that this EP is finally out, I'm keeping myself busy working up some new material for the return of live music. I had a US tour planned for this past spring that obviously got scrapped, so that'll happen once the pandemic is over, and hopefully I can hit the UK after that. There's so much uncertainty around the music industry now, but I'm feeling optimistic that the post-COVID era will be fun!

Featured Image: Dave Kopperman via Johnnie Gilmore
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AUTHOR: Tom Moorcroft
Head of Sport for The Courier. Current 3rd year English Literature and History student. Love writing about sports/music, playing the guitar and Everton FC!

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