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Olivia Anna Livki: “Keep your fingers working the strings regularly – that’s the best way to evolve in the long term“

(Image credit: Olivia Anna Livki)

I was about 14 or 15 years old when I started playing bass. I heard Come Together by the Beatles for the first time. That was basically when I decided that I wanted to play the instrument. 

My first bass guitar was a small, not too heavy Yamaha TRBX in turquoise. Since then, I’ve mostly played my Fender Jazz, because I’m looking for a very specific, guitar-like punk rock sound, with gritty, warm and powerful low-mids. 

keeping your fingers on the instrument – even while you’re watching TV – is the best way to evolve

I’ve put a lot of effort into putting together the perfect kit, which is a combination of a Warwick WCA 410 cabinet, a Gallien-Krueger MB Fusion head and my Jazz bass.

The best advice I’ve ever been given about playing bass is that random technical practice, and basically keeping your fingers on the instrument – even while you’re watching TV – is the best way to evolve.

My bass teacher used to say that. It’s not always about fancy new practice techniques or playing complicated tunes, although you should certainly challenge yourself by trying new things that you’ve never played before.

Music isn’t a sport to me, so I think it’s hard to compare great bass players; they’re all unique in their own categories

Keep your fingers working the strings regularly – that’s the best way to evolve in the long term. Naming the greatest bass player ever is a tricky one. Music isn’t a sport to me, so I think it’s hard to compare great bass players; they’re all unique in their own categories.

If I had to pick someone, it would be John Entwistle. He reinvented the role of the bass and the bass player in rock-music by becoming a solo guitarist and guitar hero in the Who. He was just as present in that band as Pete Townshend was, really. I guess my punk guitar approach to bass is influenced by him, too.

  • Olivia Anna Livki’s album Digital Dissidents is out now via L I V V.