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SBL Student Spotlight – Dima Midborn

For our latest Student Spotlight we’ve tracked down one of the groovers and shakers behind Moscow’s indie pop scene.

Throughout the year, we’ll be touching base with a diverse set of breaking and established talent to air their thoughts and experiences about bass playing, tunes and music in general from their own vantage point (the only thing that anyone can do, really). Want to join them? If you're studying with SBL and would like to share your experiences, then please don't hesitate to Contact Us as we'd love to share your story and promote your music to the SBL audience!

Dima Midborn - Bass On-The-Go

Good things come to those who wait. Just ask Dima Midborn, the self-confessed bass junkie from Moscow. His all-encompassing approach has produced a sophisticated playing style that’s a far cry from the fledgling riffs he cut when he first started out. Dima was the archetypal guitarist cast in a new role. “I used to play the guitar, but I found myself writing songs for a band that didn't need a guitarist,” he tells us. “But it sure needed a bass player! So I switched to bass because I liked the music and that band was something new to me. So the choice of instrument was purely accidental.”

So how does Dima set about working on new material? “I'm a late starter,” he explains. “I first picked up the bass when I was 23 or 24 years old, so I still was too young to understand that practicing is everything. I mean, not just fiddling around with a bass, but also really digging in. I think I gave up a lot of time for nothing, but now I play every day for two hours at the very least. No matter what, there' always time to practice with or without my bass. First thing's first, I warm up for 15-30 minutes and then I’ll transcribe a new tune or a riff. Once I’ve got my ears tuned in I’ll work on my technique and timing by using a metronome without the first and third beat. That has been one of the greatest tips ever given to me by the drummer with On-The-Go. It really develops your sense of time. I’ll practice some harmony, scales and arpeggios and I like to play along with my practice playlist. Thanks to SBL, I’ve also started to keep a practice diary every day, and that’s really been a game changer. I’d recommend it to every musician!”
These days Dima is mainly playing gigs in and around Moscow with either new wave punk outfit Rti or indie pop band On The Go.

How did you find ScottsBassLessons?

I just Googled "bass tutorial".

Tell us about your projects outside of SBL

I'm busy with several projects right now and I also work as a session musician, but I've been playing with On-The-Go for nearly 5 years. They’re one of the busiest indie-rock bands based here in Moscow. We are in between albums right now and still tour a lot. I’m also in a band that’s at its very beginning. It’s a kind of punk band called Rti, which translates as Mouths. The band is packed with very talented musicians, so it’s a dream team of some sort. We’re recording our first EP right now and there will be a lot of improvisation and trippy solos.

Who are your favourite players at the moment?

Oh, there are always so many of them… I really like Pino Palladino's work on the last D'Angelo album. I think those guys are a perfect match and I can't get enough. Yesterday, I listened to one of my favourite new wave albums of all time, which is Rhyme and Reason by Missing Persons. The bass playing by Patrick O'Hearn is just amazing. They’re a very underrated band, and if you haven't heard of them you should definitely check them out!

I've also just discovered Jaco's work with Joni Mitchell and that music is fantastic. As for more recent findings, I really dig the bassist from a UK band called The Invisible. His name is Tom Herbert and you should check out their latest album Patience. Of course, there's also Marcus Miller, Victor Wooten and Larry Graham… the list goes on and on, but somehow pop-music intrigues me more.

Here’s a great video of The Invisible playing live

Tell us about your gear

I play a 4-string Japanese Fernandes Burny Jazz Bass with flatwound strings, which give the sound a more vintage tone. My pedalboard varies a lot depending on the project, but for On-The-Go I use a SansAmp Bass Driver or a Boss Bass Driver BB1x, a Shiftline Screamer Deluxe overdrive, a Boss Chorus CEB-3, a Boss Super Octave OC3 and a Boss Chromatic Tuner TU-3. That all fits on a Boss BCB-60 pedalboard. I must thank Shiftline and Roland/Boss Russia for being so kind and supportive.

What's your best gigging tip?

I'll paraphrase a tip given to me by Neil Gaiman, who’s a famous comic book creator. He said that when you’re going onstage you should fake it until you make it. Don't get me wrong; you can’t pretend to be a better bass player than you are. That all depends on how much time you’ve invested in your playing, but you can imagine what a great bass player would do before going on at a gig, what they’d do while they’re onstage and also after the gig. Do it over and over, until you start to become that bass player.

Any career highlights?

I am a very lucky person and my whole career is progressing step-by-step. I am very grateful to every band I’ve ever played in or am currently playing with. I learn a bit more every day from all of them. My whole career is a highlight thanks to all the great musicians here in Moscow.

How do you unwind?

I don't really get myself wound up! I do what I like to do and it’s all connected to music.

What would you be if you weren’t a bass player?

I am very dedicated to the bass, but I think I'd just choose another instrument and my life would be just as great.

What’s been the best thing about 2017 so far?

Forming the new band, Rti.

And the worst?

I didn’t enrol with the SBL Academy until April this year!

Check out Dima...

On Instagram:

Playing live with On-The-Go:

And on a ukebass live:

To join Dima and our other amazing students within the SBL membership click here and grab your 14 day free trial today.