Student Spotlight: Riley Kirkpatrick (Bass)

DIME Detroit's annual guitar and bass show, DON'T TURN DOWN, returns to The Underground @ DIME on Wednesday, February 26th at 7pm! To get us ready for this special occasion, we caught up with one of our 2nd year bass students, Riley Kirkpatrick, to tell us a bit more about his background, what it's like studying at DIME, and what musical projects he's working on now. Learn more about Riley in the interview below, and don't miss his performance at DON'T TURN DOWN!

Riley Performing with Viper and the Vertebrae - Photo by Dan Plucinski

What is your background and music education?  What brought you to DIME?
Prior to attending DIME I've had no formal music education, I was primarily self-taught. I applied to DIME after visiting my sophomore year of high school and jamming with a few of the students attending at the time. The overall atmosphere and openness to many genres appealed to me, and I had made up my mind that this is where I wanted to be.

Who are some of your influences?
One of my main influences, as far as my bass playing goes, is Dan Maines from Clutch. Clutch is a band that is very groove oriented, and a solid groove is something that I strive for in my own playing. There are loads of other influences on the sound I would like to create in my music, some being Poppy, Ic3peak, and Code Orange, to name a few, due to their experimental tendencies and blending of genres.

How has DIME impacted your songwriting and style of playing?
DIME has opened up my vocabulary on the instrument tremendously. I've learned a ton of music theory that also helps me to understand what I'm playing, instead of just "oh, this sounds cool".  This has helped me to be more versatile in my bass playing.

What has been your experience performing as an independent artist?
At the moment, I'm playing bass with a band of fellow DIME students, as well as a non-DIME guitarist, under the name "Viper & The Vertebrae". I've been playing bass for bands since I was 16, starting in a folk-rock group, and through that group I have been able to play at all sorts of local Michigan festivals like Beaver Island Music Festival, Nor-East'r, and Hollerfest, as well as a ton of local breweries around Michigan.


Any gigs outside of DIME coming up or current projects?
Viper & The Vertebrae are in the process of recording some songs, with hopes of releasing music in the next few months. (Don't tell anyone I told you, it's a secret.) I'm also in the process of writing some deathcore/hardcore/metal songs with a few DIME students, with hopes to play out live soon.

Where do you see yourself after graduation?
After I graduate, I'd like to be regularly playing in a band, or multiple bands (who doesn't though?) Whether that means going on tour, or having gigs with multiple different groups throughout the week, I'll be playing bass somewhere.

What advice would you give someone considering DIME Detroit?
The biggest piece of advice I can give is to be versatile, but to still be yourself. While it is important to be able to fit into multiple contexts, I feel it's even more important to find/keep your own style. As a bass player, most of my opportunities come from being able to play different genres, as well as bringing some of my own influence to the table. To sum it up in three words: just be yourself.

Check out our talented guitar and bass students and faculty at Don't Turn Down on Wednesday, February 26th at 7PM. Click the image below to learn more and RSVP on Facebook.

Our next semester begins on August 17th, 2020. Start your application for a bachelor's degree program in Guitar, Bass, Drums, Vocals, Songwriting or Music Industry Studies today!

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