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Azman Nirwan (Xotic)

azmanReginald: I have known Azman for over a decade, since I started visiting Yamaha in the late 90s. Azman has always been very helpful to provide assistance to customers with his excellent product knowledge and service. He is also actively involved as a bassplayer in the local music scene, performing regularly in various nightspots, television programmes and working with numerous artists locally and in the region.

Azman is currently performing with his band “In Control” at Clarke Quay.


1. How did you develop your interest for the bass guitar and who are the musicians that have influenced you?

When I was young, I'm already exposed to music from listening to a lot of late 70's funk bands & these bands have very strong influence in groove, especially bass lines.

I would naturally pick up an acoustic guitar & would start playing along to the bass lines of the songs when I hear them. So that's basically how I got into playing bass.

I grew up listening to EWF(Earth Wind & Fire),Kool & the Gang, Chic, Shalamar. As the years goes by, then I started to discover bass players like Nathan East, Abraham Laboriel, Marcus Miller, James Jamerson, Freddy Washington, Wayman Tisdale & Victor Wooten. These are the people that really influenced me.

2. What keeps you going after so many years in the music business?

I am always eager to learn something new and I think that is very important. Once you feel stagnant, you might give up everything!! Believe me, I've seen these things happen.

3. What defines musicianship?

It's not easy to define musicianship, it can be quite a long list. But, as long you understand your role in the band & always keep a listening ear & be aware of the playing atmosphere, that should be the basics.

4. You have nice collection of bass guitars. Tell us a about the basses and equipment that you are currently using.

Nice collections?! Really ?! Ok here's the rundown of my basses.

I am currently using:
•    Xotic 5 string XJ-1T ( Which I'm loving a lot right now!)

•    Xotic 4 string XJ-1T with D-tuner

•    Benavente Vortex 5, tuned CGDAE with GK2B pickup installed (My good friend Zainal from Goodfellas, helped me set it up & I've recently installed a ramp ordered from Benavente)
•    Fender Jazz & a Precision Bass, both 4 strings (It's Fender! You can never go wrong with these basses)
•    Azola lighting Bugbass EUB

I also use a couple of analog pedals for gigs, they're EBS Bass IQ, UniChorus, Ashdown James Lomenzo sig Bass HyperDrive, EHX Micro POG, TM Stevens Sig Morley Wah, TC Flasback Delay Xotic RC Bass Booster, MarkBass Bass Synth & Pigtronix Envelope Phaser

5. What do you look for when choosing a bass guitar?

As I am getting older, I look for lighter bass with heavy sounds! :-) Why? Because my back begins to hurt when I play basses that are more than 10 pounds for 3 sets a night!

6. How do you define a good tone?

To have a good tone is always a trial & error process, and it starts with your hands actually. You need to find a good position on the bass in order to get a sound that fits your playing style.

7. What is your advice for budding bass players who are keen to pursue music at a professional level?

For me, it's simple.... Stay Positive, Humble and always be On Time!