I‘m Natalie Smallish! Birth name (Natalie Martinez). I’m a second-generation Cuban/American musician and have been playing bass for the alternative rock band, The Haunt since 2018. I’m also a vinyl DJ and have been the manager and record slinger for 13 years at Radio-Active Records in Fort Lauderdale, FL, while I’m not touring.
What is your definition of tone, and how has it changed over the years?
As a teenager, I didn’t really care or even think about tone; I plugged in, and what you got was what ya got. It worked for a while, depending on the band I was playing in! That lasted from when I was 15 till about 18 years old. I then switched to playing more “vintage” music, so I played Danelectros and Vox’s and ran them through a bassman. Honestly, that’s as good as it gets.
Being in The Haunt (https://www.instagram.com/wearethehaunt), I was able to really hone in on the distortion pedal route. My setup is still immensely simple but SPECIFIC. Our production is sophisticated and unique to how we want on purpose, and the goal is to match that all around.
Which guitars, amps, and pedals are you currently using and why?
I currently play the Fender Mustang short scale and rockin’ the BOSS CHROMATIC TUNER + NOISE SUPPRESSOR alongside the un-named holy grail of distortion pedal, in my opinion, haha. Come to a Haunt show and make your way to the front to take a peek and see what I’m stompin’ on! Not going to give it away that easy! I run it all through the Fender Rumble combo amp. This setup is powerful. It growls, and It’s *Hauntingly* beautiful.
What about strings?
Again it depends on what the situation is. Live, recording, or just jamming. I love D’Addario strings… Nickel wounds are my usual, but I’m wanting to try out the Pro Steels for that increased sustain and crunch. A good amount of my bass parts are like gritty and loud guitar solos, so I really get IN there with the picking and strumming, and they’ve yet to let me down! I also have a Jackson X Series (Rickenbacker inspired *Fakenbacker of people’s dreams* that has a set of D’Addario half-rounds. They feel smoother and have reduced finger noise. That bass sounds HUGE and is hella noisy. I also have a simple Ibanez electric/acoustic bass guitar for simple muscle memory practice. My next challenge is the fretless bass 🙂
Are there certain recording techniques you prefer in the studio?
Not really! The songs are in charge, so whatever it takes, I’ll do! I usually like to know the song inside and out before recording so I can add all the “bells and whistles,” but on-the-spot works too. Sometimes creativity usually flows better that way anyway.
How do you keep your sound consistent onstage?
I basically just have all my settings memorized at this point. In any other case, it’s just rock and roll, right?
What does your practice consist of?
The band practices often. I don’t really have a personal practice schedule unless there’s a new song in the works or a bass line is stuck in my head… then it’s on, and hours later, my entire day is gone.
Favorite guitar riff or lick that inspired you to play guitar?
I have to say I don’t really have a “FAVORITE” but just YouTube the top ten The Cure bass lines followed up by any Carol Kaye instructional video.
What is your advice for young women who hope to work in the music industry?
Try your hardest to remind your future self to not become jaded and truly be present for each moment. Don’t waste your time worrying, planning, and missing out on the NOW and how it’ll all work out.. just do it.
(Nike’s always been right)
All socials: @WeAreTheHaunt