Bassist Spotlight: Kevin Otten (Knocked Loose)

Photo: Tim Cayem

If you haven't checked out Knocked Loose yet, hopefully, this interview will turn you on to them. My band, Miracle Drug, first started playing shows with them around 2015. I was struck, by how talented, and nice the guys were. Miracle Drug demoed some songs with Knocked Loose's guitarist, Issac Hale, but I hadn't met Kevin Otten yet. This feature is a perfect opportunity for me, and you guys to get introduced. Issac was awesome and helped me with some questions. I hope you guys enjoy the feature!

Can you introduce yourself to everyone?

Hello, my name is Kevin Otten and I play bass for Knocked Loose!

What got you into playing the bass?

I got into bass my junior year of high school when [vocalist] Bryan [Garris] and our friend Jared were talking about starting a band, and at the time I really wanted to do something musically and they both asked if I could play bass and I said, "yeah, I can learn, I guess."

Photo: Tim Cayem

Do you play any other instruments?

I don't actually! I can't really play guitar well because I end up trying to play it like a bass and I can't play drums at all.

Did/does your family support your music?

At first, my mom was pretty pissed at me for dropping out of school to be in a band, but once she saw us touring the world and making a living of it I think she eased up a lot and now she wears Knocked Loose merch and has me get her stuff from our tours. So, luckily she supports it 110%!

How do you write your bass parts for Knocked Loose?

I usually have [drummer Kevin] "Pac Sun" [Kaine] play through the drum part we've written where the band wants a bass part and I'll just kind of bullshit around and try to keep it around the area of the fretboard where the original riff is, and just twist stuff around and put my own spin on some of the frets used in the riff.

What do you play more of, up or down strokes, and do you have a preference?

I play a lot of alternate picking actually, mainly because Knocked Loose has a lot of faster parts especially for the newer stuff, but for slow parts, I'll always downpick just because I already pick super hard anyways. I prefer alternate picking, honestly, so my hand doesn't get as tired as it would playing only downpick the whole set.

Knocked Loose represents Oldham County, KY, hard. Is that where you guys all met, and do you still live there? 

Yeah, so Bryan and I have known each other since around the 5th grade and we went to elementary, middle, and high school together and always had multiple classes together. [Guitarist] Isaac [Hale] and Pac Sun went to high school together so that's how they knew each other, and [guitarist] Cole [Crutchfield] went to a different school but I'm not really sure how him and Pac Sun met each other. I do still live in Oldham County and I probably will for a while just because it fits my kind of lifestyle. It's not super busy or loud or crowded, and everything from food to stores and malls are super close.

I was on tour for almost 3 years with a band called Young Love. At the most; I think we'd take 2 weeks off sometimes between runs. But usually, we would just haul ass to the next tour. What's the longest stretch Knocked Loose has been out and do you think could you go longer?

The longest we were out was on the Beartooth tour last fall and it was around 65 days, I think. Definitely the longest tour we've ever done but I know Warped Tour is a close second to that. I think we could do longer if I also didn't think we would go for each other's throats by the end [laughs]. Being out for that long and being around the same people for that long 24/7 definitely starts to get under your skin at times.

When my old tours would come to an end; I would get super depressed and have bad dreams. How does it hit you?

Whenever we get home from a tour, I always sleep kind of bad for the first couple of days because I get used to sleeping in the van and the constant feeling of moving and little bumps the van hits when you're on the road. I definitely get sad when we leave a tour, especially if we've been out with super close friends and whenever we make new close friends

What city or cities do you wanna live in now that you've traveled so much?

I would either pick San Diego or Denver, mainly because of the weather and the shows there. Those areas are always so nice and it's never been like blistering hot when we've been there, which is awesome for me because I prefer to live in a hoodie and jeans anyways.

Photo: Tim Cayem

What is your current amp, pedal, and bass guitar combo?

I get this question a lot at shows from people coming up while I'm packing and it's always my favorite question to answer! Right now, I'm running an Ampeg SVT Classic through two Mesa 8x10's, my pedal board has a Decimator, Darkglass B7K Ultra, Darkglass Alpha/Omega and Dakglass X7 Microtubes. I run the X7 parallel out so it's just my front of house tone coming through the monitors and PA. The B7K and A/O are my onstage tone, so it's not affecting my FOH tone at all. And of course, I use a Boss tuner into my SHURE GLX-D4 wireless. My main bass is an Ibanez BTB 1825 Premium, and I use an Ibanez BTB 745 Standard and an Ibanez TMB605 as backups

What was your first band like?  (Issac's question)

Knocked Loose is actually my first band surprisingly. So, I guess it's been awesome that I've gotten to experience everything we've done so far for my first band.

What style of music do you personally love listening to when it comes to bass playing?  (Issac's question)

I'll typically listen to stuff like Fallujah or Black Dahlia Murder because those bass players rip hard. But I'll also listen to a lot of Karnivool because I love that band and Jon Stockman is one of my all-time favorite bass players.

Favorite bass player in the world?   (Issac's question)

It's a toss-up between Jon Stockman or Evan Brewer, who was in The Faceless and Animosity. Kind of hard to answer because they both have their own styles and I love both of their playing styles. I think I would have to say it's a tie!

Who is someone you look up to, that you toured with when it comes to your instrument?   (Issac's question)

Two people immediately come to mind and it's Mitch from Every Time I Die and Griffin from The Acacia Strain. Both of them on any tour I've done have always helped me out with gear problems or hookups with company's I've looked up to for a while. Both super great dudes and I know they could do anything to help when it comes to the instrument because they're both passionate about it and love talking about it. Plus they're both in bands I've been listening to since I was a teenager so I definitely idolize them from a bass player standpoint.

Finally, I really appreciate you doing this, and me and the whole Louisville scene are incredibly proud of you guys. Anything new coming up musically or personally you wanna talk about?

Absolutely man, thank you for having me! It makes us very happy and excited to rep Louisville and Oldham as much as we do because the favor is always returned. As for anything new, we just released our new song, "Mistakes Like Fractures," along with the cover and re-recording of "All My Friends," and there's more new stuff to come which depending on when this comes out, it may be announced already!

Knocked Loose's new EP, Mistakes Like Fractures, is out now via Pure Noise Records and available here.

Knocked Loose tour dates w/ The Acacia Strain, Harm's Way, Sanction, Higher Power:
04/23: Tulsa, OK – The Vanguard
04/25: Tucson, AZ – The Rock
04/26: Las Vegas, NV – Elks Lodge 1468
04/27: Pomona, CA – The Glass House
04/28: San Diego, CA – SOMA
04/30: Ventura, CA – Ventura Theater
05/01: Santa Cruz, CA – The Catalyst
05/02: Sacramento, CA – Ace of Spades
05/03: Reno, NV – Jub Jub’s Thirst Parlor
05/05: Fort Collins, CO – Hodi’s Half Note
05/06: Colorado Springs, CO – The Black Sheep
05/07: Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room
05/08: St. Louis, MO – Fubar


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Tagged: bassist spotlight, knocked loose