California natives The Story So Far have taken the pop-punk world by storm over the last four years. After the release of their third, self-titled album in 2015, the band’s constant writing, recording, and touring had caught up with them. In an attempt to tackle their burnout, the group took a step back to recharge and came back with their most cohesive and confident record to date. The band released their fourth studio album in 2018 titled Proper Dose, followed by a massive US tour. The five-piece recently released a new, live music video for “Proper Dose,” filmed at arguably one of their biggest US headlining shows at the Hollywood Palladium. The new video gives fans an exclusive taste of what it’s like to be in the crowd for one of pop-punks most flourishing acts. Watch the video down below.
We had the opportunity to catch up with bassist and Music Man artist Kelen Capener to discuss sounds, the creative process, and what he loves most about his StingRay Special bass.
Watch the Official “Proper Dose” Video
Q & A with Kelen Capener
MM: Tell us about the first time you picked up a Music Man bass?
KC: I made the switch over to Music Man basses in 2014. I’ve always found the craftsmanship of Music Man basses to be consistent and was drawn to playing them by their unique sound and versatility. When the opportunity to be an artist on the Music Man roster arose, it was an easy decision.
MM: You’ve played plenty of basses in your career. What drew you to start playing the StingRay Special?
KC: I purely play StingRays. Compared to my own StingRays and others I’ve played, the sound of the Special maintains the growl and sound definition of a classic stingray, but with a bit more clarity. The physical attributes that come standard with it now – a roasted maple neck and contoured body shape – make the playing experience far more smooth.
MM: What are some features on the StingRay Special that you think make it stand out amongst the crowd?
KC: The contoured body was my favorite new feature. I spent a lot of time playing the higher frets, something that wasn’t so comfortable or accessible before. The thicker tuning pegs were a subtle, nice touch as well.
MM: Let’s talk about your music style. Can you describe your sound and how the StingRay helps you achieve it?
KC: I love growl in a bass. Something that, even with a touch of distortion, maintains body and definition. The StingRay sound is full and bright and has an inherent growl that cuts through any mix with perfect balance and unmistakable identity. I grew up playing jazz, punk, rock, funk, and about as many other genres as you can name. The StingRay has the versatility to fit in and add the perfect texture to each.
MM: When it comes to your band’s evolving style, how does your instrument contribute to your expanding sound?
KC: It comes back to versatility. The Story So Far’s sound evolved a lot on our latest release Proper Dose, and when I was prepping to track bass in the studio, it was funny how obvious a choice the StingRay was to track the parts. We were cycling through basses in search of tone and the second I plugged in my StingRay our engineer just said “YEP. That’s it.”, and I went on to track 98% of the album with it. It’s a bass I can rely on under circumstances that only allow me to travel with one, because I know I can let it rip for the heavy stuff or dial back and for more delicate songs. It can do it all.
MM: Tell us one thing that always draws you to play the StingRay.
KC: It’s the only bass I’ve found that can be slapped as well as it can be picked or plucked. I personally love playing slap bass, and it’s frustrating how few basses are made to cater to that style. I don’t think people realize how seamlessly you can hop from finger picking, to punching notes out with a pick, to slapping riffs on a StingRay. My personal StingRay bass has a “SLO Special” neck on it in roasted maple, and it’s my favorite I’ve ever played. Music Man basses can be made to fit you.
MM: We love having you in the Music Man family. What’s something you want others to know about Ernie Ball Music Man?
KC: I love the MusicMan /Ernie Ball family. They have a standard of quality lost on a lot of companies and maintain a level of communication with their artists that is far and beyond most. I’m very grateful for their support and you can’t go wrong supporting them, they rock.
Listen to The Story So Far