Donald Wayne King Slaps it with a Funky Beat

Donald Wayne King 2

Bass player Donald Wayne King’s style is calm and almost mesmerizing, with a lot of funk. One of his favorite hangouts is a little joint in Hartford, CT called Black Eyed Sally’s – good food, great jazz. His tune “Slam” has his bass keeping the fattest beat with a screaming guitar over it, where “Latina” is more melodic and even sexy. Sometimes the layer of techno is added, making it impossible for the listener to keep still. So dance it off.

What is your musical background?

I’m self-taught and started playing bass after playing around with a six-string guitar at the age of 12.

Why did you choose bass?

I heard a bass player by the name of Luis Johnson at the age of 13 and that’s when I started playing it. It became my choice of instrument because I love the sound of slap bass. 

Your playing has a somewhat bluesy feel. Are you influenced by blues?

I love BB King and the sound of blues soothes my inner soul to the point that my style reflects blues fully.

What do you want people to take away from your music?

I want them to feel the soul from my music, the funk from my slap bass, and I hope they feel like dancing. 

How long to get used to the physical demands of playing it?

The feel of bass strings on my fingers can take a toll on them. It took many months to get used to playing the bass when I first started.  I couldn’t pluck or slap because it hurt my fingers but eventually I got used to it.            

How did you get into production?

Spate Magazine owned by my brother helped me get into production with help from Bass Musician Magazine. 

What studio do you use?

I have my own recording studio in my room and I recorded all of my EP’s there. 

What’s the biggest challenge when you start a career in production?

Finding the right sound from the keyboards to the drums. I try to find the sound that fits the tune. 

What are some of your current projects in the studio with other artists?

I want to help up-and-coming artists and I have a few that may be interested in working with me. 

How does slapping and other percussive devices enhance playing the bass?

Slap bass brings out a powerful sound in the funk world and with percussive instruments like the drums, the bass gets a strong boost of soul. Makes you want to nod your head and dance. 

Current projects?

I’m working on a new EP and it’s going to be a little of everything.   

Talk about the creation of your 2016 release, 2Step.

When I wrote 2Step I was thinking back in the old days when people loved to dance to jazz. It just took a few steps and you had to get on the floor and burn the bottom of your shoes dancing. 2Step is my favorite track on it because I reflect straight-up jazz and blues. 

What chord changes and rhythmic patterns do you love the most?

I love the key of E because most funk tunes are in E and I love choppy kinds of rhythm patterns. 

Are you a serious guy when you play or do you have fun?

I do take playing the bass seriously, but I also have a fun side as well when playing for family and friends.         

Where have you performed in NYC?

Years ago, I played at the Celebrity Club and for clubs in the Bronx. 

Where would you most like to perform throughout the world?

I would love to play for audiences in Japan, Italy, France and Germany. 

What is the difference in the audiences from NYC to other locations, regarding their appreciation of jazz and funk?

I find that NYC appreciates live jazz and funk musicians more than any other state. Connecticut in my opinion is second on the list because they love jazz and funk as well. 

What’s the biggest challenge for an indie musician today?

Getting the gigs and staying on the live scene. 

Talk about the support from Bass Musician Magazine.

Bass Musician has shown me lots of love and has been there for me. They show my videos on Facebook immediately after I upload them. I recently did a video and within a few hours I was at 2,000 views and it’s amazing. 

Talk about your personnel?

I’m a one-man-band and I not only play the bass, I play guitar, drums and piano. I play whatever I need for my soundtracks, and I have been called a Funk Master. 

What instruments do you feel go best with bass?

The best instrument in connection with the bass is the drums. 

Largest ensemble?

It was a band that consisted of eight musicians. The lineup was piano, two singers, two guitar players, myself on bass, a drummer, and a saxophone. 

What’s the scene like where you live?

The scene in Connecticut is laid back smooth and fun with a touch of funk. It really depends on where you go for the entertainment. 

Your site links to a hip-hop radio station. What do you play in that genre?

I have a tune that I remixed called “How Many MC’s” and my jazz tunes are also played on the Spate Magazine app.  

Plans for the rest of 2017?

I would like to do more charity work and hit some more clubs in CT and NY. 

Goals for 2018?

I like playing the fretless bass and I will record more smooth tunes in 2018 playing fretless. I’m working on plans for gigs in the New Year but nothing specific at this time. 

For more information, visit

Photos courtesy of and with permission of the artist.

(c) Debbie Burke 2017

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