Karl Clews - Electric Bass

Karl began his musical odyssey at the age of 8, on the classical guitar. Having achieved a distinction at grade 8 and a Performer’s Diploma by the age of 16, Karl turned his attention to the bass guitar: ‘I was heavily into soul, funk and fusion as a teenager,’ he states, ‘and I quickly realized that it was the bass guitar that really drove and directed this kind of music.’


Influenced by such virtuoso bass players as Stanley Clarke, Jaco Pastorius, Marcus Miller, Louis Johnson, Armand Sabal-Lecco and Mark King, Karl developed a distinctive percussive and rhythmic style that quickly established him as an in-demand player for jazz, blues and soul bands whilst still at university in Oxford. Following a period spent living in France, where he played extensively around the clubs of Paris and Nancy and gigged and recorded with such stars of the French music scene as MC Solaar, Manu Dibango and Laurent Voulzy, Karl moved to London, where he spent six years as a session player, songwriter and producer.


Karl is a founder member, songwriter and producer of the UK funk and soul band, Harambe (www.reverbnation.com/harambe), who have so far recorded and released two commerically-available albums via the Universal label, 2003’s Roots and 2007’s Testify (an expanded version of which was licensed in Japan to the CCRE label in 2008), and co-wrote and produced the eponymous Broken Angel album (2005). Following the release at the end of 2010 of the Reboot EP, Harambe are currently working on new material and periodically touring throughout Europe and Japan.




Karl is now settled in Galway on the west coast of Ireland and is currently working with various top Irish function bands, typically playing around 150 gigs per year throughout Ireland. He is also involved in a number of original projects, including jazz-funk-fusion outfit Earthship (www.reverbnation.com/earthship), The Siomha Brock Band, Ramshackle and Superfreaks, and is in constant demand as a session player and dep. Most recently, he played bass on the charity single, Tiny Dancer, which reached No.1 in 5 countries in 2012/13.


Some of the artists Karl has worked with, either on recording sessions or live, over the years include: David McAlmont, Keziah Jones, Manu Dibango, Jamiroquai, The Brand New Heavies, PJ Harvey, Gary Barlow (Take That), Ronan Keating, John Harrison (producer: Liberty X, Sugababes), Neil Conti (drummer: Scritti Politti, Level 42), Dr John, Fred Wesley & The New JBs, Luke Lockhart, Pete Ray Biggin, Clayton Denwood, MC Solaar, Laurent Voulzy, Soweto Kinch, Zoe Rahman, Moe Loughran, Skazz, Martina Flaherty, Niceol Blue, Paul King and Krishna BlackEagle.

Karl’s publishing interests are handled by Hornall Brothers in the UK.


Karl is also available for teaching, product demonstrations and clinics, and has appeared in this capacity at NAMM in Anaheim, CA, and the Frankfurt Musikmesse on various occasions, for various clients.

Karl's funky bass playing features in this clip from his band Superfreaks, filmed right here!  

© 2019 Galway Music Academy