NATHAN HUBBARD

Nathan Hubbard: Website / Instagram / Bandcamp

Passengers: Website

The Scorpion Decides: Website / Bandcamp

toques: Bandcamp

Ogd_S(11) Translation Has Failed: Website / Bandcamp / YouTube

1. Tell me about your current rig: I don’t have a current rig, I use different equipment for different gigs. In general, I like oversized cymbals and older drums, and usually default towards simple setups. The musical situation will determine what size bass drum I use, if I need tom toms, what kind of snare I think will work, etc. I also build and modify instruments, so if the situation warrants it, I love finding something that will give the song or piece a stand out, whether its a shaker stick, a weird lo-fi snare, or an extended sound like a garbage can or hubcap. My collection has been years in the making; I try and be honest about if I am using a piece enough to warrant owning it, and sell things that I don’t use or doesn’t work with what I am hearing in my head. The best parts are the stuff that doesn’t require much upkeep and doesn’t break on gigs. The worst part is the fragile stuff (gourds, ceramic instruments) that break every time you move them.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular style? Not sure I have a “style,” I’ve always tried to fit into the musical space while still retaining my own identity. Two recent pieces I have particularly enjoyed would be the toques track “1_0,” which has a fairly lo-fi drum sound with me playing in and out of a homemade loop, and the Hexa track “Chloe,” which has a super dead drum sound and a nice lilt to it.

3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy? I spent most of my time in college playing classical marimba, which is hilarious because I don’t even own one these days. At some point it would be great to have a Marimba One low C marimba, but honestly we don’t have the room for it.

4. What’s the worst or weirdest piece of gear you’ve ever bought or used? A few years ago I picked up a Quijada, which is literally the jawbone of a mule, it’s a Peruvian instrument that you hit with the palm of your hand to make the teeth rattle. The vibraslap is the modern equivalent. It’s definitely not for vegans or anybody that is squeamish.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? New toques recording out now, and a new Skeleton Key Orchestra double CD will be out in May, just in time for a huge (24+ musicians) 40th birthday concert for myself at Bread and Salt on May 21st. A Thousand Butterflies is at Dizzys on Saturday, March 19th.

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DANIEL ELLIS / SPLAVENDER

Splavender: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current recording rig: I’ve gathered a lot of awesome gear over the last couple years but I feel like I don’t have any go-to’s. The Vintech Neve emulator and the Distressor are two pieces I seem to switch off on. With the analog pre’s I used to get carried away with that ‘ppsshh’ sound I love so much. Now I’m not afraid to use a dynamic on vocals or something and just crank the Vintech until it goes ‘squish squish’ like a panini.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular recording style? “Sho’ Nuff” is one that has a hazy vocal sound. I dunno, I guess that’s part of my style, but the song also captures that vintage surf-jazz thing I strive for. Crazy gear and expensive matching overhead mic pairs are cool and all, but knowing what sound your going for is invaluable. Our single “Honeysuckle” that is coming out soon is basically Splavender’s “Starry Night.” A 6-minute introspective synth-groove lovesong.  I think Van Gogh would dig it.

3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ piece of studio gear you’d buy? I love this question cuz I’d probably answer it differently day to day.  I’d probably get one of those Neve sidecar desks. With the 1073 mic pre’s in that unit, I’d probably do terrible, terrible things for that piece of gear.

4. What was the first piece of recording gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now?  The first piece of gear I bought was a Presonus Audiobox 18. 8 tracks, digital. It was the only thing I recorded through for the first year and a half of learning and it never let me down. I use it now solely as a digital converter for my analog pre’s to enter Pro Tools.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? Splavender’s at Shaper Studios Friday, Feb. 26, with Dani Bell & The Tarantist (free), and at Mike Hess Brewery March 18, for our first-ever ‘Music and Beer’ pairing (Mira Mesa location). The new Splavender EP is finished, RELEASE DEETS SOON.

Find out how to win a free single complete with tracking, mixing and mastering from Daniel here.

 

LETY BEERS / THE SCHIZOPHONICS

The Schizophonics: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / SoundCloud / Website

1. Tell me about your current kit:  It’s an early-’70s sparkle red Ludwig. 14″ rack, 16″ floor and 22″ kick drum. You can tell the year because it has these super pointy badges that they rounded later on ’cause they’d always get snagged on things. My floor tom’s badge is a bit crinkly from getting snagged on my clothes a lot. It’s got a bigger rack tom than most kits have that I really like. Gives it a lower tone on my fills.

On my heads, I always use vintage coated drum heads. They have a a warmer tone than any other heads I’ve ever played on. It adds a subtle mute without doing too much to it. I always cut as much ring out of the toms without getting too muffled with Moongels. I like the gel better than tape cause it’s not a permanent thing and wont get too messy if you take it off. If I’m doing a show where everything is mic’d, I’ll dampen with more gels to help cut high frequencies that cause crazy feedback. When I play venues where nothing but vocals are mic’d, I let the drum tones resonate more to carry the drums through the room.

My snare is a ’60s Ludwig that I got from Baba from The Zeros. The built in muter doesn’t stay up well so I use the coated emperors on that with ONE Moongel. If it’s naked, it has a ring I don’t like. Too many gels, you lose your tone. I always make sure to tune it up high enough as to where the snare frequency will pierce through the song when you hit it. You don’t want to have your most powerful tool getting buried in the other instruments’ frequencies. You’ll lose your drive.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  “Red Planet” I think represents my style best. It has the the Lety-Stomp that a few friends have imitated when doing a Schizo-influenced song. I always strive to play something that I would want to dance to and this one has that energy that I like in other music. It’s super fun to play; really let loose on it.

3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ equipment you’d buy?  I am not difficult to please, but I would probably want a really high-end set of cymbals. That is always where I have to compromise and buy based on price versus quality. It’s my toughest category of drum gear where I have the hardest time picking and choosing. In the past, I’ve just played what falls into my lap. Having the financial resources to really dive into my options here would be nice.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?  Locally, I appreciate the heck out of Jon Bonser. He’s taught me so much about the nitty gritty of drums. When we first started playing out, he very politely offered to show me about tuning and basic drum care after seeing my old mutant kit. If a head fit the drum and didn’t have any holes in it, I was good! I didn’t use bottom heads, and used to put a piñata in the kick drum just to fill the space. It’s funny now, but I really had no idea what I was doing past trying to learn to play songs. Jon’s been a good friend and really opened my eyes to the world of drums. He’s my gear guru!

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?  Our next show is the DoSd launch party on Wednesday at The Casbah. Exciting news is we’re going to be a part of the All Tomorrow’s Parties coming up in April – the festival in north Wales that Drive Like Jehu is curating. We’ll be out there with The Schizophonics and backing El Vez as his Punk Rock Review band. We’re also a few songs shy of FINALLY finishing up a full-length album. We’ve been working at Earthling Studios with Mike Kamoo and his new 1″ 8-track tape machine that, legend has it, might’ve been the same one from Sunset Sound back in the day. Whatever it is, we’re loving it.

See The Schizophonics at the DoSD launch party on Wednesday, Feb. 24, at The Casbah with The Palace Ballroom, Mrs. Magician and Birdy Bardot. The show is free with your online RSVP here.

CARRIE GILLESPIE FELLER / HEXA

Hexa: Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current rig: How does it help you achieve the sound/style you’re after? I have a Roland Juno Di and TC Helicon Vocal Harmonizer pedal that I run through a Digitech Jam Man. I loop layers of keyboard and vocals and those become the foundations of my songs. I recently started adding some drum tracks from an Alesis SR-16, which I run through a Golden Cello delay pedal. I also run samples from my cell phone, through a voice recorder app that has cool effects like “Optimus Robot” and “Small Alien” and “Death.” Every piece of gear I use for Hexa is really versatile, which has been important to me in writing and performing solo.

2. What is your favorite piece of gear? My TC Helicon Vocal Harmonizer and my microphone. The TC Helicon is made out of magic and makes your vocals sound amazing. And the Harmonizer is super creepy so I love it. There is nothing fancy about the mic I use, but it’s special to me because I’ve had it forever and it’s stained pink from lipstick.

3. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? “Campo,” from the Bata Motel EP I put out recently. It’s has a dark sound and the lyrics are pretty heavy, but it still has this catchy, pop thing going on.

4. What was the first piece of gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now? Do you have still have it? When I first started performing in bands about ten years ago, I bought a Kurzweil full stage piano. It’s completely impractical in that it weighs like 90 lbs. and is a total pain in the ass to transport. It sounds amazing and I still have it, but I am thrilled to be playing a compact little keyboard that I can throw in my trunk that weighs next to nothing.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? I released a four-song EP on Bandcamp called Bata Motel on Feb. 8th [Listen/buy it here]. I am performing at The Merrow on Feb. 23rd and at The Hideout on March 17th.

JEFF TERICH / BLOOD PONIES


Blood Ponies: Facebook / Instagram

1. What is your favorite piece of gear? My Fender Jazzmaster. I suppose it’s a little bit of a cop-out to say “My guitar!” But it’s true. It’s pretty versatile; I can use it as a catalyst for either some massively noisy songs or some more streamlined, goth-sounding stuff. Plus, I just dig the feel of it. Some guitars just don’t *feel* right, but when I got it—a Christmas gift from Candice a few years ago, no less—it became like an extra limb or something.

2. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? We have a song called “The Author” that’s maybe the shortest song we have, but the most potent distillation of what we do into a concise package. It’s a pretty fast song, with lots of delay and distortion, and no part is ever really repeated twice. It’s fun to play because it’s basically just this linear roller coaster kind of thing and it feels complete even though it’s only about two minutes. A guy at a show we just played said we sounded like a cross between Joy Division and Queens of the Stone Age, and the more that I think about it, this song might be a perfect example of what he was talking about.

3. Tell me about your current rig: How does it help you achieve the sound/style you’re after? I use two amps—a Fender Princeton Chorus and a bass amp—so that I can split the signal into two channels via A/B switch. I use an octave pedal with the bass amp, so that our songs have a bassline, even though we don’t actually have a bass player. Through the Fender amp, I use an OCD overdrive pedal and a Danelectro delay pedal. I love the sound of the delay, even though practically it’s not a super convenient pedal because the switch is just a quarter-sized button that it took me too many tries not to miss when stepping on it. And I use the chorus from the Fender amp. Those effects get me where I need to be. I have some other pedals that I don’t really use with this band because they just don’t fit the sound. And that’s kind of been my attitude from the start, that there’s no need to overload on effects. Some distortion, a little delay and some reverb (but not like crazy amounts of surf-guitar reverb or anything) do the trick. It’s also easier to carry everything to gigs that way.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise and why? When we started playing I was adamant that my guitar sound had to be just like that of Rowland S. Howard of The Birthday Party. I realized sort of quickly that was kind of a fool’s errand, however, just because the kinds of gear that people were using 35 years ago is going to sound inevitably different than what we use now. (Unless you track down all the exact same pedals, pickups, amps etc.) I still try to capture the scratchy, screechy sounds that he gets, but because the makeup of our band is different than The Birthday Party (two people as opposed to five) by necessity I play differently than he does, and I have a natural tendency to play things that sound a little beefier anyway. (Candice says that I do sing a little like Nick Cave though, so…)

But in terms of contemporary sounds, Gemma Thompson from Savages has a really badass guitar sound and the couple times I’ve seen them live, I’m always amazed at the kinds of cool sounds she’s able to wring from her setup.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? Feb. 23 show at The Merrow with Hexa and Subtropics! And we’re planning on recording some tracks in March. It’s about time. We haven’t been a band that long but we’d like for people to be able to experience Blood Ponies: The Home Version.

See Blood Ponies at The Merrow on Feb. 23 with Subtropics and Hexa. The show is free with your RSVP here.

TIM FELTEN / THE SURE FIRE SOUL ENSEMBLE

 

The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

1. What’s your favorite piece of gear? My favorite instrument is my 1964 Hammond A102 Organ paired with my Leslie 145. The combo just screams; no Nord, Korg, or whatever digital organ simulator can even come close. This instrument will probably last past my lifetime with very minimal upkeep; Hammond knew how to build them to last!

2. If money was no object, what’s the one piece of gear you’d buy? Probably a Steinway Grand Piano. I mean, c’mon that’s about as rich of a sound as you can get. I’d love to be able to write tunes on an instrument as majestic as that.

3. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your sound/style? From the first Sure Fire Soul Ensemble album, I really like the organ tone we got for “IB Struttin’.” We pushed the tape a little bit to get a nice bright and gritty tone.

4. Who do you look up to the most sound/gear-wise? Money Mark!!! I love his playing on the Beastie Boys records and his first solo release, Mark’s Keyboard Repair. He’s just a lo-fi organ/keyboard wizard, bringing some of the funkiest, dirtiest sounds ever.

5. What do you have coming up? Sure Fire Soul Ensemble has our 2nd album, Out On The Coast, due out this Fall on Colemine Records. Expect lots of Fender Rhodes, Wurlitzer Electric Piano, Hohner Clavinet, and Hammond and Farfisa Organs on that one. We’ll also have another 45 out this spring (our 4th), with a really cool cover of “Message From The Meters,” featuring Kelly Finnigan from Monophonics on vocals, and Sergio Rios from Orgone on some nasty guitar. We perform regionally pretty regularly, please keep up with our happenings on Facebook or Instagram.

See The Sure Fire Soul Ensemble at Winston’s Ocean Beach on Friday, Feb. 19, with Juice Box opening. Show starts at 9PM, and cover is $7.

DUSTIN LOTHSPEICH / OLD TIGER

Thank you for visiting Gear and Loathing in San Diego. As the guy behind the scenes of this whole thing, I figured I’d start the whole project off by sharing what musical equipment I use and get the ball rolling. I hope y’all enjoy the site and find some musical inspiration along the way. ~ Dustin

Old Tiger: Facebook / Twitter / Bandcamp

1. What is your favorite piece of gear? The JHS Colour Box. I’ve never been able to get the perfect light, full-bodied overdrive sound I’d always heard in my head until I played through that thing. It just purrs at all frequencies – and it’s great at doing a ton of other stuff (like crazy velcro fuzz noises). It’s pricey but worth it.

2. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? I think “Get Along,” off Old Tiger’s record, Love Have Mercy, is a good indication of what I try to do as a guitar player. That record has a lot of cool parts and different players, so while it’s not a great example of how I actually play live, that song has always been a nice one to listen to.

3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy? Probably a vintage Gibson ES-355, ES-330 or Gibson Barney Kessel model – because vintage guitars (especially old Gibson semi-hollowbodies) have so much mojo, and they’re so comfortable to play.

4. What’s the worst or weirdest piece of gear you’ve ever bought or used? I have a weird Squier Bass VI that I still haven’t bonded with yet. It’s a cool instrument and has some funky sounds in it, but playing a bass with that many strings on a neck that thin has turned out to be a difficult task.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? Currently working on writing lots of music for Old Tiger’s next record. Hope to share some new stuff soon.