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.