ALEX JACOBELLI / GRIEVER

Griever: Facebook / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. In one word, describe your sound.
Heavy-handed (the hyphen makes it one word, right?)

2. Tell me about the stuff in your photos: brands/models, etc. What do you use live – and what do you keep at home? Is there anything you’re not stoked on that you might be replacing soon? Anything that will always be a fixture in your rig?

What I got goin’ on here is a late ’70s 50w Marshall JMP, Peavey VTM 120, early ‘00s Gibson Les Paul Studio with a Railhammer in the bridge and Burstbucker in the neck, Reverend Roundhouse 290, which they no longer make, an old Mesa 4×12 and a Lone Wolf Plague Rat. I’ve used both heads live, but right now the VTM is my go-to because it’s just a tank and if I’m feeling lazy, it has enough gain on tap that I can leave overdrive pedals at home. If I do bring a pedal, it’s normally the Plague Rat, which is a modified boutique take on the venerable Proco Rat, with diode switching and some cool lo/hi cut features. I’ve been bored with the standard Tube Screamer-into-Marshall thing, so I started looking for something else to fill that spot and the Plague Rat does that in an awesome way. Sounds like pure chaos, which I dig. One piece that I’ll always play is my Reverend Roundhouse. I’ve had that guitar for close to 10 years, and it feels like a natural extension of me at this point. I traded it for an Ampeg V4 a few years back and instantly regretted it, but I was fortunately able to get it back. Reverend has been very kind to me and I’ve been endorsed by them for quite awhile now. I also have the Bob Balch signature at home; I’ve just been scared to play it out as to avoid any damage. Great company, great instruments. The Mesa may have to go soon. It’s treated me well, but Satellite Amplifiers make an amazing 4×12 that just about blows away anything else I’ve ever used.

3. Is this stuff you record with, or do you generally record with other gear? When you hit the studio: what’s your go-to equipment guitar-wise?

For recording, I tend to switch it up every time to varying degrees; I get bored easily. I will pretty much always use my Reverend and Les Paul because I’m familiar with them and they stay in our tuning really well. With amps, it’s always changing based on what new cabs or heads are around. For better or for worse, I love to experiment and with GRVR, I have the ability to fully explore any ideas that may come. For instance, one session had the VTM into a 2×12 and V4 into a 2×15. The next was VTM and Marshall into Mesa. I’ve been favoring fewer speakers in the studio as to not have a wall of sound with a 4×12.

4. If you had to point someone to a song of yours that showcased your sound/style the best, what would it be?

We have a new EP coming out titled VOL I, and I’m really happy with the guitars on that. But since that isn’t out yet, the track “Serpent Song” off our 3-way split with VYGR and At Our Heels is a good example. I always try to find the happy spot between heavy/gainy and clarity because we play in a really low tuning but will also do chordal stuff that can get lost in too much gain. “Serpent Song” shows both sides, vacillating from heavy down-picked rhythm to more “delicate” chords.

5. If money was no object, what is the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d get?

If money was no object, I would buy a Dumble amp just to video myself pushing it off a balcony.

6. What’s the shittiest piece of gear you’ve bought?
I’ll just say, Monster cables always seem to break at the least opportune times.

7. Dream gig: What bands would you ask to play your all-time raddest show, and where would you play?

Hour of the Wolf / Earth / Black Sabbath / Mammoth Grinder at Soda Bar. Two of these bands (HOTW & MG) are semi-active, but they’re two of the best and most enjoyable bands to see live, so I had to add them. Earth and Sabbath should be obvious. Add them all together at the best music venue in San Diego and the night would be pure-as-the-fallen-snowblind magic. I’d like to add that GRVR wouldn’t play this show. We would want to kick back and enjoy.

8. What’s coming up for Griever?

We’re releasing the first of four EPs July 1st at the Soda Bar. It’s us experimenting with the changes in how music is released, bought, and listened to in the present day. With genres like EDM (or whatever) and hip-hop, it seems like the artists are releasing stuff so fast that it makes the punk/metal/hardcore/rock way of releasing full lengths every 1.5-2 years seem like fine art. So we’re going to go for quicker small bursts for awhile and see how it goes. VOL I has two originals and a cover, as they all will, and VOL II will be out by our West Coast tour, August 10-20. After all 4 are out, we’ll take the songs we like from the series along with new ones out on a proper LP. So get in on the ground floor at Soda Bar, Friday, 7/1.

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SCOTT BARRETT / SICK BALLOONS

Sick Balloons: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. How would you describe your process and the music you make?

I usually mess around on guitar, just strumming away. Sometimes I riff on a chord or a melody for awhile. I might sit on that for a week, other times it’s ready to go in the moment. I usually record straight to Garageband. I still have a digital 8 track and a nice vocal mic, but i find that out of necessity, it takes too long when racing through inspiration.

After that, I either add more instruments like bass/drums/Rhodes, or just write to the guitar track and finish up everything else later. A lot of it is done on the fly, though. These things become demos that mostly get fleshed out with the band later, who quite honestly make it sound better.

2. What’s your current setup?

Standard S101 Tele-style guitar. I’ve written most of everything on that guitar since 2005. Previous to that, I used a Slammer Hamer standard Chaparral bass, which was the basis for all my earliest songs. Back then, I played that into an ASR-10 sampler and looped everything up.

I’ve inherited a pieced-together drum kit from my friend, Jason aka Glynnisjohns (former bass player and founding member), that we used on our previous records. It’s sort of a Frankenstein built kit. I’ve got a a Memphis electric guitar that sits mostly — that one gets out of tune often. Rhodes Piano for some melodic sprinkling and lastly, a Devi Ever Vintage Fuzz Master pedal. That is my one and only pedal purchase. It’s got a nice clean setting and then a wonderfully mid-fi white noisey fuzz to it.

All of this is for home demo’ing purposes, I don’t play any of this live. I leave that to the professionals like my bandmates and friend’s bands.

I’m the biggest layman you have ever met. My friend Matt once asked me what kind of guitar I play. I told him, “a red one.” Jason bought me a tuner for one of my birthdays. I can barely tune a guitar, but I know enough instrument-wise to make songs. I’m pretty good at handclaps though.

3. Do you remember the first piece of gear you owned?

The aforementioned Slammer bass guitar, on indefinite loan from my sister, who encouraged me early on in my guitar adventuring. She also bought me my S101 aka the ‘red guitar.’

4. Your next piece, what will that be?

Some kind of small practice amp. I like to keep things charmingly lo-fi, or home-fi as we call it. A Moog would be nice too.

5. What projects are you working on?

Sick Balloons is on the cusp of releasing our fourth full length album, Telescopes (on) Parade. It’s the first ever studio, full-band recording, produced by our good friend Dave Matthies of The Gift Machine. Other than that, we have a new interim EP out now, called Pillow Fig, which also features my sister. You can find our stuff on Bandcamp, Spotify, iTunes and all those other jazzed up streaming platforms.

Sick Balloons play the Pour House in Oceanside on Thursday, June 23rd, with Mirror Travel (TX) and Scruffles. The show starts at 9pm and it’s free.

Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.

BRETT PATTERSON / THE WHISKEY CIRCLE

The Whiskey Circle: Facebook / Website / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

Comment below, on the Gear and Loathing Facebook page, or email gearandloathinginsandiego@gmail.com to be entered to win a pair of tickets to The Whiskey Circle’s EP release show at the Music Box on June 23!

1. Tell me about your current rig: For example, why do you use the gear you’re currently using? Best parts? Worst parts?

I guess it all depends on which rig we’re talking about? My main project is The Whiskey Circle with my wife Leanna, but I also play my upright bass for some local bands when needed and produce instrumentals with my brother in a project we call “Dream Queen.” For The Whiskey Circle, I play drums and keys at the same time. I’d prefer to just have separate people playing their own instruments, but at one point The Whiskey Circle was just a 2-piece and we felt the need for something more than guitar and drums. I was inspired by Shovels & Rope for the basic drum kit and keyboard combo.

For the most part, the drum kit I use is a Gretsch Catalina Club that we refer to as “Beetlejuice.” However, the 26″ kick in that Gretsch kit takes up too much space on the road and my Roland Juno kept falling off the top of it. So now I use a 22″ kick that came with a no-name, made-in-Japan kit that I scored off CL for $5. When I play live, I never play with more than a kick, snare and floor tom. When we record, I’ll mix the two kits together (13” and 14” rack toms and 16” and 18” floor toms) and make a 6-piece kit with the 26″ Gretsch kick to get that boom. When we play live, I always use small cymbals (Paiste 13″ hi-hats, 14″ thin crash and 20″ light ride), when we record I like to add a second ride and stereo crashes. My goal when playing for The Whiskey Circle is to always be quieter than Leanna’s vocals and let her be the focus of the song. When there’s a voice like hers in the band, it should never be drowned out by the instruments.

For the “organ” part of the rig, I currently use a Roland Juno Alpha-2 with a Behringer reverb/delay/echo pedal and a Marshall overdrive pedal through an Acoustic B20 bass amp for the low end. The pedals help the Juno not sound like a 1985 MIDI synth (which it is and why I originally bought it), but more like the organ on all of our recordings, a 1976 Kimball Entertainer.

Another cool thing about The Whiskey Circle is the other guitar player, Collin Webb, and I switch between drums and guitar throughout the set. The whole musical chairs thing started back when Daniel Cervantes was playing with us and he wanted to play drums on some tracks (if you didn’t know Dan is a drummer too then you’re missing out). It’s also really hard for me to sing the songs I wrote on guitar while playing drums and organ. Collin and I combine our pedals (although most of them are his) to get what you see in the picture. A lot of cool delays, shifters, modulars, fuzz and most importantly that Boss tuner. Collin plays that red Fender tele and I play Leanna’s daphne blue Mustang. Collin and I both play through his 12″ Fender Blues Jr.

Lastly, you’ll see the two fender basses and the Orange 1×12. Bass is my first instrument and my first love. I’ve recorded the bass for all of The Whiskey Circle tracks in the past and was playing bass in the band originally. My main live bass is the white reissue Fender Musicmaster with new Seymour Duncan pickups. My other bass is a P bass that was pieced together from CL parts: Squier P bass neck, MIM body, DIY surf green pick guard and pickups out of a 1971 American. This is the bass that has been recorded on all of The Whiskey Circle tracks. It needs some TLC as some of the higher frets are not quite right, but if you know how to make it work, then it’s the best thing ever. The Orange amp is a newer 1×12 Crush that was upgraded to 100w, new Jensen speaker and a 3″ tweeter installed to pick up some of the highs when we use the Bass Muff. It’s plenty loud enough to compete with the 12″ fender blues amps we all play with. This is the amp that our bass player uses live.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?

This is the demo version of one of the tracks off the new High Deserts EP called “Beaches.” It’s a song about everything I love: Leanna, CA, decriminalizing weed and riding bikes/motorcycles. It’s the first track that I’ve engineered and recorded everything on. Every piece of musical equipment that we own was recorded on the track (all three guitars through the Fender Blues Jr.) and also a Fender Champion (not pictured since we never use it live), the P bass and the Musicmaster (yes double bass tracks are the shit), and the Gretsch kit. It was definitely a pain multi-tracking by myself, but in the end, I think the track has a really nice “if the Velvet Underground hung out with The Blank Tapes in OB” sort of vibe.

 

 

3. If money was no object, what’s the holy grail piece of gear you’d buy?

I want everything in this video, but most importantly Jack Bruce’s Gibson EB complete with still-lit cigarette burning on the headstock.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?

Gear-wise, I would say Kurt Vile.

Music production/badassery-wise, I would say Dave Grohl. He’s from the DC area like me (we had the same HS PE teacher) and he played drums in 2 of my favorite bands, Scream and Nirvana. Not to mention his philosophy on drumming, like my favorite drummer (Ringo), is the best thing ever.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?

We are about to release our High Deserts EP via Wiener Records on June 17 with a music video and tour to help promote. [INFO] Our official EP Release Show is Thursday, June 23, at The Music Box with Jimmy Ruelas, Bad & The Ugly and Gary Hankins & the Summer Knowledge. [INFO/TICKETS]

JEREMIAH LAFICA / THE FILTHY VIOLETS

The Filthy Violets: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandpage

1. Tell me about your current rig. How does the individual parts help you achieve the sound you’re after? Best parts? Worst parts? Anything still a work in progress?

From the beginning to the end of my chain I have:

Line 6 Constrictor -> DigiTech Bad Monkey -> Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh Fuzz -> Ernie Ball VP Jr. -> MXR 10 Band EQ -> Boss DD-7 -> Van Amps Sole Mate Reverb

On the VP bypass output I’ve got the Boss TU-2 Tuner.

The Constrictor has served me well for about 7 or 8 years now. I don’t even touch the dials at this point. The mellow setting really keeps the tone smooth and contained without eating away too much of the tone.

I’ve had the Bad Monkey for about as long and it sat on the shelf for the first few years, but I found a way to get some nice edge out of it with a high boost.

I picked up the Pharaoh Fuzz from a neighbor who was selling off a bunch of gear. I hadn’t heard of it, so I just took it home for a test run and immediately ran back to pay him for it. This thing can scream. It has a 3-way Germanium/Silicon switch that gives you two completely different fuzz tones. I keep it right in the middle to get the best of both worlds. I also keep the tone and high knobs cranked up at about 3 o’clock to preserve some clarity. If you push the Fuzz knob too far it can really get out of control, so I’ve got it around 9 o’clock most of the time.

The VP Jr. is a VP Jr… Not much to say except it’s reliable and does exactly what you’d want a volume pedal to do. I had issues with the sweep when I first got it and realized it was having difficulty with the patch cable I was sending in. Note to self (and others experiencing similar issues), some boutique cables just don’t work the same as the run-of-the-mill Livewire patches.

The 10 Band EQ is pretty nice for rounding out the rough edges of a bright tone or adding some punch to a weak signal. It has a volume and a gain in addition to the 10 frequencies you can dial in, so you can actually get some additional grit, if that’s what you’re after.

The DD-7 is my favorite stomper. I’ve tried other delays and they’re either too quirky, finicky or simply don’t give me the tone I’m after. I’ve been meaning to get the bypass switch for years but just haven’t managed to remember. Hopefully soon… I almost exclusively use the tap delay, rather than turning the time knob. I bounce between the 200ms and 800ms settings. The 200ms is square, giving you double the beats that you tap. The 800ms gives you a dotted 1/4 notes, which can really add a nice touch. Everyone says it’s dotted 1/8 notes, but from my experience they’re dotted 1/4.

Lastly, the Sole Mate Reverb. This is another pedal I picked up from that neighbor who was unloading some of his gear. It’s a pretty tame spring reverb, with an on/off switch, an output knob and a dwell knob. I usually keep the dials pretty low for some extra breath on the tail of the delay, but it can open up quite a bit if you want to crank it.

I also use Voodoo Power and a Monster Power Conditioner. It really does make a difference having strong, clean power.

It all runs to a Vox AC15, the best plug-and-play amp on the planet. Monkeys could dial this thing in and get great tones out of it.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style/gear?

This is one of our older tracks, from about 5 years ago. It’s called “You’re The Riot.” I’m not crazy about how the parts of the arrangement turned out on the record, but I liked the tone I was able to get for the solo in the middle of the track. I was actually using an Epiphone Casino for that recording, and I’d like to get my hands on one of my own at some point. In any case, the tone was warm and bright, crunchy and crisp. If I could nail down that tone at every live show, I’d be thrilled.

3. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?

Eventide Space Reverb. Good reverb really stands out from the cheap stuff. That pedal has SO much versatility. It can pretty much replicate any reverb imaginable. Not to mention it also has delay, modulation, etc, etc. My birthday is coming up if anyone is feeling extra generous…

4. I noticed you’re using a Telecaster with two humbuckers instead of the standard single coils. Any particular reason? Can you still get those classic Telecaster sounds out of it or is it an entirely different sound altogether?

I used to be a diehard Strat player, but I realized that I was always cutting my highs because they were so overwhelming. So, I figured a Telecaster would bring me closer to the center. On top of that, I wanted a smoother, warmer tone, and the single coils just sounded so twangy, which I really can’t stand. The tonal range is narrower with this setup, but with the 3-way switch, I really like the amount of variety I can get out of each position. I usually keep it in the middle or down on the bridge pickup. I think it still sounds like a Tele with the humbuckers, but less twangy, which is wonderful.

5. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?

Trey Anastasio from Phish. It may seem like an odd choice, given the obvious difference in the genres we play. But in the mid ’90s, he had an absolutely killer tone. I think he used and still uses two custom Languedoc guitars, which I’m sure was the biggest contributor to his tone, but whatever else he had going on in his effects chain was perfectly dialed in… except when it wasn’t, which was probably like 1 out of 5 shows, most likely because he was too spaced out to realize it. Anyhow, when I first started learning to play, I tried to model my tone after his and ended up learning a lot about playing in general.

6. What was the first piece of gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now? Do you have still have it?

It was an Ibanez acoustic guitar. I still have it, and I hate it more each day. This was when I was in my first year of playing. Someone told me, “Hey man, it’s got Fishman Pickups, it’s totally worth it.” Nah, not even a little. The truss rod (something I was completely unaware of at the time of purchase or the next year thereafter) was broken. And, the tone just generally sucked. I actually try to be as inconspicuously careless as possible with it, hoping it breaks so I have a fully legitimate reason to find a replacement.

7. What do you have coming up that we should know about?

We’re playing this Saturday, June 18th at the Casbah, possibly July 18th at Soda Bar, and there will likely be another Casbah show in the next month or so. No other dates at this point. We’re really trying to focus on new material since we just got the band back together this year after a 3-year hiatus. Luckily, someone heard us at either House of Blues or Casbah when we played recently and it sounds like they’re going to fund an 8 or 9-song EP and try to get our publishing off the ground. Fingers crossed!

JERIK CENTENO / SMALL CULTURE

Small Culture: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / SoundCloud / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current rig: How do the individual parts help you achieve the sound you’re after? Best parts? Worst parts?

Guitars: My two current favorites are my Teisco Del Rey EP7 and the Silvertone (don’t know what model). The Teisco just sounds so good right off the bat with its clean bite but can be so jazzy when you roll the tone back. It’s also the Teisco version of Tone’s Silvertone guitars from Little Hurricane. My red house-painted Silvertone is the most magical guitar I have. It is my go-to when others are uninspiring and it is the most perfect feeling guitar in my hands and against my body. These two are the lightest guitars in the world. I’ve owned the Strat and Tele since high school. The Strat is a great one when going for “arcade-y” tones because of the neck and middle pickup position. The Tele is the first guitar I ever owned that my Dad bought me from the Philippines. It’s Chinese, but I swapped the stock pickups for Texas Specials, which are super hot. The Tele is a great tracking guitar due to the versatility and an easy one to go to for a modern sound. The Farida JT602DCC is solely owned because it is the signature guitar of Two Door Cinema Club’s lead guitarist, Sam Halliday, who is the utmost reason as to why I ever started playing guitar. To the eye, the upside down headstock is so unique, but what’s more unique is the onboard delay Farida built in because of how important delay is to Sam Halliday’s tone. It is also the only guitar I have with a P90. My guitars help to primarily put me into different mindsets. If I want weird tones, I’ll get the Strat; if I want driving guitar parts, I’ll pick up the Tele; if I want to make up lead parts really fast, I’ll grab the Farida; if I want unique guitar parts or weird chords, I’ll grab the Teisco or the Silvertone.

Cons about the Strat, Tele, and the JT602DCC are that they are freaking heavy now that I’ve been playing the Teisco and the Silvertone.

Pedals: The reason why I own two super shifters is because I tried to resell one, but that never worked, so I just put both to use. One is used as a harmonist/chorus to get arcade-y, Rutger Rosenborg-y, Bombay Bicycle Club-y tones (heard on “Too Late”) and the other is to just frick things up (T-Arm setting referenced from St. Vincent). Bobby Bray, the guitarist of The Locust and coincidentally, my electronics and media business teacher, helped me make a Carbon Copy mod that is an expression pedal idea stemmed from the PS5 so that when turned on, controls the delay parameter to make more noise and to frick things up even more! My pedalboard is designed for clean bite, fun, ambience, swells, and madness!

Cons: Pedalboard tap dancing while having to sing, which actually gives me madness.

Guitar Amps: Gibson G20, Fender Vibro Champ XD. Just really awesome amps that help me get the great tones when I need. G20 for jazzy or warmer stuff and the Fender Vibro Champ for the clean bite I love. Cons: Vibro Champ tube just went out and the G20 needs to be grounded, so I kindly backline amps from friends.

Playback/IEM Rig: Mid-2013 Macbook Pro (also used for mixing/tracking), Ableton Live 9, Motu Audio Express Interface, Audio Technica M2 (x3), Alesis Micron.

The best thing about this rig and a main part of the Small Culture sound is my mid-2013 MacBook Pro, which was a high school graduation gift from my Mom. It has helped me achieve 95% of the audio and music related things in my life by helping me produce, record, and mix other people’s and Small Culture’s music. With my laptop, I am able to produce, mix, and merge electronic elements with real-life instrumentation, which is what the sound of Small Culture consists of.

For live, I use Ableton to run my ears and backtracks and just output stereo tracks to FOH. I track, mix, and obsessively love Pro Tools 11. I’ll do pre-production and songwriting in Logic Pro X. My Alesis Micron is the oldest piece of gear I own and it has some cool synth patches, but I primarily now just use it to trigger MIDI.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style/gear?

Since I feel the Small Culture sound can be a myriad of things, “Apartime” is a great example of sound, style, and gear. I mixed majority of “Apartime” hybrid by outputting stems from Pro Tools in the SSL Duality at school and incorporating the outboard gear we had. It helps show my style by the instrumentation and production because Small Culture is about fusing electronic computer-based music with big real-life instruments. I always try to go for huge size with my songs and I find that heavily relying on instrumentation and production.

“Apartime” is the oldest song off the EP and the one that took the longest. I brought a synth pad and vocal doodles to my best friend and live drummer, Ginno Tacsiat, and he laid down the main electronic drum beat and I rearranged it and wrote the rest. I then took it into the studio and had real drums, guitar, and bass guitar added to the end of the song to have a big dramatic scene change. The big factors to the size of the song in the end is the stereo synth bass I have going (actually two different mono synths panned hard L&R). For the electronic drums, we used the stock Ultrabeat drum kit in Logic Pro X and I spruced it up with the SSL Duality.

Every Small Culture song is about or includes very important people in my life, so “Apartime” was about a trip my Mom and I had to the Philippines when my Grandmother passed away and it is the song about how important and how much of a trooper she is. Half of the song title comes from having started the song in my Mom’s apartment in Hawai’i about 6 months before my Grandmother’s passing, how I work part-time at Fashion Valley, and because of how I sing “You took the time” in the chorus.

3. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?

Oh my gosh… Probably an SSL Duality or a Neve 8058. An SSL Duality because that is the first console I ever learned off, which is at The Art Institute of California – San Diego where I graduated and the Neve 8058 is what Guy Charbonneau has in Le Mobile. I heard recordings from a Crossroad festival that he did and just those preamps alone made the live recordings so freaking huge.

4. I’ve noticed you’ve got two older Japanese-style guitars alongside two new Fenders. Why not go all vintage or all modern? What are the drawbacks for either? Benefits?

The only reason why I own the Teisco and the Silvertone were out of pure luck. The Silvertone, I came across at a swap meet at Qualcomm for $35 (also where I got one of the MXR Carbon Copies for $5) and the Teisco came out of a packaged barter (included the Fender Vibro Champ XD). Ironically, I use the Teisco and the Silvertone for gigging because they are much lighter to lug around since I have so much stuff to carry (pedals, playback/IEM rig, laptop). It’s so much easier on my life and back because I’m a pretty small dude. I’m very indecisive and I’m always the person who is in the middle, so I guess that’s why I both have vintage and modern guitars. A benefit is just the myriad of tonal and mindset options.

5. You’ve got “Always play 110%” highlighted on your volume pedal – that’s refreshing in these days, where a lot of musicians seem less than passionate onstage. How do you balance playing your hardest and with 110% effort/energy vs. playing your songs technically correct 100% of the time? Does that matter to you? Or are you able to do both?

I always try to do both because they both highly matter to me. If you’ve ever been to Max Idas’ shows with his band called The Chili Banditos or see Craig Schreiber drum in The Verigolds, these are two guys in San Diego that give every show 110% wherever and whomever they play to. At one show, Craig hit his head on his snare and started bleeding like a gusher candy, but he still finished the song and at every Chili Banditos’ show, I feel more home than my own apartment while screaming with Max to each of his songs. I get chicken skin to these shows because they break down the barrier between performers and audiences and put their hearts out for the world to see. To me, “Always play 110%” is a written reminder because I easily get lost in setting up gear and it’s a goal to let it all out just like Max and Craig. I am fortunate to be able to practice with the guys who help me play live as much as we have been (Max, Cameron Wilson, Ginno Tacsiat), so practicing and having such solid musicians in the band help. I strive to do both and have the confidence because I wrote the parts and have been with them since day one. Ever since high school, I’d also practice like how I’d be moving at a show; it helps to build the muscle memory. You just have to come to terms to just try your best to do both, have fun, own it, and show who you are. You should play 110% all the time because it’s a blessing to be up onstage when others don’t have the opportunity, so I say do it, leave it all out there on stage.

6. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?

I’d say depends and there are a ton, but if I had to speak just about one, it’d have to be Chris Hobson. He can play instruments, but he was my senior project teacher and is hands down one of the best engineers and producers I know. He helped to connoisseur the sound I was trying to obtain with Small Culture and my engineering chops. He’d help put me back on track when I’d stray away from the sound Small Culture is and when I’d doubt myself as an artist and engineer. He’s the kind of producer and teacher that helps you to achieve your artistic vision without making it into his thing. He helped me to not care about what was technically right as an engineer and to just go with my gut if I liked something and it sounded good. I’d talk to Chris a lot and many of our conversations boiled down to his points that music is subjective, it is all taste, and that if I liked something to run with it because we are making art. From him, I fully understood how much engineering and producing music is an art form.

7. What do you have coming up that we should know about?

Shows:

June 3rd Album Release Show at the Che Café with Splavender, The Chili Banditos, Hit Me Harold, and Yung May May. [INFO]

June 18th Show at The OB Template

News:

Debut EP now for sale via iTunes.

Stream it on SoundCloud.

JIMMY RUELAS

Jimmy Ruelas: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / SoundCloud

1. Tell me about your current rig.

I try to keep my rig as simple as possible. I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to gear. I’m not trying to reinvent the wheel. This is the stuff I use out on gigs. Gibson Les Paul from the early ’90s. I use a Marshall “Bluesbreaker” reissue from ’92. This amp has been tinkered with. So it’s actually nothing like a “Bluesbreaker.” It’s loud, it’s got that distinct Marshall tone, and I can fit it in my trunk. ……Pedals: A good wah by Fulltone and almost always two fuzz pedals. I switch up which ones I take out frequently. But there’s usually a germanium Tone Bender and a silicon fuzz. The blue one is the Fulltone Octafuzz. I love this pedal for the “Octavia” effect. Distinct. Especially when you run it into the “Sola Sound” Tone Bender. When it comes to pedals, I stay away from digital and stuff that offers a ton different options. I’m not into fiddling with pedals during a show. So a couple knobs and I’m good.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style/gear?

I am fond of the tone I got on the tune “Saints” from my latest album Charlebois. For that session, I used my ’66 Supro Thunderbolt. When it’s working, it’s the best amp I’ve ever owned. The rhythm is all Les Paul. I had some trouble getting it to feed back for the solo. So I plugged in my trusty op amp Big Muff and used my Rickenbacker 360. That did the trick. I literally shoved the pickups into the grill cloth of the Supro. Only thing that could have made that better is a better guitarist.

3. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?

If I could snap my fingers and one instrument would magically become mine…. without question it would be a Gibson Black Beauty Les Paul. A real one. Vintage. Triple pickup. Bigsby. I’ve always been a Les Paul guy.

4. What is your favorite piece of gear and why?

My absolute favorite piece I have is by far my Les Paul. It just fits right. It’s dinged up. Been dropped on the headstock (I think you can see that damage in one of the pics). It’s not a collectors item nor is it of superior quality. But it’s mine. It’s in desperate need of a fret job. But I don’t want to part with it even for a few weeks for it to get fixed.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?

On June 2nd, I’m playing with Badabing, Mrs. Henry and Taken By Canadians at The Casbah. Taken By Canadians are releasing their new album on that night. That will be a blast. I’m also playing on June 23rd at The Music Box for The Whiskey Circle‘s EP release.

BEN AMBROSINI / TAKEN BY CANADIANS

Taken By Canadians: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp / SoundCloud

1. Tell me about your current rig.

Lately, I’ve been jumping back & forth between a 1974 Greco Les Paul Custom and a 12-year-old Fender Mexican Stratocaster. The Strat has been through some real beatings, and is the first electric guitar I ever owned. I had that Wayne’s World “she will be mine, oh yes – she will be mine…” moment when I first saw this guitar. I’ll never forget going by the shop every other day or so just to see it hanging in the window at Moonlight Music in Encinitas. The Greco Les Paul was found in Philly by a friend of mine, and is built like a tank! Sustain for fucking ever. Super heavy. Lawsuit-era, and so pretty… Play ‘em out of a Fender 2×12 Hot Rod Deville. I love the Deville’s warmth and tone. It’s got great reverb, it’s simple, and breaks up nicely. The most used pedals on my board are the Vox Wah and Homebrew Electronics Big D Distortion. For years, I’ve been looking for the right distortion pedal, and that Homebrew is a killer. I was watching a band at Pour House a few months ago, and when their guitar player stomped on his pedal going into a solo, I almost pissed my pants. I had to know what the pedal was. Homebrew Electronics is no more unfortunately, but you can still find their stuff online. Totally functional, no frills. Very classic and to the point. That is, most simply, the sound I go for with my guitar rig… classic and warm. I want a timeless sound.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?

“Black Dove” is probably the best representation of the tone I’m usually after. I played the 74’ Les Paul on that one and I really wanted the guitar to walk the line between blending in and standing out when necessary. It’s pretty when it needs to be, but cuts through easily and clearly once you throw a little dirt on it. I also had some fun with “Stay Home & Fuck.” As “Black Dove” is an accurate representation of tone, “Stay Home & Fuck” is more of a representation of the guitar’s obligation to attitude. I recorded most of we eat you like a person on the Les Paul.

3. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?

Gosh. I want a 1974 Gibson Flying V! I have never played one, but I saw a ’80 -something Flying V in a pawn shop in some state on our last tour and it occupied some real deep places in my mental landscape. I also hope to have a ‘50s Strat someday. Maple neck. I’m sure I’ll be able to afford one once our Spotify royalties come in from this new record.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise?

I really admire Nels Cline of Wilco (and much more). The way that man plays a guitar could only come from a place uniquely genuine and real. It’s effortless, difficult, not perfect, perfect, pretty, and psychotic all at the same time. He uses his pedals in very interesting and creative ways, and can be seen regularly bending, beating, and smashing his guitars… He WORKS to get that sound you hear on those records, and I respect the hell out of that. His guitar work is so welcome alongside Jeff Tweedy’s voice and lyrics. I’ve never heard a guitar player compliment a singer so well.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?

Taken By Canadians’ record release show for we eat you like a person is tomorrow at the world famous Casbah! We are so excited to eat everyone like a person that night, and are so honored and fortunate to be joined by our friends: Badabing, Jimmy Ruelas, Mrs. Henry, and DJ Lexicon Devil. [INFO] we eat you like a person features a bigger, more electric sound from the band, and we’re really excited to share what we’ve been working on for the last few years. We recorded it at the best fucking studio in North County, Emerald Age Recording Studios, and were lucky enough to have Mr. James Page as our engineer. The record will be available on vinyl (limited — get one early), CD, and cassette courtesy of End of Impressed Records! See you Thursday!