1. Tell me about your current rig – what are your likes and dislikes? I use a Fender Jazz Bass. I’ve got a Gallien Krueger RB 1001 head unit with a Gallien Krueger 4×10 cabinet running through an MXR Bass Compressor, an Electro Harmonix Big Muff overdrive, a Behringer Ultra Shifter/Harmonist, a Boss Super Chorus, and an MXR Bass Envelope Filter. I’ve always been more interested in analog pedals rather than digital and am still playing around with my tone. It’s most definitely still a work in progress as I’m planning on purchasing another 15” cabinet to secure the low end and utilize the 4×10 cabinet for the hi and mid ranges. The Ultra Shifter is a lot of fun to play around with before big drops in our songs, it’s fun to dive bomb and drive the octave down a whole step. There’s a knob to control the speed of the drop so it can be fast or slow and it’s a lot of fun playing with that live. The Envelope Filter has given me a lot of enjoyment, as well as frustration. The decay is extremely sensitive so getting that “perfect” swell is challenging at times. Not sure if that pedal is going to stick around much longer.
2. What AJ Froman song do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? “Stranger’s Nod” off our new album, Phoenix Syndrome, has a lot of dynamic to it. I feel our sound shines through in a variety of sections in this tune. Swirling through time-signature changes, to heavy half-time buildups, to faster skate/punk sections, to melodic breakdowns is all very enjoyable and I feel we capture a lot of our diverse sound within all of these sections. In softer ambient sections, I’ll use the chorus pedal and during heavier fast sections, I’ll switch to the overdrive. I especially enjoy the contrast between these two tones.
3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ piece of gear you’d buy? A ’67 Fender Jazz Bass. I like Washburns too, but the Jazz Bass has such a beautiful tone I can’t really get away from it. I’d definitely stick with the GK amps. It’d be nice to have 3 Gallien Krueger 2001 RB amps. One would control the other 2 as slaves and I’d have those running into three 4×10 cabinets and three 1×15 cabinets. That’s what Flea’s been doing for quite some time and I really appreciate his style.
4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Omar Rodriguez-Lopez is a musician I’ve admired since high school, when At the Drive-In was still together. He has a massive array of delays, trems, and expression pedals to control real-time rate adjustments and may I say, he’s quite good at it. The groups he’s put together have also influenced my rhythmic playing rather than just the sound and tonality he produces. Overall, he is a huge influence of mine in more ways than one.
5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? We are headlining the Belly Up for our first time on Thursday, March 10th. We just released our new album, Phoenix Syndrome, [listen/buy here] and we have a handful of new music we’re planning on recording very soon.
[Ed. note: I reviewed AJ Froman’s excellent new album for SoundDiego recently. Read it here.]