JOE & JAYE MacASKILL / PONY DEATH RIDE

Pony Death Ride: Facebook / Website / Soundcloud

1. Tell me about your current rigs: Best parts? Worst parts?

[Joe MacAskill] I’m using a Gretsch Electromatic hollow body. Just got it a couple months ago online. It’s the most expensive guitar I’ve owned which isn’t saying much, but I love it. I’m playing through a Vox  Valvetronix Modeling amp which has way too many settings, and if you’re ADD, it just might make your head explode. I got it for next to nothing at our former pawn shop hookup which is no longer a thing. The amp really isn’t loud enough so it’s on it’s way out, for a bigger Vox. Pedal-wise, I have a Boss ME-50 which has too many settings also, and I don’t have the patience to get it to do what I think it can probably do. I use various pedals as well that do the same thing as the Boss pedal, but I’m not smart enough to combine them all. I also have a vintage Boss EQ that goes for a lot online. I have it in my rig to make people jealous. Jaye plays a neat Univox bass she got at a vintage guitar shop online a few years back.

2. What song of yours is the best representation of your sound/style?

The song that best reflects our style is “I Think My Boyfriend’s Gay For Morrissey.” Lots of delay and chorus and fun little guitar lines that Johnny Marr may have done in his teens. Most of our material is punk-rockish type stuff, or on a ukulele. It was nice to write something that made me remember how to play listenable guitar lines.

3. If money was no object, what would be your “holy grail” purchase?

My “Holy Grail” equipment would have to be a Gretsch Falcon, which I didn’t know existed until last week. You could drop it and it would sound nice. And it’s really big, so it may even have a slimming effect on me! And it’s only $12,000! I guess I’d settle for a 1966 Fender Jaguar. It’s only $2,500! Jaye is holding out for a Gretsch acoustic bass. And maybe a better wedding ring. And harkening back to my metal days, a Marshall stack would be nice and an interesting conversation piece for house visitors.

4. Any local musicians (or otherwise) you admire gear-wise?

For musician admiration, I’d have to go with Zach Condon of Beirut. He plays a Lanakai ukulele, and it’s a $100 ukulele. How punk rock is that?! He tours with it, records with it, everything. I bought one and it really is amazing. I bought the higher-priced model for touring but still use the cheapo model for recording. You’d think he’d be endorsed and only play the top of the line model, but nope! Jaye is a big Simon Gallup of The Cure fan as far as bass goes, but I just can’t sell her on Geddy Lee. And she’s Canadian!

5. What’s next for Pony Death Ride?

We just finished recording our new record, Cat Sounds. It’s all about cats! And we got new costumes and are making some videos. The release date will be Sept. 6. We will be taking our little musical comedy act to a couple different burlesque and comedy festivals as well this summer along with promoting the the album.

Head to Big Front Door (4135 Park Blvd.) tonight, Sept. 6, for the Pony Death Ride CD Listening Party for “Cat Sounds” from 8-10 p.m. [INFO]

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]

PAUL MOFFAT / NEIGHBORS TO THE NORTH

Neighbors to the North: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your current bass rig: Best parts? Worst parts? Any funny/strange stories about how you came to use any of this stuff?  Best part of my rig: That bass. It’s THE bass. I’ve had many, and this one will be buried with me. A $285 Craigslist find, ’80s-era Yamaha BB-2000 rescued from San Francisco that is the roundest, fattest, punchiest, ballsiest thunderstick out there. It’s got Beyonce ass. J-Lo ass. Mo’Phat ass. It weighs more than a building, shoots through schools, screams with restraint, and whispers with authority. I’ve never played an instrument that sounds so good with so many different groups. In Neighbors to the North, as a trio, the bass must take up a lot of room, and this bass does. The reverse P-pickup configuration is genius at regulating the volume and presence over all the strings. It doesn’t sound like a Fender, which can be a very good thing.

As for amps – I’m using a Gallien Krueger MB Fusion 800. It weighs 5.5 lbs and pushes 800 watts. That’s enough to blow a skirt up. The DI is accurate and is very front-of-house friendly.  The noise comes through either an easy-on-the-aging-back Genz Benz Neo 2×12 or my ‘This Old House with Bob Vila’ homemade 2×15 cabinet. That thing is a butcher’s block of menace.  The design is based on the ElectroVoice TL-606 enclosure plans, which I glanced at, and made my own.

Effects? On Bass?! Yes, sir. Blame Cliff. Blame Flea. Blame Les. Blame Bootsy. Blame Ox. I use fuzz, OD, wah, filters, octave, and whatever else. My color palette is diverse. Factoid 1 – the envelope filter on the Source Audio Manta is a Mutron killer. Not sorry, Mutron fans. Factoid 2 – the Smallsound/Bigsound Team Awesome! Fuzz Machine is the most musical and perfect bass distortion I’ve ever played. Both are featured below…at the same time. Prepare yourselves.

Worst part of my rig/funny story: That damned MicroKorg. So, Sutton [Paponikolas, singer/guitarist in Neighbors to the North], Danny [Katz, the band’s drummer] and I are in the studio in late 2012 recording our debut EP Starfisher, and working on the eponymous track. The second verse was ‘same as the first’, and needed something. Brad Lee – Producer, SDRL – had this MicroKorg sitting there. I turn it on, plug in the headphones while Sutton is working on guitars, and the first sound that comes up is what I go with. I noodle a small part and…just like that…it’s added to the song and now I’m a synth player in the band. Of course, we use it all the time now.

We have a song off All Southern View called “Shake ‘Til You Die,” where I’m tapping the bass part with my left hand and playing the synth at the same time. Why is it the worst? Because the keys are skinny and I can’t play piano. I really have no idea what I’m doing…which, I guess, makes it fun?

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style/gear and why do you feel that way? “Captain Trips” off of All Southern View – I pulled out any stops I may have had and let loose. It might not be the most ‘musicianship-y’ tune, but I used all my toys and tricks. It’s the little things – the 3-4-5 fret harmonics during the choruses, the switch to a 16th note arpeggio during the key change of the 2nd verse, the octave-dropped TA!FM fuzz leading into the filtered fuzz swamp monster part…and I was able to play my wah pedal at the end, in an actual song, on record, which is really cool. I also can’t say enough about Brad Lee’s production and placement of my bass in the mix. He ‘got’ me, and I really appreciate it.

3. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object and why?  I don’t want another Yamaha BB-2000, unless this one bursts into flames, which is possible with all the lacquer on it.

There are three custom luthiers whom I’ve admired for years – Jens Ritter, Jerzy Drozd, and Vinny Fodera. I’d probably opt for a Jens Ritter R8 singlecut 4-string, simply because he’s the only one I’ve ever met. Day One of NAMM 2002, I walk by this unknown bass builder booth in the depths of the Anaheim convention center. Where Fender and Ampeg were in Hall A, Ritter Basses was in Hall xz. Down by the boiler room and leper colony, if the convention center had either. Jens was all alone with five or six of the most exquisite basses I’d ever seen. I ogle. I gasp. I….get interrupted by Jens asking if I could watch his booth so he could take a quick piss. I accept. He thanked me, and I’ve yearned for one of his basses ever since: www.ritter-instruments.com

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? I’m about to reveal how ‘not hip’ I am – both for the players and that I can’t pick just one. Some players have moments that capture the ‘it’ according to my ears:  Rush – Geddy Lee on the Counterparts album. No Doubt – Tony Kanal on Tragic Kingdom. Mudvayne – Ryan Martinie on L.D. 50. The Killers – Matt Stoermer on Hot Fuss. The Used – Jeph Howard on In Love and Death. Rage Against the Machine – Tim Commerford on Evil Empire. Living Colour – Doug Wimbish on Stain. Michael Jackson – Louis Johnson on Off The Wall. Peter Gabriel – Tony Levin on So.  There may be better albums by these artists, but these albums represent their best tone, according to me. Notice no Beatles, no Parliament, no Zeppelin. While I love and admire the playing that made those artists great, the question you posed was about sound.

See? Not hip…not one bit.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?  Neighbors to the North is playing Thursday, May 12 in Downtown Long Beach for the ‘Live After 5’ series. Saturday, May 14 at The Merrow with Brothers Weiss, The Paragraphs and Paper Days. We are road-tripping to Flagstaff for two days in July, playing The Music Box on Friday, August 19, and we are playing the Music Tastes Good Festival in Long Beach in September. Kaaboo is in the mix again this year as well.

Both our EP Starfisher and most recent LP All Southern View are available for free at http://nttn.bandcamp.com.

I’ve also been playing with The Martin Coughlin Band over the past few months, and we will be at RB Alive and June 5 and at Company Pub and Kitchen in Poway on June 11. We’ll also be a the Del Mar Fair this summer. Martin is a stellar songwriter, so check him out at www.reverbnation.com/martincoughlin.

JUSTIN COTA / GLOOMSDAY

Gloomsday: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about the stuff in your photos (any gear that caught you by surprise? Favorite pieces?):  Well, strictly regarding what I use in Gloomsday, I play a Fender Baritone Custom. That would also be the piece that surprised me the most of all gear I’ve purchased – its versatility and distinctive sound.

As for amplification, being in a two-piece, I have been religiously using a first generation Bogner Uberschall for low end. The funny thing about this is that after years of it being my workhorse amp throughout various musical projects, it only works upside down. I’ve taken it into the plant in LA before but since it’s over 10 years old, they have been uninterested in touching it. All it really does is make a loud growling hum until you rotate it upside down and then perfect. It has head room for days. Fills the room with great low end with a solid compressed drive. I’ve even built an enclosure for it to function without the feet up and teetering on a handle. The Uberschall is going through a 2×12 cab I built with Celestion T-75s and a Genz Benz 4×10 cab.

With the low end covered, I A/B/Y with a Fender Hot Rod Deville 4×10 combo. I dig the warmer, air-ish tone it brings. Almost a fuzzy sound without committing to a constant fuzz sound. That’s what I use for a mid/high sound for the baritone. I do whatever I can to make my sound two-dimensional.

As for my pedal board, I use more through the Fender than the Bogner.  A delay, a looper, a wah, a pitch shifter, and the T-Rex Octavious – a rad fuzz/octave pedal with a gain boost built in. For the Bogner, only an octave, a boost, and a loop pedal to loop rhythms to lead and solo to while Lori (drummer) plays along.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your sound/style?  “Vacation Gloom” off of our new album, Worst Coast Scenario. It starts with just the Fender, then with Bogner without octave, then Octavious, then the octave as the whole song kicks in. It repeats that dynamic again later. There are parts where I use every pedal on my board with exceptions to the loopers. Those are only used for live sets.

3. If money was no object, what’s the one “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy?  Honestly, I’m not particularly fond of ownership of a vintage whatever that was played by whoever. That’s a souvenir. And not worth the money it would cost me  to acquire it. That aspect of gear gathering aside, I would rather work with Ben Verellen, creator of Verellen amps, to build a one-of-a-kind monster. I love his work. That’s my idea of the holy grail. Making one up.

4. Who is the musician you admire most gear/sound-wise? Hands-down: Jon Bonser. Solid drummer. I’ve seen and heard his amplifiers – they are stunning works of sonic art. A local I’m sure most have seen live. I am hoping to unload a combo amp to make room for one of his. Currently, I am working with the two members of Badabing – a new project that requires the use of what Bonser can build. But that’s another story.

5. What’s next for you?  Gloomsday will be playing April 9th at Til-Two with the Schizophonics and the exciting debut of The Hiroshima Mockingbirds – Jon Bonser and Brian Reilly’s (of The New Kinetics) new jam. [INFO] A couple weeks later, April 22nd at Soda Bar, we will be headlining for our friends from LA, Pleasure Burn, and local darlings Subtropics. Also, we will be releasing our new album, Worst Coast Scenario, on vinyl this summer on Tower Bar Records. [Listen/buy the album here]

DANIEL CORRALES / PRGRM

PRGRM: Website | Bandcamp | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube

Daniel Corrales: Producer / bassists / synths

1. Tell me about your current rig: My live rig with PRGRM consists of two parts: a live bass rig and a live electronics section where I sub-mix sequences, synths and vocoders.

For my bass rig, I’m currently using a 4-string Musicman Sub Bass. I used to own more bass guitars but unfortunately, those got stolen years ago. Personally, I love the Sub Bass for both touring and recording environments; you can produce some sweet sounds with it and I don’t have to worry about it getting banged up a little here and there. One thing I initially didn’t like about it was its physical appearance, therefore I modified it by covering it entirely in black spray paint (it use to be garnet with a silver pickguard, I know dude, eww).

As my main amp, I usually use an Ampeg SVT Classic paired with an Ampeg 4×10 cab, but the SVT Classic is at the shop. As a replacement, I’m using an Ampeg BA-115 combo. I wouldn’t compare it to the SVT Classic but it’s great for touring as well, it’s compact and powerful enough for live settings, plus it also has its own D.I. output. The SVT Classic can project a beast tone but also has the downfall of weighing a ton! I’m really considering keeping it in the studio after I get it back. Either that, or pairing it with a smaller cab.

My pedalboard consists of a Boss TU-2 tuner, Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi, TC Electronic Corona Chorus pedal, and the Pro-Co Rat. My main tone comes from the Rat and Corona pairing. I usually bring in the Muff when I want parts to sound fatter and aggressive, or just want to annoy someone. The only thing I would change about my pedalboard is replacing that Bass Big Muff with the British version for guitar.

For the live electronic section, I’m using: a Mackie 12FX 12-Channel Mixer to sub-mix, a MacBook Pro (Logic X) to run the sequence, a Korg Pad-Kontrol to trigger the sequence, and a Micro-Korg for synths.

I’m thinking of running our sequence some other way, or through Ableton, I don’t know, something that allows more live interaction. An extra pair of hands maybe? Can I use my?…oookkay, moving on.

Every part of my rig is always a work progress, and is subject to change depending on whatever the band/project needs. These are some of the effects pedals that I’ve been looking into adding to my rig: MXR Carbon Copy Delay, Pro-Co Turbo Rat, Sans Amp D.I. Driver, some kind of bass compressor, and a proper pedalboard/case.

2. What song of yours (or your band’s) do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style? The song “Hourglass” would the best portrayal of my sound. A slightly overdriven and modulated tone is noticeable from the beginning of the song. That tone stays the same until the end, when the electric bass changes into a synth line. This arrangement idea is heard in other PRGRM songs too.

3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ piece of gear you’d buy? There is all this gear that could fit that description. For this I would say a vintage Rickenbacker Jetglo Bass, black finish with all cream bindings on the body and neck, large triangular pearl inlays, and the original black layer pickguard.

4. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise? Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead. I admire him for different reasons, but I really love how he is all over the place and constantly changing styles, he is a multi-instrumentalist, and he also scored a creepy soundtrack to one of my favorite films, There Will Be Blood.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about? We have a couple of pretty exciting shows coming up this week. We play with The Fever (from Germany) and Badabing on Thursday, March 10, at The Merrow. [Go here for more info.]

Our label Beta/Noise.Records is also promoting a night for Summer Twins’ (Burger Records) tour on Sunday, March 13, at Tommy’s Casino in El Centro, CA. PRGRM and The Regrettes are also scheduled to perform that night. [Go here for more info.]

After that, we have another date scheduled in San Diego on March 26 at The Ken Club, with The Slashes, Blood Ponies, and The Foreign Resort. [Go here for more info.]

JOHN JOYCE / AJ FROMAN

AJ Froman: WebsiteFacebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

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.]