JOAQUIN TORRES / FUTURE HUMAN

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Future Human: Facebook / Bandcamp

1) Tell me about the stuff in these photos: Are you using all this stuff live, or is this for recording too? Is there anything you might be replacing, or adding soon? Anything that will always be a fixture in your rig?

My main guitar that I’m using is a white Fender Hendrix Stratocaster made in Mexico.  And I run that into a Vox AC30 and run the preamp section into a Marshall 4×12″ cabinet (depending on the size of the show).

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The effects I use from [left to right; top to bottom]: Stone Deaf Tremotron /// Eventide H9 /// Boss Cp1-x compressor /// Zvex Loop gate /// Boss TU3S Tuner /// Empress Echosystem /// Chase Bliss Brothers /// Black Arts Toneworks Pharoah Supreme /// Dr. Scientist Frazz Dazzler /// Meris Ottobit /// Ibanez De-7 Delay /// Boss ES-8 /// Digitech Freqout.

I’m always trying out new gear and new stuff that comes out. So while this is my board that I’ve used for recording and I’m using live, there’s some stuff that will probably change, yeah. I haven’t really been using the Z-Vex Loop Gate all that much so I might stick something else on there. I’ve been really interested in Rainger Effects’ new reverb or throwing my Deep Space Pulsar pedal on my board and use it for my synths. If there was one fixture on my board I’d probably say it’s the H9 just because it can do multiple effects in one algorithm. I’m pretty happy with it but one day I might just redo everything and not keep anything from this board’s build, I don’t know…

 

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2) Your pedalboard is fucking insanity. What are a couple of your particular favorite pedals that you can’t do without – and explain why? Do ever wish you had a smaller board? Do you think you’ll ever put a smaller, separate board together? 

If I had to pick my favorites at the moment, it would probably be the Empress Echosystem and the Digitech Freqout. The Echosystem is a delay machine. It’s got a bunch of different kinds of delays. It’s probably my go-to pedal when I’m just jamming because it’s one of those pedals that is very easy to use and I’m always finding new sounds that can come out of it. I think it could be nice to have a smaller board. I’ve never been able to actually do it though. I’ve always had about this size of a board. I used to have a board that was just ridiculous! (hahaha!) It was probably 2 1/2 times the size in length and was double-tiered in the back row. But I mean, the shit was ridiculous to gig with as you could probably imagine. If I did go smaller, I would just use my H9, Echosystem, and Chase Bliss Brothers or BAT Pharoah……if I had to.

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3) Talk to me about that H9 pedal — I don’t know much about them except that you can program a bunch of different pedals/sounds into it right? What do you use yours for?

It’s an everything box of effects. It can only run one algorithm at a time, but some of the algorithms contain multiple effects within one algorithm. I mostly use it for big reverbs, big walls of sound, modulation, and pitch shifting. There’s even a song I use it to make my guitar sound like a bass in a part of the song. I definitely will be digging deeper into this guy on our new material we’re writing.

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4) How do you like that Hendrix Strat? I’ve never been able to bond with a Strat (I’m more of a Gibson guy). What drew you to that guitar? 

I bought it slightly used for pretty cheap. No problems with it really. I first learned guitar on a Strat and then went to a Gibson Les Paul, that I still own. I like both, really. Strats are prone to a lot of noise issues and tuning problems but I just like the tone of the guitar especially with the reverse bridge pickup and the feel of the guitar. But like I said, I might want to change it up for a while and rock something else for a bit.

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5) Talk to me about that Organelle? It’s some type of synth or sampler, right? What do you use it for and what do you like most about it?

Yeah, it’s an Organelle. It’s such a deep piece of gear. Technically, it can pretty much do anything if programmed. I’m pretty sure it’s like a Linux computer that runs “pure data,” which is a computer language used to make algorithms for like a synth, a sampler, an effects engine, a lighting controller, whatever you want it to do. I’m not super knowledgeable about how to build pure data patches but there’s a huge community that do that share these patches. Anyways, I love it! I use it as a secondary instrument usually, and that’s why it’s awesome: you’re not limited to one instrument or one specific type of synthesis.

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6) I’ve gotta ask about the Deep Mind: Have you played any of the synths that are similar to it? What are some pros and cons (if any) about it? If you had a bunch of money to blow on a new synth — what would you get?

Not many, no. I still have a lot to learn on this front. Coming from guitar, and the world of effects, and venturing into making electronic music, I became interested in synths and started getting into this type of sound design, even though I wish I was a better player. There’s a lot to like about the Deep Mind honestly.  The price, the voice count, the effects the semi-modular design. To me, it sits really nicely in a dense mix, and isn’t overbearing, especially when Matt, our synth player, has a Korg Minilogue and I think it sounds most similar to vintage Roland synths but it truly is a chameleon. I was surprised at how good you can make the thing sound for the price. I think it is super underrated.  Especially when you consider I’ve gotten tones that sound amazing that emulate vintage synths without even using the effects engine section or modulation matrix at all! If there is one con, I’d say that I wish it was multi-timbral out of the box without having to polychain it to another DeepMind, but that’s what I use the Organelle for usually.
Hmmm…That’s a tough one. There’s so many cool older synths I would love to mess around with and there’s always new stuff coming out.  But if money was no issue and neither was space, I’d love to get my hands on a Waldorf Quantum or Arturia’s Matrixbrute.

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7) What’s the shittiest piece of gear you’ve bought and why did it suck? On the flipside, what’s the raddest piece of gear you’ve bought and why is it so great?

I used to have a Line 6 Uber Metal pedal that was pretty bad. It was just too overbearing and it was really hard to find a place where it didn’t stick out in a bad way.  The most disappointing piece of gear I’ve had was when I was in a guitar-synth phase and I had a Roland GR20 and GR33. I could never get used to the feel of it. As much as I wanted it to sound good — and don’t get me wrong it was cool sometimes — it wouldn’t track very well and it would always happen at the worst times (hahahaha)! Other than that, over the years, there hasn’t been too many pieces of gear that I didn’t like. I’ve usually let go of stuff because they were either too one note, or my musical interests had changed.

8) What’s coming up for Future Human? 

I’m super excited to announce we will be entering the studio very soon to begin work on our debut EP! We also have a rad show coming up at The Merrow on Tuesday, June 5th (get info here) with Blacks Beach Boys and The Gorgeous Boyscouts — big thanks to you and 91X’s Tim Pyles for putting the show together!

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JESSE GAWLIK / BROKEN STEMS

The Broken Stems: Facebook / Website / Instagram / Twitter / SoundCloud / Bandcamp

1. Lovin’ the pedal board. Lots of different brands — I’ve heard mixed reviews on Behringer pedals. What are your thoughts on them and the Octaver specifically? Are they good value for the money?

So I actually just purchased the Behringer Octaver, my first thought is that the materials are a little cheap. My second thought, after plugging it in for the first time, was that the sound quality comes out more distorted than I had anticipated. I took a chance on this one for $25 and I’m thinking of returning it. However, for about the same price, the Donner pedals are some of my favorites and much better quality.

2. Was there any trial and error putting this rig together? Have you gone through different guitars and pedals, etc, trying to find the stuff that work best?

Oh there has absolutely been trial and error! I probably have about 10 other pedals not on my board right now from over the years. Your needs change, and the sounds change, and sometimes the songs you’re playing live don’t use those pedals. However, the pedals I use the most are the Fulltone OCD distortion, Boss Digital Delay, and Crybaby Wah. These three combined with the tone of the Fender Twin Reverb and PRS are my favorite combination.

3. Is this the equipment you used on the new Broken Stems record, or did you use studio gear?

This is the equipment we used with the addition to a few plugins for extra sounds. Brad Sweet, our keyboardist and producer, actually recorded the entire album DIY in our garage and closet. We used a combination of the guitar from the amp, and direct-in, to get a full and comprehensive sound. But we used the OCD distortion pedal the most. We did our very best to record a true representation of what we sound like live, giving the album that “it sounds like they are in the next room” kinda feel.

4. That PRS sure is purty. If money was no object, what’s the one ‘holy grail’ piece of gear you would buy that you’ve always wanted?

Oh man, thats a tough question. If there was one piece of gear that I could pick up today it would be a PRS Super Eagle Private Collection. I love the hollow body PRS and this one is a mashup of both, giving it an extremely wide range of tones.

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5. What kind of amp are you using?

I’m using the Fender Twin Reverb XL. The tone and volume that comes from this amp is a thing of beauty. They’re clean at virtually any volume, and its a perfect canvas for my aforementioned pedals to do their work. Clean tone, powerful, and downright sexy if you ask me.

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6. What’s your favorite place to find new gear in town?

I mean, I kinda hate to say it because I will always support the local businesses first, however Guitar Center is just kind of the best place to experiment with different amps, pedals, guitars and more. If you are like me, you might get lost in there for a day. More and more, however, I find myself searching online, watching videos, and reading forums…but still nothing really allows you to get the full experience like the in-house setup that Guitar Center has.

7. What track on the new record do you feel is the best representation of your playing/style/gear?

“What Are You Connected.” Track 2 and title-track to the new album, “What Are You Connected” is one of the more technical songs and definitely my favorite song to rock live because of how much intensity there is. The beginning riff is one I have always dabbled with throughout my playing days and one day it just exploded into this song. It gets full use of the OCD distortion, the solo of the song uses the Crybaby wah to give it that extra feel, and I use digital delay in some of the verses. Out of all the album songs, this one probably rocks the hardest and makes me want to go on a 32-bar solo..which if you ever see us live…we usually will do!

8. Tell me what you guys have coming up?

With the new album released to the world, our next big event will be our Album Release Show at The Irenic on Saturday, Dec. 3rd [get info here]! We have local holistic vendors, local artists doing live painting, an open bar courtyard party before the show and some really talented acts, Creature and the Woods, and King Taylor Project performing before us. It’s an exciting night for us, because not only do we have a new album, we have a brand new light show, new merchandise (hats, hoodies, shirts, stickers, posters, and more), live dancers during one of our songs, and even a couple new-new songs to throw into the set. After the album release party, we are already planning production for the next album. No name for it yet, but we do have a concept in mind…or should I say in our soul 😉

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.]