ANDY SHAUF

I recently interviewed Andy Shauf for NBC SoundDiego (which you can read right here) but a couple questions I asked him didn’t end up in the final piece. I think they fit here, so enjoy. – Dustin

Andy Shauf: Bandcamp / Website / Facebook

1. You played everything except strings on The Party — is it easier to translate the idea you have in your head by recording everything yourself? Does it come down to a factor of just not knowing which direction to take a song, or not trusting other musicians to get it right? Is it an arduous process?

I really enjoy working out ideas and recording on my own. It’s not arduous at all. It’s not so much about trust, but it takes me awhile to sort out the ideas in my head, and I find it’s a lot easier to do that alone than make people wait around for it to happen.

2. The Party has a very dry sound production-wise — people have mentioned Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman when referencing it, which I think is appropriate. How did you arrive at that kind of sound?

I like the sound of a lot of those records from the ’70s. I also like trying to play quiet, which has informed the way the instruments are recorded and that drier sound.

3. Several songwriters I’ve talked to have mentioned feeling like no song ever feels “done.” When you’ve listened back to The Party, do you feel 100% satisfied with how they turned out? On that note, are there any songs of yours that don’t feel quite right to you when you play/hear them, that you’d like to re-record or re-mix?

I didn’t want to put “Eyes of Them All” on the album but there it is. I mean, I just get to a certain point with songs where I either think it’s good enough or I just never want to hear it again. I don’t think albums are about feeling 100% satisfied. I think you just have to try your best and then move on. If you’re going for 100% satisfaction there’s probably no risk involved.

4. You once told Pop Matters: “I’m a big fan of scrapping songs.” I feel like that’d require such huge restraint and self-control. Is it difficult to let so many songs go? Do you ever worry that there’s only so many songs out there to write?

Scrapping a song is the easiest thing you could ever do, you literally don’t have to do anything to scrap a song. You just forget about it. I think if you keep trying to evolve as a songwriter you won’t run out of ideas. Songs should only open doors to other songs.

5. Obviously, you play several instruments. Is there an instrument you have in mind that you’d want to learn next?

I got a flute for Christmas. I’m going to try and work on that.

6. What’s one song written/recorded by someone else that just blows you away each time you hear it — and makes you wish you had written it?

Randy Newman, “I Think it’s Going to Rain Today.” Everything about that song is perfect.

7. I’ve seen you’ve been playing a Waterloo acoustic a lot, along with a Harmony Rebel and I’ve been loving the tones you’re getting out of them from videos I’ve seen. How did you decide on those two guitars for shows? Are they your go-to’s, or simply guitars you feel comfortable taking out on the road?

I’m a Jeff Tweedy fan so that’s the first place I heard a Waterloo played. I love the tone so much and it’s been my main acoustic since I got it last year. And I’ve always been attracted to the raw sound of the DeArmond pickups in the Harmony so it’s been a go-to for a long time. I also have a Silvertone Jupiter that I play a lot that has the Teisco goldfoils or whatever those are. I just like the clarity of those pickups. They really bite if you gain it right.

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!

DAVID ROBLES / MADLY

Madly: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram

1. Tell me about your current rig:  Right now I am using a Fender Deluxe, with a 12″ speaker, for my main amp. I experimented with bigger amps but quickly realized that a smaller amp works better for creating feedback. This small amp plus my pedalboard creates the “Madly” guitar sound. My favorite thing to do is twist the knobs on my Line 6 pedals while feed-backing. It never comes out quite the same and it’s a chance for me to have fun improvising during the solo sections of our songs. I try to come up with new sounds with every performance. I use three Line 6 pedals…the DL4 Delay Modeler (Green), the MM4 Modulation Modeler (Blue) and the FM4 Filter Modeler (Purple). I’ve had them forever and they have never let me down.

The latest additions to my pedalboard, thanks to my girlfriend, are the Soul Food and the Octavix. I use the Soul Food as a lead boost and use the Octavix when I need a little extra juice. That thing has a mini-toggle that switches it from 9V to 24V = fuzz pedal on steroids!! And last but not least, the Micro Synthesizer which I use on two songs(“Dead Ends” and “Through You”). I’m a huge fan of retro keyboard sounds, so this pedal was a must for me. I’m sure I’ll be using it a lot more in the future.

2. What is your favorite piece of gear?  That would be the Black Fender Strat that was left with me by a good friend over 15 years ago. She said that she would pick it up whenever she felt inspired to start playing again. Unfortunately, she passed away a few years ago and never picked it up. She always insisted that I play it but I always held back…until recently.  I now play it in her honor. It has become my favorite piece of gear for obvious reasons. It has three Kent Armstrong pickups, so it plays and sounds great! Thanks Fiona, R.I.P.

3. What’s the worst or weirdest piece of gear you’ve ever bought?  That would be my Z-Vex Fuzz Factory pedal. I used it for a while a few years back but it was just too over the top, even for me! It’s almost impossible to control. The overtones that it creates are just INSANE! I’m sure that I’ll come back to it eventually. I’m just not ready for it right now.

4. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?  I would definitely try to purchase Jimi Hendrix’s white Fender Strat that was used for Woodstock. No matter how many times I watch that performance, it blows me away every time! I also love watching the Rainbow Bridge performance. He played the white Strat for that one too. He’s so in tune with his guitar that it seems to be part of his body. Physical poetry at its finest. Year after year, he continues to be my biggest source of inspiration. I doubt that I’ll ever get the chance to own his Strat but it sure is fun to dream!

5. What do you have coming up?  We just got done mixing and mastering our upcoming, 8-song album. We just need to finish up the artwork and then plan on pressing some vinyl. I’m sure we’ll have a record release party once it’s ready. As for shows, we have three coming up in the next few months.

• March 17th at Casbah with Systems Officer and The Slashes [info]

• April 22nd at Pour House with Shake Before Us and Dani Bell & The Tarantist.

• May 21st at In-Ko-Pah 3 with Three Mile Pilot, Audacity, The Blank Tapes, Shady Francos, Red Tank!, The Rosalyns, The Downs Family, Some Kind of Lizard, The Gloomies, Sunset intermezzo by the Montalban Quintet, Effects and lighting by Operation Mindblow [info]