RC KRUEGER / MARIEL

Mariel: Facebook / TwitterSoundCloud / Bandcamp / Website

1. Take me through these rigs!

To clarify, the guitar set-up I sent you is what I plan on playing in the coming month when Mariel adds another member. For the past year or so we have been playing as a three piece: Opie Tran on guitar, Billy Hagan on drums and me on bass, but prior to that we had another guitar and keys and that’s closer to how I hear it in my head and what the recordings reflect. Also on the recordings is a female voice, which has been fun trying to replicate with us three boys all taking those parts, but again not how I hear it. So the plan is for me to move to guitar and add a lady on bass and vocals. I just thought I should explain why I sent you two set-ups.

For my bass setup, I play a Music Man Sterling, which is a cheaper version of the Stingray, through an Orange Terror Bass combo and the only pedal I use is a The Wolf by Devi Ever, which is fuzz.

For guitar, I mostly play a Squier Vintage Modified Jazzmaster. It’s the one with the simplified electronics, it doesn’t have those knobs at the top, just a normal three-way switch, which I like. I play that through a Vox Night Train with just the 112 cab. I’ve gotten to the point where I don’t want a whole lot going on pedal-wise, so now I just have a Malekko Spring Chicken reverb, and two stages of dirt, an Earthquaker White Light overdrive and a Walrus Audio Iron Horse distortion. Opie thought I was crazy when I told him I didn’t even want one delay on my board. He has like 12.

2. Either that skull is giant or that bass amp is really tiny. Which is it? Next: Where the heck did you find that skull and does it accompany you guys to shows?

Both. The Skull, affectionately called Skulliosis, is very large, but a huge reason for me getting that Terror Bass was how small it is. It’s super small, sounds amazing and is plenty loud. Skulliosis does come with us to shows. My friend Seth Eubanks of the band Sullen Ray used to carry it around to shows and always have it at the front of the stage. A couple years back, he was moving out of a warehouse space that we at one point shared and he told me he had a pile of stuff that either belonged to me or I could have. Skulliosis was in that pile so I decided I would carry on the tradition and he’s been at every show we’ve played since. Also in that pile was a suit of armor that now sits on my front porch. So if you’re ever in North Park and see a suit of armor, that’s my house.

bass_gear_wide

3. Praytell – what is that Wolf bass pedal?

The Wolf is a fuzz pedal made by Devi Ever. It’s wicked. It’s been really important since we’ve been a three-piece. On big parts where it’d be nice to have another guitar chumming along while Opie plays a lead, I can turn that on and play chords and it fills that spot. All the harmonic goodness really helps those parts.

thewolf

4. Talk to me about your Vox Night Train: There’s a million amps out there – why rock the Night Train (which rules)?

You’ll start to see a pattern here, but I really liked the idea of getting a lunchbox amp for ease of transportation and the Night Train is my favorite one. I agree that it rules. I think it sounds great, but I’m definitely a Vox guy. I also have an AC-15 that I love.

night_train

5. Walk me through this awesome pedalboard: Some excellent boutique choices – what’s the difference between the EQD White Light and the Walrus Iron Horse?

For me, a lot of the fun in pedals is the collector aspect of it. I’m a pretty big geek. I love screen-printed posters, small record labels, toys, geeky stuff like that. Boutique pedals can fall into the same category for me. I love the idea of one guy making this awesome piece of gear in his basement and then his print-maker buddy puts this incredible art on it. Not to say that that’s more important than the actual function of the gear, but it factors in. It’s why I’d prefer to have that Spring Chicken as opposed to say a Boss reverb. You know what I mean?

The White Light is overdrive. I pretty much always have it on and the Iron Horse is for when I want to get dirty. I chose the Iron Horse specifically because I used to have this old Rat from the ‘80s, so it had the LM308 in it and it sounded incredible, but it did wacky things. When you turned it on, it would work fine, but when you turned it off it would cut the power on everything else on the board, so it ended up only being used on some Mariel recordings because that wouldn’t work live. But that Rat got me into the idea of tighter distortion rather than fuzz and that’s where the Iron Horse came in because it can do that.

pedals

6. When and where’d you get that Malekko Spring Chicken? I know some folks that’d like to get their hands on an original issue version like that one.

I got that Spring Chicken a few years ago on eBay. It’s pretty sweet. It can get real wacky if you want it to. And the art is so good.

7. I can confidently say you’re the first to send over pics with Star Wars figurines – which I love cuz I’m a super Star Wars nerd. Firstly: Rogue One – are you stoked? Secondly: The Force Awakens – good or no? Thirdly: Favorite Star Wars character and why?

Already got my Rogue One tickets. I’m super stoked. Maybe more so than I was for Force Awakens. That first Rogue One trailer was so good.

The Force Awakens was really great. I don’t know why people hate on it so much. People’s complaint was that it was too much like A New Hope, I think that’s silly. I’m curious to hear your thoughts on TFA? I thought it was a lot of fun. I like Kilo Ren a lot too because I imagine him saying and doing the raunchy things he does in Girls. Which he’s hilarious in…. oh man, do I lose geek points for bringing up Girls?

Since I was a kid, my favorite character has been Han Solo. I suppose I like his journey the most. He goes from being this shady, out-to-make-a-buck pirate, to respected General. Luke goes from farm boy to Jedi Master, but he’s always the good guy. Han’s intentions start out being pretty shady and he redeems himself pretty hardcore. In Battle Front, my favorite character to play as is Vader — but whose isn’t?

8. What else do you guys have coming up?

All of that. I have big plans for the coming year. We have enough songs for a record, so let’s record them and put them out. I went to film school and could do another Gear and Loathing just on film gear, but do you see any film content for Mariel? That will happen too. But the first step is to get the line-up in order. Hopefully after all that we can get a sick write up from Dustin Lothspeich. Hopefully.

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MEGAN LISCOMB / SOFT LIONS

Soft Lions: Website / Facebook / Instagram / Twitter / Bandcamp / Boy King

1. Tell me about the stuff in your photos: My current rig is a Bonser amp copy of an old Silvertone, a Danelectro that Jon made over for me to look like a Silvertone, and a handful of sloppily daisy-chained pedals. I absolutely love this guitar. It’s super light and plays like a dream. My pedal board is def a work in progress. I’d like to get it a little tighter and wire it up. Jon just gave me a really dope fuzz and distortion pedal that he made, it’s got a cat’s face on it, so obvi I’m very excited to get it on my board.

2. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style?  Of our currently released material, I’d have to say “Spellbreaker.” Plenty of reverb and a little bit of surfy-ness, but it also gets heavy.

3. If money was no object, what’s the ‘holy grail’ piece of gear you’d buy?  Oh god, I have no idea! Before I was in this band, almost all of my stuff was hand-me-downs from my dad and other friends, and I had really rarely ever bought anything. It’s just been in the last couple years after working with people like you and Jon Bonser that I started to see the value in being really intentional with your sound. It turns out some of my dad’s nicest stuff he gave me doesn’t sound like me. I guess I really love stupid cheap guitars. I recently bought a 3/4 size bubblegum pink Squier strat and I put stickers all over it and play it at home every day. If I had unlimited cash, I would probably buy a lot of really, really dumb guitars like that, Danelectros too, and do weird stuff to them. Glitter, stickers, flowers and crystals.

4. What was the first piece of gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now?  Do you have still have it? The first piece of gear I ever bought was actually also a Squier guitar. It was white on white and I wanted it because it had a whammy bar. I bought it from a coworker at the movie theater where I had my first job in high school for $10 in the parking lot. I have no idea what happened to it. Maybe it’s in my mom’s garage? I also really wish I still had my first pedalboard. It was literally a board that I had covered with glitter and velcroed my pedals too. It was a huge fucking mess and it shed glitter everywhere.

5. What do you have coming up that we should know about?  On Saturday, Soft Lions are playing a FUNdraiser at Shaper Studios (#softlionsFUNdraiser) to help us cover the costs of making our next record. The Schizophonics, Boy King, and DJ Jon Blaj will be playing as well, plus projections by Zeuqsav. On April 20, we’ll be recording at Tiny Telephone in SF, with John Vanderslice producing us. We’re unbelievably excited, and we’ll see you at the show!!