TONY GIDLUND / SHADES MCCOOL

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Shades McCool: Facebook / Instagram / Twitter

1. Tell me about your rig these days. What are you using?

I’ve made the Jazzmaster my primary guitar and demoted the SG to backup status. Now that I’m old, I want that note definition more than gnarly distortion and the tremolo system let’s me do a lot more tricks. Also, I’ve heard it said that P-90 pickups are the best for recording.

jazzmaster

Amp-wise, I’m using the Orange “Dual Terror” (Tiny Terror on one channel and a Dark Terror on the other) into an Avatar 2×12 and/or a Sovtek 4×12. It’s 30 watts but can go as low as 7.5, which I love. I can’t even imagine a scenario where I’d need 100 watts. There’s this constant battle between guitar players who think their tone doesn’t even get good until 3 and sound people who want them to turn down to half that. With a 30-watt amp, I’ve removed myself from that conversation. No amps were used on any of our recordings though. All plug-ins.

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Effect-wise, I’ve got myself a tuner, EHX Mel9 Mellotron emulator, EHX Microsynth, EHX Ring Thing, Ibanez TS9DX, and a Boss DD-7 all velcro’d to an old red shelf. I went kinda nuts with pedal purchasing this year. The Ring Thing is probably the coolest because it does alien-sounding ring modulation stuff, octave/pitch effects, and more normal effects like vibrato and chorus. Crucially, it allows you to save nine settings.

Pedals

2. Tell me about the band: It started as a solo “hardcore karaoke act” and now it’s a full group, yea? Are all the Shades McCool songs, like, joke songs?

That is correct. As the legend goes, Ben Johnson aka Grammatical B was looking for an opening act. I had been going to Pants Karaoke a lot and signing up as this “character” that was not much except sunglasses and a standoffish attitude. I saw Ben’s Facebook post and was feeling very “say yes to everything” so I did and he was kind enough to indulge me. I put together a set of covers and a couple bits and just went for it. It was surprisingly well-received so I did that around town at non-traditional venues for about a year before assembling my backing band, The Bold Flavors. The best show of that era was playing on a friend’s lawn during the Rock & Roll Half Marathon.

Shades McCool & the Bold Flavors is basically a spoof of a rock band in the way that Stephen Colbert was of Bill O’Reilly. Each song is a vessel for a comedic premise, e.g. “Pretty Good Guy,” a list of non-sequiturs in a dating profile; “Custom Croutons,” a recipe that descends into madness; or “Inauguration Song,” a song written for Donald Trump to sing with The Beach Boys at his inauguration. So yeah, they’re all joke songs.

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3. With “The San Diegan National Anthem” for example — how are you not getting sued by Toyota of Escondido, Pacific Nissan, etc?

I’ve actually been asked this a bit and I have a few thoughts. I am not getting sued because:

A) It’s a medley of several things that were FORCED into the public consciousness over the years. We’ve basically repurposed public works into a drastically different piece of art.

B) It has no negative impact on the brands. It gets people talking about those jingles/dealerships and in fact, it may hurt a brand to not be mentioned in the song. Cal Worthington keeps leaving me passive-aggressive voicemails.

C) When you read the actual lyrics, they’re not the same as in the jingles (“Bah Bay Curse Otto Group. Pear, he’s got it. Mas y niece on”) and parody is extremely well-protected. Furthermore, no reasonable person would mistake this for a real commercial. It’s too rad.

D) They love it.

gold leather strat

4. What’s the next piece(s) of gear you’d would like to add to your rig?

I’m always looking for a good synth pedal to get some big weird sounds. The Microsynth sounds amazing but it’s a little unreliable as far as triggering and what kind of sounds you’re going to get out of it. I’m eyeing the Earthquaker Bit Commander. I’ve also wanting to mess around with some kind of compressor pedal.

(When not in character as Shades McCool, I play bass in Rob Crow’s Gloomy Place and Goblin Cock. I just bought and returned an Ampeg SCR-DI preamp pedal, then bought the preamp-only version of it. I’m planning to get a Tronographic Rusty Box before the next time we play).

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5. What’s coming up for the band?

We’re usually pretty slow writing songs because good premises are hard to come up with. We need a few more before we can record our full-length. We do have a new top secret song experience that I am very excited about. There are also a couple cool plans for “The San Diegan National Anthem.” The ultimate goal is to have it replace the regular National Anthem at local sporting events.

Shades McCool play the Music Box on July 20th with Pinback and Bit Maps.

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BOTANICA CHANGO

Botanica Chango: Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Website / Bandcamp

Members: Joshua “J.B.” Becker (percussion/vocals), Tyler J. French (guitar/keys), Carlos Vicente Jr. (vocals/guitar), Sean Davenport (keys), Michael Alan Hams (drums), Bobby Roquero (bass)

1. Tell me about your guys’ stuff.

Carlos: We are currently in the writing process, so our rigs are a bit different. We are experimenting with a lot of vintage synths, drum machines in addition our normal pedal setups. A lot of the sounds that are coming out of this pre-production are pretty indicative of the time period the gear was made. Finding sound that fits the song we write next is always a work in progress.

2. What Botanica Chango song do you feel is the best portrayal of your particular sound/style/gear?

Tyler: I/we get a lot of joy from finding new sounds, and we make a conscious effort not to get comfortable. One particular song in the new batch that we are all excited about, “Every knows,” is a pretty synth-heavy track that hopefully can make the girls in black move their hips.

3. What’s the one “holy grail” piece of equipment you’d buy if money was no object?

JB: I’d probably say we could use some Quincy Jones brain, there’s nothing holy about our grails.

4. What was the first piece of gear you bought and what are your thoughts on it now? Do you have still have it?

Carlos: My first piece of gear besides a guitar and amp that really brings back memories was a DOD RP-6. It was my first foray into effects and it definitely influenced me quite a bit. I used it for about 6 months and started buying standalone pedals. The RP-6 is long gone, but it was an eye-opener for me.

5. What is your current favorite piece of equipment and why?

Tyler: My favorite piece of gear that we are writing on right now is the Moog Opus-3. It’s like a church organ you can play at Studio 54.

6. What’s coming up for you guys?

JB: The album we are currently working on is titled Action Park and is being written to be performed by professional figure skaters as Botanica Chango On Ice in LA. Our next show is SoundDiego’s Summer Splash Party at Harrah’s on July 16th, and we’ll be unveiling lots of new material from the album for the first time. [INFO]

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]

DJ PNUTZ

DJ Pnutz: Facebook / Bandcamp / Twitter / Instagram

1. What’s your current set up?

I’ve got two turntable setups on either side of my production desks. My main DJ set up is two Technic 1200s and a Rane 64, the other setup is two 1200s and a Rane 56. For my production setup, I have Ableton Live 9.5 Suite, an Akai APC 40, Roland Gaia synthesizer, an Ensoniq ASR 10, and a DBX 166 compressor. I also like to use a Korg Monotron ribbon synth and my Roland 307 depending on the type of sound I’m going for. I’ve got some cheap electronic drums that I’ve sampled from occasionally as well as a couple of old keyboards, a musical saw, and various percussion instruments.

2. What piece do you use most often?

Most often I use the APC and Gaia recording into Ableton. I tend to use a lot of samples which I’ll sometimes run through the DBX (especially if I’m sampling drums). Second most, I love to play with my Roland 307. I’ll just sit on the couch in the living room, plug in some headphones and make some really old school-sounding electro stuff.

3. How did you get into producing?

Making music is something I’ve been interested in since I was a child. When I was 6 or 7 years old, I got a small Casio keyboard for Christmas and started teaching myself to play by ear. In 5th grade, I started playing the snare drum and got a full drum set a couple of years later. In high school, I became more interested in electronic/hip-hop music and had so many ideas for songs that I wanted to make. I felt like I was always remixing songs in my head, so for my graduation present I asked for a set of belt-drive Gemini turntables and a small 2-channel Vestax mixer. I eventually saved up enough money for Technic turntables and a Pioneer 500. My first real piece of “gear” was a Yamaha djx keyboard. It has a sampler in it and a huge bank of typical stock sounds. It was a lot of fun to play around with but a couple of years later, I got a used Roland 307 and that is when I really started getting serious. Around age 22 or so, I began using Sound Forge and Acid. I’d sample records, flip them around a bit and add some additional sounds from my keyboard and 307. I practiced this way for a few years until I was given a copy of Ableton Live. That has been my main DAW ever since.

4. Are there any challenges, as a woman, in such a male-dominated field?

I would say the biggest challenge I face as a female producer is the fact that no one knows I’m a female. Most people just assume that I’m a guy. It bothers me because I don’t like people to think I make good beats “for a girl,” I just want them to think that I make good music…period. I didn’t get into to DJing/making beats because my boyfriend did it either, I got into it because it’s something I personally was interested in.

5. What projects are you working on?

I am in the final stages of mastering my second solo album that I’m releasing on June 6, 2016. This will probably also have a 45 single to accompany the release just as my first solo album Rackmount did. After that is competed, have a few emcees who I am collaborating with and will be releasing albums with them also.

Be sure to see DJ Pnutz at the Air-Conditioned Lounge on Thursday, May 26, for the record release of her new album, The Good Wife’s Guide To Beatmaking. [INFO]

Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.

DJ ADAMNT

DJ Adamnt: Facebook / Twitter / InstagramBandcamp / SoundCloud

1. What’s your current set up?  Technic 1200 MKII, Vestax PMC 06, Roland SP 404sx, Roland SP 303 and Ableton 8. The process is pretty basic. I sample records into the 404sx from my mixer. Create the beat all on the 404sx, I chained the 404sx to the SP 303 so all the sounds come out from the 404sx through the 303 and into Ableton.

2. How long have you had it?  I’ve had this current setup since 2014. The SP 404SX was the latest addition to my current setup. Prior to that, I only used the SP 303.

3. What piece do you use most often?  The Technic 1200 turntable

4. What’s the next thing you have your eye on?  MPC 1000

5. Are you working on any new projects?  Skeletons LP with FVCK FVCE for HELLNOTE and a beat tape with ARTOO for IHAA Records.

Many thanks to J. Smith (of NBC SoundDiego and Parker & The Numberman) for this interview.

DANNY KING / THE PALACE BALLROOM

The Palace Ballroom: Website / Facebook / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

1. Tell me about your stuff: I’m currently playing a 2014 Maple Classic Ludwig Black Oyster finish drum kit. Sizes are 24×16 kick, 14×9 tom, 18×16 floor. I use a 14×7 custom maple Vessel snare drum (awesome local company). I use Zildjian and Paiste cymbals. DW hardware and Tama Iron cobra pedals. Vater 1A sticks. Roland electronics. My favorite part, if I had to pick, is the 24-inch Giant beat Paiste ride I use. The cymbal is dark and washy. I can beat the hell out of it and also has decent ping on the bell but not too much. I don’t like my rides to be super pingy. I need to be able to crash on them.

2. Got any specific faves?  My favorite piece is a beechwood 1980’s Phonic series drumset that I bought off drummer Kellii Scott of Failure. He used the kit on their iconic Fantastic Planet album.

3. What song of yours do you feel is the best portrayal of the particular sound/style you’re after?  I think “Descender” is a a great representation of our sound/style. Very brooding and yet catchy. I like the way it sounds kind of like a Cure or Depeche Mode song. I love the way rhythmically it just chugs along in 4/4 with the hi-hats closed tight.

4. If money was no object, what’s the “holy grail” piece of gear you’d buy?  A 1970s Bonham-style Ludwig clear Vistalite kit: 26×14 kick, 14×10 rack tom, 16×16 floor, 18×16 floor and a 14×6.5 Supraphonic snare. Also have to have a Black Beauty snare just for good measure.

5. Who is the musician you admire the most sound/gear-wise and why?  I really like Kellii Scott from Failure’s sound. He has been a huge inspiration to me growing up. He plays a Gretsch kit right now and just makes that thing sing. He has great dynamics and knows how to get the best tone out of his drums. I also like Marc Trombino’s (Drive Like Jehu) sound. I love his frenetic drumming and use of odd time signatures. Not to mention the drum sound he got while engineering Inch’s album This Will Fall on Dead Ears. That has to be one of my favorite drum sounds on a record ever.

Be sure to see The Palace Ballroom, The Mondegreens and Grizzly Business at Soda Bar on Saturday, April 9th. For more info, go here.