There’s no secret that 2020’s been sort of a shitshow from the get-go, so when RIFFLORD sent us their music video from their latest single ‘Tumbleweed’ that went straight into the Top 5 moments of 2020. We’re still not sure what the other 4 are, but we do like to think that there’s been at least four other alright things that have happened this year.

Now, feast your eyes on one of the strongest Orange backlines we’ve ever seen. With the exception of Matt Pike, we’re not actually sure who could possibly top this… ‘Tumbleweed’, everyone!

Grandma’s Ashes, can we get a bit of background on the band?
I first met with Eva on the internet and joined her punk-rock/noise band and we played with different drummers before we eventually decided we wanted to play heavier music. We started over and found Edith online. We jammed, and her math-rock influences took us in a more progressive direction. That’s how we ended up mixing heavy riffs, progressive parts and powerful melodies. We’ve been playing together for three years now.

Are most of your songs a result of jamming, or do you work from structured ideas?
One of us will usually come up with with a riff or melody that suits a particular emotion, then we’ll jam it around and end up with different parts that we’ll put together.
Eva: I write a lot of voice melodies when I’m at home, and often come to rehearsal with voice lines and simple bass lines, then Myriam will find something to do with it, bring heavy riffs before Edith comes with her complex rhythmics.

Are there any artists in particular that have inspired you two as players, or someone that encouraged you to pick up your instruments to begin with?
My dad plays guitar and taught me the basics of blues with Muddy Waters and Buddy Guy when I was 9. However, it wasn’t until discovered Led Zeppelin at the age of 13 I became obsessed with the guitar. I’d say Jimmy Page, Eddie Van Halen and Matt Bellamy were my early inspirations as a teenager. I later discovered QOTSA and Frank Zappa, which inspired the tones I use with the band and the modal scales I sometimes use when I improvise.
Eva: My father was my first inspiration, he’s a multi-instrumentalist and was playing in different bands within different genres when I was growing up up, jazz, rock, punk and blues. I was surrounded by instruments as a child and he’d teach me. When I was 11, I discovered The Stranglers and was instantly very interested by the incredible J.J Burnel’s heavy, slamming but fat bass sound! I started playing bass right after that. After that I discovered Flea, and Chris Squier from Yes, both with more complicated bass lines. That paired with my growing love for funk, I started to work on my sound because I wanted to achieve a mix between two iconic styles, the incisive and punk one, and the groovy, melodic tone of my prog rock idols.

You’re releasing your first EP ‘The Fates’ in January, what can you tell us about it?Myriam: We recorded ‘The Fates’ a year ago at “Ferber”, a famous French recording studio where Zappa and Black Sabbath used to come in the 70s. We decided to record everything live with no overdubs in order to try and catch the energy of our live performances. We worked with producer Mario Caladato Jr. (The Mars Volta, Beastie Boys etc) who helped us find a balance between the aerial atmospheres of the vocals and the heavier parts.
Eva: By recording it live we managed to capture the synergy we feel between the three of us while jamming. We wanted it to be as fluid as possible, and highlight the emotional involvement in each song when played live. We named it “The Fates” after the three Moirai in Greek mythology, known as the sisters who determine the origin of the world and human beings. One is giving life, by spinning the wool, one unwinding the thread and the last one cutting it, bringing death. We loved that very symbolical allegory of our roles in the band.

What’s your history and experience with Orange?
Myriam: My first ever encounter was whenI was looking for a tube amp that could be aggressive and round at the same time, and a friend of mine let me try their TH30, the sound was both crispy and round. I’m also really into the desert rock scene, and when I saw Sleep live with Matt Pike’s wall of Rockerverbs I thought that it was the deepest guitar sound ever!
Eva: I noticed Orange Amps at festivals and I very intrigued by the colourful design, and when Myriam bought one I immediately loved its power!

Myriam, I know you play the Dual Terror, why did you go for that one and what’s your thoughts on it?
It’s the first amp I ever bought with my very first paycheck : I needed a two channel amp because we have some ethereal parts in our music where a nice clean sound is necessary. The tiny channel of the DT has that slamming clean tone. I mainly use the fat channel with the typical Orange crunch sound and add fuzz or overdrive to it. I also went for the Dual Terror because of its practicality. It doesn’t weigh that much and is also switchable from 30w to 15w, which is really useful in the studio or in rehearsal to push the tubes without sounding too loud.

How does your dream Orange riggs / stacks look like?
I like to play with a dry/wet setup, so my dream Orange stack would be the Orange Rockerverb 50 MKIII paired with a PPC 412. Because it has an FX loop and two separate channels, it would allow me to have cleaner modulation effects such as phaser, delays etc. than I have currently on the DT. The other amp would be a Tiny terror on a PPC 212. I like it with a crunchy sound and a really light slap delay. It also works well with fuzzs and overdrives because of its narrow frequency response.
Eva: I’d like to split my sound on two cabs, and looking for the best one to fit with my Sunn O))) Concert Bass, so I would say an OBC410, or OBC212 and OBC115 paired with a Terror Bass. I secretly dream of a AD200B, but unfortunately it’s a little heavy to bring home after rehearsal on the Parisian subway…

If you could tour with any band or artist, who would it be, and why?
Monolord! We discovered them with their last album, No Comfort. Their riffs are so heavy, it’s truly a slap in the face listening to them play live. We’d like to tour with them because we are comfortable in the stoner rock scene generally, and people look really psyched at their gigs.

Note: I originally wrote this article in 2014. Over the years the response has been extremely positive. I appreciate everyone, from newbie AR reps to guitarists on the hunt for sponsorships, who have told me that it helped them better understand instrument endorsements. This update is minor but necessary. Online platforms like Instagram and TikTok now hold more relevance than Facebook and Twitter (though Facebook is still #1 for the older demographic). Additionally, I’ve made changes to the cumulative number of fans I’d want to see across an artist’s social media, increasing the numbers to reflect the fact Orange now has a higher threshold for approving endorsements. As a brand grows, so does it’s endorsed artist roster and the budget necessary to effectively service and maintain said roster. New additions to the roster must be of the highest quality. Cheers! – Alex

I manage Orange’s Artist Relations (AR) team. Every day someone asks me how to get an endorsement, which we call an “Ambassadorship” (because, except for me, we’re British). I usually give a canned response with ridiculously high standards so that I can finish the conversation faster. The reason is that while we do have some minimal criteria in mind when selecting artists for our Ambassador program, what we desire the most is a stable, long-term relationship that is beneficial to all parties. And how one goes about meeting that criteria can’t always be explained on paper.

But I’ll try anyways…

This is a quick guide I’ve created for you to decide if you need an endorsement, think you qualify for an endorsement, and are willing to work to maintain your endorsement. While it’s written from the perspective of someone running AR for an amp company, I believe it does apply to most musical instrument manufacturers.  Again, there’s not going to be a straight-up answer to “how do you get endorsed?” contained in this article. At any given point in time we all have different approaches, different philosophies, and, more importantly, different needs relating to our endorsed artists. This is really more of a sneak-peak into the decisions AR people make and why we make them.

I’ve also included an overview of what benefits Orange Ambassadors receive and what I expect in return from them. Just in case you were curious…

How I choose to endorse someone

Receiving an endorsement doesn’t mean free gear. I should say that first. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, during the heyday of guitar-centric music, amp companies had more money and therefore were giving away more gear. These days, every dollar is hard-earned due to competition between amp companies and price wars occurring at the retail register. That means there’s less money in the marketing coffers for Artist Relations teams.

Some of the biggest names in guitar don’t get their amps for free. Occasionally they may receive a few pieces to get them hooked on a brand. But long-term, anything else they need or want will be billed to them at a reduced cost. If you do receive something for free, it usually means that a committee made up of executives decided to give it to you. You should feel very special. You’re obviously playing in front of thousands of people on a regular basis, internationally, and whatever content you release to the internet must be getting a lot of impressions.

Even if you aren’t one of the lucky few who gets free gear, an endorsement can still help build your band’s presence, make touring easier, and save you money. Orange endorsements are based on special artist pricing, backline (loan) support, priority tech support, and content-sharing/cross-promotion. I’ll expand on each of these below. But before I do, I wanted to shed some light on what I look for in a band when deciding whether or not to endorse them.

The Music

I get to introduce my personal taste into endorsement decisions about 10% of the time. The other 90% of it based on factors I’ll talk about shortly. Nobody told me to do this. It’s a decision I had to make so that our approach to Artist Relations could remain objective. The choice to endorse a band needs to be based on more stable measures of success than whether or not it sounds good to my ear. And while I consider myself a person who loves good music regardless of the genre, this isn’t necessarily a trait my successor will possess.

When I first started in Artist Relations for Orange (around 2008) I went hard after endorsing pop-punk, hardcore, and any kind of metal bands. If you fit into one of these categories then you went straight to the top of my list. This wasn’t because I particularly loved these genres. It was because they were popular at the time. Some of the music I appreciated, some of it less-so. The idea was to “come up” with these bands and to follow the trend.

It worked but I soon realized Orange needed a more balance endorsement roster. When bands from the genres I had so highly sought out began breaking up or took breaks, I wouldn’t immediately replace them with another band from the same genre. I began to seek out more rock, classic rock, punk, R&B, and country artists. Again, I was allowing a bit more leeway in whether or not they met my minimal criteria for endorsement. And my personal taste was very rarely a mitigating factor.

International Touring

Leaving your home country and touring overseas is a big deal. For 90% of the bands I work with it means they’re taking a huge risk. Touring is expensive no matter where are you, but costs increase the moment you take a step outside of your home country. Phone and internet, gas prices, van repairs, merch shipments, backline, lodging…these must all be taken into account and the costs fluctuate greatly depending on the country and continent. If your promoter sucks at his job and can’t get anyone to come to your shows, then you deal with all of the above, without income while band morale is low.

Touring overseas can make or break your band. If you’ve done it a couple of times, I’ll be far more likely to consider your band for endorsement.

Social Media Interest

Are you a US-based guitarist with a million Facebook fans and 100K Instagram followers? Do you have 50,000 people following you on TikTok or YouTube? Are you just super popular on LinkedIn for some reason? Congratulations! I’ll probably endorse you regardless of what your music sounds like. Why? Because I’d be dumb if I didn’t. If an A-list artist is willing to stand in front of an Orange stack and smile for the camera then my job is to make sure they’re happy.

Most of the bands I endorse have between 50K-1,000,000 social media followers across all of their sites. If you have more than a million there’s a good chance you fit into the A-list category. If you have less than 50K, my attention begins to turn more towards your tour schedule, industry partners (management, booking agent, sponsoring companies).

However, even if your band has 10K Facebook fans and 100 Instagram followers, there’s still a chance you could get endorsed. In that case what I’m looking for is the engagement fans have with your content, the quality of the content, and how quickly your fan base is growing. I’ve seen bands with 1000 Instagram followers post about a tour and receive 300 likes and 100 comments. If you have 30+% of your social audience engaging with your content then you are doing something right. Even if you aren’t getting a super high engagement rate, if your content is high quality then I see potential in sharing it with Orange’s audience.

Management/PR/Brand Partners

The people your band knows are often as important as the band itself. I acknowledge that a lot of bands today are making their own waves and doing so without the help of outside management. I think that’s a great thing. However, very few bands don’t have at least some people or companies working on their behalf. Whether it’s for distribution, booking, merchandising, licensing, advertising, or getting out of jail after an all-night bender, bands that have friends in high places tend to fair better in the long-term.

When your band truly “makes it” there’s almost no way to avoid these relationships. They become more necessary as your band grows in popularity. So while I view these relationships as nonessential for some bands, for others the lack of connections can be worrisome.

Lastly, while my position entails mainly artist relations, part of what I do is business development. The connections I make are often a direct result of the bands I’ve endorsed. It might seem overtly “suit”-like, but if you’re a garage-rock band with no management or booking agent and you’ve managed to get a sponsorship with promotional-guarantees from Levi’s Jeans, then you have my attention.

Appreciation for Orange

When an artist is borderline for meeting our endorsement criteria, I start to look at whether or not they currently play Orange and, if so, how enthusiastically they promote it. Do you need Orange tone because if you don’t have Orange tone you will literally die? That’s a damn good reason to cite when completing the endorsement request form. (You’ll need a doctor’s note to prove that to me though.)

Other things you might consider doing to prove your love of Orange:

– Include a picture of yourself that actually features Orange when you submit for endorsement.

– Record a video demo with your Orange amp and put it on YouTube. Send me the link.

– Offer an explanation of why you’ve developed this crush on Orange, which of our amps you love and why, and which amps you hope to own in the future. It doesn’t have to be specific.

– Get an Orange tattoo

OR50 faceplate tattoo...this man is a HERO
OR50 faceplate tattoo…this man is a HERO

And finally, don’t use form letters. And definitely don’t use form letters if you aren’t smart enough to remove the name of the other amp company you just emailed before you sent it to me.

What I offer endorsed artists

When you become an Orange Ambassador you not only get to tell your mom you’re endorsed (as well as all your mom’s neighborhood friends), you also genuinely benefit from the relationship. The relationship works best for all parties when bands are open with us and just keep asking us for help. Even if we can’t help them in every situation, there are plenty of times when something we do either makes the show happen or saves the Ambassador serious cash.  As the relationships grow and blossom, our AR team and the Ambassadors develop a pattern for supporting one another.

To reiterate, the four main support-systems of our Ambassador program are: special artist pricing, backline support, priority tech support, and content-sharing/cross-promotion. I’m going to expand on each of these below.

Special Artist Pricing

This is the crux of our endorsement and the name says it all: you get discounts on anything we sell.  This is a touchy topic because everyone assumes there are varying levels of pricing and that some artists are getting gear cheaper than others. There are simply some things you have to keep a secret in AR. This is one of them. It’s too bad I learned my lesson after 5+ years of sending out artist pricing lists.

At the end of the day, if you want to play Orange, and you want to help us keep making amps, then special artist pricing is the absolute awesomeness and a massive blessing. Who we offer it to is usually well thought-out.

Backline (Loan) Support

Ok, now that we’re past that, let’s talk about backline, which is more commonly known as loaner gear. On average, I receive 50 backline requests a week.  Most of them look like this:

“Hey, I need some amps for Euro tour in December. Should have info by end of November. Need everything in blue. May need them to shoot fireworks. Can u help?!?!”

Our team then goes to work to extrapolate all of the details from the band.

First, we make sure we’re talking to the person who actually has the details (we’ve lost many a man-hour to this mistake).

Next up, we determine, based on the tour routing, whether or not the loan needs to come from one (preferred) or many (not preferred) backline providers. These backline providers are 3rd party companies that maintain a supply of amps and speaker cabs that Orange has usually placed there at no cost. It’s technically on loan to the backline provider. They, in turn, maintain it and loan it back out to bands for a nominal fee. If the band’s tour is routed with a bunch of fly-in dates – or breaks between shows – we have to organize shorter loans from a greater number of backline providers.

Thirdly, the chain of introduction emails begin. After we’ve determined where we have backline providers, which ones are best suited to loan out the product, and how we can do it for the cheapest possible amount of money, we write separate introductions between the band’s representatives, the backline providers, and occasionally Orange distributors.

And finally, we offer follow-up support in situations where things go sour between the band and backline provider, or when our equipment has technical issues on the road.

It’s a lot of work. It’s so much work in fact that it requires three of us. It also eats up a huge portion of our worldwide marketing budget.  But we don’t blink at the cost because having our gear on stage is worth every penny.

The common misconception about backline support is that it means all loans are free of charge. 99% of the time the band is going to incur costs. The backline providers always charge a prep fee (flat-rate, per item), case rental fees (between $5-$7 per day, per item), and delivery (if necessary). In the USA, there are some providers who also charge a “long-term loan fee.” This fee kicks in if the loan is longer than 14 days, and is equal to 50% off the normal rental rate until the loan has been completed. The band is on the hook for all of these fees. But you know what? It still usually cuts the cost in half.

Priority Tech Support

If a band becomes part of the Ambassador program I make sure they know to send me an email as soon as their amp experiences technical issues. Don’t take it to a service center. Don’t ship it somewhere. Wait for me to respond with the best solutions. Sometimes that means a loan until we repair the amp in-house. Other times it means a straight-up replacement. But most often it means customized support to walk the artist through repairing the amp themselves. Explaining how to replace a pre-amp tube and then expediting one to meet the artist on the road is a hell of a lot cheaper than an emergency repair at a local service center.


In the past, amp companies spent a lot of money promoting artists in print advertisements.  They plastered them all over the big guitar magazines. They also sent the artists out to appear at events. For these things the artists were compensated very well. Since then, the landscape has changed drastically.

In 2014 the buzz-term is “content-sharing.” And it’s done almost exclusively online.

If receiving special artist pricing is what’s most important for our Ambassadors, then having a solid content-sharing relationship with Ambassadors is what’s most important to Orange. I’m always describing Orange as a “blank palette for content.” Ambassadors send me their content (photos, videos, and pre-packaged promotions such as giveaways and tour announcements), and I sort through it and choose what I feel will be most enjoyable for an entirely Orange-centric audience. The content is shared in one of six places: our Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, website, blog, or monthly email newsletter. The combined audience of these online platforms is over 1.5 million.

The content most likely to get shared features Orange products. The content most likely to get shared across ALL of our platforms not only features Orange, but also conveys a sense of UNBRIDLED LOVE for the product. Obviously it helps if the content is super high quality and well executed, but don’t undervalue sheer enthusiasm. The core 30% of our social media and online followers positively love excitement and creativity, especially when it comes to Orange amps.

As an example, here are some of my favorite Ambassador-created videos. I simply told them to “use me as a blank palette” and this is what they delivered:

Sef from Your Favorite Enemies demos the OR50

Bass Legend Mark Walker demos the Terror Bass 500

A Tribute to the TH30 Guitar Head

Simone Vignola – 5 Slap Riffs through Terror Bass 1000

The idea behind content-sharing is simple: it’s beneficial for both Orange and our Ambassadors while remaining extremely cost-effective. It reaches an audience for which we can view feedback in real time. If someone has a question about the promotion we can answer it immediately. It’s the most effective way to engage our audience. When both Orange and the Ambassador’s online presence promotes at the same time, everyone benefits and we can literally SEE the benefits on our web browsers.

What about print media? Orange has stopped buying print except for in a couple of territories. Who wants to look at an amp when they can hear it in a sound clip or video? If do you happen to get your face on an amp company’s print ad, you should go ahead and retire, because you’ve basically reached the pinnacle of endorsement worthiness.

The “Anything” Rule

I will always make my best attempt to help out an Ambassador with any needs they have, even if their request has little to do with their endorsement.  In the past this has ranged from letting them crash on my floor, driving them to a Guitar Center, or finding them the best hotdog in Atlanta, right on up to discarding their pee-bottle and keeping them out of jail. These are extremes. Normally it’s more mundane, endorsement-related requests I get, like help sponsoring a tour or finding an Ambassador backstage access to another Ambassador’s tour. The point is that I want Orange facilitating these kinds of interactions with our Ambassadors because they serve to boost our goodwill and expand our business relationships.

At the end of the day, “it’s always worth asking.”

And finally, I will leave you with a list of things that specifically don’t help you get, and keep, an endorsement. These are real situations that I’ve actually experienced. I hope you can learn from them:

Don’t start off by asking me to loan you something. Literally start any other way than that.

Don’t send me examples of your music that are “just demos with scratch guitar tracks, sorry, but the end result will be way better.” I’m not an A&R guy for a music label. I’m an AR guy for an amp company. All I care about is the guitar.

Don’t try to friend me on Facebook, you stalker.

Don’t copy every industry contact you’ve ever met on a mass email asking which one of them is prepared to give you things for free. The answer will be “none of us.”

Don’t walk into a music store, announce you are an Orange Ambassador, and brag about the special pricing you’re receiving. You should especially avoid doing this if you haven’t signed the contracts yet (because the offer will be off the table).

Don’t give out my email to your brother’s girlfriend’s neo-rap electronic jam band without asking first.

Don’t use scrims. Or, at least, try not to use scrims. They cover our gear and we hate that. Scrims are a sign of weakness. #NoScrims.

EDIT! This competition has now closed and a winner has been contacted. Keep up to date on future competitions by following us on Facebook, Instagram & Twitter.

Celebrating the reissue of Boris’ iconic ‘Absolutego’ & ‘Amplifier Worship’ albums, we have teamed up with Third Man Records to give away a blood moon red copy of ‘Absolutego’, a tree frog green copy of ‘Amplifier Worship’ and a set of our wireless Crest Edition Headphones.

Enter our social competition here.

Alternatively, if you don’t have Instagram you can enter once by emailing us here with “Orange x Third Man Records Boris Competition” in the subject.

Photo by: Pedro Hernandéz / @picfromthepit

Our followers and fans will already be familiar with you through your previous work in Deep Purple, Trapeze, California Breed (the list goes on and on…) and solo career, but they might not all know The Dead Daisies, can we get a bit of an introduction of the band?
Glenn: The Dead Daisies are a musical collective, a family if you will. I’ve been aware of the band for a long time, we had been on a similar circuit around Europe. I was contacted by their management in 2019 in regard to getting together with the guys in NYC to have a little “jam session”. We clicked right away. Of course, I had toured with Doug Aldrich (guitarist in The Dead Daisies) previously as he was a member of my touring band in 2016 – so that was already set it stone. David Lowy is a solid guitarist and Deen Castronovo is a fantastic drummer with lots of flare. It was a natural progression to write together and go into the studio to record.

You just released your single “Bustle and Flow”, what can you tell us about it?
We were recording at La Fabrique studios in the south of France, Dec 2019. The studio is an old Chateau set in a beautiful part of the countryside. We had recorded the music and I had most of the lyrics written. The setting of the studio was very inspiring, I could not fail to be influenced whilst living and working there. Find it here.

This year has been quite a bumpy road for most people, how have you adjusted to the ‘new normal’, and how do you stay creative and inspired during tough times?
I have tried to maintain my own daily routines and rituals as much as possible. I meditate when I wake up, I like to walk, drink lots of water and read a lot. So personally, I have been able to stay creative within my own inner sanctuary.

Of course, in an Orange interview we gotta do some gear talk! You’ve been using Orange for quite some time, what’s your history and experience with our amps?
I was using the AD200 heads live and, in the studio, but for the last 18 months I’ve been using the Terror Bass heads. They really sound amazing. I run 2 at the same time via the Orange ‘Amp Detonator’ pedal. I don’t use any distortion pedals, I use the gain structure of the amps, this allows me to get a far more natural crunch..

You’ve been in the game for a long time, and you’ve influenced a lot of people and musicians along the way. Was there anyone in specific who’s style of playing, way of writing or performing that inspired, of keeps inspiring you as an artist?
I think like many people of my generation, The Beatles were a big influence in my youth. Their song writing is still hard to beat all these years later. As for bass playing, my roots are very much set in the early Motown recordings, James Jameson really was the benchmark for groove playing. Of course, more local to home we had guys like Andy Fraser who was an incredibly soulful bassist, he knew when to leave a space or two. I also read a lot of books and one of my favourite authors at the moment is Eckhart Tolle. I always have 1 or 2 of his books with me when travelling.

What would your advice be to aspiring musicians who’s just getting into playing?
My advice would be to love what you’re doing, enjoy every moment and don’t take anything for granted. You need to dedicate your time to learning your craft and being the best, you can be. Walk through the fear.

In 2009, during “The Great Recession,” I found myself at a crossroads. I’d been at Orange for two years and was, for the first time, worried about my job. We were experiencing the worst downturn in the economy my generation had ever witnessed. Job safety was a huge concern. Orange had been absolutely crushing it until that point yet I found myself unsure about the future.

In response, I created Orange’s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. It was my way of saying “I won’t go silently into the night.” In fact, I essentially created a new position for myself: Social Media Manager. More than a decade later and we have an entire team serving this role. I’m incredibly proud of what we have accomplished.

Enter 2020: the worst year ever. If this year was a fart it would be the kind that only happens on a blind date and you’re sitting on a white chair and it seeps through your pants and you can’t decide if you should get up and go to the bathroom because if you do you won’t be able to come back because the chair will be shit-stained and your date will post about it to their TikTok and no one will ever love you again.

2020 is garbage. So how do we make the best of it? Some of us have taken up a new hobby. Others have focused on making their big “pivot” to another line of work. But a small number of people, certainly the ones who are rife with self-absorption, have gone the way of livestreaming interviews. I count myself among this group.

Here’s a sampling of my favorite “Artist Relations Corner” interviews thus far. Yes, that’s the name I chose. It was a mistake but now the SEO has gone too far for me to change it. Now I get to live this shame forever. Enjoy, and for all of the Artist Relations Corners click here!

Episode #1: An introduction to who I am, what an AR Manager does, and commentary about the original “funny” Orange video, which featured Troy Sanders of Mastodon starring opposite a dog.

Episode #5: An interview with VMAN of Slipknot featuring his tech, Darren Sanders (yep, the brother of Troy from Mastodon and Kyle from HELL YEAH)

Episode #6: Thomas Jager of Monolord. There’s nothing better than talking stoner doom with a sarcastic Swede!

Episode #7: Rekti Yoewono of THE SIGIT and Mooner. This episode helped me discover a whole world of psychedelic rock from Indonesia that I never knew existed. Also, it features live jams!

Episode #9: Kellindo Parker is the guitarist for Janelle Monae and an accomplished solo artist. That’s not all though. He also has rad stories about Prince.

Episode #15: I interviewed legendary producer and engineer, the man who is considered “the 5th Ramone,” Mr. Eddie Stasium. His stories are incredible.

Episode #16: Brian Diaz is a mildly famous guitar tech…and one of my favorite people in the industry. He’s worked with Fall Out Boy, Primus, and Guns N Roses (to name a few). This episode is dear to me mainly because of how much we make each other laugh while being total buttholes to each other.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson /

My parents started me off by playing classical piano and traditional Irish music from an early age, then in my later teens, I started playing bass in rock bands. When I finished my first course in college (Computer Programming), I decided to focus on music. I had been playing with a lot of different bands and doing a lot of session work with independent Irish artists, playing bass and keyboards/synths. I developed a keen interest in recording and studio life. Lots of the albums I was playing on were being recorded in bedroom studios, so I decided to buy an audio interface and just started demoing ideas in my bedroom! I went back to college and did a night course in Sound Engineering to get some basic skills in engineering & recording.

John Murphy by Robert Watson /

Around this time, an electronic/rock band called Ilya K that I was playing in won a €10,000 prize in a Battle of the Bands. Instead of spending all this money in a recording studio recording our debut album, we decided to set up our own studio and invested it in recording equipment. We rented a house in the Cork countryside and set up a makeshift studio. Our living room was the live room and my bedroom was the control room; Here we produced our only album, as the band split up shortly after. The album did ok, and we started to get enquiries from bands about us recording them, and Guerrilla Studios kinda took off from there. I wanted to develop my production and arrangement skills so I went back to college and studied a classical music degree. I bought a portable recording setup and started to experiment with recording orchestras and ensembles in the college’s concert hall. I also used this portable setup to record bands in a variety of different spaces, from venues to rehearsal studios, through to squats.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson /

I first worked with Lankum when they performed on the first episode of a music show called The Parlour. Guerrilla Studios got the audio contract for the recording and mix. I knew they were a trad/folk band but I hadn’t heard any of their material, so I think I was kind of expecting a diddly-eye band. When we started soundchecking, they blew my mind. So dark, and slow, and organic. They performed a few tracks on the show but their performance of Rosie Reilly got my brain spinning. I had been experimenting with bass and sub manipulation on the Katie Kim ‘Salt‘ album, so when I started mixing their live performance I couldn’t help but use similar processing to see what would happen. The result was very interesting. I was basically able to add subtle elements of sludge, drone and noise to their sound, while still retaining their acoustic and live-sounding qualities. As soon as the band heard the mix, they got in touch to see if I would be interested in working with them.

Lankum had been having a lot of difficulty with their sound on tour; Lots of acoustic instruments needing individual mics with specific EQs. I took them up on their offer and went on the road with them. I hadn’t done live sound in years, and was looking forward to challenging myself in front of a PA again. It immediately worked, both personally and professionally. They really liked the manipulation I was doing with their sound and have trusted me to experiment with their sound ever since. Around then, they had been recording their second album ‘Between the Earth and Sky’. Again, they had run into trouble with the mixes, so they asked me to see what I could do with the tracks. It was recorded live and there was a lot of spill on all the mics, so we needed lots and lots of EQ. We also ended up doing a lot more production on top of the initial recording to add some dimension to the album. I re-amped the uilleann pipe drones and harmonium drones in a church for some large live reverb, and we also recorded some extra textural sounds to build up some ambience, harmonics, noises and weird sounds.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson /

Coming towards the album deadline, the band came up with an arrangement for their song ‘The Granite Gaze’, and we recorded it in Guerrilla Studios. That was the first time we had worked together in this capacity, and again it really worked. Due to deadline pressures, it was mixed and produced in about a week in the middle of a heavy touring schedule. It went onto win an award in the BBC Folk Awards, which is kind of hilarious, considering a train went overhead in the take that we ended up using!

For their most recent album, ‘The Livelong Day’, there was a lot of pre-production. The band wrote and demoed for months. We did some experimental recording in Guerrilla to see how we could expand on individual sounds. Also, because of our heavy touring schedule, we spend a lot of time together in a van. Here, we all contribute to the sounds we listen to while travelling, so we had been discussing elements we liked and disliked from a huge amount of genres. This helped everyone’s different tastes become more normalised and put us all on the same page before recording. We also spent a huge amount of time on tour discussing the possibilities of what we could do with the sound palette. All the tracks on the album were recorded in a 10 day session in a studio in the Wicklow mountains called The Meadow, which is a beautiful studio in the countryside with lots of windows looking out at the Irish countryside and manic weather. There was a great energy from the very start, and the initial tracking was very productive. We did a lot more production work in Guerrilla Studios over the next few months. The deadline again was very tight. I actually remember walking home from the studio at 8am on the day of the cutoff point and uploading the final mixes for master.

Regarding the Orange amp wall/monolith, I came up with that when we were on tour in Canada. I was listening to a lot of drone at the time (mainly Stephen O’Malley) and during one sleep-deprived night in the hotel, I started thinking about re-amping the drones from Lankum and putting them through a wall of amps to add texture and depth to their live performance. I got in touch with Nigel in Musicmaker in Dublin to see if I could get a loan of some gear to do some tests, and he put me in contact with Neil in Orange.

After finishing college in Cork School of Music, I moved to Dublin to set up a studio in an art space. Up until this, I was a portable/guerrilla style recording engineer using various rooms, from churches to abandoned buildings using a rack of preamps and a Macbook Pro. Unfortunately, within 4 weeks of my arrival in Dublin, the space closed and I was studioless again. I got together with some friends and bandmates (Katie Kim and Percolator) to rent a space and set up a studio/practice room. Our budget was very low and there was basically only one commercial lease we could go for – an arch under a railway line. A very bad space to set up a studio, but there was no other choice with our budget. It was a dirty, empty shell, and we had to strip everything out and build it ourselves with the help of a carpenter. It was a small enough space, so we had to build wooden walls filled with sand to provide some sound separation between the control room and the live room.

Guerilla Studios – by Robert Watson /

The live room has an arched brick ceiling that is 4 meters high in the centre. It has a very unique sound, and kind of behaves like a bit of an amplifier. Initially it was very difficult to control, but 8 years later, we know how to make it work. The control room is treated, but small, and can get a bit crowded when bands are in for mixing sessions, but we make it work. When we initially moved in, I was having panic attacks thinking about how much of a nightmare the trains were gonna be, but again we figured it out. Initially we were recording loud bands, so the trains weren’t a problem because the room is so loud. That said, recording vocals and acoustic instruments requires a lot of patience, but we have ways of making it work. The timetable is fairly random, but there are times of the day and night when it’s not very busy.

The studio is based around a pair of UAD Apollo 16’s, Adam A77X monitors, with a Mac Pro running Cubase 9.5. Preamp-wise, we’ve got some Jaytronics, Seventh Circle Audio N72’s, GAP Pre 73’s. We also use a TAC Scorpion 2 with Langley modded pre’s. It’s a strange desk to have, but I love it. The gain is great.

Mic-wise, we’ve got some interesting ones. Because the studio is so live we’ve bought a lot of dynamics to use on loud sources. As well as all the classic Shure stuff, we’ve got some great Heils (PR30, PR40, PR48, PR20), SM7s, Beyer M201s, Telefunken M80s, an MBHO MBD 219 SC and Ian recently bought a 1972 Electro-Voice 635a. My prized possessions, mic-wise, are my Advanced Audio CM47 and my Royer R121. I also recently purchased a weird XY mic 12 Gauge Microphones Black 212 – it’s sounding really cool on everything I’ve experimented with it on so far.

Compressor-wise, I’ve got a Distressor, a set of KTLA’s and an Overstayer VCA
We’ve got a selection of guitars and basses, lots of Fender Jazzmasters, a 60s Mustang, a 70s Rickenbacker 4001, a 70’s Kramer 450B, a Jazz Bass, as well as a 70’s Ludwig kit that Ian knows inside out. Ian has been with me from the start and is my right hand man in many ways. Apart from being an excellent engineer and producer, Ian also has a great knowledge of electronics and has built several amps for the studio.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson /

I also have a Roland 201 & 501 space echos, which get used on nearly everything. We also have the frame of a baby grand piano set up as a weird resonance/reverb chamber. We generally try to experiment with every record we do. We’re constantly changing the room around and micing things differently to keep ourselves interested, and have worked with many artists over the years: The Jimmy CakeWoven Skull, The September Girls, Hands Up Who Wants To Die, Katie Kim, 7.10, Percolator, to name a few. I’ve also worked on lots of free jazz records for the likes of Evan Parker, Peter Brotzmann, Paul G Smyth. More recently, a lot of folk music has started coming through and since Lankum, I’ve worked with folk acts like Ye Vagabonds, John Francis Flynn and Varo. Currently, I’m mixing an album for Rough Trades new signing Caroline

It’s been so great working with Zac, Neil and Mikko at Orange. They’ve been so enthusiastic since I initially put the Lankum amp stack idea to them, and have been very helpful and informative throughout. Getting to go to the Orange factory and try out the entire range of amps and speakers was amazing. It really helped with getting the amps I needed for Lankum and Percolator. For the amp stack I’ve used several varieties, in bigger venues I’ll use 2 Rockerverbs with 8×10 cabs. In smaller rooms I’m using the Rocker 15 Terror and OR15. The gain is awesome on these guys and I can get some interesting tones to blend behind the band.

Guerrilla Studios – by Robert Watson /

I’ve only recently started using Orange with my band Percolator. In this band I play bass and synth, I use a 1979 Rickenbacker 4001 and a Moog Little Phatty. I was using an Ampeg solid state to get a driven sound, but I recently started using the OR15 when recording bass and have been blown away. It works so well. I also use an Orange 4 Stroke to send the Moog through. The 4 band adjustable EQ makes it so easy to get rid of amp/room resonances, and the compressor is great for softening the attack. For the next Lankum album we’ll be experimenting a lot with the OR15 and Rocker 15 Terror trying to achieve some organic, gainy, acoustic drone.

After the Fall is celebrating 20 years as a band. How has the band evolved since it’s inception, both personally and musically?

We’ve been through so much together. We met when we were still in high school. We never had the intention to keep at it for so long, but we did. 3/4’s of us are still the original line up. We lost our friend and founding member Brian from cancer in 2014. Our lives and our band have changed drastically over the years. I’d say our music has also matured. At this point it feels unnatural to play music with most other people as we’ve sorta grown up together and traveled the world together and really we’ve progressed as musicians together. I think recording our albums and flying around the globe has helped shape our band to what it is today. The mileage and experience alone is a lifetime worth of memories, mostly good, some bad… but when we were fourteen did we think we’d be playing gigs in Tokyo or Melbourne or Costa Rica? No, not at all haha!

The band took a 5 year hiatus from releasing new music. What happened during that period and are you back for good? Did the break end up being a good thing? 

We never broke up actually. We toured the most we’ve ever toured those past five years with our album Dedication, which was a tribute to our founding member Brian who passed away. We went to Mexico I think four times; one time as support for Descendents. We went to Europe and UK, Japan, Canada with Propagandhi, and we did a full US tour as direct support for Strung Out. We supported bands like Subhumans and Anti Flag and a lot more. It truly was the most busy five years for us as a band. We also released a greatest hits 00-10 album a year after Dedication. Lots of festivals. It was a blast. We didn’t intend to wait five full years to make another record but that’s just how it ended up working out.

Resignation is the band’s newest album. It seems to be rife with social commentary. Tell us about the socio-political influences on this album. 

Well we are all on the left side of things, even more so since the Trump era. The lyrics were all written before Covid 19 so I can’t say that had any influence. However, the issues of corruption and police brutality and our current president have sparked some thoughts and lyrics. I went through some personal strife as did Tyler before making this album. Tyler was in a motorcycle accident that almost killed him, and recording this album was a huge rewarding feeling after almost losing my best friend.

Which Orange amps did you use on Resignation? How did you use them? 

We used the Terror Bass 500, Rockerverb 100, and the CR120 for pre-production as we use them for our live backline. They were blended with other amps in our final guitar and bass tones. The Blasting Room in Fort Collins, CO is where we make our records and their studio is top notch. It’s always a treat for us to work with them. And since 2005 we’ve been working with our producer Andrew Berlin. He’s the best.

Every artist and band has been handling the pandemic lockdown differently. How has After the Fall been dealing with it?

We all felt crazy and paranoid at the beginning. But we decided to get the record out anyway and start writing another. It was very important to us to still release Resignation. We will be ready to roll when touring and live music can exist once again. But for now it’s been a break from the usual grind and hustle. We’ve had a little more time to work on other bands and projects as well. It’s not all bad having this break, but we certainly miss touring and playing live. Spending more time at home and with family has been nice as well. And we’ve actually been able to pay off some band debts and buy new gear and instruments and we’ve all been working on recording/tracking from home and making new music still

What are your hopes for the year 2021? 

Well the record seems to be doing a lot better than we thought, responses are positive, the streams and sales numbers are a bit higher than they’ve ever been… so we hope to see all our friends and fans across the world and play some gigs, and we hope the world finds itself more peaceful and safe. However if things don’t “go back to normal,” we hope to always be friends and always make records. After two decades of this band and traveling, the post Covid era is an easier pill to swallow, or at least an easier potential future to grasp. One day we’ll all be gigging again and that will be a glorious day.

After the Fall’s new album Resignation is available NOW. Click here to check it out!

What are some of your earliest memories involving music?
My earliest memory would be listening to Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’, I would have been around 3 or 4 years old. I vividly remember the feeling I got when pressing the ‘play’ button on my mom’s tape deck, as I waited for the laughter on the intro of the song, before running to her cause I got scared. My mom also had this 70s British Rock compilation that had the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Yardbirds, Zeppelin, etc, and I also remember listening to that over and over.

My mother’s side of the family has always been into music, listening to records and exchanging mixtapes. Most of them played music at some point of their lives too. One of them, my late uncle, left school in the 60s to become a professional musician, and his band, The Rollies are considered legendary nowadays which is pretty cool. I also remember being at my grandma’s house in the 90s and listening to a local punk band, and my uncle saying if I liked that sorta music, I should check out The Stooges.

That’s so cool your entire family influenced you and your taste in music, and how it was such a natural part of your upbringing. Did they encourage your playing as well?
I think my grandma always had an acoustic guitar, but I didn’t notice or maybe just didn’t realise what kinda shapes and sounds it could produce, and what really triggered it for me was at the age of 11 or 12 when I saw Lenny Kravitz play ‘Are you gonna go my way’ on a flying V, with the sound reminding me of my mum’s Brit Rock compilation from when I was a kid. By this point, I was sold, and I wanted an electric guitar just like his one. I went to a guitar shop with my Dad not long after. They didn’t have any Flying V’s but did have this wonderful Gibson SG, which was of course very expensive. My conservative father told me to learn the basics first, and got me started out with a locally made acoustic guitar, which ended up shaping my way of playing as I learnt both Led Zeppelin and Bad Religion on that guitar. So I’m always kind of cautious with my right hand and developed a sense of dynamic in my picking. But sometimes I strum a little too hard, and often break strings because of that too.

When I was 17 I finally got my first electric guitar, I hustled and saved up money by selling t-shirts. By the time I’d saved up enough, the recession hit and the price sky rocketed and I could only afford an Epiphone Les Paul, which I later swapped for an Epiphany SG. In 2009 at 27, The Sigit started to make money from playing gigs, and I finally got a Gibson SG, Stull haven’t got that 60s Flying V though, haha.

As a polite heads up from the interviewer, yours truly Ella Stormark – if you don’t know The Sigit, or haven’t seen any of their live stuff – check out this video, it’s so awesome.

As a guitarist, is there anyone you would say has influenced you more than others?
Probably Jimmy Page because of his vast palette of sounds. It could be due to his guitar and what he managed to do with it, but stll, not many Les Paul players could reproduce what Page has done. The same goes for Eric Clapton, for that matter. I dunno man, maybe it’s just the way 50s/60s made gear sounded. I haven’t got the chance to find out first hand. But I always love that kind of sound.

You clearly have a love for for older music, what were the mutual influences you bonded over when forming The Sigit?
It started out with our mutual interest in Brit Pop, which was very much in style back then. We were all at the same high school, and sometimes we’d skip school to go to record stores or street vendors looking for new and exciting brit pop bands, and often end up finding older brit rock music like Roxy Music, T-Rex, Genesis, Black Sabbath etc. Then we’d hang out at our bass player’s house and try to learn those song using his dad’s gear, and perform them at a school festival once a year. He also had mixer and tape deck so occasionally we’d try to record some songs we made on the spot. We’d experiment with ping-pong tracking and overdubs, very crude and garagy. When we graduated, we started getting computers for collage assignements and started learning DAW, composing songs and making demos which we handed to friends or local magazines.

What’s your personal history and experience with Orange?
My first encounter with Orange was either through Oasis or Jimmy Page, maybe around junior high. No one around me nor any musician in my area had one though, so I was pretty curious about this mysteriously named and brightly coloured guitar amp.By the time we got to recording our debut album I’d hang around the studio and watch other bands record.

Some bands had their own amps, and was kind enough to let me try them to help decide what works for me and what doesn’t. Most of the ones I liked were vintage amps. However, although they sounded great, most of them were old and unstable and not cheap nor easy to repair, which made me hesitant to get myself any old equipment. That said, I was also impressed by an AD140 I tried, and how versatile it was, and the guy who owned it told me that he got it new from a shop in Jakarta. I went to the shop and they had a Rockerverb whose sound I loved, and it was as versatile as the AD140. The drive sounded great, and it was very responsive to my picking – and the colour! I was already sold when I saw Noel Gallagher’s Orange way back, it was very eye catching and you noticed it instantly. I thought it would be great to have this on stage too, so after successfully giving it a go I decided to go for Rockerverb 100.

What are the key things you look for in a guitar amp?
I like overdrive, to be able to control the amount of drive with my hand using knobs on the guitar or through my right hand picking, and how hard I strum the string. I also want to be able to tame the presence, I want it to slap my ear, not poke it. The bottom end also needs to be tight, and I want to feel the sound hitting from behind when the amps are placed at my back on stage. I’ve had my Rockerverb since 2009, and I still use that same amp to this day. I pair it with the angled PPC412 (PPC412AD), which is a perfect match to me.

What are you currently listening to?
I usually listen to records which limits me to what I have, but as for new stuffs the last video I saw on youtube was Idles – Grounds and Once & Future Band – Problem Addict.

Photo by Donna Winchester

If you were lucky enough to see any or all of the Marcus King “Four of A Kind” live stream shows that ran every Monday from July 13 through August 3 – congratulations, I know you saw some fine music and exceptional guitar playing from one of the most talented young guitar slingers around and a full host of special guests. Due to the Corona virus and the resulting global fallout, we have been starved for live entertainment and our musicians have struggled to find ways to share their passion and creations with fans in a meaningful way. When Marcus and his management approached us here at Orange Amplification with the idea of creating live streaming from a fully equipped soundstage directly to music lovers around the world, we jumped in. These were full production shows with everything except the cheering audience on site. Of course, there were a few of us lucky loiterers, special guests and crew in attendance (and in masks) to witness the exceptional entertainment taking
place before us. I’m pleased and proud to say that Orange took the lead as “presenting sponsor” to help underwrite the events which had the added benefit of raising money for “MusiCares” the charity established in 1989 by the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences to support musicians with health care and currently to directly support their COVID Relief Fund. The shows were broken down as:

Night 1, Monday July 13

Photo by Michael Weintrob

The full presentation of The Marcus King’s recent solo album, the Dan Auerbach produced “El Dorado” along with highlights from 2018’s “Carolina Confessions” album and others including Marcus’ trademark cover of BB King’s classic “Sweet Little Angel”.

Night 2, Monday July 20
“Marcus King and Friends”

Billy Strings
Marcus King Band Bassist Stephen Campbell, by Donna Winchester

A partly acoustic performance with special guests Billy Strings and Maggie Rose. The set started with 3 songs performed by Marcus by himself from “Carolina Confessions” and 2016’s Marcus King Band LP. The second half of the show belonged to Marcus and fellow Nashville guitarist Billy Strings performing thrilling covers of classics including Jimi Hendrix “Highway Child” and a glorious version of the Allman Brothers’ “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed”. This show laid down the marker for what was to come

Night 3, Monday July 27

Brent Hinds by Donna Winchester

“The Marcus King Trio w/ special guest (and fellow Orange Ambassador) Brent Hinds of Mastodon” This was the show I had been waiting to see. Anyone who has witnessed Marcus King live knows he has an incredibly wide-ranging talent in his singing, guitar playing and writing. His shows are usually somewhat restrained affairs as far as really tearing it up on guitar, but we have always known that he can cut loose and play blues, soul, jazz and shred with the best of them. On this night he unleashed a ferocity rarely seen from this extremely tasteful interpreter of song. I was not disappointed. This show was an hour and forty minutes of unrestrained top level guitar power. Marcus seemed possessed by the spirit of Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Terry Kath and all the guitar heroes of a childhood spent listening to his father play covers of the 60’s and 70’s rock guitar greats. To close out night 3 Marcus called to the stage his “new friend” Brent Hinds to play 2 songs finishing with a face melting version of Black Sabbaths “Electric Funeral”.

Night 4, Monday, August 3

Photo by Michael Weintrob

The grand finale was an incredible night of music with numerous talented guest artists performing with the band. As Rolling Stone online did a much better review than I could ever hope to put together I’ll let then take it from here….

Marcus King and Friends Give ‘The Last Waltz’ a Timely Update
With a cast of Nashville musicians like Devon Gilfillian and Early James, the singer-guitarist breathes new life into the Band’s warhorse. The Last Waltz is one of the greatest concert movies of all time. It’s also one of the most over-tributed. But Marcus King and a cast of Nashville’s finest breathed new life into the Band’s storied farewell show on Monday night with fresh arrangements and, in some cases, even new lyrics. The leader of the Marcus King Band wrapped up his Four of Kind: Live From Nashville virtual concert series by playing 15 songs from the landmark 1976 gig, along with a group of friendly musicians.

Opening with a slowed-down, especially greasy take on “Up on Cripple Creek,” King and his eight-piece band, including two horn players and background vocalists Maggie Rose and Kate Barnette, made it clear that this wouldn’t be a note-for-note recreation. While some songs were delivered faithfully — Elizabeth Cook’s “Ophelia” was just as twangy and exuberant as Levon Helm’s — many were recast with the performers’ own stories and talents in mind. When King sang “Helpless,” he nodded to his own formative years in Asheville, subbing “North Carolina” for Neil Young’s original “North Ontario.” He shuffled the set list around, too. An angelic reading of Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released,” traditionally an all-star, show-closing sing-along at Last Waltz tributes, came early in the concert, with King’s voice echoing through the cavernous empty rehearsal space. “We’re coming at you from Middle Tennessee, from a nondisclosed location,” King quipped at the start, aware of the unconventional nature of a pandemic concert.

But the most dramatic — and timely — change was to “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” Robbie Robertson’s bitter-Southerner account of the end of the Civil War. Alabama country singer Early James performed it, beginning with a warning that his version would be markedly different, with key lyrics changed to reflect the U.S.’s ongoing reckoning with its Confederate mistake. “I hope we piss off the right people,” he said. “Tonight,” James emphasized in the chorus, “we drive old Dixie down” — a final rebuke of the South’s Lost Cause mythology. In the last verse, he sang
about how Confederate statues and monuments will fall: “Depraved and powered to enslave, I think it’s time we laid hate in its grave/I swear by the earth beneath my feet, monument won’t stand no matter how much concrete.” Joseph Hudak for Rolling Stone Magazine

Write up by Orange’s Pat Foley.