Our third ‘How I got into playing’ post where we as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign, offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), and share a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.
I first started playing when I was about 3 or 4, and I’ve been playing professionally since I was about 11. I was really inspired by guitar players such as Clapton, Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughn from a young age, another early discovery was The Allman Brothers Band, as well as The Marshall Tucker Band and a bunch of other great Southern bands. Later on, I got really intrigued by “the frontman”, and artists such as James Brown, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin – anyone who had that certain attitude would really speak to me. What really changed the game for me was when I started studying jazz theory, and discovering Miles Davis and John Coltrane was really life changing to me, a clear game changer.
I heard Led Zeppelin when I was four years old, thanks to my aunt, not that she was aware of it at the time. My grandfather was a jazz guitarist way back when, so while I liked that there was a guitar player in the house, I wanted to play heavy rock from the start. Grew up listening to Zep, Queen, Aerosmith, Kiss. Started learning guitar at age 9 but didn’t take it seriously until I saw Ritchie Blackmore on MTV smashing his guitar, and seeing videos of Jimi Hendrix lighting his Strat on fire. Both of those moments made me think “I have to play guitar for life!”
I grew up surrounded by music and the people playing it, my grandmother played and my dad played the saxophone. It was something I just naturally gravitated towards from a very young age, and it didn’t go away. I think you either have it in you or you dont, and for me it was just something I stuck with.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/DSC01029-II.jpg10801920Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2020-04-02 08:00:212020-03-19 14:54:01"How I got into playing" PT. III
Stoked you’re down to chat from afar while both being quarantined away. Your band Haggard Cat just released ‘Common Sense Holiday’, congrats! It’s a killer record, what can you tell us about it? Matt: Why thank you! We’re both very proud of it! It’s certainly was the most intense writing and recording process we’ve ever entered into. I think from the very first track that we wrote (First Words) we knew that we were potentially looking at something very special, so we set out to make over very own Dark Side of the Moon. I think it’s my favourite album that I personally have ever been a part of. The song writing feels more evolved and mature.
We never want to relax into being the type of band that releases the same record twice, as I’m really not interested in releasing an album where a listener will already know exactly what they’re getting before even hearing a note. Some bands do this very well, but I think it makes the whole scene quite a lethargic place to be. So I never want us to stop moving, I want to take in as many different types of music from different places and allow it all to become absorbed into what we do!
In particular, now that I’m able to stand back and look at the album more critically, I’m very proud of the work I did lyrically, I think each of the songs has it’s own thing to say. I actually isolated myself to write the bulk of the lyrics (which seems quite ironic now given “the event”). I was away for a few weeks in Christchurch, New Zealand – so I set myself the task of cutting myself off the world and really honing in on what I was writing. I went a little stir crazy, but I think it really gave me a unique perspective on what I was writing about.
To sort of recap a bit, how did Haggard Cat come about in the first place? Matt: Haggard Cat has been mine and Tom’s passion project for almost 10 years. It has basically always been our method of writing songs, and practicing material to get it up to scratch no matter what project we were working on at the time; just the two of us going into a room and playing loud. So it only made sense for us to embark on making this our full-time project. It’s definitely the most honest form of us making music together – it’s what comes out naturally. We’ve been playing under the name Haggard Cat since the middle of 2017 when Jamie Lenman took a punt and decided to get us to support him on tour, since then we’ve pretty much been coerced into becoming a real band. Long before any of this ever happened we used to stand a bottle of Bourbon on a wooden stool (named Chris who still comes with us to every show to this day) and we wouldn’t finish the show until the bottle was empty. Hazy, hazy days.
Have you always been into music? Matt: A friend of mine at school’s parents bought him an electric guitar. I remember thinking it was the coolest thing ever, so basically I copied and begged my parents to get me one too. From that point on I did nothing but play guitar. I’d play in between lessons and at break times I would stay indoors and play some more, I would play non-stop after school and I even got our music teacher to write me a note excusing me from PE lessons to practice. I just loved it, and since then making music is all I’ve really had a true interest in doing.
As a guitar and drum two piece, what would you say you find the most challenging? Matt: This could sound a little pretentious, but the hardest thing is staying as far away from the 2-piece band stereotype that seems to precede any duo’s reputation. There’s definitely a pre-conceived notion that there’s only so much you can achieve between two of you and I think it’s a lazy idea. That was our main mission statement on CSH, to sound as far away from the typical “rock and roll” duo people have come to expect. We treated the production almost like a hip-hop album, and wanted to have a revolving door of collaborators and musicians that would come along and add their own flavours. And then as soon as it came to playing something live it would be an all together re-imagined different beast, kind of like Dylan would do in the 70s, or more recently what the Raconteurs do to their songs live.
On that note, what do you look for in an amp, and what’s your current set up? Matt: I put an unholy amount of bludgeoning low frequencies through my amp, so what’s always been important for me is having something that can tackle those with ease and spit them out with some balls, grit and above all clarity (with the added bonus of being able to do it at ear-splitting volume). My current set up relies on my trusty Orange Thunderverb 200 as its backbone, along with a 1973 Fender Bassman 135 for extra rumble. I also use an Orange Rocker 30 blended in there for a bit of extra sparkly grit, and on the album I use a vintage Roland Jazz Chorus for some spacey wobble. I run all of it through a bunch of tough as a brick-shit-house Orange Cabs loaded with V30s (as is tradition).
What’s your best quarantine activity? Matt: Listening to records and drinking whisky. Yes, I’m a cliche.
Haggard Cat’s heading out on tour in September, after having to cancel their original spring tour due to Covid-19. Full touring schedule below, something to look forward to hey?!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Matt-Reynolds-Haggard-Cat-by-Carla-Mundy-.jpg10011500Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2020-04-01 08:00:002020-03-30 18:31:34Interview: Matt Reynolds of Haggard Cat
Our second ‘How I got into playing’ post where we as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign, offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), and share a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.
I picked up the guitar when I was 14, and I think my dad’s very much to thank for that. He wasn’t a musician himself, but he was very interested in music, and it was something that was a part of my life from a very young age; him playing various country and classic rock records around the house. I first started playing acoustic, but it only lasted for about a year as I realised electric was more my thing. I was just playing around at home, and signed up to Youtube where I started sharing videos of cover songs I was playing. I didn’t really think much of it besides wanting to share my passion with the world, so the response was pretty overwhelming as I ended up getting millions of views! Back then, it wasn’t many females my age doing that sort of thing, posting classic rock covers, so there seemed to be a market for it and it definitely helped me get where I am today!
I initially started out playing drums as a kid, and didn’t really get into guitar until I was 17. I’d watch people play Nirvana covers on YouTube and just copy what their hands were doing, that’s how I learnt the basics. I guess already knowing how to play an instrument was a bit of a head start but I wouldn’t really say I’m a real guitar player, I just wanted to be able to play the Nirvana songs.
Starting it all off and sparking the interest was definitely the household I grew up in, both my parents and older sister was very into music. My dad in particular is pretty much a rock ’n’ roll historical – not as a profession or a job, but for as long as I can remember he’s just always had this encyclopaedic knowledge about dates, record companies, releases, band members and tours, and he has this amazing vinyl collection that I’d go through as a kid, pick albums to listen to based on their covers and end up with bands such as KISS and The Monkees, but it wasn’t until he played me The Beatles everything changed; I even remember the day and exactly where we were, sat in our car parked up waiting for my sister, and he played me live at the BBC by The Beatles, and I think I must have been about six or seven, I was really young, but it just felt like real life magic.
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Can you tell us a bit about yourself? Susan: I was born in a small city in the southwest of Spain, Badajoz. I’m a self taught guitar player, and I’ve always been into songwriting. I started a band in my hometown, but eventually moved to Madrid in the hope of making a living from my music. There, I worked as a guitarist in a National TV show and in musical theatre. Eventually, I started working on my own stuff, which I’ve been doing ever since. I’ve toured Europe, the US and Mexico, and released five albums. My last one, ‘No U Turn’ won be the best musician performance in The European Blues Awards, and Best Album Female in The L.A Music Critics Awards.
How did you get into playing in the first place? Susan: I originally started playing Spanish guitar when I was 18, and about two years later I found the blues on the radio – I’d never heard this sort of music before, and I didn’t know what it was but I instantly fell in love with that sound! From that point, I discovered all the classics, Beatles, Hendrix, Cream, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and of course, Stevie Ray Vaughn – my head felt like it was gonna explode when I heard him, and I just knew I wanted to play electric guitar.
As a guitarist, is there anyone else besides Stevie Ray Vaughn that sort of stuck out to you? Susan: I’m influenced by a lot of artists, but Led Zeppelin, ZZ Top, Tom Petty and The Beatles all bring out a smile and fill me with energy.
On that note, there’s footage of you jamming with Billy Gibbons, how did that come about? As a ZZ Top fan, how was that experience? Susan: Last summer my band and I played the same festival as Billy Gibbons’ Supersonic Blues Machine, and they invited me on stage to play with them, and it was an amazing experience. Just imagine, Billy is one of my favourite guitarists of all time! He was a lovely guy, and it was really funny as he kept speaking to me in Spanish; “Hola Soy Guillermo…”. For that I played one of my other favourite amps, the Rockerverb 50 MKIII head – an awesome amp, perfect for a big stage.
You recently took our TremLord 30 on tour, how did you get on with it? Susan: The TremLord has the sound I always wanted, it’s got a warm and rounded tone, and it’s full of body. The tube tremolo with two speed settings and spring reverb is awesome, and I could use it for playing at home and get a great sound, changing the power mode from 30w down to just 1w. I’d recommend everyone to give it a go!
What do you look for in an amp?
Susan: I’m after a clean sound, with a rock tone. Sparkling, with full body. Before I was a full time musician I used to work in a guitar shop, and I tried a whole bunch of amps. It’s not easy to find clean tone without losing body, or losing tone with pedals. I’m incredibly happy with my current set up!
What sort of stuff are you currently listening to? Susan: I tend to listen to all kinds of music, as I find you can learn from all of them. Of course, I listen to a lot of rock, americana, country and soul. I’ve also been reading a lot of music biographies lately, about musicians such as Erik Satie, Tom Waits, Ravi Shankar and Woody Guthrie.
Orange Amps is launching a brand new monthly contest called simply “Rig of the Month.” That’s right, folks, all you have to do is submit a picture of your Orange rig, big or small, to Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, making sure to tag it with #OrangeRigOfTheMonth. At the end of every month we’ll comb through the entries, pick our favorite, and post it to our social platforms AND on our website in a blog post so everyone can see the awesomeness of their Orange rig!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/RIG-of-the-MONTH-Logo.jpg20002000alexhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngalex2020-03-23 18:47:292020-03-23 19:48:29Announcing Orange 'Rig Of The Month' Contest
Getting this column last year was in many ways, without sounding really extra, a lifelong dream of mine, to have a platform of my own where I could share my thoughts and excitement about music, and the weird and wonderful world around it. No editors and no rules, with the exception of keeping the ‘F’ word to a minimum. This month, I’ve decided to let someone else ramble on for a bit, as I wanted to share in whole this piece Peter Hughes of Sons of Huns and formerly of Danava wrote about the late, great, Roky Erickson. I asked for a few word about his favourite record, and the finished result was more than anything I could have hoped for; a heartfelt ode to one of the pioneers of psychedelic rock. Thank you Peter, and thank you Roky. – Ella Stormark
Roky Erickson was a Texas-born rock ’n’ roll howler best known for his early years with The 13th Floor Elevators, whose lysergic reverb-soaked hit “You’re Gonna Miss Me” was written by Roky at the tender age of 15 and would endure as his highest charting song and the definitive composition of his career. The 13th Floor Elevators are credited as the first Psychedelic Rock group and their first two albums, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators & Easter Everywhere are the most notable. The Elevators LSD-steeped sound rippled across Texas west to San Francisco and clearly influenced the sonic palette of a number of bands that went on to enjoy larger commercial success, the heavyweight of the bunch being boogie behemoths & fellow Texas natives ZZ Top. Guitar hero Billy Gibbons first found his footing on the Texas club circuit with his band The Moving Sidewalks (an obvious nod to the Elevators, as Gibbons himself freely admits) who later toured as the opening act for Hendrix before going on to form ZZ Top. Even Janis Joplin considered contributing her soulful blues-tinged vocals to the 13th Floor Elevators before deciding to head to San Francisco instead.
Roky’s psychedelic period was cut short after a series of drug arrests, culminating in his apprehension onstage in Austin August of 1969 for marijuana possession, which resulted in two Police cruisers being destroyed by fans in the ensuing riot. Unfortunately, Roky was subsequently committed to Rusk Maximum Security Prison for the Criminally Insane after pleading insanity when faced with the narcotics charges. He would spend the following 3 years in Rusk during which Roky was involuntarily subjected to electroshock therapy and forcefully dosed with Thorazine after being diagnosed as schizophrenic, though this would not be his first or last stay in such a facility. One too many LSD bad trip freak-outs combined with underlying mental health issues in the ‘60s were then compounded by the traumatic environment of the psychiatric hospital and the cruel abuses he suffered in the stead of effective medical treatment during his stay there. These hardships proved to have no small influence on the sound and subject matter of Roky’s music, who had begun to believe that a Martian inhabited his body. This is reflected in the first iteration of Roky’s new group named ‘Bleib Alien’ that first appeared in 1975. This was eventually changed to a more radio-friendly version ‘Roky Erickson & the Aliens’ in 1977 when the group started working on demos for a new album with Creedence Clear Water Revival bassist Stu Cook. The 15 songs recorded during the sessions with Cook from 1977-79 would form the Horror Hard Rock body of work from which a number of alternately titled albums were released (Self/Titled-1980, also called Runes or Five Symbols due to the ambiguous cover art, & The Evil One-1981) and would serve as the songbook from which Roky would base the majority of his live sets during this period and when he resurfaced in the 2000s.
Roky’s return to performing live deserves considerable credit to the aid of his younger brother Sumner Erickson, without whom he likely may not have overcome the odds. After Sumner gained legal guardianship of Roky, he sought the long needed medical treatment for his older brother as well as legal aid to help Roky reclaim licensing rights to his back catalogue, much of which he was cheated out of by greedy labels & others. Austin Texas studio engineer Doug Sahm once traded Roky a smoothie for three of his most timeless songs “Two-Headed Dog”, the love song “Starry Eyes”, and “Don’t Slander Me” once after a session. The must-see documentary released in 2005 titled “You’re Gonna Miss Me” after the hit from his Elevators days also played a large role in exposing his music and life to a whole new audience.
“Two-Headed Dog” kicks off the album with the harsh cries of Bill Miller’s electric autoharp, which adds a signature flavor of psychedelic sound to the group, a bright twang somewhat reminiscent of the familiar electric guitar strum and similar in function to the electric jug playing of Tommy Hall in 13th Floor Elevators, but with s strange otherworldly timbre all of it’s own. This is my favourite track on the album and Roky’s distinctive rock ’n’ roll tenor snarl screams and wails with confidence “Two-headed dog, two-headed dog, I been workin’ in the Kremlin with a two-headed dog!” In addition to Roky’s tortured yelps the other element that gets me every time is the killer lead guitar playing of Duane ‘Bird’ Aslaksen, with his hottest licks heard flying over Roky & the rhythm section pounding away on “Cold Night for Alligators.” The last standout tracks are the two slow-burners “Night of the Vampire” and “Stand for the Fire Demon”, the end of the A & B-side respectively. In “Night of the Vampire” Roky warns, “The moon may be full, the moon may be white, All I know is you’ll feel his bite Tonight… is the Night of the Vampire” before the whole band joined now by eerie overdubbed organ leans into a macabre minor-key melody that would be at home as a foundational basso continuo progression in a Baroque Fantasia. The closing track in the 10 song first release of Roky Erickson & The Aliens’ 1980 self-titled album summons listeners to “Stand for the Fire Demon.” This final performance covers the widest range of dynamics, from subdued backup singers alternating ‘oh-ohs’ with Erickson’s lines delivered with the most controlled restraint,
“Stand for the fire demon Spirits say ‘boo’ and the paper bursts into fire, Stand for the fire demon wilder, wilder, wilder, wilder,”
through to full-on pounding electric bass & drums with waves of dual overdrive-saturated guitars crashing on top and Roky’s haunting screams riding above all as he commands,
“Stand for the fire demon Stand for the demon of fire Stand for the demon of fiiiiire!”
It is worthwhile to note that after numerous different versions were released over the years, in 2013 Light in the Attic Records released an edition of’ The Evil One’ with 2xLPs containing all 15 songs recorded by Roky & the Aliens during the 1977-79 sessions with Stu Cook and is worth obtaining if for no other reason than the inclusion of Roky’s chilling song “Bloody Hammer.” Roky died last May 2019 aged 71, his music as relevant now in these uncertain times as ever as we face a global pandemic that threatens to usher in untold evils, not to mention stands to spoil Record Store Day leaving vinyl stores empty with most folks fearfully self-quarantined at home. Looking back on the entirety of Roky’s life, his hardships and struggles in the end are unequivocally outweighed by his triumphs in music, early on with psychedelic rock and later Horror Rock and ultimately with his output finding renewed acceptance and culminating in Roky enjoying the most widespread success of his career with a commendable final effort he finished strong with performances at festivals and on tour both throughout the US and abroad.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/unnamed-1-scaled.jpg20832560Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2020-03-23 10:49:042020-03-23 10:49:05Ramble On: An Ode to Roky - By Peter Hughes of Sons of Huns
When catching up with Orange artists, one of the things we tend to ask is how they first got into playing – some were pretty much force-fed music from a young age growing up in musical homes, others found music for themselves. Over the next couple of weeks and as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign where we offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), we’ll be sharing a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.
Mainly KISS and Queen, they were my two main bands. Queen came to Brazil in 1981, but my mum wouldn’t let me go because I was too young. Then KISS came in 1983, and that was my first ever show. Being able to go see them live at their Creatures of The Night tour, was insane, that changed my life. That’s why I’m here! Seeing that, in my home town, at my football team’s stadium.. As I said, it changed everything. When I first started playing, my goal was to play ‘Stairway to Heaven’, so that’s what I told my teacher. She gave me the basics and a good ground to learn on, gradually. It started out with acoustic Brazilian music, before moving onto other things. Slowly I’d expand my music taste as well, and start listening to bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Black Sabbath, Deep Purple, Jimi Hendrix and Cream, all of those incredible vintage sounding bands and artists. I’m also inspired by Brazilian music, and as I’ve become older and developed my taste I’ve picked up on a lot of the older Brazilian music, which has been a huge inspiration to Sepultura. That’s played a huge part in finding our sound, using Brazilian percussion and other bits from our more traditional music.
I was born in Puerto Rico and moved to the States when I was five. Some of my earliest memories are of my dad and uncles playing me music, those dudes loved Metallica. My dad would also drive me around with Pearl Jam on repeat. All my uncles played guitar, and my grandfather the cuatro, so I had early exposure to those instruments. I didn’t pick up a guitar myself until I was 15 or 16, when my dad finally got an acoustic for Christmas and I got bitten by the bug. Eventually I bought an Epiphone Les Paul for money I’d earned selling candy in high school, and once that was done I stopped doing just about everything else to pursue playing. I’d recently been turned onto At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta and was like ‘Damn, that dude’s got hair like mine and he shreds, let’s learn that shit!’ My dad also made sure I knew Led Zeppelin was the greatest band of all time, so I guess that shaped a lot of my playing too, Zeppelin>The Beatles
I come from a musical household where my dad would experiment with home made hi-fi speakers and play bands such as The Beatles, Beach Boys, Johnny Cash and Dylan, as well as church and choral music. My mum, brother and sisters were also into music and would dabble in guitar, piano and singing. When high school came around, my older brother introduced me to Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd and The Doors, and it was around this time I bought one of my first records which was Hendrix live. After that I just wanted to play guitar like him, he was a huge inspiration! Strawberry Fields was also a mind blowing experience when I first heard it.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Andreas-Kisser-Sepultura-crop.png13111890Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2020-03-19 11:00:002020-03-19 15:37:13"How I got into playing" PT. I
Orange Amplification is delighted to announce their online foundation Rock Guitar Course is now FREE with any purchase of an Orange amp, combo, cab or pedal. Plus, all existing owners of Orange products can now register their products and gain FREE access to the same course.
The Orange Foundation Rock Guitar Course is a fun, easy and fast way to really learn how to play rock guitar. It offers new and returning guitarists enjoyable lessons, a wealth of downloadable material, access to online tutors and video guides.
Whatever their music tastes, students can learn to play the music they like, in a way that suits them best, anywhere and at any time. The Orange online Rock Guitar Course incorporates many different methods for learning whether going it alone, with a teacher in real life or online, via the website, using the guided videos or any combination of these tools.
All participants completing the Orange foundation Rock Guitar Course will acquire all the necessary skills and knowledge to enable them to achieve a recognised guitar exam provided by the OnlineMusicExam platform, the world’s first accredited online guitar exams.
For more than half a century, Orange has supported and encouraged people to take up the guitar and play music. The Orange Rock Guitar Course truly teaches students how to play and offers the opportunity for guitarists to achieve a qualification on the instrument they love.
Can we get the Black Futures lowdown? Space: We are Black Futures aka Space and Vibes, founders of the Black Futures Existential Expedition Club. We attempt to make music, sound and song akin to witnessing all the vivid beauty, violence and absurdity of life in one gigantic hit. Music to fend off the dread, and help us usher in the Niceage. A folk music, a future punk to help us all be collectively MAXIMUM. A tsunami of Joy, a Typhoon of wild abandon! We are both composers, producers and songwriters that have dedicated our life to the craft, culture and community. We are Empathy Machines for fellow radicals like Idles, Jamie Lenman, The Prodigy, Do Nothing, Libra Libra… We have traveled from Mumbai to Nepal to Tokyo to Joshua Tree to Chernobyl to ∞ and beyond creating and documenting the culture of our world. Never not nothing.
We’re loving your mission, and view of life and music – how did it all begin? Space: From my earliest memories, music was a necessity and obsession. My parents had an epic record collection and we were only allowed wooden toys, so listening to records and being in nature were the fuel for my childhood. Before the influence of the outside world I was on a healthy diet of Beefheart, Grieg, Hendrix, John Martyn, Rachmaninov, Joni Mitchell, Robert Johnson, The Beatles…. It was a wholesome diet! I was completely obsessed with the transformative and emotive power of music.
That’s a really interesting mix of music and genres, and intrestingly enough completely different from the music you make yourself with Black Futures. Space: I like to think of music as an empathy machine. I have always gravitated towards music that moves my mind and body to the MAXIMUM. We listen to such a vast amount of music. Whether it’s death, punk, classical, techno, pygmy choirs it has to have a transcendent effect on us. My first true experience of this was at my first gig. A friends dad had snuck us in to see the Ramones sometime in the mid 90’s. I wanted with every fibre of my body shake violently and loose control. I was terrified and completely alive. It was like swallowing the sun. So from then on, if it made me feel complete despair, anger, love, fear, energy, mystery I was all in. At the moment we are listening to Deathgrips, Lingua Ignota, Denzel Curry, Analogue Africa, Full of Hell, Colin Stetson, Tropical Fuck Storm, Oneohtrix Point, Bou, Turnstile, Sleep, H09909, The Clash, Lau, Bowie, Television, Mojave Lords and the Beatles.
Black Futures – how did it all begin? Space: We spent about 6 months scheming and writing. Developing the language, ideas and culture of Black Futures. Basically a couple of weirdos dreaming up wild ideas. The first anyone else knew about it was our first show. We sent out an invite with a location, time and password. The audience were blindfolded and taken to a secret location. Once the blindfolds were on we could be completely in control of the environment. We created our own Black Futures radio station featuring utopian muzak versions of our record and computer generated hosts. With the help of our BF family we built a secret laboratory in a recording studio hosted by a cast of Hazmats. This is where we performed what we called ‘ A Total Display of Love’ our first gig. It was a completely immersive experience designed to pull the audience as far away from their external lives and as close to that feeling of excitement, fear and joy as possible.
That is so rad, what an incredible first show! How did you guys come up with the concept? Space: It all stemmed from the idea of using everything in our arsenal to create a gig experience where the heady concoction of mystery, fear, wonder and energy is at its most potent. The idea is be so inclusive that everyone in the room feels comfortable to transcend conscious thought in their own individual way. That’s why we have a rolling cast of anonymous vibe conduits on stage and in the crowd at our shows. We aim for a totally immersive expression of joy, activism and pure raw energy. A celebration of the radical.
What’s your history and experience with Orange, and what do you look for in an amp? Space: The Rockerverb is the first amp I truly loved. It has been used on every record I have worked on in some shape or form. I was completely won over by the roar it made when you ragged the clean channel into breakup. Also the saturation of the gain channel, it seemed to have that heavy visceral violent tone without being too brittle and aggressive on the top end. What I look for in an amp, is for it to do one thing extremely well, to be unique and living. I am not a fan of loads of bells and whistles or that the price tag dictates the quality. One of my favourite amps is a tiny cigar box amp that Rat Scabies built for me. It’s powered by a 9volt battery and sounds like the sweetest trash.
What’s your current set up? Space: At the moment live I am playing a 1977 musicmaster bass that I loaded with a Thunderbird style pickup that Curtis Novak made for me. That gets split and runs through two different pedal signal chains. One side with a POG doing a bit of Octave down and just a smidge of octave up goes to a profile of a 70’s ampeg svt on a Kemper that I took when making a record. The other side goes into a Rockerverb 50 through a closed back Orange 2×12. The pedals vary all the time. I find that this setup allows me to take up as much frequency range as possible with a single note! ha ha.
I am definitely interested in exploring the bass butler and playing around with combinations of different guitar and bass rigs bi-amped for a monolithic sound. Also intrigued by the tremlord in the studio.
How would you describe Black Futures and your music to your friend’s grandma? Space: MAXIMUM! MAXIMUM! MAXIMUM!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/BLACK-FUTURES-QFC-work-1-dev-final-scaled.jpg15662560Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2020-03-18 09:00:002020-03-17 14:43:48Interview: Black Futures' Space
RIFFLORD, who are you and what are you guys about? Wyatt: We started out back in 2007 in the basement of a punk house where 8 people were living. We were all in punk/hardcore bands at the time, and began digging into the roots of heavy music with bands like Blue Cheer, Hawkwind, Deep Purple and of course Black Sabbath lighting the path for us. We soon began hunting down every vintage tube amp we could find to recreate that tone. It’s been 13 years since then, members have come and gone but the core remains the same: loud tube amps, heavy drums, and a loud hammond organ. Being rural midwest boys we were raised with a lot of country and rebelled by listening to heavy/hard rock and metal. Bands and artists like T. Rex, MC5, Sabbath, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Judas Priest, ZZ Top, Robert Johnson, Mississippi Fred Mcdowell, Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson formed us. When naming the band, our options for names were Kilowatt or RIFFLORD. Thankfully we chose the latter.
You’ve released two records so far, what can you tell us about them? Wyatt:“26 Mean and Heavy” was recorded and mixed by ourselves in a basement of the Riff Easy mansion. It was a house that we shared with some local skateboarders. It would repeatedly flood so we had our orange 4×12’s on cinder blocks to protect them from water damage. The house was cursed, literally. The lightbulbs overhead would explode from time to time, a strange black sludge began rolling out of drains in the house, voices appeared on recordings that weren’t suppose to be there. We were messing with some Jimmy Page/Crowley magik then. You can hear that grimy magik on the record, haha. “7 Cremation Ground” was a year and a half challenge. Recorded and mixed by Mike Dresch of Cathouse Studios. I had moved out to our ranch and the rest of the members were living in different states, Texas, Minnesota, and another 3 hours from me in South Dakota. We sent files, bought plane tickets and spent countless hours in car rides to make it happen. When it was all said and done the material spanned over a decades worth of songs pulling from all spectrums of musical influence.
Let’s get down to business, what’s your history and experiences with Orange? Wyatt: I first saw one in a pawn shop in Rapid City SD, it was the Orange Hustler Reverb Twin. They had it priced at $125 and i was too young to afford it. The Next sighting was the infamous Black Sabbath live video which made me pine for that sound. My first ever Orange Amp was a gift from my now wife Tory. An Orange twin channel AD140. It was straight thunder. It sonically stood out from anything i had ever heard or played. It started me down a slippery slope which is now a loving addiction. My current Orange collection is two graphic only OR120’s, an OR80, an Overdrive 120, an OR100, and an AD200b.
What do you guys look for in an amp, and what’s the bands current set up? Wyatt: It needs to be able to handle a lot of low end while maintaining clarity, pedal friendly, and not to be that guy, but its got to look good. Orange is all of the above. We’re currently running:
Guitars: two OR120 and an OR100 through two 6×12’s, OR120 and OR80 through two 6×12’s
Hammond Organ/Keys: AD200b through a 2×15 and a 4×10.
Bass: AD200b through 8×10 and 2×15
How does a day in the life of Rifflord look like? Iommi worship and chill? Wyatt: After we take care of the chores on the ranch its stacking cabs, plugging in heads, and cooking tubes.