Last time we spoke was back in 2018, a couple of weeks before you released ‘Peace’, what you’ve been up to since?
Truls: We’ve been incredibly busy, and if I backtrack even just a couple of months there was a couple of dates in Australia, followed by a North American east coast tour with Black Mountain in September, which was actually one of my all time favourite tours as we played a bunch of weird, small cities and towns we’d never played before. After that, we toured Europe and the UK supporting Clutch, and as we speak we’re getting ready to head back out to the states again supporting Opeth.

Damn that’ll be some amazing shows! Between all this touring, have you started working on any new material yet?
Truls: Yeah we’re excited, that’ll be a good tour, and we’ll get to play some amazing venues too. As far as new material goes, we’re always working even if it’s just a little bit here and a little bit there. We did however manage to get in a little session just before Christmas while in Madrid. We did two shows out there there with Clutch and had a day off in between, so we took the opportunity to meet up with a friend of ours who has a studio there and worked on some stuff then. We tend to work best under pressure though, so our plan is to take some time off to actually get going in the studio in March. Everyone’s been sketching and collecting ideas for new songs, so we’re excited to put all our efforts together and create new songs, and hopefully record in the summer and autumn.

Back in 2015 you released a solo album, are you still working on your own stuff?
Truls: I’m constantly writing and always surrounded by instruments and recording equipment making music, but my main focus is Graveyard. Having a solo career isn’t something I’m bothered about. I do tend to make music with friends though, that’s kind of just a way of hanging out. We get together and just fuck around with instruments and jams, and sometimes something comes out of it and you might listen back to it the next day and think ‘Damn, that’s not bad at all!’ I mean, I wouldn’t mind releasing another solo record, but I’m more into collaborating with whoever’s around and down to jam.

You guys are heading back to London in spring for Desertfest, what’s your thoughts on playing the festival again?
Truls: It’ll be great to return to Desertfest, we played Koko last time, and this year we’ll be closing the festival at Electric Ballroom on the Sunday night. Desertfest’s always fun, there’s always a bunch of friends around so it sort of becomes a reunion.

So, Orange – you’ve been playing the AD200 for quite some time now, you still happy with it?
Truls: Absolutely! I’ve tried a few other amps but for me there’s just no comparison; If you wanna play rock ’n’ roll, there’s no amp like the AD200. There’s been times we’ve showed up to festivals and they haven’t been able to get me an Orange amp for whatever reason, and there I’ve been in a jungle of amps trying to find a replacement, then realising the cool looking 70s amps might sound like shit, while some ugly looking 80s amp sounds somewhat alright. I know what I like, and  I’ve never been particularly friendly with either Ampeg or Fender amps as they’re just not for me. I love the AD200, and it’s sort of a clean slate amp, just add a pedal to it for it to really come alive – I use a Tube Screamer just to get that slightly more distorted sound. I’ve got the black AD200, and although the orange coloured ones are obviously great, I dig the really jazzy ones, I’d love a white one!

Sacri Monti at The Jonesing Jams – by Emily Power.

Since we last spoke you’ve released one album with Radio Moscow, 2017’s ‘New Beginnings’, and more recently, 2019’s ‘Waiting Room for the Magic Hour’ with Sacri Monti – can you tell us a bit about them both?
Anthony:
The ‘New Beginnings’ album was recorded in 2017 at an amazing studio by Mike Butler in San Diego that was called Lost Ark, which sadly is no longer there. Parker wrote the majority of the songs and I was able to help co write two of them. We tracked the drums, bass, and rhythm guitar live together in a few days and then took it from there. We toured all over the world on that album, America, Europe a few times, Australia, and South America. A lot of cool festivals and gigs. ‘Twas a good hectic run.

Sacri Monti’s ‘Waiting Room For The Magic Hour’ was recorded in two parts, both by Jordan Andreen at Audio Design in San Diego. 100% analog sessions all the way through. We recorded side one in December 2018, and side two in February 2019 I think. We all came together to write the entire album when needed, and Brenden our vocalist/guitar handled the lyrical duty. It was a lot of fun to work on this one and very special. I did all of the bass stuff and then also played mellotron/synth on the title track and synths along with Evan our keyboard on the improv track ‘Wading in Malcisine’. Was glad to have done that album because it had been 4 whole years since out self titled album. Somewhere in between we had done a 7″. But we went to Europe and played a lot of festivals right when the album came out, also did a USA west coast tour with our buds in Monarch and and east coast tour with Earthless and Maggot Heart afterwards, showcasing most of the new album on all those tours.

Some might only know you from Radio Moscow, can we get get the Sacri Monti lowdown?
Anthony:
Sacri Monti is a band that I started along with Brenden Dellar (vocal/guitar), Thomas DiBennedetto (drums), Dylan Donovan (guitar) and Evan Wenskay (organ/synth), the name means Sacred Mountains. The bands first show was the tail end of Dec 2012 in San Diego. Tee Pee records from New York picked us up and have helped us bring our music to the world. We all spent years hanging out and jamming a bunch before even starting the band so there was always that chemistry there. We were and are all into a bunch of rock from the decades, psychedelic, progressive, krautrock, and other forms of music and had an idea of where we wanted to take the music. Our first record was a bit more loose and jammy, but also structured. The second being a bit more focused on the song writing and structure, with it’s loose moments. Only time and inspiration will tell where the third record will go, but I can imagine a new hybrid of both records. Looking forward to the next one. 

Sacri Monti at The Jonesing Jams – by Emily Power.

On the subjects of records, what’s your current top ten?
Anthony:
I have so many top records, but these are some that I can always listen to no matter where I am or what i’m doing and not get sick of.:

Captain Beyond – S/T
Neil Merryweather – Space Rangers
King Crimson – In The Court Of The Crimson King
Gene Clark – No Other
T2 – It’ll All Work Out In Boomland
Amon Duul II – Wolf City
Dust – Hard Attack & S/T
Masters Apprentices – Choice Cuts
Nektar – Remember The Future 
Love – Forever Changes

Another few honourable mention record compilations:
Iron Claw – Dismorphophobia
Pentagram – First Daze Here (VC/Too)

You’re always busy touring and we’re stoked to see you back in the UK for Desertfest London in May. How do you feel about returning?
Anthony:
I am very excited to be returning to the UK in May. I have played Desertfest twice before with Radio Moscow, so I know what it’s like and the vibe and all that. Looking forward to seeing old friends and partying with some new ones as well. I like London a lot, it’s got a special place in my heart. So many bands I love come from UK. Also curious to see the rest of the line up fill out and to which venue we play and who with. We’ve just announced the rest of the tour which includes European dates and a few other UK dates, including a secret London show on the 6th of June. You can check them out here.

What’s your best story from the road?
Anthony?
So many stories to choose from, but here’s one that sticks out and is funny. So, on our second Europe tour with Sacri Monti we played a show in Milan with Nebula and stayed at the same hotel after. Some were up late and partying, and when we woke up we were all in the lobby in the morning. The hotel clerk called our driver over, and then showed him a naked photo of himself sleeping in the hallway on his back, with a pillow over his crotch. Apparently he got wasted and slept walk his way out of the bedroom and decided to just post up in the hotel hallway. There were people and kids who passed him, and someone eventually took a photo of him. The hotel tried to charge us $200 for it and called the show promoter who got our rooms about it and he just told them to fuck off and we left.

Let’s get technical – slightly. Gear rundown, what’s your set up?
Anthony:
My current Orange setup is on AD200 MK III with OBC 4×10 and 1×15 at home. I play a Rickenbacker 4003 bass and also with an Ibanez ST9 Super Tubescreamer and Ibanez CP-835 Compressor a bit too. 
 
Have you got any other musical projects going?
Anthony:
At the moment no. Well, there was a project I was involved with in Portugal when I was kind of living there on and off. It was a studio session with two drummers and a guitarist that was recorded all live and on the spot, improvised. Carlos the guitar played got the audio and got it recorded onto Tapes. I have a stack of em in a cabinet. The group was called Agadir. Almost set up a gig when I came back through Portugal but it kinda fell through. Also just got word of another studio session that will come to be. It was a two day jam session with a bunch of San Diego friends at Brian Ellis’ studio along with Jonas Munk (Casa Sui/El Paraiso Records) in 2016. Jonas just recently finished mixing the sessions and wants to possibly put some of it out through his label, El Paraiso Records. I’ve somewhat got a mini setup and a bunch of stuff in my room and have been toying with things. Solo stuff is on the horizon and along with working on new record stuff. Always up for collaborating if i’m into it. Would be cool to do some stuff a little outside of the genres of my bands too. We will see…

Isaiah Mitchell, Earthless

Stoked to be chatting again! Since we last spoke we’ve had a pretty decent upgrade in your Orange gear, can you run us through it?
Isaiah:
I just recently got the Custom Shop 50 which I’m really enjoying. It’s my favourite amp of all the new stuff you guys are making. I’m still getting used to it, but I think it’s gonna do the trick! I also got the Tremlord 30 which is a great combo! The reverb and tremolo together is very spacey and beautiful, and it’s very easy to get lost in this amp. I also just got another 4×12 cab and an amazing 2×12 cab that I’m really digging, and think needs to come on tour with the Crowes. I’ve been an Orange cabinet guy since I was a teenager, they’re just the best cabs out there.
 
Yeah, on the subject of that, you’ve joined The Black Crowes which is rad – Congratulations! How did that all come about?
Isaiah:
Thanks! Chris Robinson is a buddy and he asked me to audition. I was surprised when I got the call that I got the gig. They can get anybody, and I’m very grateful that that anybody was me. 
 
So far the only Black Crowes dates out there are across the US, are you hitting Europe and the UK too?
Isaiah:
This is gonna be a full on 30 year anniversary reunion tour. It’s going beyond the US. 
 
Will you be able to fit some Earthless in between the battles?
Isaiah:
We’re working on new material as we speak, and will try to release a new album before I start getting really busy, we’ll fit it in where we can. That’s always been our dynamic. Individually we do different projects from time to time, which keeps things fresh. I can’t ever see not doing Earthless. 

As well as being a recording artist and touring musician, you also teach guitar – how did you get into that?
Isaiah:
I started teaching at a guitar shop called Moonlight Music in Encinitas California when I was 17. I love working with kids, so that’s where it started. I really loved teaching, and that was also another way to make money with a guitar in my hand. I wanted to be a school teacher when I was young, so this was the appropriate marriage of the two different worlds of work. Now I teach online classes, and I have a handful of in person lessons when I’m stationary in the Bay Area. If anyone’s interested email me at eyezaya1@gmail.com. I’m always taking new students!

What would be your main advise to aspiring musicians?
Isaiah:
Be yourself. Play from your heart and play your ass off. Keep your ego in check. Stay humble. Ask questions. It’s about music and creating……..at least to me it is.
 
Which albums are you currently listening to?
Isaiah:
Early Johnny Winter, Alice Coltrane’s “Journey in Satchidananda”, J.J. Cale’s “5”, a bunch of Rory Gallagher and Joe Walsh & Barnstorm bootlegs, been pretty guitar heavy lately. 
 
Any final words of wisdom or stories from the road?
Isaiah:
Don’t burn the candle at both end. Give em a good show. Don’t rip your fans off. That’s why you’re doing what you do. Treat it with respect and give them a performance they’ll never forget. 

Jaret, how did it all begin?
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

Puerto Rico’s a really musical island, and we like to make noise! 

You’re currently keeping busy with two bands, Grave Bathers and Heavy Temple, what can you tell us about them?
Grave Bathers formed about a year ago, bassist Davis and I had been in a surfy psychedelic porto-punk band together for a few years called The Bad Larrys, when our musical tastes started outgrowing what we were doing. So, we decided to get a heavier outlet to create music that resonated more with us. We met Drew, the singer, at a show, and the original drummer in Bathers, Barret, was an old band mate of Davis’. Our other guitarist, Steve, was the last piece of the puzzle, and we had our first show in NY within a month of forming. 2019 was a wild ride with lots of obstacles to overcome as a new band, but 2020 is looking promising with our new drummer Cliff having joined us

Grave Bathers set up

Heavy Temple’s been a band for about 7 years, and Elyse played with five different lineups before I joined on guitar and Will on drums. My buddy Zach from High Reeper gave me a heads up one morning that she was thinking of hitting me up to join, and I was sold before she even asked. Some of our bands had crossed paths in the past, so we were familiar. Before joining Heavy Temple, I’d never been on tour or played anything besides bar venues – all that changed this year.

As a guitarist, who would you say is your main influence?
That’s like trying to play FMK with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, Jimi Hendrix, and Jimmy Page.

When it comes to music in general, what bands are on repeat?
As for recent bands, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Monolord, and Thee Oh Sees. Oldies but goodies; Hendrix, Zeppelin, Dust, Sabbath, Captain Beyond and Sir Lord Baltimore.

What would you say has been your musical career highlight so far?
2019, from start to finish. Joining Heavy Temple and hitting the road to play in states I’ve never been in has been amazing. We got to play Union Transfer for Tired Hands Brewing’s (where I work as a brewer) anniversary party with Weedeater and Pallbearer, and I’d say that’s my favorite gig I’ve ever played, thanks Jean! Grave Bathers playing Johnny Brenda’s in Philly for our last show of the year, a year into being a band, let us know that we’re on the right track. THEN I got to join the Orange family! I definitely had to pinch myself a few times in 2019.

What’s your history and experiences with Orange?
My buddy had an Orange in high school, and one night we ate a bunch of shrooms and plugged his SG Custom into his AD30HTC half stack, and my mind was blown in the most perfect way. There was a lot of pedals to make noise with and everything sounded like.. Pink Floyd? Ha. I eventually bought an AD30R combo, before trading it for the twin channel head and cab on the day of my new psych band Tail’s first show. 

Vintage 1972 GRO100 & 1973 OR120 & PPC412’s

What do you look for in an amp?
It should sound perfect turned all the way up, and then allow me to destroy that with a fuzz pedal. Beefy bass and low mids, with wooly top end that doesn’t sparkle too much. Everything Orange sounds like to me.

What’s your current set up?
I run either a Tokai Flying V or a Black Beauty Les Paul Custom into my vintage 1972 GRO100, with one or two PPC412’s. I’d play someone else’s guitar before playing a different amp. It reminds me of everything I loved about my OR50, just with more headroom and that crusty mojo. I drove 15 hours on a Sunday to pick that head up and when I found it, or it found me, the new backplate that was made for it had my birthday written on the back. 

So, let’s take this back to the beginning – how did you first get 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 covers 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!

Have you always been into writing lyrics or was that something that came naturally once you started making your own music?
That was something that came at a later stage, as I was only interested in the musical aspect of it all to begin with. I was actually playing on my own for about seven or eight years, and it wasn’t until 2011 I finally made it out of my bedroom and into the real world, something I have my other guitarist Mathieu to thank for as he was the one that told me to get in front of some real people instead of just playing in front of my webcam, as music is meant to be shared. We ended up starting the band together and have been writing together ever since. Doing it this way worked for me, but I’d advise other beginners to start a band and play with other people earlier on, as it was definitely a weak point for me for quite some time, as it took me a while to get used to it after doing it on my own for nearly a decade. 

You released your second album ‘Burning Bright’ early November, what can you tell us about it?
First of all, it’s definitely a lot darker than my first record ‘Hard Blues Shot’. We recorded it in January after a two year long writing process. We’ve actually been playing some of the songs live for almost a year and a half despite the record being just recently released. As far as the writing and recording process goes, it’s normally myself and Mathieu coming up with a riff, followed by writing the lyrics to go along with it. Once that’s done, we get the other guys, our bassist François and drummer Antonin in and we arrange the rest of it together. Bass, drums and rhythm guitar was all recorded live, before adding lead guitar and vocals.

So, let’s get down to business – what’s your history and experiences with Orange?
My first ever Orange amp was the Dual Terror, simply because of it’s size and it being small enough for me to carry myself. I’ve changed it up a bit throughout the years, but I’ve stuck with Orange as that sorta became my sound.

Can you run us through your rig updates and upgrades?
After a while I ended up wanting a bigger head, and went for a Rockerverb 50. I stuck with this for years, before I recently upgraded to the Rockerverb 100 instead, which I love. My set up depends slightly on the size venue I play, my go-to is four 4×12 cabs and two Rockerverb 100 heads – however, if I’m playing a smaller venue I tend to just cut this in half and go for the two cabs and one head. Regardless of the size of the set up, I love the look of the Oranges on stage, and I can’t get enough of that grain! My other guitarist plays Marshall, and I dig that we have such different tones, as I find the two really compliments each other.

The year’s almost to an end and so is our 2019 ‘Voice of’ campaign. Throughout the year, we’ve taken a look at a variety of artist and genres we work with through ‘Voice of Clean’, ‘Voice of Rock’, ‘Voice of Blues’, ‘Voice of Acoustic’, ‘Voice of Bass’ – you get the idea.

As we’ve now entered December it’s time for the grand finale, ‘The Voice of the World’. Orange is, as many of you know, quintessentially British, and was back in the day hard to come across outside the UK. It wasn’t actually until the early 2000s that we broke into the US market and got picked up by a lot of metal and punk bands, something we can probably thank Slipknot for – so, thank you, Slipknot!. We’ve since seen Orange grow in Europe, as well as expanding globally to Asia. For ‘Voice of the World’, we’ve decided to shine a light on a few artists inspired by their home country or culture, starting with my very own Bergen hometown heroes, Enslaved.

Enslaved, Norway

Terror Bass
AD200 MK3
OBC410

Since the formation of the band in 1991, Enslaved have released 14 albums, and made a name for themselves internationally on the black metal scene. Taking inspiration from Norse mythology, vikings and their Norwegian heritage, Enslaved is the picture perfect ‘Voice of Norway’, which is in many ways the black metal capital of the world – so much so, that guitarist Ivar Bjørnson was commissioned by the Norwegian government alongside Einar Selvik of Wardruna, to create a musical piece celebration the 200 year anniversary of the Norwegian constitution back in 2014. Hell yeah Norway!

BAND-MAID, Japan

In recent years, ‘maid cafés’ have become somewhat of a thing in Japan, and the concept is simple; In these cafés, the staff, or waitresses, are dressed as maids, and asked to treat their customers as their personal master and mistresses. The idea behind BAND-MAID came from founding member Miku Kobato who’d previously worked at a maid café. BAND-MAID’s built their image around it the concept of the cafés, with each band member’s maid costume being fitted to their personality, as they refer to their fans as ‘masters’ and ‘princesses’, with a submissiveness that creates a huge contrast to their aggressive way of playing. Only in Japan..

El Amir, Spain

Crush Acoustic 30
Acoustic Pre

Some of you might have read the recent interview we did with El Amir – if not, let’s recap; El Amir is a German-Spanish flamenco guitarist and multi instrumentalist, currently on the road with Hans Zimmer’s show, ‘The World of Hans Zimmer’. Hans Zimmer might be known to most as a film score composer, as he has done the music for films such as The Lion King, Inception, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Dark Knight – and the list goes on. While on the road with the Hans Zimmer show, El Amir is in charge of electric as well as acoustic guitars, ukulele and the Greek instrument bouzouki. El Amir started playing flamenco at the age of 8, and first performed publicly at the age of 12. As an adult, he played oud, bouzouki and guitar for Radio Tarifa for nearly a decade, and has played venues such as the Royal Albert Hall, Barbican Centre and Royal Festival Hall, all in London alone.

Lankum, Ireland

Rockerverb 50 MKIII
PPC412

Kudos to the Irish for making Irish folk music not just acceptable to play at pubs and bars, but something people gets genuinely stoked about hearing in bars – who doesn’t love a shanty when you’re ten pints deep?! GUILTY! Now, Lankum might not be your typical drunken Irish shanty band, but they play Irish folk nevertheless, and beautifully so, if I might add. Having been described as  “a younger, darker Pogues with more astonishing power”, Lankum mixes elements of classic Irish folk music with the ambience and emotion of Bon Iver and textures of Sunn O))). They initially named the band ‘Lynched’ after band members and brothers Ian and Daragh Lynch, but changed it to Lankum to avoid associations with the practice of lynching, announcing in a statement that “We will not continue to work under our current name while the systemic persecution and murder of Black people in the USA continues.”

Gorilla, England

Terror Bass
Crush Bass 100
PPC412

Now, this list wouldn’t really be complete without a British artist on it, would it? Representing good ol’ England and London on this list is one of our most recent endorsed artists, Gorilla bassist Sarah Jane. Inspired by great British bands such as Black Sabbath, Jethro Tull, Motörhead and The Who, Sarah Jane picked up the bass after dabbling with the guitar for a couple of years and got sucked in as “we all know bass is obviously the most important part of a bands sound…”. She’s been playing high paced and heavy rock ‘n’ roll with Gorilla for two decades now, and is currently promoting their latest album ‘Treecreeper’ out on Heavy Psych Sounds. Sarah Jane’s got quite the collection of Orange gear, just check out the interview we did with her earlier this year.

In the light of their recent endorsement and wanting to get to know them a little bit better, we had a chat to High Reeper to find out more about this holy union of heavy riffs, what they look for in an amp, and why they love Orange so much – not honking our own horns, but they really really do, *blush*.

How did you guys all meet and get together playing, had any of you played in bands together prior to High Reeper?
Shane:
Andrew (who used to be in the band) and Pat grew up together and they have been friends with Zach (our singer) since they were in their early teens. I have known Justin (our drummer) forever. I met Pat through a mutual friend, and Andrew and Zach through work, and we’ve been playing together in various projects for more than ten years.

You were originally only meant to recording band and not really play shows – what changed?
Shane:
Our original idea was to make a “sabbath” sounding record for fun, and maybe do a couple of local gigs just for kicks. When the record was done and we started passing it around, the response was really positive so we decided to take gigging seriously. Now, 1.5 years later we’ve played over 80 shows in Europe, including Desertfest London, Berlin and Belgium as well as a bunch of other cool stuff. we’re due to play around 100 shows in 2020 alone across the US and Europe.

Besides the Sabbath worship, did you all have mutual musical influences?
Shane:
We’re all inspired by all of the classic stuff, early Deep Purple, Zeppelin, James Gang, Blue Oyster Cult and all that kinda stuff. Andrew and Zach were in a really cool riff rock band about 10 years ago, and Pat sometimes played with them. Justin’s been a touring death metal drummer for the last 15-20 years, and I was a guitar player in a metal band in the 90s.

So, let’s get down to business – what’s your history and experience with Orange, and what do you look for in an amp?
Pat: The first time I saw an Orange amp was around 2002 when I saw a band from Massachusetts called ‘Orange Island’. The guitar player had a 70’s OR120 half stack and it sounded massive. Soon after that I found myself an Orange 4×12, and I bought my first vintage OR120 when I was 16. When I turned 18, I bought a 1974 “pics only” OR120 that I used with a Gibson Les Paul Custom. That pair used to shake paintings off the walls. Brutal! When buying an amp, I look for something that is loud and powerful, and with enough gain on tap to get dirty but without sounding thin and buzzy. The Rockerverb has everything I need in one amp. The clean channel has the loud, beautiful cleans of the old OR120’s and the dirty channel screams with gain and midrange. It sounds three dimensional and makes my guitar sound alive. 

Shane: I walked into Black Market music in San Francisco in 1993 and it was filled with vintage, impossible to find at the time, British amps and I snagged an Orange 4×12 on the spot. About three months later at a guitar show in DC I got an Orange/Matamp OR50 (serial number 199!) and cab. Following that, I snagged a graphic full stack in Ohio and an 80w overdrive in Virginia. The Ormat full stack was my rig for the 90s. I was using a complicated multi amp bass set up that was really annoying to gig with, and one night we played w a band who was using an OB1-500. I used their bass rig and loved it and ditched my complicated rig and ordered an OB1-500 the next day. My fascination with Orange of course began with the Beat Club videos! The OB1-500 covers everything I look for in an amp, high power and the ability to get dirty. The OB1-500 really is like two amps in one and it’s made my life a lot better.

You’ve had a busy year this year, and you mention tons of touring in 2020 – what else is next?
Shane:
2019 has been insane for us. We released our second record and toured Europe twice and securing an Orange endorsement was the perfect ending to our year. We are beyond stoked! Our 2020 is gonna be even busier than 2019. We’ll be touring the US in March and Europe in June and that’s just for starters. We are super grateful to have Orange with us the whole way!

Hi Folks, my name is Amir John Haddad – El Amir, flamenco guitarist and multi-instrumentalist currently touring with Hans Zimmer’s new show “The World of Hans Zimmer”.

This show requires many different sounds and instruments for each song. We are performing Hans´s most famous film scores such as Pirates of the Caribbean, Gladiator, Pearl Harbour, Mission Impossible, Rush and many more. Therefore I am in charge of all electric guitars, Flamenco and nylon guitars, Greek Bouzouki and the Ukulele!!

In the first place it is a huge honor and joy to be featured as one of the soloists for this new show and with it comes the responsibility of having a good and solid sound. The important thing is to achieve that the sound of your instrument fits into the mix, the musical concept and even cuts through in big arenas. For this tour, I need various instruments.

Pic. by Dita Vollmond

The electric side is covered with my two electric guitars. One is an old Fenix Strat by Young Chang. Actually it is the first guitar I bought when I was 14 years old. I upgraded and customized it with new Seymour Duncan pickups, Schaller Vintage bridge, new jumbo frets, new wiring, electronics, knobs, etc. The other one is a special edition by Samick with Avalon inlays and amazing woods, it is more like a PRS Style guitar with double humbuckers.

For the acoustic set I have chosen to bring my El Amir signature flamenco guitar built by Jose Salinas. It is a guitar made with very old cypres and an amazing sounding cedar top which gives me the warm and yet punchy attack I love. It is powered by the amazing Carlos Amplification custom VIP DM with a piezo and condenser mic inside. I use the flamenco guitar in songs like “Mission Impossible”, “Pearl Harbour” or “Gladiator”.

For some of the other songs such as “The Holiday” or “Spirit” besides the electric guitars I am using a new electric nylon guitar called the Nylocaster. These guitars are actually Stratocasters with nylon strings modified by Ben Woods and have a special (and secret) passive piezo. No volume nor tone knob, just pure piezo sound!! I am endorsing his guitars and so far the result is very very good. My greek bouzouki has a great Schaller acoustic pickup. It delivers a very round acoustic sound.

And NOW ladies and gentlemen!!! I have to tell you the ultimate secret I am using on this tour to make my acoustic setup sound the way it sounds now!! It was important for me to achieve a huge and clear sound that would still have all the intimate aspects of an acoustic instrument. The emotion of sound has to be just right to express yourself properly. Not too long ago, actually, at Winter NAMM 2019 I was approached by Danny Gomez from Orange to try the new pedal called the Orange Acoustic Pre. As you all know it is a twin channel device with separate EQ settings, individual inputs and outputs, frequency shapers and many more features.

The interesting thing that captured my attention was the “Heat button” with adjusts the amount of valve sound you want to add to your line. This was one of the key element (if not the one!) for me to have a powerful line signal and yet being able to enhance the sound with a warm and natural touch. I have always been playing my flamenco guitar in front of a mic, which I still do in Mission Impossible, so I needed a great preamp that would help me to enhance the line in order not to lose that acoustic vibe of the instrument and make it fit and blend perfectly into the orchestral arrangements and symphonic sound of the show. I am running all three instruments, the flamenco guitar, the nylocaster and the bouzouki through the Acoustic Pre.

On my pedalboard, I also have a tuner (obvious …laughs) a chorus, delay, line selector (to set the output signals of each instrument equally) and an additional EQ for when using the Bouzouki (you need a little extra kick there for the mid & treble). I am very happy with the result of this sound combination and the Acoustic Pre is an authentic and reliable “working horse” for these live situations. The feedback and reactions on social media about my playing and sound on this tour have been overwhelming and very positive so far. That should be a good sign, I guess!

I am happy to share this experience and knowledge with you! Music, sound and creativity have no limits and we all have to learn from each other in order to grow!! All the best Folks and hope to see you soon live!!

Yours truly,

El Amir

Michael Ciro knows a thing or two about tone, about session work and music life in general…

We first met four years ago during top-selling artist Alejandro Sanz´s Sirope tour in Málaga, Spain. After some promising emails about technology, my work as a product designer, and his session work, we immediately felt a kinship, like old friends that just hadn’t met yet.

Mike was (and still is) the Musical Director and Guitar player for Alejandro Sanz. Aside from that he has recorded with Mariah Carey, Luther Vandross, Notorious, B.I.G., Alicia Keys, Janet Jackson. He’s also performed with Stevie Wonder, Sting, Shakira, Mary J. Blige, Beyonce, Missy Elliot, Corey Glover, Chaka Khan, Alicia Keys, and many more.

With such a background it is my real pleasure to bring him on board to the Orange Artists family, where we can support him on tour and in the studio, as well as learn from his input while testing our amps and pedals worldwide.

Ladies and gents, our friend Mike…

“Hello my name is Mike Ciro and  I’m the musical director and guitarist for Alejandro Sanz on the tour “La Gira”.

I’m a new member of the Orange family I’m very happy and using this this gear is perfect for this tour that I’m doing now because the Pedal Baby is perfect for the way I’m using the Fractal and the cabinet is projecting the sound that I need so I’m very happy with this situation right now and I’m happy to be in the family.

My favourite setup to use the Celestions and the 412 cabinet. We have a mic on this and I also use another situation direct to the PA if you want to… come over we’ll take a look at this here !!

I’m using the brand new Pedal Baby 100 this is a straight power amp just with volume and tone,  that’s very simple but it’s perfect because I use it I paired up with the Axe FX too so all my modelling and everything comes through here into the power amp out to the cabinet we also come out direct to the PA from here along with mic in the cabinet so I have a lot of variations and sound and this thing has been great so far it’s really stable and and I love it

I’m really happy with orange and the support they’ve given me. Danny Gomez is the best and the whole team there and I´m excited about this tonight we have 60,000 people sold out in Madrid so we’re gonna have some fun so stay tuned…  we’ll talk again !!”

[Editor’s Note: This interview was conducted by Orange Artist Relations Nashville Rep, Pat Foley]

Marvin King and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over the last few years. I wanted to know how he’s enjoying his son’s phenomenal success and as a touring guitarist himself for many years, just how proud he is of his son. We were chatting away on the phone when I realized that I had better turn on the recorder and get to it.

[Marvin] This world we live in now is so different, you know. I think if this were the 70s or 80s he’d already be all over the radio.

[Pat] Well, because we had consolidated radio, we all listened to the same music. Now it’s so widespread. But anyway, I gotta go meet a tour manager at the showroom and swap some cabinets out at 2 o’clock. So, I’m gonna get on with this. All right?

[Marv] Yes sir, rock n roll.

[Pat] Marvin, you brought an amplifier to the Marcus King Band Family Reunion Festival in Asheville, North Carolina a few weeks ago, which was fabulous. And it was an old AD15. So, is that an amp that you’ve used a long time? And is it, perhaps the first Orange amp that Marcus played through?

Original AD15 Combo

[Marv] Ok. The amp that I showed to you and Jon actually belonged to a friend of mine and Marcus’, Charles Hedgepath, who plays with the Shady Recruits. I sat in at an after party one time here in Greenville. The stage was loaded with big amps and they tell me to play through this little Orange. I said ‘OK, what the heck’ as it was mic’d up and all. So, I jumped on it and I said ‘holy crap!!’ I played it and absolutely fell in love with that amp!

You know in about 1970, I bought a Marshall stack. At that point I never had heard of Orange except maybe from Wishbone Ash.

When I saw the Allman Brothers. I saw them in about 72 here in Clemson, they opened for the Brothers and they had all Orange amps. And I said, ‘oh man,’ cause we were already doing Wishbone Ash songs before we saw them. I believe ‘Jailbait’ was a song we were doing then. But I thought they were a great band. I thought they sounded awesome. And the Orange amps just blew me away. I just loved the way they looked and sounded.

From 1970, I think it was, not to bring up the friendly competition, but I bought that Marshall. I used it for several years and then it got to where I had gotten married. I had to play to eat and feed a family.

I had to play stuff that I couldn’t use the Marshall for anymore, you know. It’s just too rock and roll. Like top 40 club crap. So, I just got a [Fender] Twin and used pedals. But my whole career, Pat, and I’m not kidding, I’ve always tried so many pedals and amps and stuff that would work, and I know in my head I’ve always been wanting to get that sound that, you know, I cut my teeth on. When I played through that Orange, I went, ‘that’s it, that’s the sound I’ve been looking for,’ you know. Celestion speaker, British tube design, and its orange, too. How cool is that? So, I loved it. I loved that amp.

I said, ‘Charles, I want to buy that amp,’ and Charles, of course, said ‘man, if anybody, I’d sell it to you but I ain’t selling it. It’s my amp, sorry. Maybe I can find you one.’ You know, then I told Marcus, I’ve gotta find an amp like that of my own. But as far as Marv goes, that was my first experience with that.

And you asked about Marcus. I think Marcus played down in a little place here called Chicora Alley in Greenville where Charles was playing. And he sat in there and Charles let him use that amp. If I’m not mistaken, that was Marcus’ first experience with an Orange amp. And he dug it, too. He really liked it. You know, he was only about 13. He had Xs on both hands. He wasn’t supposed to be in there, that’s for sure. In South Carolina you have to be 21 to be around alcohol in a bar.

Listen to Marvin and Marcus King’s first musical project together

[Pat] Well when I first met Marcus that was the first thing that he said to me is that his dad had always loved Orange, so that was the connection for him. He was very receptive to trying some Orange amps. We got talking and we just hit it off. And that was a good few years now.

[Marv] So, when Marcus and you guys were so nice to get me that AD30 Combo, I mean it just was a beautiful moment in my life when he gave me that. I was just tickled to death. And then, you know, just for me. I’m 66 years old. I’m back at the same level I was when I got out of high school, but I’m 66. Until I sit in with Marcus, then I’m up there. You know what I’m saying.

[Pat] You played with Marcus and Doyle Bramhall II at the Family Reunion Festival. Have you have you gotten up on stage with Marcus before? And how does that feel to be on the big stage with your son?

[Marv] Oh, it’s phenomenal. I mean, it’s the planets lining up. I leave my body when I when I do that. And no, that was by no means the first time, you know, since he’s gotten to that level. I’ve sat in with him many times down in the (Allman Brothers) Big House and Theater there in Macon. Just a lot of really cool venues. He brings me up and lets me play and there’s a magic to it. Yeah, I’ve played with MY dad and people just, I don’t know how to explain it, but there is a magic to see a father and son play together.

[Pat] Yeah. Agreed. And Doyle Bramhall, he’s a bad ass guitar player.

[Marv] I mean, he sure is. He’s one of my heroes man.

[Pat] Yeah, he even played with Clapton for a couple of years.

[Marv] I told him afterwards, Doyle, I can’t believe I just played with you.

Marvin and Marcus King perform together at Marcus King’s Family Reunion Fest 2019

[Pat] I know that for Marcus, family is really important, obviously. And, you know, he told me the first day I met him that he plays his granddad’s ES345 and he told me a little bit about that story and all. So, your father was also a musician?

[Marv] Well, you know, my dad was in the Air Force but he was in the Army initially and that’s where he met my mom in Munich, Germany, and they got married. Then in 1952 or 53 they moved back to the United States. But dad didn’t play for a long time. We were stationed in Montana and he had bleeding ulcers. And the doctor said, ‘Sergeant, you’re going to die if you don’t get a hobby, do you golf or anything?’ And he said, ‘no, I don’t do any of that stuff. I love to play music, but I haven’t been able to play music in probably 10, 15 years.’ ‘Well, you better start playing again or are you going to die, you need a hobby.’ So, he went out and bought the Holy Grail. He bought that Gibson 345 and a black face Fender.

And then from there forward, he played every weekend. He had a country band, so he taught me Buck Owens and Haggard. I really enjoyed The Ventures and he played Chuck Berry a lot so I learned some of that. My dad played fiddle, too, you know. That was his first instrument.

[Pat] So it took three generations to produce Marcus King the guitar player?

[Marv] Actually, my dad’s father and my grandfather’s father were all fiddlers and my grandmother played acoustic guitar. My grandpa played fiddle you know, so dad had it in his blood. Now I have it in my blood and Marcus in his blood. We can’t even help it. We just, we come out of the womb looking for something to play, you know. Yeah, and it goes all the way back.

[Pat] I know I’ve told you the first thing that impressed me about Marcus, just meeting him, before I even heard him play was his awareness of great music. He was talking about organ players. He was talking about Jimmy Smith. Then he was talking about Curtis Mayfield and the Stax stuff. He invited me to come see the show here in Nashville. And I could hear all these influences like Motown and Curtis Mayfield and Stax-Volt and all this. I was amazed that somebody that young had not only an unawareness of that stuff but seemed to have a real knowledge of it and had absorbed it into his playing.

[Pat] Yeah, he’s very knowledgeable, and he’s an old soul. I mean, you would think that I turned him on to all this stuff. Well, a lot of that stuff. He turned me on to, you know, like being in the Air Force and on a base all my life. I knew Hendrix and Cream and Zeppelin and all that. I just knew they were blues rich bands, but I didn’t know anything about the blues, you know. So Marcus, he just gravitated to that. I didn’t push it on him. He’s just an old soul and he just liked that stuff.

[Pat] Well, he told me once that that he at one point growing up didn’t want to listen to Hendrix and Clapton and all those guys because he didn’t want to be influenced too much by that. He said he started listening to horn players and keyboard players.

[Marv] Absolutely, he did.

[Pat] And he told me that they had taught him to kind of take a breath, you know, like when you’re soloing, don’t play a lot of notes all the time but to kind of take a breath. That’s the way he relayed it to me, like a horn player you blow a line and then take a breath and then play the next phrase, you know. And I think that’s really informed his playing.

[Marv] Yeah. And he just plays what the song needs and no more. He never overplays. It’s great. Have you listened to “Huge in Europe”? You’d really enjoy that especially coinciding with this interview. And it’s an album my band did called “Marvin King, Huge in Europe” Featuring 11 year-old Guitar Slinger Marcus Lee King. You’ll see little Marcus with his cool hat on and his old Stratocaster. You know, you should get that record. I put an asterisk by his solos so his friends would know, because I’m serious. You listen to it, his solo playing at eleven. Okay. I’m forty some years old at that time. Been doing this all my life. His playing at eleven in the studio for his first time, just listen to it. How reserved and how in the pocket he plays, it blew me away. So, I put asterisks so you would know when he’s playing, cause you can’t really tell whose playing him or me.

[Pat] Thank you very much for everything Marvin.

[Marv] Absolutely. I really appreciate you, man.

[Pat] And Marcus has been incredibly loyal and supportive to us at Orange. I just see great things continuing to happen for him. I always have since the day I met him.

[Marv] Oh, yeah. All right, my brother. I’ll talk to you soon. All right. Thanks so much.