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Orange: So I’m here tonight at Starbar grabbing a drink and I was pleasantly surprised to see a band using Orange. Would you guys like to introduce yourselves?

Kimi: I’m Kimi Shelter

Aaronious: I’m Aaronious Monk

Katie: I’m Katie Herron

Orange: And what is the band you play with?

Kimi: Starbenders

Orange: And where are you guys from?

Kimi: We’re all from Atlanta, our band is based out of here.

Orange: And have y’all have any out of town shows lately?

Kimi: Yeah we were just at South by South West a couple weeks ago which was really fun. We rotate the south pretty regularly.

Orange: Where did you play at South by South West?

Kimi: We played at the Chuggin Monkey and it was the Loud stage which is a crowd-funding service based out of Atlanta.

Orange: So do you tour often?

Kimi: Usually every month we’ll have a run of shows. This summer we’re working on a fall tour that will run up and down the east coast.

Orange: So how did the band get started?

Kimi: It’s a little bit of a long story but Katie and I know one another from out teenage years and she and I met at a wilderness youth recovery camp and we connected from there and stayed in touch. When it came time that I started dreaming this band up she was the first person I thought of. She’s my right hand man and the catalyst of it. I’ve known Aaron a while too and Paris as well.

Orange: What kind of bands inspired you?

Kimi: Sonic Youth, The Cramps, Misfits, Pixies, Elvis. I love that old school rock pop. That’s where our music is mostly inspired from.

Orange: Would you mind running me through your gear set up?

Aronious: Yeah, I use the Terror Bass 500 which when Orange initially sent it to us I was blown away with the grit that came out of that tone. It was full it was big and it was appropriately gritty with enough head room to where it was very velocity sensitive. I’m the sort of bass player where our music is very dependent on dynamics and the head is extraordinarily responsive. I’m definitely in love with that TB500.

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Orange: So when you’re on tour what’s the diet?

Kimi: Oh god, I mean pizza, whiskey. Yeah just pizza and whiskey. Kate loves some Kentucky Gentlemen. That’s her favorite.

Orange: What’s the soundtrack while you are on the road?

Kimi: I’m really obsessed with a lot of bands that are coming out of England right now also Scotland and Ireland. Like The Witches, The Amazing Snake Heads or The Fat White Family. We rotate though, we all kind of come from different musical influences.

Aaronious: The rule in the van is whoever is driving gets to DJ. So it gets pretty diverse. We all have this weird obsession with getting each other into music we just found. So a lot of times when we’re driving it’s like “you guys have got to check this out!”

Orange: When was the first time you heard about Orange?

Aaronious: Probably when I was a teenager. All the bands that I liked used Orange. I probably speak for everyone in the band when I say Orange is this hallowed brand that carries on the torch of other UK brands like Matchless and High Watt that everybody kind of lusts after. Moving into a professional level that seems to be the amp that everybody wanted. Whether you were an indie band or another band all the cool bands use Orange.

Orange: Do you remember ever catching any bands use Orange when you were young?

Kimi: I remember being at a Converge show and the tour that they were on they played Jacksonville Florida and I saw them using an Orange head and it was so sludgy and awesome.

 

Aaronious: I caught Pavement on their reunion tour, I think it was in 2010. They were using a Thunderverb 50, which I think attributes a lot to their sound.

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Orange: Where can we check out your music?

Kimi: Our debut EP is out on Spotify, iTunes, and we have to singles up for free download on our Soundcloud page.

Aaronious: You can always find us at facebook.com/StarBenders and our twitter handle is just @starbenders.

 

LACEY

Tell us a bit about Lacey

We’re from Nottingham, we formed back in 2011 the way a lot of bands do – through the break-up of previous bands! The difference with us is that we grew up together, so we’re fortunate to have that deep-rooted bond that might take a lot of bands a long time to click. We’re all about big pop-rock hooks and arena-sized riffs.

You’ve just released your debut album – What’s it called and when is it available?

The album’s called Under the Brightest Lights and it’s out now! You can download it on itunes or get a copy on CD direct from our website www.LaceyOfficialUK.com.

We can’t believe that you guys aren’t signed to a record label – How did you get your album out there?

Well thank you very much! We had amazing support for our Pledge Music campaign and managed to have album fan-funded. It was incredibly humbling and we could never have anticipated the support we had.

What’s the response been to your release?

We’ve had an amazing response both in the press and from the fans which has been really incredible and humbling. It’s great to know that people are really buying into something you’ve worked so hard on for so long. We played a launch show recently and the reaction we had to each track was astonishing.

Why Orange?

The ‘Orange’ sound is all over our album. It’s so easy to get a huge sounding guitar tone using most Orange rigs. I like being able to run a high level of gain yet still being able to hear the individual notes of each chord.

Tell us about your live rig.

Currently I play a Tele through the Rockerverb 50 MKII. I play loud on stage and the 50w responds really well to being cranked!

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What is it that appealed to you about that gear?

It’s such a versatile amp yet so simple to use. Our sound is very dynamic so an amp that is capable of crystal clear clean, right through to booming distortion is really important.

It’s a great all round tool, perfect for live shows, the studio and for writing sessions at home.

How do you like to set your amps up?

I have a pretty simple set up, I like a strong mid tone punch, which can become muddy using other amps. I run a high level of gain, using a tube screamer to add another layer of colour.

When do you head out on tour?

We’re off out on tour this summer! We kick off in London on 15 July! You can get tickets via our website. www.LaceyOfficialUK.com and https://www.facebook.com/Laceyofficialuk

Real country rockers (we say “real” because we’re comparing them to fakes) and Orange Ambassadors, Blackberry Smoke performed a very special 4 song acoustic set at our UK retailer PMT Manchester. The turn-out was great in anticipation of a sold-out show later that evening at local venue The Ritz. It’s great to see these “hometown boys” (at least for Orange USA in Atlanta) blazing a trail across Europe, spreading the Orange gospel with their classic rock-inspired take on modern country. We consider them “genre saviors.”

Guitarist Paul Jackson is currently using the Custom Shop 50 hand-wired amp through one of our PPC212OB Open Back cabs. About his set-up, Paul says, “In all of my career I have NEVER come across an amp like the Custom Shop 50. The tones you can get from the CS50 are beautiful and amazing. Hand-wired and full of life and let’s not forget about the 50 watt A/B 30 watt switch on it. All I can say is WOW!!! The CS50 is without a doubt unbeatable!!”

To promote the Blackberry Smoke performance, PMT held a special sale on Orange products. Jake Marray of PMT said this about the event: “I want to thank Orange amps for helping to organize this great performance with Blackberry Smoke. The turn-out was one of the best we’ve ever had! And the band was absolutely fantastic. They’re incredibly talented and total professionals, both in their music and their attitudes. We hope to have them back again very soon.”

Song List (in order):

Pretty Little Lie

One Horse Town

Livin in the Song

Ain’t Much Left of Me

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Links

PMT Manchester Online

Blackberry Smoke Website

 

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Classic Rock is a UK magazine. Europe has been really good to Rival Sons. What do you attribute to your early popularity over there?

Our label is UK-based, as many of their contacts and connections are. That’s where they started the push with Pressure and Time. And luckily, those folks on the other side of the pond reacted quickly.

Once the fire lit, we had to service as much of Europe as we could (playing live). So, I think we’ve just given that part of the world the most attention. On another level, it really seems folks over there are slightly more partial to rock n roll…and getting out to shows. I think the U.S. is waking back up to it though.

Rival Sons’ “Great Western Valkyrie” is nominated for “Album of the Year” at the Classic Rock Awards. Can you tell me what that means to you to have your music nominated for this award?

I’m not a big fan of music being a “contest”…but will say to be recognized by one of my favorite magazines…and to be mentioned alongside these fantastic records by some of my favorite artists of all time…that’s really cool.

The album GWV doesn’t necessarily challenge the signature sound of Rival Sons, which is a blend of classic and modern rock. Instead it seems to give the band’s existing style a bit of a polishing. Can you explain the attitude you went into recording this album with and the goals you had in mind?

We record all our records in a live setting. This one was no different.

We’ll write and capture a song between 1 and 5 takes. If we don’t have it that quickly we’ll usually move on. Being our 5th record, I wanted to look at this record like the 5th chapter in the book of Rival Sons. I wanted it to reflect something from each previous record but completely have its own identity at the same time. There’s also the idea that this may be the first record many hear from the band…we’re still making a ton of brand new fans. So as much as we want to take some left turns or reconstruct our sound, approach or writing, we had to remain conscious as to not stray too far. As far as the attitude and moral of the band.

We couldn’t have been more excited to make a new record. We were all basically brimming with new ideas and really fired up to write some new songs and create the next chapter.

Describe working with producer Dave Cobb.

Dave is definitely like a 5th member of the band when we are recording together. We’re great pals and have done all 5 of our records together with a great result. He’s very interactive with us at every step of the process. On each record we will talk about a general idea for the record.

We’ll discuss what gear we want to use, what worked or could be better from the last records…and discuss song ideas and directions.

Once we actually get in the studio things happen very very quickly and working with Dave is a big reason why. I think very few producers these days have the prowess to capture a record live off the floor like he does. At least, with the result he can deliver.

We’re in the age of over-producing, over-writing, just too much everything. That’s not what we’re doing – that’s not what Dave’s doing. In his own words “our job is to create and capture energy.” And not enough guys out there today understand this or how to do it.

Dave does.

Rival Sons will be playing a live set at the awards show. Any special tricks planned for the set?

No smoke.

No mirrors.

Just unadulterated, unapologetic, dirty rock n roll.

What’s the future of Rival Sons as far as you see it?

It’s hard to forecast anything in a business like this. As far as the creative side – as long as we’re inspired and able to make honest music we’ll keep making records. And as long as people want to keep buying tickets…we’ll keep coming to your city.

It’s impossible to say how long it will last. I’m a Capricorn and a pragmatic realist…so that’s the answer from that perspective. Although, naturally, being a guitar player in a rock n roll band, there’s another answer to this question.

And that answer is…World domination.

Order “Great Western Valkyrie” now:
CD/Vinyl/Box w/ 5ft x 6ft blanket – http://www.earache.com/rs14
iTunes – http://bit.ly/gwv-itunes

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Joe Trohman with a Crush 120 guitar amp…this picture has nothing to do with the rest of this blog post

Joe Trohman is the lead guitarist in Fall Out Boy. That technically makes him a pop star. But while he may portray that persona in Fall Out Boy, Joe is a hardcore metalhead who has played in bands like The Damned Things (with Scott Ian from Anthrax) and With Knives (with his friend and guitar tech, Josh Newton). He also happens to be one of our favorite guys to hang out with thanks to his laid back attitude and sometimes wry sense of humor. That sense of humor is why we invited him to be the first artist to answer “15 Questions,” a series of artist interviews that will likely devolve quickly into mostly silly questions (probably by the 2nd installment).

1) What’s your favorite Orange amp and why?
I spent a lot of time with the Thunderverb 200 and I really love it. I use it on guitar and bass, live and in the studio. It has the vintage Orange colors and modern gain leanings. But even when goosed, it still has that warm, looseness of a boutique vintage amp. It never get’s super compressed considered how loud and overdriven it can go. Oh, and the verb aspect get’s REALLY verby.

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2) What’s your favorite guitar and why? Not necessarily one you play every day…
Outside of the guitar I built with Fender, which I play live a lot, I really love my 95′ American Standard Tele. It has a ton of vibe. Early on I replaced bridge pickup with a Dimarzio Fast Track T and it rips pretty hard.

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3) What’s your favorite pedal of all time? Even if you have never owned one…
I really like this one by Black Arts Toneworks called the Pharaoh Fuzz. It goes from lighter overdrive to full blown fuzz, and has a few different diode selections which are really cool.

pharaoh

 

4) Name the person, living or dead, who had the best facial hair of all time
I think Bill Murray looks like a very handsomest boy with a mustache.

5) If you had $10,000,000 to spend on one thing, what would it be?
A working cell phone with real buttons.

6) What band changed your life but you can’t stand their music anymore?
I think a lot of mid to late 90s hardcore bands would fit into that category. I choose not to listen to most bands I listened to back then in fear of ruining any good memories I have of said band/record. I recently put on a Chokehold 7″ I still have and it definitely wasn’t as great as I recollected. It was far from ok.

7) What’s your favorite amp of all time?
It’s a tie between my 70s OR80 with a distortion mod and my ’74 JMP, also with a distortion mod. Modlife.

OR80


8) You recently moved from NY to LA. What do you miss about NY?

The food. Some of the best I’ve had in my life. And the strolling. It’s a great city to do an endless stroll in. During the fall is the best time for that.

9) If you were alive in the 1300’s, what job would you have had?
Drinking shitty water and dying from it.

10) What was your favorite print cartoon growing up?
Calvin and Hobbes was pretty big for me. I did some of my growing up in a pretty crappy place called Chagrin Falls, Ohio. Bill Waterson is from there too apparently. I also liked Life In Hell and Bloom County a lot.

11) If you could be the guitarist in any other band which band would it be?
I always loved the Smiths and Marr’s playing. So maybe him. Or Tony Iommi. I love the minor pentatonic. Or Jimmy Page. Because duh.

12) Is there anything you are a total nerd about? Like, such a nerd about it that you’re embarrassed?
My grill. Not my teeth. My actual grill. I have a Big Green Egg (use Google if that doesn’t make sense), and I love to “pimp my grill” as that rap man used to say from that show on MTV. Is that what he said? I don’t know. Regardless, I’m pretty obsessed with it and I like to accessorize and upgrade it all the time. It’s fucking sad.

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13) Rank these albums from most to least favorite…
The Crash Test Dummies being on the Dumb and Dumber soundtrack almost catapults it to the top for all time. However:
Black Flag – Family Man
The Cure – Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Kiss Me
AC/DC – Powerage
Tomahawk – Tomahawk
Dumb and Dumber – Soundtrack
Adam Sandler – They’re All Gonna Laugh At You

14) Tomorrow you die; today you dine. But what do you eat?
6 chicken and 6 pork dumplings from Dumpling Man in the East Village. For duh.

15) Favorite FOB concert/appearance of all time
Without a doubt doing the Spinal Tap trapped in the pod/mini Stone Henge with Harry Shearer on Conan. Such an honor and Harry Shearer is an awesome, hilarious guy.

 

Amp: Orange OR100 Head and PPC412 Cab

My rig consists of an Orange half stack, several PRS guitars, and a plethora of pedals. Orbweaver has two guitarists, and we like to make a lot of noise, so I run the OR100 on full power (100W) and go straight into the cabinet at 16ohms. In certain situations I might run it on a lower wattage setting, such as recording or home use.

Half-Stack

I love the OR100 as it has every feature I need from an amp, without being overly convoluted. It’s just pure tone, without any clutter. I use a dual footswitch so I can run both channels and also use the Global Boost for solos, which boosts your volume without adding gain. Speaking of gain, I don’t use as much as you’d generally expect from a metal band, my tone is more crunchy, and I set the gain knob around 6 and a half. Tone controls I generally run at 7 across the board.

The PPC412 is hands down the best cab I’ve ever used. The day I bought it I AB’d a bunch of different cabinets and it stood head and shoulders above the rest – excellent projection and clarity, while still sounding warm and heavy as fuck.

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Main Guitars: PRS Custom 22 Goldtop, PRS SE Navarro Custom 24

My number one guitar is a PRS Custom 22 with a wide-fat neck and tremolo. I’ve been playing it for about 4 years straight now. I have it set up with 11’s, and have found myself playing with higher action lately. I love doing all kinds of ridiculous things with the whammy bar, and lucky for me, it holds tune really well for a non-locking tremolo. My settings on it are pretty simple, 90% of what I do is play through the bridge humbucker, with volume and tone on full. The volume knob rolls off really well, and interacts nicely with the tube amp gain, so I utilize that a lot for swells and strange noises…

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I recently acquired the Navarro SE from PRS as a backup for the Goldtop. The neck is a wide-thin profile, so it’s a little more shreddy than the ’22. I put a Seymour Duncan JB in the bridge, and kept the coil split on each pickup. It’s a killer guitar and has made an excellent backup, even coping with freezing conditions on our recent winter tour.

Pedals: Lots

So right now my pedal board consists of: a Seymour Duncan Deja Vu Delay, Shape Shifter tremolo, BBE Mind Bender chorus/vibrato, MXR Phase 90, MXR Carbon Copy delay, Boss TU2 tuner, and my Orange 2 button footswitch.

I say right now, as our pedal boards tend to be in a state of flux. Especially now as we are writing new songs, I will probably be bringing back my wah, adding an envelope filter, trying out new delays, etc.

The settings vary depending on what song/riff we are playing, we do a lot of tweaking and tap dancing.

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Check out more from Orbweaver and order their debut EP…

orbweaverband.com
facebook.com/orbweaver.official
Twitter: @orbweaverband

Orbweaver’s debut EP ‘Strange Transmissions From the Neuralnomicon’ is out now on colored vinyl through Corpse Flower Records – www.corpseflowerrecords.com

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 200K Twitter followers? 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 15K-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 15K, 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 Twitter 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 Facebook fans 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.

Content-Sharing/Cross-Promotion

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, Twitter, Instagram, website, blog, or monthly email newsletter. The combined audience of these online places is 410,000 currently.

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.

Of course, it’s still not the entire audience, and that’s why we do continue to book full page ads in magazines. Print isn’t dead…at least not yet. It is becoming less valuable to amp companies though. 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. Scrims are a sign of weakness. #NoScrims.

Give us a brief run down of your career to date and how you ended up playing Orange…

I started playing music 33 years ago when I was 10.  So I’m going to skip to 2006 to save us a little time!  I was playing bass with Robert Pollard (Guided By Voices) and the guitarist on my side of the stage was Dave Philips.  He’s very talented and had already played with Frank Black, Tommy Stinson, and many others.  He was using a AD30TC for the whole tour and I couldn’t believe how accurate it was.  Very few knobs and they were all set near 5.  Sounded perfect.

Because I’m a guitarist too (see my current solo project Split Single), I went home after the tour and ordered an AD30TC for myself from my local guitar store, Guitar Works in Evanston, IL.

Let’s start with a simple one. Why Orange?

Most of my time performing these days is with Bob Mould and Superchunk, for whom I play bass.  I had performed on Jimmy Fallon in September 2011 with a band called Telekinesis.  The guitarist, Cody Votolato (Blood Brothers), is an Orange endorsee and he put in a call to Alex at Orange to see if they could provide me with a bass rig for the show. Alex took care of me. I plugged in my Roger Mayer Rocket Fuzz into the Orange and the band exploded all the way to number one on the charts.  Not really.  But it sounded great.

When the Bob Mould tribute show happened in November 2011, I asked Alex again if he could help out.  I was to play bass with Bob, Dave Grohl, Britt Daniel, The Hold Steady, and Margaret Cho.  He, again, took care of me and we started a good working relationship.  I have used the Orange bass rig ever since when available.

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What amps are you currently running for your live set-up?

Bob Mould & Superchunk: AD200B MK3 head with OBC410 & OBC115 cabs

Split Single: AD30TC Combo

How about your recording set-up?

Same

What is it about these amplifiers & cabinets that you like? Not only sonically but also any noticeable comments about how they handle life on the road.

They are durable and easy to use.  Always plenty of power if I need it.

How do you like to set the amp up?

Everything on 5.

The current Orange amps you are working on, are the tubes stock or do you have a preferred brand? If so, which?

I haven’t worn tube socks since middle school. They make my calves itchy which effects my playing.

Would you like to say anything else?

I got sunburn on my left shoulder in Tennessee last week.  It’s blistering now.  Should be fine in a week.

Hungarian band Tankcsapda is one not just the most popular heavy metal bands to come out of that country in several years, they’re actually one of the most popular Hungarian bands, period. Last year when they released their entire back catalog of albums (14 albums total) they maintained the top 14 spots on Hungary’s record sales charts for two straight weeks.

You read that correctly. They had the top 14 albums for two straight weeks. Entire ALBUMS!

This enthusiasm for Tankcsapda translates to their live shows. They play to huge audiences.

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This is not a festival audience. This is their regular nightly audience

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Gabor Sidlovics, guitarist in the band and Orange Ambassador, powers these venues with his multiple Orange amps and cabs. Here’s a picture of his rig during the band’s 2013 “ROCKMAFIA” tour. He uses (2) Thunderverb 200 heads.

 

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Backstage, and as a B-rig for live shows in the case of extreme amp failures, he uses a scaled down set-up consisting of a Jim Root #4 Terror.

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In addition to being super popular, and quite frankly writing awesome songs, the band also has their own beer in a collaboration with Soproni Brewing. Soproni is basically Heineken from Hungary. So to be clear, they have a beer collaboration with one of the biggest beer companies in the world, not just in Hungary. Here’s the label.

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You may have noticed something about the shirt the singer is wearing. That’s right, folks. He wore the Orange Crest shirt. We’re on a freaking beer label!

You might be asking yourself why we’re so enthusiastic about this band’s accomplishments. Well, for one, they’re Orange Ambassadors, so clearly we have a vested interest here. But more importantly, Tankcsapda is just a great band. They blend this sort of old world anthem-style with modern rock and metal. Check out every video the band’s ever made here and you’ll get an idea of how they’ve evolved in the past 25 years.

Enjoy!

When you boil a band down to it, it very rarely needs more than two musicians. The list of bands that slay with just two members is numerous. You’ve got The Black Keys, Death From Above 1979, Soft Cell

Ok, we’re kidding about Soft Cell. Hope we didn’t “taint” your opinion of this article.

Moving along…

Today we interview Mattias Noojd. Mattias hails from Gothenburg and is the guitarist and vocalist in the band Galvano. The band are a crushing audible assault mixing frantic drumming, wailing vocals and killer riffs.

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Hi Mattias, nice to have you on board the blog! Let’s start with a simple one. Why Orange?

I used to own a OR120 a few years back and loved it, that dark and warm tone. Had to let it go though cause of financial reasons. I’d been missing it a lot and when I started looking at Orange amps again I decided on the Thunderverb 200 for it’s high gain and versatility. I needed something that could stand up against my Model T and I’m loving what the Thunderverb brings to the table. That thick low end and grit really completes my tone. Our band is really loud and that’s just how I like it, I want to feel those riffs, not just hear them.

The Thunderverb isn’t struggling in that department.

What amps are you currently running for your live setup?

My complete setup is a Thunderverb 200 and a -74 Sunn Model T that sits on 2 PPC412HP8 cabinets, I’m also using an Ampeg SVT 3 PRO that sits on an Ampeg 8×10 cabinet.

How about your recording set-up?

I usually use my live rig in the studio as well.

What is it about these amplifiers & cabinets that you like? Not only sonically but also any noticeable comments about how they handle life on the road.

Apart from what I’ve already mentioned I just love how the Orange cabinets sit right on the floor, that really brings out the low end. My cabinets are heavy as hell but it’s all worth it, they’re really solid.

How do you like to set the amp up? This doesn’t have to be exact settings, just what settings you have found work for you, a photo of the setting will also do!

I run my signal through all three amps. They are all are on most of the time.

The current Orange amps you are working on, are the tubes stock or do you have a preferred brand? If so, which?

It’s stock and my Thunderverb came with 6550’s. I might swap ‘em ouf for kt88’s though. I like those a lot.

Would you like to add/provide any additional information?

I’d just like to express my deep appreciation to Orange for taking interest in and supporting our band and me as a guitar player.

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Go and check out Galvano, listen to their record, browse some pictures and buy a shirt! Till next time.

http://galvano.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/GALVANOgbg