A couple of days have passed, and it’s time to reflect on yet another festival. This weekend just gone we were at Black Deer festival in Eridge Park, Kent, and for once the weather gods were on our side – three days of mostly beautiful sunshine in even more beautiful surroundings. Ahh, England, you’re pretty alright at times.

Upon arrival we had just about recovered from Download the weekend before, and it felt quite refreshing to be able to give the good ol’ ears a bit of a rest from the heavy riffs and rock, and take in some soothing guitar harmonies and country vibes from the likes of The Sheepdogs, Kris Kristofferson and more. Of course, we still got a solid portion of the heavier side of it all due to Desertscene London’s Roadhouse takeover, but we’ll get to that later.

Asteroid
Child

Only in it’s second year, Black Deer seems very well established at pretty much every aspect from line up to traders, which saw a decent selection of vintage clothing, custom made guitar straps, cigar box guitars, cowboy hats and boots shops, vintage posters (including a 1979 original Hawkwind poster to the neat price of £195, I’ll take two, please), and a bunch of other cool stuff I was not expecting to wanting to throw my money at while out and about in a field. As far as food went, they had a pretty spectacular selection of vendors serving up southern BBQ, tacos, pizza, mac n cheese, as well as live cooking in the ‘Firepit’ with on stage cooks and professionals.

Our presence at the festival was, well, everywhere, as we were supplying the backline for all four stages. We had a variety of acts approach us post show sharing their excitement over the amps, like iconic blues man ‘Watermelon Slim’ who literally came running off stage asking to buy the amp of us there and then, and saying that he’d ‘throw away all the other amps he’d ever own, cause what’s the point of keeping ‘em them when they don’t keep up? Vintage Fenders, goodbye!’

Fantastic Negrito

We also received praise from Brant Bjork who’s guitarist and himself picked up the Pedal Baby a few weeks back to take on tour; ‘We all want that vintage sound that Hendrix had from his Marshall stacks playing to thousands of people. We might not necessarily play venues that size which means a stack of amps would be excessive, however, this little head is the best thing we’ve come across giving us that vintage tone, as well as being tiny and easy to take on tour, it’s perfect.’ Two times Grammy award winning and king of charisma Fantastic Negrito also shared his love for the amps stating he ‘Hadn’t played an Orange for more than 20 years, but they sound so good and look so much better than any other amp out there so I’ll be back in touch to talk more about them…’

Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs – bassist Latch
Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs, Chris & Ken

As far as for the rest of the time spent there, we bounced between stages trying to catch as many bands as possible, as well as stopping by London locals Desertscene, they curated this year’s Roadhouse stage where we saw the likes of The Groundhogs, The Vintage Caravan, Radio Moscow and more, a few acts to pick us up after getting too snoozy in the sun.

Eagles of Death Metal’s Jesse Hughes

So, yet again we’ve survived another Download festival. As per usual, the mud was biblical. We made our way up North on the Thursday before, where we stayed in a beautiful, rustic (but modern, if you must know), countryside cottage, feeling so incredibly happy about the fact that we were not camping.

Friday morning the team, which consisted of myself, Ella Stormark, A&R rep Dan Darby, lead amp designer and technical director Ade Emsley, as well as Marketing Director Charlie Cooper (who miraculously stayed dry the entire weekend despite wearing trainers – unbelievable!) woke up well rested and ready for three days of ringing ears and beers. We caught up with Orange ambassador and Blackberry Smoke bassist Richard Turner who rolled up for a post-show chat, as well as Clutch’s Tim Sult. We also witnessed a crowd split open like the Red Sea when rock ‘n’ roll royalty Slash and band passed through, before they played an absolutely spectacular show. Makes ya wonder how brilliant Guns N’ Roses must have been in their heyday.

Of course, having Eagles of Death Metal on site also means hurricane Jesse aka Boots Electric, who was casually sporting a white cowboy hat, aviators, cape and a god damn boombox blasting 90s hip hop, so nothing out of the ordinary, really. We also got the chance to finally catch Kvelertak with their new singer Ivar Nikolaisen, and what a performance! Swapping frontmen is dangerous territory, but they did it damn well.

Saturday was a wild one as both Slipknot and Die Antwoord was booked to play the main stage, the latter even questioning why: “When we were asked to play this festival we thought – why?! We play crazy hip hop rave music and don’t fit the bill! Still, you metal heads still seem to fucking love it, so let’s do this!” – agreeably a pretty controversial band to put on at a heavy rock and metal festival, but the crowd freakin’ loved it – maybe we all need a bit of bump and grind between battles? Come nighttime it was time for Slipknot’s set which was of course, a muddy masterpiece.

Sunday, sunny Sunday! Please don’t let yourself be fooled, we still had torrential rain on the Sunday too, but lo and behold, what the hell followed? Sweet, sweet sunshine! We caught Fever 333, Power Trip and Badflower, as well as being joined by pre-show Amon Amarth in full Viking gear for some shots of Jäger. All in all we had a great time catching up with old friends, meeting new ones, clearing the artist area out of tea and biscuits and listening to great music. Back in London and getting ready for round two at Black Deer tomorrow. No rest for the wicked!

Described as the UK’s hottest new rock n roll band Bad Day Blues have supported greats such as ‘The Killers’ and ‘Manic Street Preachers on their way to getting radio play on Radio 2. The band’s bass player Adam came into Orange Amps HQ to go through the Terror Bass and why he thinks it’s the perfect touring rig. Adam was using the Terror bass through the OBC112 which a perfect combination of power and portability.

‘Hi i’m Adam Rigg from the Bad Day Blues Band.

Amps were kind of a necessity so I would us any old battered amp, whatever I could throw in the back of the transit van or whatever they had at the venue I would use. Until that is I started using Orange amps and then I was like ‘Ah, I kind of get the whole amp thing now!’ It sounds ballsy without being thin or weak, it sounds vintage, I like the tubes on it and it has a little bit of natural growl. Which is really hard to fake with any pedals or any kind of plug ins, it’s a very real authentic sounding amp. Which is why I use them. It’s not even about the sound of the amp it’s about the aesthetics of it, the look of it and the feel of it. It’s got that aura about it which is one of the reasons I dig Orange.

I really like the valves on the Terror bass, the fact that it’s small, its portable and i think it is Class D. But the preamp is the tube element, which means you get that natural growl. Which is perfect for the blues you want that kind of authentic vibe, you don’t want anything that sounds too clinical or too fake. I don’t use any pedals, I just plug my bass straight into it. I get a little bit of growl out of it if I want, or I can back it off and get it a bit cleaner with some palm muting. So it’s literally perfect for the blues.

That’s why Orange amps are so great, they are just so easy to use, I’ve never been one for loads of EQ’s and stuff. My bass has a volume knob and that is it and that is what I like about Orange, its an instant good tone. I always think if you get amps and guitars with tons and tons of switches on you are trying to make up for something, if it doesn’t sound great pretty much straight away then why bother with it.

I was surprised by the OBC112 because they are tiny or relatively small compared to the bigger amps next to them. But they are loud and they can handle it, I think they are 400 Watts, which is loud. I usually plug my terror bass into a OBC410 or I have had it in the 810 before and it is so loud. If anyone is wondering about a Terror bass and wondering is 500 Watts loud enough, it definitely is! If you can pair it up with a smaller speaker, you have a perfect rig. If you are jumping on the tube, you could carry one of those in your hands, bass over your shoulder and Terror bass in the other hand.

They are just one of those iconic brands, you have posters up on the wall when you learn how to play guitar of Orange amps. The fact that Orange amps are nice enough to be seen with me is lovely. The gear is great as well so that’s a plus!’

  • What’s your story? How do you get where you are today?

Hi there, my name is Amir John Haddad, they also call me EL AMIR. I am a guitarist, multi instrumentalist and a ‘Musician on a Mission’ !!
I love all kinds of string instruments and I play flamenco guitar, arabic oud, turkish saz, greek bouzouki, banjo, electric guitar, bass, ukulele (yes, also ukulele) and many more.
Basically everything that you can pick and plug I get attracted to….

“I believe in the emotion and power of music as well as the passion you have to put into what you do”.

I was born in Germany (Freiburg, Black Forest) into a multiethnic family and have been surrounded by music basically since I was a baby.
My grandpa is from Hamburg, my mom from Colombia and my dad from the Middle East.
I was exposed to Latin folklore, Oriental music and Flamenco as well as Rock, Funk, Heavy Metal, Jazz, Pop, Classical music, Worldmusic and many many more.
I grew up in a very musical house. At the age of three I played a tennis racket pretending it was a guitar! Shortly after that I started imitating my dad and playing around with the guitar and the arabic oud which he both played. I was absorbed and delighted by the sound of strings, it was like magic for me! Soon my dad started teaching me how to play and when I was seven years old I started to receive private clases with flamenco guitar maestros. As a kid I already would play for hours and hours non stop. After previews live experiences at my kindergarten and elementary school I started to perform on a real stage at the age of twelve!! Since then my life changed and I knew what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. My path was set…

After finishing High School I moved to Jerez de la Frontera, a village in Andalusia in 1997. Since then I have been living in Spain and I have had many amazing musical journeys performing, collaborating, recording, working or touring worldwide with my own bands and with some of the most renowned artists such as Radio Tarifa, Chambao, Juno Reactor, Marcus Miller,
Stanley Clarke, Shankar Mahedevan, Jorge Pardo, Carles Benavent, Zoobazar, Armand Sabal-Lecco, Carlos Raya, Eduardo Cabra ‘Visitante’ (Calle 13) and many more.
For me what has been always the most important part in all this was the amount of good vibe and new things I would learn each time I had the chance to meet another great artist and share the stage or the studio with him or her. It is the attitude that makes you move towards a direction where knowledge and wisdom are combined with discipline and hard work. At the same time it is important to find joy and happiness in what you do. Not always my path has been easy, not always things made sense to me yet is has been always blissful. Every encounter taught me exactly what I needed to know for the next step I took. Take this as an encouraging message for yourself, it might help you to start looking at things from a different angle and see yourself from a different perspective too.

What is clear is that I have always given the best version of my self in any situation and this is what made me grow and be where I am now. Where am I ?? (laughs)

Among all the many projects so far there is one that definitely speaks for itself and which I am very proud of being part of it.
In fall 2017 I get a phone call from a very important artistic agency based in Vienna, who told me that Hans Zimmer was looking for a multi faceted guitarist. I recorded some guitar tracks for them, Hans gave his approval and next thing: I was in! I had always dreamt about meeting Hans and being able to perform his music. Then in spring 2018 I started working with Hans Zimmer´s new show The World Of Hans Zimmer a Symphonic Celebration as one of his new soloists sharing the stage with the amazing conductor Gavin Greenaway and singer Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance) The repertoire is amazing and the music is overwhelming. Gladiator, Mission Impossible, Pirates of the Caribbean you name it… So far I have done three huge tours through Europe with this project playing at the largest Arenas such as Wembley Arena London, Wizink Center Madrid, Olympic Stadium Munich etc. What I want to tell you with this is actually that all the small steps I have taken in the past along my career, going through many different moments of my life and changes have led me to be now at this point form where I can see with an even clearer vision where to I want to move on from now. The reward is the never ending path and the joy you have while evolving as a human being, musician and artist.

Nowadays I am considered to be among the top five best flamenco solo guitarists of the new generation and this is a very nice moment for me which brings also a lot of responsibility with it.
The task is to reinvent yourself every day and be open for new paths and visions. It is not so much about the instrument itself rather than about the way you interact with your instrument.
How much do you care about how and what you play? Do you want to show off or really dig deeper into the emotional tissue of technique and music?
Do you want to reach out and touch peoples hearts?

To end this section here there is one important thing that really made me be where I am today:
All the information, education and support my parents, masters, teachers, mentors, friends, family, colleagues, artists, producers, band leaders etc gave me shaped me to the one I am today.
Of course I have found my own voice and personality within all this, still it is important to have an identity and to know where you come from. Another important thing was that I left my comfort zone (something I highly recommend, it’s worth doing as many times in your life as necessary) when I was young and moved to another country. Now when I look back this small step meant a huge change for my life and here I am!! Never know for sure where life (and my decisions) will take though. Nevertheless I will enjoy every second of it.

  • References and influences. What can we find in your music?

First my mom Elsa-Maria, I could already hear the Latin folklore from inside her belly. My dad who was my first mentor and teacher. Then the maestros Pepe Justicia and Enrique de Melchor, two renowned flamenco guitar figures who where essential in my approach and understanding of the flamenco guitar as a soloist. When I was very young I was exposed to south american music, oriental music, flamenco and classical music. My musical heroes (yes I had other heroes too, Gregory Peck or Charly Chaplin were some of them) at that time were (and still are) my dad Rimon Haddad, Mozart, Munir Bashir and Paco de Lucia.

Later on at the age of twelve (again twelve) the elder brother of my best friend gave us a cassette with Metallica’s ‘Ride the Lighting’ and ‘Seek & Destroy’ albums on it. This sound changed me for ever. I was in love with electric guitar. Further influences were artists like Mothers Finest (inventors of Funk Rock), Living Color, Bad Brains, Fishbone, Infectious Grooves, Jane’s Addiction, Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, Randy Rhodes, Steve Ray Vaughn, Jimi Hendrix, Robin Trower, Stanley Clarke, Marcus Miller, John McLaughlin, George Duke, Trilok Gurtu, Beethoven, Sade, Billy Holiday, Rachmaninov, Sara Vaughn, Dennis Chambers, Prince, Michael Jackson, Johnny Guitar Watson, Scott Henderson, Beasty Boys, Onyx, NWA, Public Enemy, Biohazard, Grandmaster Flash, Chris Whitley, Jeff Buckley, B.B. King, …do I really need to list them all? I would need to quit my career as a musician if I wanted to complete the list (laughs) there are so many…

I just love music! For me I would define music as a magic vehicle that is driven by heart, rhythm, passion and melody (we all know that a lot of practice and commitment is needed right?). Any type of music style that has these elements immediately catches my absolute attention. I feel like I want to become the music itself and dive into the sound and emotion of it. I have been sitting down for many hours practicing, learning songs, even whole albums and tracks of other artists. I am hungry for new music, specially the one that I create. It is a beautiful sensation to compose new music. It is the unheard audible, the unknown known. My musical radar is very wide. I have no boundaries and prejudice music-wise.

  • Mythical great, those instruments, samplers, amplifiers, mythical effects?

I always wanted to have a Jackson Guitar, I saw John Hayes from Mother’s Finest playing Jackson at one of their concerts when I was young and I was blasted by his sound.

Flamenco guitars by Jose Lopez Bellido from Granada. He is probably one of the most renowned flamenco luthiers in Spain. I have played his guitars since I was a kid.

Now I am playing my own flamenco signature model called “El Amir” built by Jose Salinas.

The First oud my father bought when he was young. I ended up learning on it and playing it live with the legendary world music band Radio Tarifa worldwide.

Gibson Flying V is for me a killer guitar. The concept, sound and the easy access to high frets makes it the perfect toy!

Hammond Organ, the sound is amazing I have a T200 with a built in Lesley, just beautiful.

I saw Luther Allison, a legendary bluesman blasting his Hughes & Kettner TriAmp live. The blue lights of the ‘see trough design’ looked like magic on stage (ok I was young at that time…)

Marshall JCM 800/900 just love’em.

Mesa Boogie Nomad 2×12 Combo (it’s because I have one…lol)

Morley Wah-Wha, Rat Distortion, Boss Distortion (the orange one), Ibanez Tube Screamer, RP14 Digitech, Blackstar HT Dual PreAmp, and many more…!!!

…There is something about pedals and their sounds that you just can’t get enough of them…isn’t it? The best thing is that they make our mind creative.

  • New versus Second hand?

I have bought new instruments, I have bought second hand instruments and what has always been the most important parameter to me besides it looking good and sounding nice was wether I felt comfortable performing the music I had in my mind with it or not. It has to feel ’right’ in my fingers. One of the most beloved electric guitars I have is an old Fenix Strat built by Young Chang former Fender Japan. It was my first electric guitar. One thing I have never done is selling one of my instruments and I probably will never (never say ‘never’ though) do so. They all have story.

  • New technologies, what is the best thing you’ve tried lately?

The best device I have tried lately has been the AcousticPre by Orange. A two channel pre amp with separate setting and EQ possibilities that suites perfectly my flamenco guitar powered by Carlos Juan Amplification and my electric-acoustic instruments.

It makes the sound rounder, warmer, more natural and more precise. definitely a pedal to must try out. Go to your closest guitar shop and ask for it!! You will be more than pleased, actually you will be blown away.

Also the Teleport designed by Danny Gomez. A new interface pedal that will make your guitar sound like whatever sound you want within seconds!

  • Equipment to take you on a trip or to work on the road?

I have been always very basic in terms of technology. I have used a lot GarageBand on my iPhone to lay down ideas. I also record a voice messages on my phone with musical ideas.
I have a very good memory and I store loads of GB lot musical ideas in my head…

My basic pedal board has at least always a nice Distortion, Chorus, Wha-Wha, Delay, EQ, Line Selector, Phaser and Tuner. This makes a guitarist just happy!! I have plugged these pedals to so many different amps in different situations and have always been able to create a great and solid sound. Again, the sound is in your head and then you start to tweak and twist the knobs searching for the right frequencies and parameters until you get what you want. You gotta play around with it and find your sound. The smallest changes can sometimes achieve the hugest differences.

Also take enough string sets and picks with you! Also bring your own black gaffer tape, why? Once I made a guitar-strap out of gaffer tape!!
These last two might sound primitive to you, still they are very important points. Can’t be too careful (laughs). Best equipment though is your positive, humble, professional and honest energy! That will help you anywhere…believe me! Ah, don’t forget to smile!

  • What do you use, Backup in case everything fails?

I always make sure to have an easy and direct access to the amp by skipping the pedal circuit and plugging my lead straight into the amp. In a live situation it is important that you can do it by yourself very quickly unless you have your roady standing next to you at the side of the stage.

With my fingers and technique I still can emulate the sound that I want to come out of my guitar without using the pedal chain. I have always a PreAmp (e.g. Blackstar HT Dual) with Clean, Crunch and High Gain channels to plug straight into a DiBox through the speaker simulator output.

You won’t believe how huge, powerful and clean I have sounded in certain venues with no need of an amp. Just through the wedges and/or side fills. Remember that the sound is first in your head, then in your fingers and then the pedals help to enhance that. A good sound engineer is key to your success on stage!! He is the fourth musician in a power trio so to say.

  • The studio is burning down … instrument / equipment that you would save?

If I had the time I would definitely hire a transportation company to get everything ‘outta there’ before the fire fighters come (laughs).

Since this is pretty unlikely I would take my father´s oud and my first flamenco guitar built by Jose Lopez Bellido. A beautiful cypress body with a german spruce top guitar from 1984 (does this have to do something with George Orwell?). The hard discs and my MacBook!!!! There is not only music on’em! What about everything else in your life? Then if I really had the time before the smoke would get too heavy I would grab everything else (laughs again) and don’t wait for the transportation company nor the fire fighters. Hey, I have a van, I could fit all of it in there right…?

  • What is your experience with Orange Amplifiers?

Though I have never owned one I know of there amazing sound, quality and versatility for almost any kind of music style. One of my bass player friends who comes from the punk and rock scene has been playing on his Orange bass head for ages and the sound is so deep and strong! (I love Glenn Hughes set up, sounds killer and blasts you away!)

So far I have played in some occasions through the TH100. It has a wide and strong sound for rock, hard rock and metal riffs. Very juicy distortion too. The riffs smack you in your face. Also the Rocker 15 Terror (Lunchbox Amp style) which has a very high definition, specially for soloing and shredding on high gain range with a great sustain. Amazing feel! Orange Rocker 30 is a great head!! I remember playing once through a Rockerverb 50MKIII and the wide range of the gain knob combined with the mid range scoop achieves that heavy, dark and juicy sound you need to rock out BIG TIME!

  • First impressions about the new Acoustic PRE?

After meeting at the Orange Booth at NAMM 2019 in Anaheim, I recently visited Danny Gomez from Orange Amps at his studio and we had a nice session where he showed me the AcousticPre and its possibilities. First of all I must say the pedal looks gorgeous and very classy. In white, not over-designed and very easy to handle. The two channel device has a unique way to use the channels separately and/or simultaneously while being able to combine both EQ settings and enhance any acoustic sounding instrument tremendously. It will give your instrument a warm and natural character with that extra attack which will make you want to keep playing more and more.

I have one of my flamenco guitars powered with a Carlos Juan pick up system, the VIP Double (the same model that Vicente Amigo uses). It is a stereo output system where I can choose from the piezo under the saddle or the sensor beneath the top or preferably both. Therefore the AcousticPre is perfect for me and makes me able to blend my two channels and EQ them separately. Even only with the piezo it already sounded huge and crystal clear capturing all the subtle nuances of my fingers and nails too. It is a great device for any live or studio situation. The sound is immaculate and you will make not only make the sound engineer happier but also the whole crowd!! Isn’t that what you want? (laughs)

  • What are your plans for the future?

Right now I am preparing and recording my new flamenco guitar album called ‘Andalucía’. An album with a nice concept where I make a tribute to every province of Andalusia, Malaga, Sevilla, Cadiz, Cordoba, etc. I have composed a song for each province and each title has a direct meaning regarding each province. CD Release will be on the 28th of February 2020 if all plans go well. 28th is the ‘Day of Andalusia’ and there couldn’t be a better day to release the album. On that day I will be in Moscow and St.Petersburg with Hans Zimmer though…not that I am complaining (laughs).

This year I will perform with my bands in new countries that I had never been before and I am thrilled to travel to new places and open new markets. I will also give many solo guitar recitals, masterclasses and workshops. Then again a huge Europe Tour in November/December with Hans Zimmer and the World of Hans Zimmer. So looking forward to this to meet again my bandmates who are like soul brothers and soul sisters to me! Such a great bunch of musicians and artists.

Actually I am very happy and honored to be part of the Orange Family and be and Ambassador to Orange Amps. I am looking forward to establish a solid and fruitful relationship and I am already enjoying the ride. I will definitely use the Acoustic Pre for the next World of Hans Zimmer Tour. Carsten, our sound engineer will love it, I already know!

  • Tips for readers?

Be yourself no matter what!

In the case you want to become a musician/artist or even both remember that the person behind the instrument is the one that will deliver the music. Therefore take care of that precious human being!!

Best three tips ever given to me by three wise men were:

“You can’t be too careful boy, you can’t be too careful…!”
“Whenever you see the crowd turn left, you turn right boy!”
“Whenever you feel artistically in a dead end, get out of your comfort zone and move on!”

I need to explain, what they meant was: BE YOURSELF NO MATTER WHAT!!

Thank you for stopping by and reading my interview. I had lots of fun answering these great questions and share my personal vision on things. Hope you enjoyed your time reading them too.
See you soon at one of my next concerts, masterclasses, orange events, etc. Follow me on Instagram, Facebook, Youtube, Twitter and don’t forget to visit me at:

www.elamir.es or www.zoomusicmanagement.com

All the best of luck and keep the good music alive!! Remember, you are great!!

Peace & Love

Black Deer Festival 2018 – Photo via their website.

As some of you might know by now, we’re headed to Black Deer Festival next month to air our cowboy boots (thank you Lemmy!), potentially wear cowboy hats, listen to great music and eat delicious food. As we’ve mentioned countless times before, we don’t just cater for stoner bands, although we are totally stoked about Matt Pike creating that image for us – who wouldn’t be?!

Black Deer Festival is new to the UK festival scene and specialises in country and americana, and will take place in Eridge Park in Kent the weekend of 21st to 23rd of June. Despite the main focus being country and americana, you’ll also find blues, folk, some heavy rock and psych artists – mutual for all is the origin being the same, simple blues. Among the artists you’ll find country heavy weight champion Kris Kristofferson, who’ll actually turn an astonishing 83 years old the day after his set, as well as younger generations of the genre such as singer-songwriter Justin Townes Earle who happens to be named after Townes Van Zandt, blues sisters Larkin Poe, Grammy award-winning and the king of charisma Fantastic Negrito and political activist and singer-songwriter Billy Bragg, to name a few.

Radio Moscow’s Anthony Meier

As for the heavier side of things; Desertscene, the creators of Desertfest have taken ownership of ‘The Roadhouse’ which they will be curating throughout the weekend. Some of the bands you can catch there include legendary UK heavy blues band Ken Pustelnik’s Groundhogs (who alongside Kris Kristofferson were one of many bands on the bill for the famous 1970 Isle of Wight Festival which also saw the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Ten Years After, Sly and the Family Stone, The Doors, Procol Harum and Terry Reid, yikes!), San Diego’s face-melting heavy psych three piece Radio Moscow, multi-instrumentalist and former Kyuss drummer Brant Bjork and New York’s psychedelic, heavy, mellow and melodic King Buffalo.

What sets Black Deer apart from other festivals is the community aspect of it all; where a lot of festivals would give parents anxiety even considering bringing their kids to it, Black Deer has created a separate festival within the festival, giving children the opportunity and encouragement to explore, whether that being through music, craft or the outdoors. There will be live music performances, guitar lessons and arts and crafts workshops – a great way to get ‘em while they’re young – we gotta shape the next generation of musicians somehow.

Black Deers’s also teamed up with SupaJam, an organisation who helps educating disadvantaged youth on everything music, and have for this year’s festival given them their own stage to manage, ‘The SupaJam’ stage. They will be responsible for every aspect of the stage from set design, to curating and managing, providing them with the qualifications and skills they need to progress within the music industry in the future.

Another thing we can’t forget about is the food, which will be served up in the ‘Smokehouse’. As with the music, the food has also taken it’s inspiration from America’s deep South, and you can expect southern bbq foods and flavours such as ribs, pulled meat and brisket. They will also be catering for the vegans and veggies with coal-roasted aubergine, cheese stuffed jalapeños and corn tacos, as well as serving up a variety of craft beers, artisan ales and fine wines, and of course, a team of expert trained baristas providing you your morning brew to get you going in the early hours.

We’re also incredibly excited to have teamed up with Black Deer to give a band or artist the opportunity to play a 45 minute set at The SupaJam Stage, as well as winning a Tremlord 30 Guitar Amp. The winner of this competition has been selected and will be announced shortly.

There are still some tickets left for this years festival, so hurry on over to Black Deer’s website to get your hands on one. See you there!

Francesca Simone is a solo artist best known for being the live touring guitarist with Beyonce. You can see her here onstage at Coachella in 2018.

The moment we met her at NAMM in 2018 we knew she had to be an Orange Ambassador. Her main amp is a Rockerverb 50 MKIII Combo, but in this video from NAMM earlier this year we let her put the TremLord 30 2×12” Combo through its paces. The TremLord 30 has an ultra-clean tone and features dual-speed tremolo.

(Special thanks to Jon Bailey, Orange’s USA Tech Manager, who got past his extreme discomfort being on-screen to get this interview. Seriously, folks, his palms were sweating. We hope he never reads this.)

There’s no secret that the blues was the origin of rock and all it’s sub-genres, and we are thrilled to see that the legacy still lives on today with young artists embracing it and playing it forward. Below is a few blues musicians we’ve been lucky enough to work with throughout our time.

Joe Jammer

Crush Pro 60 Combo
Here comes Joe the Jammer” is what Robert Plant and Jimmy Page used to say when they saw Page’s guitar tech Joe Wright coming their way. Born in Chicago where he later played alongside blues men such as Howlin’ Wolf, guitarist Joe Wright (Later Joe Jammer) would put on Tuesday night jam sessions at the legendary Kinetic Playground and had the luxury of attending every show there for free – That’s how he first met Led Zeppelin in early ’69, at a time where no one really knew who they were, except for the fact that they had the guitarist from The Yardbirds. After the meeting, Joe ended up becoming Jimmy Page’s guitar tech and toured the world with them, jamming with Page in the dressing room before the shows, some of which he’d get invited up on stage to play. Later on, Joe formed his own band “The Joe Jammer Band” who supported Zeppelin on several occasions. Since then, Joe has become a renowned and respected man in the Chicago music scene as well as the industry. He’s still playing and will actually swing by London on the 8th of August, playing the Eel Pie Club in Twickenham – head over for some incredible blues and entertaining rock ’n’ roll stories from a lifetime on the road.

Marcus King, The Marcus King Band

Rockerverb 50 MKIII
PPC412 4×12
Marcus King started playing guitar at the age of 3, and have been playing professionally since the impressive age of 11. His style and way of playing is a mix of his love for acts such as Clapton, Hendrix, Stevie Ray Vaughn and The Allman Brothers Band, as well as his love for “the frontman”, and artists with attitude such as James Brown, Otis Redding and Aretha Franklin. With the above influences combined, Marcus, which is still only in his early twenties, have become a master blues man, mixing in elements of soul, as well as rhythm and blues.

Hannah Wicklund, Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin’ Stones

Rocker 32
Another amazing young artist is singer and guitarist Hannah Wicklund of ‘Hannah Wiklund & The Steppin’ Stones’. Hannah was early on gifted a guitar from her dad and formed the band when she was eight. Fourteen years down the line at the age of 22, she has more than 2000 shows behind her, leaving her somewhat a senior in the field despite her young age. She released her self titled debut album last year, and have been touring excessively ever since. Catch her in the UK and Europe later this year!

Bad Day Blues Band

Crush Pro 120
OB1-300
CRPRO412
London based ‘Bad Day Blues Band’ first met at iconic Soho blues club ‘Ain’n Nothing But’
due to their mutual love for, you guessed it, the blues. They then went onto forming the band, which despite it’s name, in the beginning played mostly rock ’n’ roll, before mixing in elements of blues, rock and soul. Since then, they’ve released one album and various EPs, one of which were recorded at legendary Abbey Road Studios.

Peter Green, Fleetwood Mac

Orange Matamp
Now, let us not forget about – not just the first blues guitarist to embrace Orange amps, but one of the first ever guitarists to do so, former Fleetwood Mac guitarist, Peter Green. Peter Green and Fleetwood Mac was first introduced to Orange in it’s founding year of 1968 when their road manager Dinky Dawson brought Peter Green to the then existing Orange Shop in Soho where they ordered the first ever Orange PA for Fleetwood Mac’s upcoming American tour. Fast forward to a few weeks later and the band received six 100-watt amps and sixteen cabs. The rest, as they say, is history.

https://youtu.be/2gmY1WuIlt8

I’m Monty Pittman and I play the Orange Acoustic Preamp. I’m a solo artist on Metal Blade Records. I’ve got heavy albums and I’ve got acoustic albums. I’m also a guitar teacher. I teach online lessons to students all over the world. I’ve played guitar for Madonna since 2000. I also played for Prong.

I’m here to show you the Orange Acoustic Pre. This is the world’s first stereo acoustic valve active DI. Channel A is valve driven with a 12ax7. Channel B is all-analog and has outstanding clarity. Each channel has 3 band EQ and the tone shaping options are endless.

The Acoustic Pre features stereo reverb, which adds a lot of ambience. My favorite thing about this unit is not just having a 12ax7 tube, but I have right and left stereo outputs and stereo reverb.

The Orange Acoustic Preamp is the best acoustic amp that I’ve found anywhere. It gives you the best tone and it’s easy to play. It’s very reliable. On the road it’s a dream come true for a sound man.

Hi, my name’s Ben Parker and I’m here today looking at the wonderful Orange Acoustic Pre Twin Channel.

So, first of all what I was really impressed with is the overall sound – there’s definitely a higher fidelity thing going on when the sound comes through from both the DI and the mic feeds. In dialling up the heat knob on the DI there’s definitely a kind of nice vintage vive to how the DI sounds.

I think when I’m looking for an acoustic signal (I’m looking for) something that’s definitely very pure and the pick ups I use are really true to the woody nature of the sound of the acoustic and what the Acoustic Pre has done is just maximise that sound. It’s not drawn it further into the electronic, it’s just warmed it up, made it sound more natural and enhanced the sound that’s already there. I think because it’s got that warmth to it, I guess because of the tube in it, it really lends itself. I like acoustics that sound like they’ve come from old records and that’s what the tube element does to the sound.

Initially, I didn’t think it was the sort of thing I would use in the studio but actually, with us playing with it today and the way we’ve set it up with the DI straight in and the mic straight in but then both into the computer and the interface. It’s funny how the manipulation of the DI separate from the mic and being able to flick between the two – it’s almost like whenever I record an acoustic guitar I would use this to have a great DI signal – which I always want anyway – because you might want to distort that or treat it slightly differently. Then you can blend in the real mic and decide what you want to do with the two signals. On the road, another set up I have in one of my other acoustics is a split system that takes a mic output and a piezo pickup output from the pickup of the acoustic guitar. So this is great because I can plug the mic into the mic input, the piezo into the DI and then send front of house my particular choice blend of those two sounds with the ability to EQ both channels separately and add reverb if necessary.

The reverb is really nice. Again, I felt it was quite vintage like a lot of the old stuff Jimmy Page used to use on his acoustic picking stuff on those early Led Zep records. It had that flavour to it rather than being a synthetic digital sounding reverb, it felt like it was responding more to what it was being given, like those old fashioned reverbs.

I do a lot of writing with people but I also do a lot of basic tracking here and I work a lot on my own stuff. I compose for film and TV, so it’s interesting, the acoustic guitar sound is always very important in a lot of the things I do, so I’m always interested in seeing different ways of capturing that rather than it being in that environment of mouse click sliders. It’s great to go to the real knobs and turn them and hear the difference. Always. I love that, so it’s nice to have this unit there to manipulate the signal in that way.

Hi. I’m here at NAMM and we’re launching the Orange Valve Preamp. Very, very excited about this, I’ve been involved in this preamp for a number of years when I first met Dennis Marshall, who was doing some pioneering work really, on preamps (that is) valve preamps for acoustic guitars. We got together, and he showed me one of his preamps and I started to road test it. Every time I came back I’d say, “Yeah. This is fantastic.” Everywhere I went, sound engineers whether I was doing live concerts or in the studio would say, “Wow. What is that? Just sounds absolutely great.”

I then suggested a couple of things to Dennis about having a dual preamp so that we could have a valve and solid state channels. The valve to plug the guitar into and solid state for the microphone as well. That then moved onto the involvement with Orange and then it just went into another – it was already fantastic – it just went into another level again.

I started then road testing the Orange pre amp. I’ve been all over the world, touring in America, Far East, Europe the UK. It’s great, it means that wherever I go I’ve got this sound that’s been in my head for so many years. So it doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m plugging into, I’ve got this sound. The sound of my dreams really. It’s absolutely fantastic.

I’ve been playing the guitar since 1960/1961, I’ve toured all over the world. For 11 years I worked with Stephane Grappelli, the legendary jazz violinist, who along with Django Reinhardt formed The Hot Club of France, so for 11 years I sat in Django’s chair and working with Stephane. Then I started to pursue a solo career, I’ve got a Grammy nomination, I’ve got many music industry awards, guitar awards. I’ve been given two honorary doctorates and I was made an MBE by The Queen in 2002 for services to music. These were all nice little bonuses that have come along the way. All I’ve ever wanted to do is just play the guitar, but it means I have some things I can put on the shelf in my studio which is really, really nice too.

I cannot begin to tell you just how excited I am about this preamp, it’s a dream come true. I’m so pleased for Dennis Marshall who’s really the man who had this brainchild of doing this and we’ve managed to work with the best people in the business here at Orange.