Thanks so much for taking the time to this interview, and congratulations on your latest record ‘Alamort’ which is out today! Dan: Yeah thanks! It’s out today, and it’s really exciting. This is album number four, as well as having released two EPs. I initially started it as a solo project seven years ago, then after awhile it kind of just went out of hand, and here we are now! Ryan: Myself and Marcus have been in the band for about a year, and we have both been apart of this album and writing process. This is the first album with this line up.
Dan: It’s a real departure from what the band has done before, as it used to have quite a lot of folky elements. We’re now playing more melodic punk taking inspiration from the 90s emo genre. It’s kind of more of the music I’ve always wanted to be making, so when these guys joined that just all fell into place and happened naturally. Marcus: like Dan says, we’ve gone more full electric, with more pedals and force and all that, more noise.
Now, Norwich might not be the centre of the universe, and most people might not be that familiar with the Norwich music scene. Can you guys give us the lay of the land? Dan: The Norwich music scene is really healthy, one of the reasons I move to Norwich was actually due to the booming Punk scene. All the bands kind of support each other, and that is how we all met, on that scene. That is how Ryan and I met about four years ago. Ryan: I do sound engineering as well and made a fair bit of people through that, that is also how I met Dan, as I did a few shows for him.
So Marcus, how did you end up in the band? Marcus: I am kind of the outsider of the group as I initially joined the band as a fan. I was already aware of what they were doing and knew the band quite well. So when I saw there was an opening I just thought to myself ‘fuck it, I’m going to give it ago’. It’s been nice since the lineup had already changed and the band was changing, I got to come in and bring my own opinions and put my own sound on it, I also got to add my personality and stamp on some of the older songs. No one is precious about anything so if any of us comes up with a new idea and it doesn’t go down well with the whole band we won’t do it. Everything we do, we do together.
Now, the reason were all here – Orange amps. Can you tell us a bit about your history and experience with the brand? Dan: I used to guitar tech a lot for various bands, some of which would use Orange, and I was just baffled by the fact that you could get such clarity and crunch at the same time, you can’t seem to do that with many other amps. I was playing Marshalls for years, but it wasn’t until I first plugged it into an Orange I finally found my sound. Marcus: I play a Dual Terror, and I was first introduced to Orange by a friend who had a Tiny Terror, and I just loved how you could get that big sound something so small, it’s had this amazing huge sound and it would just really fill a room. Before I started playing guitar in this band, I originally played bass, and I didn’t have any money to buy any pedals, so I had to learn to compensate for that by using my hands and away I would use the settings on my amp. I got that overdriven sound without having to use any pedals, and if they wanted to make it even more overdriven I could just play harder, mechanically. I like how transparent the sound is, and the amps are incredibly responsive to what you’re doing. So yeah, I guess it is just the evolution of not being able to buy any pedals and learning how to work around it and using my amp to compensate. Even today, I still only use three pedals when we play live, as the amp pretty much sorts me out with the sound I want and require, with most of my sound coming strictly from the amp itself. Gain, volume, tone – nothing fancy, just plug and play! Ryan: My first encounter with Orange was similar to Dan’s, doing shows, working as a sound engineer and seeing bands coming in with different gear all the time. I played bass for years, but had never managed to find that had that was quite right. One day, I was working with a band who’s bassist was using a Bass Terror, he played a 68’ Fender Precision bass through it, and the tone was just unbelievable. Straight after that, I went out and bought to my own which lasted me five years, until this Christmas I decided to put my big boy pants on and get the OB1-500. All I want from my amp when playing the bass its power and clarity, and it is true what everyone is saying, you really can just plug and play.
Peter, thanks a million for taking the time to do this interview, myself and the rest of the Orange crew are big fans of you and your music – could you please introduce yourself to the reader, and tell us a bit about yourself and the music you make?
Good morning Orange Amp freaks! Or is it afternoon, evening? Whenever it is, wherever you are on this rotating rock orbiting the Almighty Sun while we hurtle through space, allow me to introduce myself. I am Peter Hughes, the human and guitar player you may know from such hard rock bands as Sons of Huns and Danava. Other than playing my Orange amplifier at excessive decibels, I enjoy plucking out the Baroque stylings of the one and only J.S. Bach on Classical Guitar, I am an amateur mycologist – or I like fungi, or mushrooms. If you’re really in the dark about the entire Kingdom of organisms, without whom plants couldn’t grow in the first place let alone be decomposed and with whom we share a large amount of DNA, making many species great medicine. I am also a sufferer of Lyme & related tick borne illnesses thanks to a deer tick from my home state of Virginia, this has led me down a trying but ultimately rewarding path toward healing, with composing and performing music being a huge part of my medicine and therapy.
Its been pretty quiet from the Sons of Huns camp lately, whats the lays of the land there? Sons of Huns was my first serious musical endeavour and first experience recording, releasing records and touring. We had a great run and I will always smile back on the memories made with my brothers Shoki Tanabe, Ryan Northrop and Aaron Powell, playing music we loved loud and from the heart. We are now on an indefinite hiatus and though I was admittedly upset when I realised we’d all be moving on, I respect my peers and am proud of the accomplishments they’ve made and families they are building in the time since through nothing other than their own sheer determination and unwavering power of will.
How about Danava, are you guys working on new material? Danava is indeed working on new music! The joy I feel when recording new music in the studio is 2nd only to playing loud at live shows. Tee Pee Records put out a 7″ single of our newest, non-stop righteous ripper, “At Midnight You Die” just over a year ago in October 2016. My rig for this session was my trusted Ebony Gibson SG Standard running into an Ibanez TS808Tube Screamer used when needed to push the tubes into extra overdrive of my much beloved OR-100 amplifier head paired with a single OR-PPC 4X12. We cut the song live in the studio, only adding Greg’s vocals and blazing lead as overdubs. I think that was crucial in capturing the magic performance of this high speed, hard rock track: the four of us in the same room, hitting hard holding nothing back. The melodic Maiden style duel guitar riffs that fly together in harmony through verse, into the chorus and unrelenting bridge until the song ends explosively, is an approach fans can expect to hear more on our next release.
How do you guys work together creatively as a band? Gregory Meleney is the driving force behind Danava and our fearless leader. He has composed the majority of the material from the band’s early days up to present. Greg is a natural musician with a great ear for melody, harmony, and rhythm and his throw away riffs would make most guitarist weep and either give up or go home and practice. The rhythm section consisting of Matt Oliver on drums and bass player Dominic Casciato, who as well as myself have a Classical background, and myself are all of the later constitution and as such have grown as musicians and can now pick up Greg’s ideas quickly, facilitating a faster song writing process. Most great musicians are perfectionists and plagued with self doubts, and I think one way I’ve helped our process is by reinforcing which iteration of a riff is the strongest and in which order makes the most impact. At the end of the day, Greg is also the singer and so he makes decisions on key and register. I should note Danava, Sons of Huns in the past and my solo compositions, utilize a slightly lower reference pitch than the present day standard. A=432 Hz as opposed to A=440Hz, the book The Cosmic Octave offers enlightenment on this seemingly small, but purposeful and incredibly significant alteration.
You mention solo compositions, is that something you’ve ben working on recently and anything we can expect to hear anytime soon? Yes, with a little luck it will be sooner rather than later! I’ve been tracking demo recordings at home going through and adding to my riff library and playing a lot of bass and drums lately to realise the song’s well enough so that as the things are falling into place here with increasing speed, I can have musicians with actual talent on those instruments take my compositions to the level or raw power I hear in my head. As long as we continue to hit it off as we have since meeting rather recently, and she doesn’t hate the demos… I have the low-end rumble and crushing power all lined up and drummers, well the good ones are usually playing in at least three bands but I have feelers out there and my hard drummin band mate in Danava, Matt Oliver, is required to play on at least one song whether or not he has realized it yet. Working title of this project is ” “, keep your eyes peeled and snag a copy and crank it when you see it available! The core makeup is the classic guitar, bass, drums Power Trio instrumentation but as I foresee it as a recording project, I won’t be putting as many limits on myself as far composition in terms of being able to play it live. I am enjoying implementing different timbres and more psychedelic sounds at times and adding multiple layers and harmonies swelling and building to an orchestral sound of numerous guitars.
You’ve been using Orange for quite some time now, what’s your current setup and history with the brand? I have! I long lusted for an Orange amp and finally picked up a Rockerverb 50 combo of my own in the summer of 2007. I had just graduated a proud alumnus of Willamette University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Guitar Performance and moved up to Portland, Oregon to pursue music. I used the RV50 combo for several years and acquired an Orange PPC4X12 to add to my rig. This Orange 50 watt amplifier running 6X12 speakers paired with an SG was the backbone of my sound during the earlier days of Sons of Huns. I was elated and honored when I became an Orange Ambassador in the winter of 2013! I celebrated this achievement with the acquisition of an OR100 amplifier and another PPC4X12 cab, so I could run my thundering new amplifier head through a proper 8X12 stack of sonic & striking Orange beauty. Orange amplifiers are the foundation of my sound on stage and in the studio. I do use some low wattage secret weapon tube combo amps in the studio for overdubs and at home for lower volume but full tube saturation recording. That being said, I think those amps will be decommissioned if/when I snag one of your OR15 amplifier heads that I have had a keen eye on. I’ve never been a shoe-gazing pedal pusher, preferring to plug my guitar into a superior tube amplifier with beautiful and plentiful gain on tap, such as you fine folks at Orange craft. I use a few other pedals recording at home, the few that clock in the most hours being an MXR MicroAmp, boosting those little low wattage tube combos, an MXR Phase 90 for the swirls, and a JHS Pulp n’ Peel compressor. In Sons of Huns I used a CryBaby Wah-Wah into my OR-100 amplifier head and a stack of PPC4X12s and currently in Danava I play a few guitars, my trusty Ebony Gibson SG Standard, a 70s Guild S-100, and most recently a 1963 Gretsch Corvette that is absolutely sexiest guitar I’ve played to date, into an Ibanez TS808 Tube Screamer to push the front end of my OR-100 when I get to play the fancy bits!
I gotta ask, what’s the story behind the sweet photo of yourself and your stacks of Orange in the desert? This photo was taken by Tyler Cox of Light Science Productions in the desert of Show Low, Arizona while Sons of Huns was on a two week break in between touring around the States with our German brothers Kadavar, and then all over again with Doom legends Saint Vitus. It is not a staged shot, we brought out a generator and fired up our amps, and although we only had Tyler taking photos and video, our road-hand Nat, and the vast expanse of the Arizona desert as an audience, we played high volume versions of several songs, most notably the freshly composed “Powerless to the Succubus”. This track can be found on the A-side of the 7″ Kiss the Goat collaboration with local Portland Gigantic Brewery, which coincided with the bottling and distribution of their Kiss the Goat black dopplebock beer. I also have to say thanks to the Orange Amps Instagram feed for psychically knowing when to post this pic on a day when I needed a little reassurance the most.
So all you geetar-fiddlers out there that haven’t experienced the bliss of plugging into an Orange, grab one quick let ‘er rip!
Thank-you Ella for the interest and interview, and thank you Orange for allowing me to do my damnedest to make a contribution to keep Rock & Roll alive!
A few shout outs to the people helping out Sons of Huns along the way; I have to give a shout out to Devin Gallagher Founder of High Scores and Records who released the first Sons of Huns self-titled EP and Toby Tanabe for the stunning artwork, Kelly “Gator” Gately of Powerblaster Records for releasing the “Leaving Your Body” 7″ record and Adam Burke of Nightjar Illustration for his otherworldly album art and Matthew Thomas Ross for directing our one and only music video for the title track, Daniel Hall RidingEasy Records who released our first L/P on vinyl “Banishment Ritual” (again Adam Burke coming through with the fantastic gatefold album artwork) as well as the following album “While Sleeping Stay Awake”, Gigantic Brewing for the collaboration and release of the “Kiss the Goat” 7″ record and corresponding brewing & bottling of their knock-you-on-yer-ass dark beer, Pat Kearns for recording and mixing the majority of your discography at his Portland studio PermaPress (R.I.P.) as well as being a true friend and mentor -Love You Pat, Toshi Kasai for his skillful hand at the console in his studio Sound of Sirens in LA and for bringing the seed within me to fruit to ‘Double That Shit!’, the loving and caring STUMP sisters and DC himself for their hospitality and support, and I got say thank you and send my love to my man Wino for coming through and singing with me on the SOH track ‘An Evil Unseen’ from the “While Sleeping Stay Awake” L/P. I’d also like to give a hug and kiss and huge thanks to our dear families, friends, and fans that supported us through the years and came out to shows, bought records or t-shirts and those who continue to support our music & mercy via Bandcamp. What more can I say? Me and the boys have the Sons of Huns triangle tattooed upon our sickly human flesh.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Peter-Hughes-OR100-PPC412-CR3.jpg13331333Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2018-01-09 19:00:192018-12-18 13:13:28Interview: Danava & Sons of Huns’ Peter Hughes
Kirk: Hey i’m Kirk Windstein from the band Crowbar out of New Orleans.
I started using the Crush 120’s, I ran into Alex at a show in Atlanta and we kind of reconnected again. Because when I left “Down” I had always used Randall solid state with Crowbar from the 80’s, Dimebag turned me on to them when Phil Anselmo joined Pantera in 87′, I used them ever since with Crowbar.
He was like: “good to see you again”
When I sent him the email saying i was leaving “Down” and I wasn’t going to be using Orange but thank you for everything and I still love the product.
So he is like: “I’ve got something you might dig”
I’m like: “What’s that?”
He goes: “We make a solid state amp now, how about I send you one?”
I said: “Sure”
So I’m like I can’t wait to get this thing to the rehearsal room, so I got it there and within two or three minutes I was like this is definitely what I’m looking for.
The thing is, up and till, when Dime turned me on to the Randall was right around the time we started to drop tuning, about 1988 Crowbar were tuning to B standard or drop A, way before the seven string came into popularity. I couldn’t get a good tone out of any tube amp but the Randall solid state got the bottom end was so much tighter and wasn’t so broken up, so I was sold on the solid state thing. When I tried the Orange Crush 120 I was blown away by how much even with our tuning it sounds like a tube amp, its got warmth that a normal solid state amp doesn’t have, it’s a better version of what I have been looking for.
I’m very old school, I don’t use an effects loop or anything, I actually just use of course a tuner. I use, I know they suck, everybody always asks me why I use it, I use a metal zone but I use it as a clean boost. So my level is on ten, my overdrive is on zero, so I’m getting no saturation from it, the EQ is at 12 o’clock. So the pedal, I’m not really using any EQ or gain, it just kind of gives it a little clean boost, it tightens it up. As far as my settings, i’m still working them out, I have my bass on eight, my treble on about four and a half and my mids on about four. It’s still a work in progress!
For me using the Orange 4X12’s its the wood, the Baltic birch, the rear mounted vintage Celestion 30’s which is pretty much the only speaker I like to use. It’s the same idea as the Marshall and Boogie and everything else, I just think it is a better made cabinet. Even our sound guy in States was saying when we were talking about the Orange cabinets:
“Man, I should have never fucking got rid of mine, it’s like the best sounding cabinet!”
To me it just is, when you pick the cabinet up, you can just tell, it’s just fucking heavy, not just sounding no pun intended! But its just a lot heavier duty, the handles are metal, everything isn’t plastic and trying to cut corners. Its just a very well made product and that shows in the tone you get out of it.
Hank : Hey what’s up everybody I’m Hank, from Lionize, I play the bass.
Nate: I’m Nate from Lionize, I play the guitar, and we are here at our Black Heart in Camden Town, London.
Hank: We are in our van, outside of that place.
Nate: We are in an alley in Camden.
Hank: We are in an alley in Camden, which is very homey!
Nate: It smells good.
Amp wise for me its two things and two things only. Its tone and reliability, if the amp sounds great but shits out every three gigs, its for the garbage pile.
Hank: And he is very good at that. Its very good at getting things, thinking they are going to be great and deciding they are awful.
Nate: One show even and soundcheck.
Hank: This my favourite amp ever and now i’m selling it!
Nate: But I have consistently had Orange as part of my rig since about 2011-2012.
My rig on this current tour, is the same rig as the home US tour, minus a speaker cabinet. Its an Orange OR50 going into a PPC112, thats AB’d with a 1976 Marshall JMP 212 Combo.
Hank: My rig on this run, I’m playing an Ampeg SVT Classic through the OB15 and OB410.
Nate: I always have an Orange cab in my rig, for specifically in guitar speaking for the low and mid. There is no low end resonance like an Orange 412, even the 112 is shockingly vibrant and resonant. They are quite heavy but I think once that wood connects with the floor, that’s how you get that sound. So gladly lug it up any set of stairs.
Hank: I go back to Orange simply because it adds an element of grit for me bass playing wise. Its add some dirt in a way that other cabs dont.
Nate: Different bands measure success on a spectrum, for some its money. Some its…
Hank: Lobster and hookers.
Nate: Lobster and hookers. But I think for a band like us because we are such fans of music and looking at the web site and seeing our name on same list as Stevie Wonder and Jimmy Page and Geddy Lee and Billy Gibbons. We are going to go along and say that’s a pretty nice notch on the old success…
Nate: Headboard! We measure success in headboard notches! Thats one of them! And Lobsters and Hookers!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Youtube-Thumbnails-Lionize-no-logo.jpg17242584Orange Ampshttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngOrange Amps2017-10-20 12:16:062019-11-30 16:51:55Interview – Hank and Nate from Lionize and Orange Amps.
Tim Sult: Tim Sult from Clutch here, i don’t remember the first time I saw an Orange amp but I definitely remember the first time I heard an Orange amp. That was when I saw Sleep play live, when we were recording our first album, that would have been in 1993.
When we were on tour, probably the year after that in 1994, I found an old Orange amp, in a music store in Colorado for $600, so I bought that. It was an old OR120, I was just using it for everything, I just used to turn it up as loud as it would go, that was all I did with it for a while, until I blew it up! Which happened many times!
We have different gear over here in Europe than we do in the U.S. but over here I have got a 40th anniversary OR50 up on stage, I love that thing. At home I found two, old Orange combos, two 70’s combos. I believe they are both OR120 overdrive combos and I have been playing those in the U.S. and those are phenomenal, it would be great if you could clone those old Oranges.
For me I like a clean tone, with just a little bit extra, I don’t really have much luck going with a really overdrivey tone. I usually think it sounds a bit better, more Clutch like if it is a little more clean. So thats what I like about the OR’s they have a big, clean sound, that you can add overdrive into.
For some reason the Orange cabs always seem like they have a little more life than any other cabs that I own, so that is definitely my favourite part about the Orange cabinets. They seem to have more top end and more bottom end, than any of the other cabinets I have.
I usually don’t use a huge amount of effects, I use a phaser, I have a Electro Harmonix Micro Pog, octave thing I always like to use, and I use a wah. I always run my effects through the front of the amp, I have never used any kind of effects loop. If you have a good sounding amp, thats 95% of the battle right there, I think my thing with Orange is to let the amp itself make the tone and not make the pedals themselves make the tone.
With the next album, we have been writing for a good long time, I am definitely going to be trying to work in as much Orange stuff as humanly possible!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Youtube-Thumbnails-Clutch-No-text.jpg17242584Orange Ampshttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngOrange Amps2017-10-13 12:40:342019-11-30 16:51:56Interview – Tim Sult of Clutch
David Sullivan – Hi I’m David from the band Red Fang and I play guitar. The first time I saw an Orange amp that I can remember, was a band called “Das Damen” sometime in the 90’s and it was in a small club, and they were really loud, sounded amazing. I remember the guitar player reaching back to his amp, I think it was an OR series amp, an older one, and he turned a switch and then it became even more amazing sounding and I didn’t really know much about amps at the time. I mean I was playing amps at the time but it just sounded amazing and the Orange always stuck in my head, and I always remembered the symbols that you guys use for the controls. That was probably the first time in the 90’s, when I saw “Das Damen” and it blew my mind!
What do I look for in terms of an amp? Well I like a nice, you know I want everything to be articulate, so I want to hear everything, the low notes and the high notes all at the same time. I like some beef to it, some “oomph” to it, basically that, articulate but have that growl!
When I first played an Orange it was probably playing a friends Orange, just messing around. But the first Orange I got was the Tiny Terror, the 15 Watt, I love it. Actually on our album “Murder the Mountains” the recordings were done with some different amps but all the overdubs were done with the Tiny Terror. Now I have a Dual Terror, which I love, that’s my main amp I practice on at home. Now I have the CR120, which is the newest amp that I’m playing, I’m used to solid state amps, we have been using the Sunn Beta Leads for years and not that this is the same but it sounds awesome. I know a lot of people are like tubes over solid state, you’ve got to have tubes but I think solid state amps can sound amazing and this definitely sounds amazing.
It just so happened, that our bass player had three or four beta leads and we were all at practice one day and we all said lets see what it sounds like if we all play the same amp. So for Red Fang it’s always been solid state, the solid states are great for traveling as they are rugged, there are no tubes to break but I really like the sound of nice tubes but thats what I love about this, it sounds like a fuckin’ tube amp, it sounds great! I like all kinds of amps, I don’t have to have solid state, I’m not like no tubes at all but I know that a lot of people don’t realise that solid state can sound really good. I feel that there are people who think it can’t be as good as tube amp but it definitely can be.
I like the Orange because it has a nice, little mid bump, it’s just perfect and as I was saying I like it to be articulate, so I like a little extra mids. Well to be honest I don’t have much experience with different cabs, so when I got the Oranges, it was like “there it is”. They sound great, really nice and they are rugged. Oranges has been great to us, Orange is like legendary, especially in like our, I don’t want to put a label on us but in the stoner rock, doom. I consider us hard rock but its great to be representing Orange!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Red-Fang-No-Logo.jpg17242584Orange Ampshttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngOrange Amps2017-09-29 13:00:572019-11-30 16:51:56Interview – David Sullivan of Red Fang.
You released your latest album ‘Near to the Wild Heart of Life’ in January, a record I find – not necessarily more tidy, but more polished than a lot of your previous stuff.
I feel like when we started the band we wanted to be one kind of band and make one style of music, and that’s kind of what we did. We’d write a certain kind of song, record it a certain kind of way, play a certain kind of show, and we did that for several years, two records and about 500 shows. I think by the time we finished that we were both older and had been doing it for a while, and we’d discovered new music and kind of just began to be interested in doing things a bit differently. We were looking for a way to keep the band going, but also to keep ourselves very excited and interested in it. It’s easy, when you find success with a certain sound or certain kind of song to continue to do that indefinitely. Most people are glad The Ramones or AC/DC never drastically changed their songs or style of playing, as they’re both bands that do what they do incredibly well, that you don’t want them to stray from that, then there’s other bands that are equally as great, where part of their greatness comes from them deciding to switch things up and explore sonic territory with different kinds of songs, and those bands wouldn’t be as great if they didn’t do that. David Bowie wouldn’t be who he was, if he continued making the same record for 40 years. There’s that adventurous and rebellious nature in making music that can lead to spectacular failures, but also spectacular success, and I think we kind of looked at ourselves and the band and decided that for the third record, we could be going into either of those directions, but we had been in the game long enough to feel comfortable taking that risk.
Things that never used to interest us we began to find very interesting, changing the way we write songs, how we record them – just experiment more. Try to break out of our comfort zones. It’s our third record but in many ways it feels like our first record all over again, because we kind of just decided to ignore our past and do whatever we thought felt good, sounded good and what we were interested in, and in that process there was a lot of learnings both good and bad, but I think that’s what kept it interesting for us. Now that we’ve got that one record where we’ve started drifting away from what we were doing before, now it’s ok to explore some more. We play in a two piece band, and when a lot of people think of two piece bands, I think they typically think of minimalism, that the songs and recording will be done in a very minimal manner, and I think we’ve always had that opposite attitude where we’ve always wanted to see how big we could make everything sound, even if it was just the two of us, and I think that’s where we’re at now, with how we record those songs now. We did the minimal and lo-fi thing for a while and it was great, but for us there was no more adventure left in that. We know how to do that, and there’s no risk.
“There’s that adventurous and rebellious nature in making music that can lead to spectacular failures, but also spectacular success, and I think we kind of looked at ourselves and the band and decided that for the third record, we could be going into either of those directions, but we had been in the game long enough to feel comfortable taking that risk.” Brian King, Japandroids
With this album we knew that it would alienate some people who were really into the old records, but at the same time, most great artists alienate people along the way. That’s just what makes their careers as a whole so great, that they’re bold and adventurous artists, and that’s the sort of the company we want to be in. I think my point is, that we don’t want to be that sort of band where you can reduce our sound to one simple song or record. As I mentioned before with David Bowie, not that I’m comparing us to him in any way, but with him – you cant just play someone a song and say ‘this is David Bowie’, you have to play them at least twenty songs as he covered a lot of ground.
You mention exploring new musical territory – I know you recently played a show with At the Drive In, a band which sound is pretty different from yours, is that one of those newly found sounds or someone you’ve been listening to for a while?
At The Drive In is a band Dave and I was really into ages ago when they first were around, so to get to play with them was really cool as they were a band we’ve always looked up to and idolized. Even though our music is very different from theirs, we share a similar ideology behind the music and how we play it. Both bands go out on stage and try to perform as intensely as possible. Dave and I always go on stage and try to give everything we have to give, and those guys do the same thing, the difference is that there’s five of them, and when you have five guys giving their all to their instrument, and giving it as tight as those guys do, it’s pretty fucking spectacular. There’s some sort of release that goes on when they play, they physically let go and give their entire body to perform that song and that set, and that’s what we have in common with them.
Photo by Joao Machado via Fluffer Pit Parties
With you guys only being a two piece, there is a lot of pressure on you as a guitarist – what do you look for when selecting your amps, and what do you take into consideration?
When we first started playing together we had drums, one guitar and one amp and double microphones, very minimalistic, but that’s sort of all you really need. The White Stripes proved that you can be very minimal but still write great songs and put on a great show, and become one of the biggest bands i the world in their time, and that’s how we started. As I mentioned earlier though with us changing up our sound and what we do, we decided that instead of embracing that minimalism, we wanted to sound bigger than we really were capable of sounding. First, we added a second amp, and then a bass amp. After that, a third amp. What you start doing is creating this Frankenstein monster of amplifiers, and the idea is that each one is creating a different sound that on it’s own, necessarily isn’t anything special, but as a whole becomes something really big, really massive. Another thing we take into consideration is if the amps can actually survive to be an tour with us, as we treat our gear pretty rough. We’ve been using Orange cabs for quite some time now and they sure can take a beating.
In a few hours, you’re about to play one of the Fluffer Pit Parties, as show that’s set up completely different than a normal gig, with the stage and band in the middle of the room and the crowd 360, how is your approach to that? 99,99999% of the shows we play this year, we’ll be facing the crowd, so the fact that we have to re-think the way we set up, and the way we perform means that it wont be a typical show. There will be people here who’ve never seen us before and might not ever get the chance to do so ever again, so we’ll be trying to bring our ‘normal’ and proper Japandroids experience, then there’s people who might see us every time we’re in town, so we also want to give them a different experience than what they’ve seen from us in the past. We’re gonna set the amps up on the floor and have the stage pretty clear, which is very untypical for us as it’s normally pretty tight and we’re a bit boxed in, so I guess there will be a lot more room for me to spin around and play. Just given the set up and the fact that we’ve never actually played this way, I cant say how it’s going to go. I think it will very much be one of those ‘in the moment’ situations where you just get up there and get on with it and see where the vibe takes you and lay the land as you go along.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/Japandroids-14-theone.jpg20033000Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px.pngElla Stormark2017-09-26 14:00:502018-12-18 13:19:11Interview: Japandroids’ Brian King
You were very young when you started this band, how did it all come about, and how did you get into this kind of music in the first place? We got into metal from hearing the background music in anime cartoons like Naruto, and in WWE. Jared was already playing drums at this point, and I had just started having guitar lessons, then Jarad just had the idea of starting a band.
Unlocking the Truth’s first claim to fame was playing in Times Square which gained you a lot of social media attention – who’s idea was it to take the band to the streets? It was my parents’ idea to take us to Times Square, they knew we had talent and wanted to get us the best exposure, and what’s a better place than being in the center of Times Square with tourists from all around the world? People with cameras and phones taking pictures and recording? It just made sense.
You’ve got some incredible accomplishments for such a young age, is there anything in specific that pops to mind as a highlight, or a ‘pinch me’ moment? Everything should have been “pinch-me” moment like performing at Coachella, Bonnaroo, opening for Manson, Motörhead, Living Colour and Metallica. I guess we were so young and didn’t know how big of a deal these things were. Now when I look back, I realize most people will never get to say things like they opened for these bands – and we have accomplished all that before high school. It’s really amazing to think about and it keeps me going.
You’ve also had a documentary ‘Breaking a Monster’ made about yourselves, how was the experience of having someone so up and close in your lives, and sharing it all with the world? I had fun shooting the documentary. The cameras weren’t as personal as you might think. They were pretty much like flies on the wall and sometimes I forgot they were even there.
Now to the reason we’re both here – Orange Amps! You’re an Orange ambassador, and we’re very excited to have you! What’s your history with the brand? I’m very excited and proud to be an Orange Ambassador, it’s such a great brand! The first time I heard about Orange was in a tutorial video by Slipknot’s Jim Root, I loved the rawness of Orange, whether it’s the smooth clean or rich and but distorted tones. I also remember skyping Alex Auxier (Orange A&R) back in 2014, where he asked us a bunch of questions about which bands we liked and what sound we were going for to give him a better idea of what we really needed. The next thing I knew, these giant boxes arrived, including the Jim Root amp and speaker cab, and I just screamed! Later I graduated to the Dual Dark 100 and 4 x 12 cabs. My guitar sounded so real, everywhere I perform, I must have an Orange Amp. It just sounds right – it sounds perfect!
You released your debut album ‘Chaos’ last year, and you recently independently released your single ‘My Chains’, can you tell us a bit about the song? Yes, we independently released My Chains on August 29th. This song came about while recording demos at home in my basement, it started out with the main riff and then I built the electronics, verses and chorus around that. After a few days of testing different song structures, we had a solid song idea which was enhanced once again by our producer, Kenta Yonesaka (Germano Studios NY). I love this song because it’s something new and a little different from the stuff we usually do, we’re finding our own sound and I think people can tell, so expect more change and growth from Unlocking The Truth, this is only the beginning.
With the release of this single we have to ask – can we expect a follow up to ‘Chaos’ in the next foreseeable future? I don’t want to give away too much information as of yet because we are still planning, but we sure will have more music coming in the very near future, so stay tuned.
First of all, you’ve got a pretty sweet deal here tonight playing with Bad Religion at the Kentish Town Forum, how did that all come about? Charlie: Well, we’ve told our agent about a few bands that we really like, and after that I think she must have worked some kind of magic! Previously we’ve played with bands such as NOFX and Alkaline Trio, and it must have gone well as we’ve been allowed to open up for Bad Religion!
You must be pretty stoked! You just got back from Italy, how was that?
Charlie: Yeah, today is the day of us kickstarting touring again, we just got back from Italy a few days ago as we were flown over there to play Curtarock Festival – we’re a three piece so it’s quite easy for us to travel light. We brought a backpack full of merch to sell so we could get some money for beer, and that was pretty much it. It was 31 degrees, we had a pool.
Damn, this is the first time ever touring’s sounded luxurious, normally I’m used to hearing about bands spending 18 hours in a van, that sorta stuff. Charlie: Oh, don’t get me wrong, we’ve had our fair share of 18 hour drives, vans breaking down – this Italy thing isn’t how we normally roll.
Your second album ‘Outsiders’ was released in May, how did you attack that whole process of recording the second time around compared to your debut album? Charlie: We’ve been very used to overdubbing, so this time we really wanted to focus on getting that live sound and did all the songs as a three piece in the studio. Thom literally only did two guitar tracks, one where we all played together, then another one after in the same live room, followed by vocals. We had plans to go to America and record with Steve Albini, but that would have cost us a lot of money, so we ended up getting our friend to do it and use the same process as Steve would have used, which is to have it as live and raw as possible – it’s more about the vibe than the talent, and I think it flows better than the first one. Punk just sounds better live.
Well, let’s get down to business, the reason we’re both here is because of Orange Amps, what’s your history with the brand? Charlie: On our first ever tour as Gnarwolves, my friend was in a band called ‘As We Sink’ and he had the terror going through an 8×10 or 8×10 cab, and I just knew I needed that tone. The fact that you can just pack the terror away as well and put it over your shoulder is so sick. I ended up getting one, and I’ve had it for three or four years now and it’s just great! I love it, and wouldn’t go anywhere without it. People still ask me what my tone and sound is, and all I’ve got is one pedal and the terror. Tonight, I don’t even have my pedal with me, so I’ll be plugging straight into the terror using the gain and treble. I’d say any bassist who’s just started and wants to learn to play, the terror is perfect as it’s only got five channels and is so easy to use. I was originally a drummer and only started playing bass for Gnarwolves with Thom (guitarist) basically showing me how to do it, so for me, the terror worked out really well as it wasn’t scary and just quite easy and fun to play around with.
Tuk – We are going to talk about some good shit. In the early days, you guys did 300 shows a year plus, you’ve never quit touring. You tour now more than any other band, what is your secret?
Rick – You got to like what you are doing and people have got to hire you, if we weren’t hired then I don’t know if we would be out quite as much. But about eight years ago we said maybe we shouldn’t tour so much, so we should raise our price and that didn’t stop anything, so we should have raised our prices ten years ago!
Tuk – I’ve heard you have a really special Orange amp? It’s an early one?
Rick – That one right there, right in the middle, I think it is the first one ever made. Basically I bought it from Orange music, in London, I bought it from Cliff Cooper who started Orange.
Tuk – What year was this?
Rick – It was somewhere between 1968 and 1970, because I bought my Mellotron, my first Mellotron from Cliff Cooper, it was used one over in London and I had it shipped over by boat. It was on the first album of Fuse in 1969, we recorded in 1968 so that would have been in.
Tuk – So you’re a self proclaimed hoarder?
Rick – Ye! So this is number one and the guys at Orange told me they made four of them and they haven’t even seen one, so that’s the very first one, very rare. So I’ve had it for forty or something years. Except for the emblem being bust, its perfect.
Tuk – Do you ever track in the studio with Orange?
Rick – I track in the studio with it yes, its got a punch, its got great punch to it. Then Orange was kind enough to build me another one and they made a chequer board for me. Its a little different configuration, looks a bit different. But then about a month ago I was in Seattle, went guitar and amp shopping with Mike McCready from Pearl Jam and I walk in this store, they were all looking at this and that. Then I go BOOM! I point over and that was down on the floor, that is a direct copy of this same one I already have, so I have got two of the four.
Tuk – Have you ever thrown a pick into an orifice, a mouth or an eye ball and was there a lawsuit?
Rick – A lot of cleavage, that is where it is usually drawn.
Tuk – Tell me about the cameo in the Fat Boys movie, because that was fucking wild.
Rick – See they wanted a really crappy actor and they got it. I can’t act, I can react, I’m a pretty good reactor! But as far as acting…
Tuk – I think your rat tail sold it though, you had a nice one.
Rick – They cut out my best line in that movie because I said “I was only going thirty five” but the other line was “I was only going thirty five” and then I gave him the finger!
Tuk – Well if you need somebody cute, to play rhythm guitar Rick, so you don’t have to do all the duties, I’m right here buddy.
Rick – Well why don’t you play with us tonight?
Tuk -Well I didn’t know you were serious Rick but that is awesome!