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Our second ‘How I got into playing’ post where we as part of our ‘Learn the Orange Way’ campaign, offer free guitar lessons for all Orange users (more on that here), and share a series of quotes from some of our artists on why how they got into playing.

Laura Cox

Photo by Carlos Fabian.

I picked up the guitar when I was 14, and I think my dad’s very much to thank for that. He wasn’t a musician himself, but he was very interested in music, and it was something that was a part of my life from a very young age; him playing various country and classic rock records around the house. I first started playing acoustic, but it only lasted for about a year as I realised electric was more my thing. I was just playing around at home, and signed up to Youtube where I started sharing videos of cover songs I was playing. I didn’t really think much of it besides wanting to share my passion with the world, so the response was pretty overwhelming as I ended up getting millions of views! Back then, it wasn’t many females my age doing that sort of thing, posting classic rock covers, so there seemed to be a market for it and it definitely helped me get where I am today!

Kristian Bell, The Wytches

I initially started out playing drums as a kid, and didn’t really get into guitar until I was 17. I’d watch people play Nirvana covers on YouTube and just copy what their hands were doing, that’s how I learnt the basics. I guess already knowing how to  play an instrument was a bit of a head start but I wouldn’t really say I’m a real guitar player, I just wanted to be able to play the Nirvana songs.

Murray Macleod, The Xcerts

Photo by: TLBrooker Imagery

Starting it all off and sparking the interest was definitely the household I grew up in, both my parents and older sister was very into music. My dad in particular is pretty much a rock ’n’ roll historical – not as a profession or a job, but for as long as I can remember he’s just always had this encyclopaedic knowledge about dates, record companies, releases, band members and tours, and he has this amazing vinyl collection that I’d go through as a kid, pick albums to listen to based on their covers and end up with bands such as KISS and The Monkees, but it wasn’t until he played me The Beatles everything changed; I even remember the day and exactly where we were, sat in our car parked up waiting for my sister, and he played me live at the BBC by The Beatles, and I think I must have been about six or seven, I was really young, but it just felt like real life magic.

So, let’s take this back to the beginning – how did you first get into playing?
I picked up the guitar when I was 14, and I think my dad’s very much to thank for that. He wasn’t a musician himself, but he was very interested in music, and it was something that was a part of my life from a very young age; him playing various country and classic rock records around the house. I first started playing acoustic, but it only lasted for about a year as I realised electric was more my thing. I was just playing around at home, and signed up to Youtube where I started sharing videos of covers songs I was playing. I didn’t really think much of it besides wanting to share my passion with the world, so the response was pretty overwhelming as I ended up getting millions of views! Back then, it wasn’t many females my age doing that sort of thing, posting classic rock covers, so there seemed to be a market for it and it definitely helped me get where I am today!

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

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

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

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

Once again we’ve made it through to March and this year’s International Women’s Day. Haters might say we don’t need it, and how can we be equal if men don’t men have a day of their own? Well, men don’t tend to get grabbed and get abuse shouted at them when walking down the street, they don’t get paid less because of their gender, and you know, they don’t have to give birth either so, yeah, we kinda deserve this day – we can grow a human inside us but in some eyes not even that makes us good enough, yikes! Anyway – enough politics for our end, let’s chat music.

At Orange we’ve got quite a few women working for the company such as myself, my name is Ella and I do freelance content creation and artist relations, plus a bunch of other ladies in our offices keeping this ship afloat as well as the wonderful female artists we endorse. Now, there might not be a secret that rock and guitar music might be slightly more male dominated but that doesn’t mean that it’s a boys club, there’s a bunch of rad ladies out there, and today we’ll be shining a light on a few of them:

Orianthi

Rockerverb 50 MKIII
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Orianthi’s got a pretty spectacularly impressive resume, having performed for Steve Vai at the age of 15, and been asked to jam on stage with Carlos Santana at 18. Her big breakthrough came in 2009 when she played lead guitar for Carrie Underwood at the Grammys, which led to Michael Jackson reaching out to her, inviting her to join his band for his “This is it” concert series, which unfortunately fell through due to his death. Since then, she’s played with Alice Cooper, as well as releasing various solo albums as well as winning the award for “Breakthrough Guitarist of the Year” 2010 by Guitar International Magazine.

Hannah Wicklund, Hannah Wicklund & The Steppin’ Stones

Rocker 30

Despite her young age of 21, Hannah Wiklund, the soulful blues guitarist that could probably fit the description of the love child Janis Joplin and Hendrix never had, has got a remarkable 2000 shows behind her. Hannah was gifted a guitar from her dad an an early age, and had her first ever The Steppin’ Stones band practice back in 2005, with the first ever song they played being Neil Young’s “Rockin’ in the Free World.” By the time she finished high school at 16 they had already played over a thousand gigs together. The band released their debut album last year, and are currently touring and gigging, as they’ve always done.

Thao Nguyen, Thao & the Get Down Stay Down

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Thao Nguyen is a guitarist and banjo player and the front woman of Thao & the Get Down Stay Down, a San Francisco based alternative folk rock band. She started playing music around the age of 11, and ended up starting a country pop duo with one of her friends. Shortly after she began performing acoustic solo shows, before eventually forming Thao & the Get Down Stay Down with fellow students. Thao’s lyrics are often about relationships and childhood, with some crossing over into politics. She has also been featured in the 2017 documentary “Nobody Dies: A Film about a Musician, Her Mom and Vietnam”, which follows Thao and her mum as they visit Vietnam, Thao for the first time, and her mum for the first time since the Vietnam war, where she is faced with the two conflicting cultures that helped shape her and her music.

Laura Cox, The Laura Cox Band

Micro Dark
Rockerverb 50 MKIII
Dual Terror
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Laura’s career got a kickstart in 2008 after joining Youtube and sharing videos of herself playing guitar, the response was overwhelming and she quickly built up a following which has now reached over 363k followers and 80 million views. Due to her online success, she formed The Laura Cox Band, which is influenced by Southern legends Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top as well as Aussie rockers AC/DC. There was no other musicians in her family when she was growing up, but hearing her dad play Dire Straits and AC/DC records she felt inspired and intrigued to play that music herself, and was shortly after gifted a guitar for Christmas. The rest is, as they say, history.

Becky Blomfield, Milk Teeth

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OBC810

MILK TEETH bassist Becky grew up in a music loving household with a musical and saxophone playing dad who regularly  However, it wasn’t until the age of 11 that she found her own taste thanks to bands such as Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, which are two of the bands that led here to where she is today. Influenced by the above, punk band MILK TEETH was born in 2013 and have been playing together ever since, although with a few line up changes along they way. The band’s latest release is the single “Stain” which was out just before Christmas, and brings to mind bands such as Hole and Nirvana.