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Since the formation of Record Store Day in the US, where its headquarters are still based, back 2008, the event has grown and expanded globally with international organisers in the UK, France, Ireland, Netherlands, Japan, Italy, Australia, Spain, Mexico and Poland. Record sales have been on the rise for a long time now, and did in 2019 outsell CDs for the first time since 1986, which is pretty cool.

Obviously, this year’s Record Store Day is a bit of a write off, seeing as we’re all locked up away at home due to the global pandemic. Luckily, that means we should have all the time in the world to listen to our current favourite records, while planning what to purchase once we’re yet again allowed. Record stores will be hit hard by the current situation, so I’m personally gonna treat myself to a couple more than usual once this thing settles – it’s all for a good cause, right…? Support independent businesses and hard working musicians, it’s a no brainer. In honour of this year’s Record Store Day, we figured we’d catch up with some of our artists to find out what’s currently on their turntable.

Thomas Jäger, Monolord

Album: Benefit
Artist: Jethro Tull

One of my fav records is Benefit by Jethro Tull. It hooked me with the midrange punch guitar and reeled me in with the clever lyrics and melodies. I love it.

Sally Gates, Titan to Tachyons

Album: Irony is a Dead Scene
Artist: The Dillinger Escape Plan with Mike Patton

I had some friends turn me on to ‘Irony is a Dead Scene’ when it first came out. At that point, I was listening to a lot of Emperor, Today is the Day, Cryptopsy, etc. I hadn’t heard anything from Dillinger Escape Plan or Mike Patton, other than a couple of FNM tunes on the radio. This record grabbed me immediately, as from the first track it’s a completely chaotic, twisted, and weirdly upbeat ride. It opened my eyes to the possibilities of juxtaposing multiple genres within quickly changing song structures, while retaining a coherent flow.

From here I went down the wormhole of this style (avant-rock/math metal), and came across Fantômas, Mr Bungle, and more Dillinger albums. (The Fantômas ‘Directors Cut’ album became another inspiring record for me in a different way, as a go-to soundtrack while working on paintings). These bands quickly became favourites, and had a marked influence on my writing style. ‘Irony..’ is such a short, perfect 18 minutes, and continues to influence me now. I’ll often throw this on for inspiration on the way to a gig, particularly if it’s free improv. Favourite track: ‘When Good Dogs do Bad Things’. 

Peter Hughes, Sons of Huns & Danava

Album: The Evil One
Artist: Roky Erickson

Roky Erickson was a Texas-born rock ’n’ roll howler best known for his early years with The 13th Floor Elevators, whose lysergic reverb-soaked hit “You’re Gonna Miss Me” was written by Roky at the tender age of 15 and would endure as his highest charting song and the definitive composition of his career. The 13th Floor Elevators are credited as the first Psychedelic Rock group and their first two albums, The Psychedelic Sounds of the 13th Floor Elevators & Easter Everywhere are the most notable. The Elevators LSD-steeped sound rippled across Texas west to San Francisco and clearly influenced the sonic palette of a number of bands that went on to enjoy larger commercial success, the heavyweight of the bunch being boogie behemoths & fellow Texas natives ZZ Top. Guitar hero Billy Gibbons first found his footing on the Texas club circuit with his band The Moving Sidewalks (an obvious nod to the Elevators, as Gibbons himself freely admits) who later toured as the opening act for Hendrix before going on to form ZZ Top. Even Janis Joplin considered contributing her soulful blues-tinged vocals to the 13th Floor Elevators before deciding to head to San Francisco instead. Continue reading here…

Sarah Jane, Gorilla

Album: Gorilla
Artist: Gorilla

Originally, I was going to talk about another artist’s album but unfortunately as RSD got cancelled as well as our European tour, I have chosen the first Gorilla album Maximum Riff Mania. This album was recorded in 2000 exactly 20 years ago, so this makes this a special year for Gorilla as it’s the 20th anniversary of this debut album. Gorilla have put together an ace Coloured Vinyl limited edition reissue, with CD, poster, photos and sticker inserts (limited to 300 copies). It reminds me of very happy times! We recorded the album at Toe-rag studios, back when it was pretty much the only totally analogue studio around and practically no one was really releasing vinyl, and it was all about the CD. We recorded and tracked our set live at the time, including most of the vocals straight from the studio floor. I was using my Rickenbacker 4001 through my trusty gig rig, a seventies Orange OR120 head, and  a Celestion Greenbacks loaded Orange 4×12. The straight-to-tape warmth of the sound, and our super tight performances still make me really proud, considering we’d only been together for a year or so! We didn’t compromise on anything it was influenced by all music that Gorilla loved and not led by any trends that were happening in the year 2000. Maximum Riff Mania “fuck the safety net” rock’n’roll! 

“A power trio in the time honoured tradition of blue cheer and cream, Gorilla recorded the ten track album at London’s analogue friendly Toe Rag Studios. Superbly led by Guitarist/Singer John Redfern, the threesome bridge the gap between old school riff rock and the more recent genre practitioners with dexterity. While the thunderous Coxsackie recalls The Stooges, circa fun house, a potent combination of poppy melody and grungy sounds ensures that She’s Got A Car isn’t far removed from peak period Nirvana. Although clearly boasting enough knowledge of metal history to keep the retro rockers happy, the first Gorilla album suggests they also have the armoury to impact on the immediate future.”
–  Record Collector review

“Imagine if you will Jimi Hendrix jamming with The Who, then throw in a dose of Black Sabbath, then you almost have the rumbling roar which is Gorilla. This is analogue sound at it’s finest and instead of ripping off their hero’s, Gorilla take the influences and make them their own. It’s unfair to label Gorilla as a stoner band although there are elements contained – they are a damn fine rock n roll band who know their way around their instruments and make on hell of a glorious racket.”
– RockSound review

Album available here.

It’s #VoiceOfMetal month and we’re focusing attention on our hard rocking, dope-smoking dooming, metal shredding artist Ambassadors. Here are a few of the metal albums we know for a fact were dripping in Orange tone, some with quotes from the artists themselves about how they used their amps.

Monolord – “No Comfort” (2019)

“For bass, Mika used an AD200B into an Orange OBC810. And just listen to the new record, the bass tones are thick yet clear with lots of string. Mainly he used the Dunable R2 model bass.

Rhythm guitars were put down with one OR100 into an 8ohm PPC412HP cab. The Dual Dark went in to a 90’s Orange cab at 16ohm.

For lead guitar we recorded the whole thing with the Black Country Customs Tony Iommi Boost (and sometimes a few other boosts/overdrives) through the Micro Dark and the PPC112. The tone is really angry in the low-mids and I love it.”- Thomas Jager

Slipknot – “All Hope Is Gone” (2018)

Jim Root had been using a Rockerverb 100 MKI for live touring before Slipknot recorded 2008’s All Hope Is Gone. However, that record would be the first time Root used an Orange for the majority of his guitar parts in the studio. He used the Rockerverb 100 MKI, along with a Diezel Herbert, for rhythm and lead. For the more subtle clean parts he used a Rockerverb 50 MKI 2×12” Combo.

SLEEP – “Holy Mountain” (1992)

Many people think the resurgence of Orange in the 90’s was due to Noel Gallagher using the amp in Oasis. That might have some truth to it, but before that came the liner notes of SLEEP’s Holy Mountain and the Orange OR120 guitar amp featured therein. Matt Pike famously used both the OR120 and a Matamp on Holy Mountain. For a whole new generation of stoner rockers vintage Orange amps became a must-have.

Beartooth – “Aggressive” (2016)

“The Micro Dark has honestly been an amazing tool for me in the studio. It is crazy how much air I can get moving between the speaker and the microphone with this head. It takes pedals great and can be as transparent or violent as you want. The reason I used it was for that pushed crunchy sound in the power section. The sheer amount of volume needed in something like a 50 or 100 watt head for that sound without an attenuator is unrealistic for a basement studio like mine. I’d be tearing the walls down. The Micro Dark has all that beef, low end, and air that I needed without being so loud it’s offensive to the entire neighborhood.

Tube screamer, eq pedal, micro dark through a 4×12… If you want the Beartooth guitar sound, that’s all you need.”- Caleb Shomo

Khemmis – “Desolation” (2018)

“We used a pair of Rockerverb 100 MKIII heads—one into an Orange 4×12, one into an Atlas 2×12 + 1×15—for all of the guitars on Desolation. On our previous records, Phil and I both ran dirt pedals into vintage clean amps for a big, raw wall of guitars. We began using the RK100 as we incorporated more complex chord shapes and single note lines in our new material, as they allowed those nuances to shine through without compromising our ability to be heavy. Not only did the Rockerverbs yield gnarly rhythm and lead sounds, the clean tones we dialed in were glassy and articulate.” – Ben Hutcherson

Chron Goblin – “Here Before” (2019)

“I think an overall goal for the production of ‘Here Before’ was to have it real and organic sounding, avoiding the use of digital enhancements as much as possible. There was a strong focus on capturing the organic input as opposed to editing the output with after effects, which you can hear in the guitar tone. I only used two of Orange’s finest guitar heads, Orange Rockerverb MKIII and OR15, and no other guitar pedals and very minimal after effects. We also made a conscious effort to only have a very moderate amount of gain and treble (opposed to all of the previous Chron Goblin albums in which they were cranked) to ensure the individual notes are very clearly defined, while still maintaining a vicious bite in the tone. For all clean guitar sections we used the Jimi Hendrix approach of rather than use a clean channel, we just turned down the volume and tone knobs of the guitar, which creates that warm, toned-down clean sound while keeping the gain channel settings intact. I think the result is a very organic and honest guitar tone throughout the album that we are super pumped about!” – Darty

“I went into recording the new album knowing the tone I wanted to hear. I tried out a couple basses, and decided to go with my stock 1972 Gibson Grabber (complete with a sliding pickup). After talking with our engineer and general studio jack-of-all-trades, I went with the AD200B with a relatively standard EQ – extra mid and treble, gain around 10 o’clock and master at noon). We re-amped it through the head and OBC810 … and VOILA!” – Richard

Monolord formed in 2013 and hail from Gothenburg, Sweden. The trio have been releasing sludgy metal since then and show no signs of slowing up. Their new album No Comfort was released to rave reviews in September 2019 and their live shows are legendary. Orange caught up with the band at Desertfest 2018 and chatted all things Orange.

Mika: We are Monolord.

We just played at the Roundhouse, it is amazing the feeling, really amazing when come on stage and see all those people in that huge venue, it’s marvellous.

Thomas: Now in London we have played Koko, we have played the Roundhouse and Royal Albert Hall, I don’t know what we do after this.

Mika: What is there left to play?

Thomas: I think most of ones that recognise Orange amps was the early beat club, the German music show where Sabbath and all the other bands played on Orange stuff. After that the Hellacopters used Orange from like early 2000 when it wasn’t that common to play Orange, not in Europe. Around then I bought my first Orange amp, been using it since.

Mika: For me I got my first Orange when I started Monolord but ever since I was a teenager I have been seeing those here and there. A good friend of mine had a dad who had a combo.

Thomas: I am using two full stacks, one on my side and one on Mika’s side. Mika does the same he has one bass rig on his side and one bass rig on my side. On my side I have an old OR120 and the standard cabs and on Mika’s side I have an OR100. Together with that I have the High powered cabs.

Mika: I have the AD200 on my side with an 810 and on his side we have an OB1-500 with an 810.

Thomas: It’s a bit loud!

I must be getting older cause the years keep flying by, and it’s time for Desertfest London yet again, having just about recovered from the last one. Just kidding, I’m totally recovered from that one, but still slightly sleep deprived from last weekend’s Roadburn festival – anyway, enough about myself and my speedy or not so speedy recoveries.

This weekend, as every other year, Camden will be infiltrated with mostly longhaired, although not limited to, music and beer enthusiasts ready to shout along to some of their favourite bands before let’s admit it, getting hammered at the Black Heart and The Dev until 3am before when it’s time to, venture to Woody Grill for lifesaving kebabs that will prepare them, myself included, to do the same thing all over the following day – and then again, the day after that.

Covering last years festival I started out incredibly professional with pen and paper in my bag for professional notes to go in my professional daily recaps I’d be getting up at 8am the following mornings to write, and earplugs because we only get one pair of ears and we must look after them. Four hours into the festival I’d had about eighteen pints, lost an earplug, and a single puff of a cigarette that definitely wasn’t a cigarette and sent me on a magical mystery tour for about 3 hours, making me run away at an incredibly slow pace from my friends to watch various bands in the dark on my own, all while feeling uncomfortable about the way my arms were attached and hanging down the side of my body and accidentally brushing unknowing by-passers.

Radio Moscow, Desertfest Antwerp 2017

This year I’ll be kickstarting my festival nice and early on the Friday when London noise connoisseurs Swedish Death Candy takes the Black Heart stage at 2.45pm. I’ve seen ‘em a million times before, but they continue to deliver impeccable live performances every time, so I wouldn’t wanna miss them. Following that, I’ll be making my way to The Dev for Orange ambassadors Lionize where guitarist Nate will brighten the place up in his all gold outfit, which will most likely be the only all gold outfit at the entire festival. After that, we’ve got Orange ambassador Anthony Meier taking the stage at Underworld, which might just be my favourite venue in all of London, with his band Radio Moscow, and I’m pretty sure will be one of the festival highlights as they blew the roof off as headliners at last year’s Desertfest Antwerp. When Radio Moscow ends, I’ve got half an hour to make my way to KOKO where the kings of Gothenburg and 70s revival rock Graveyard will be headlining the night, with bassist Truls Mörck flaunting his AD200 (Product placement, advert, shameless name drop etc.)

Saturday I might as well set camp at Electric Ballroom with bands such as Church of Misery, Weedeater and High on Fire playing. London, lock up your ladies cause who knows what’ll happen when a shirtless Matt Pike plays his first note through his stack of turned up to eleven Orange amps taking everyone on the train to vibration station – the entire Roundhouse will be speaking in tongues not knowing what hit ‘em, most likely all in a haze of, uhm, Willie Nelson scented incense. ‘Incense’.

Church of Misery, Desertfest Antwerp 2017

Then there’s Sunday, the grand finale which already had a pretty damn strong lineup since day one, until they about a month or so ago threw in King Buffalo which will be headlining the Black Heart at 9pm, Elder playing Roundhouse at 4.30pm, a band that simply just blew me away when I saw them for the second time last August, having added a second guitarist/keyboard player to their line-up, as well as adding a second headliner for the day which is none other than Hawkwind. Hawkwind. H A W K W I N D. ‘Hawkwind live at the Roundhouse’, kinda rings a bell, doesn’t it? The legendary kings and pretty much inventors of space rock will be taking the stage at 7.50pm, and that really is a show I don’t wanna miss. I met Phil Campbell last year, and he told me Hawkwind live was ‘the scariest fuckin’ thing he’d ever seen.’ Fair, that was in the 70s when they had a topless Stacia on stage surrounded by some of the trippiest visuals the world had ever seen at that point, but surely even decades down the line Hawkwind are destined to provide you with a night you’ll late forget. Let’s not forget Monolord who just finished touring with Black Label Society where the played London’s infamous Royal Albert Hall, and will be taking their caffeine fuelled doom to yet another iconic London venue as they open up the Roundhouse at 3pm.

Monolord, Desertfest Antwerp 2017

Between all of this, running between shows, catching up with friends from near and afar and drinking lukewarm, flat beer that I’ve held in my hand for far too long, I’ll also be conducting artist interviews and keeping Instagram a float, keeping you guys up to date with the mayhem and the madness going down in Camden town.


If you wanna join the madness and share the fun, head over to Desertfest London’s website and get your hands on a or two ticket before they’re all completely gone – see ya there!