The Voice of Doom, The Voice of Orange? No, as we’ve stated in previous posts, such as February’s “Voice of Clean” is that Orange is much more than stoner and doom amps. However, that stoner and doom bands and artists across the globe have all seem to fall for our heavier than heavy amps might not just be a coincidence; with our dirty and creamy tone we work great for heavier sounds, some might even say excellent, and we often became an obvious choice for these artists. See a selection of our finest Doom
You’re probably not surprised we started this list with Matt Pike, are you? Our favourite shirtless hero and alien expert, singer of songs and player of electric guitars. Whenever Matt Pike comes to town we clear out our backline suppliers within a 50 mile radius before his crew gets given the most exhausting job any road crew has had since the days of Terry Bozzio touring with Frank Zappa. Matt Pike has pioneered doom metal with his band Sleep and become sort of a legend while still alive – he’s also fronting his own band High on Fire which is just as heavy, but faster, like Motörhead. His average Sleep set up normally contains of nine heads, mostly Rockerverbs and Dual Darks, and twelve cabs. Haters will say they ain’t all plugged in, but haters are wrong. For those of you who’s ever been lucky enough to attend a Sleep show and have had the same religious out of body experience as oh so many others while watching Matt Pike tear shit up, you know they’re plugged in and turned up to 11. He also has a dog, and we LOVE dogs over here at Orange.
We have been avid Monolord supporters here at Orange for years now, and have enjoyed seeing the band grow and develop from playing Camden’s Underworld, to be one of the bands closing Desertfest London on the Sunday at the iconic Roundhouse. The Swedish doom vikings have proven themselves to be masters of their kind, and one of many exceptional bands coming out of Gothenburg in the past years. When asking singer and guitarist Thomas V Jäger what the reason behind this Gothenburg explosion could be, he simply replied: “Have you been there, to Sweden? It’s dark as hell and it always rains, no one ever wants to leave their house so instead they stay in and practice their instrument.”, which only leads us to believe that this is the real deal, pure Nordic doom fuelled by darkness.
Rockerverb 100 MKIII Head PPC412 Speaker Cab At the start of their career 27 years ago, Boris began as a hard core punk act, before venturing into the unknown touching base with drone, doom, and experimental metal. Guitarist Wata is a proud Orange ambassador, and claims that she wouldn’t be where she is today wasn’t it for our brightly coloured amps; “The first amplifier that I purchased was Orange OR-120. Its loud orange color and cute design lured me to try out the model. Contrary to its look, I was astonished by super loud yet warm sound, and the mid-to-low frequencies that shook my body! I still use it to this day. I am extremely grateful for your support when we tour many countries. Orange amps have become my trademark. Orange amps are so compatible with my favourite Les Paul and fuzz pedal that my musical career would not exist without Orange amps.”
Weedeater’s Dixie Dave, who on the band’s Facebook page claims “We do what we can’t!” is another doom connoisseur holding the sweet Orange amps close to heart as he “Loves the tone and ass-kicking rumble.” Last I saw of Dixie Dave was in the AMs at the closing party at last year’s Desertfest London where I’d earlier seen them deliver an impeccable performance at the Electric Ballroom, which was the first and last time I saw them with the incredible drummer Carlos Denogean who tragically passed away later in the year. Despite these tragic events, Weedeater is still going strong, with previous drummer Travis “T-Boogie” back behind the drums.
Liverpool based band Conan’s Joe Davis first fell for the Orange tone using some vintage Orange heads; “I’ve been using some excellent vintage amps for several years, including some old Orange heads. I wanted to buy some modern amps that give me the tone and warmth of the vintage heads I have become accustomed to. I’ve used several modern Orange heads at festivals and these have included the Thunderverb 200, the OR50 and OR100. I was initially curious about the sound and then became pretty much hooked on them. They have all the warmth of the older amps I like, but none of the reliability issues.”
I’d like to know why my reverb in my Rockerverb MKIII stopped working. Mikko: This could be caused by a number of things but the first and most obvious thing to check would be the reverb valve (12AT7). If this doesn’t solve the issue then it will most probably be a bad contact with the reverb cables, a faulty reverb tank or reverb transformer. In any case I recommend getting in touch with your local Orange Dealer or taking it to a local repair shop to get it looked at.
I think the HT fuse went in my OR15? Power amp tubes are very fresh. Any other reason why this could happen? Mikko: Have you confirmed that it is the HT fuse that has gone or is this simply an assumption because you’re not getting any sound from the amp? If you’ve tested the HT fuse with a multimeter but it looks fine to the eye it could just be a bad fuse. You could try replacing the fuse with the correct type. If the fuse looks charred it has definitely blown due to a more serious fault in the amp. You say your output valves are new but unfortunately that doesn’t mean they haven’t failed yet. You could try bypassing the preamp entirely by plugging your guitar into the FX return to see if you’re getting any sound. This can help you narrow down the fault – if you’re getting sound from the FX Return you have a fault in the preamp (eg. a bad valve).
Why are your tubes connected straight on to the board…? Pretty much going to burn out the board due to this. Why wouldn’t you house them in a chassis then wired them to the board? For $2500 you would hope to have an amp that didn’t have short cuts/ cost cuts. Mikko: With proper PCB design, a good layout, appropriate creepage clearances, correct voltages and the use of high quality materials and components this is really not a problem. The chassis’ on our amplifier heads are also mounted on the bottom of the sleeve meaning that all the heat will rise out of the chassis rather than into it. We have also made and still make hand wired amps such as the ‘Custom Shop 50’ where all the valve sockets are chassis mount and hand wired.. Of course this is always the preferred method but not everyone can afford a hand wired amp.
I’ve got a 1977 OR80 Overdrive Head (not the combo). It warms up and plays but is on the quiet side. If it turn the volume up to 50% I can talk louder than it…. I put in new matched tubes 1 week before this started happening. Any ideas? Mikko: The OR80 is a very loud amp so it definitely sounds like you’re experiencing some faults here! Considering the age of the amplifier the first things to know before spunking any more money on tubes: has it been to a tech for an inspection and has it had the electrolytic capacitors replaced? From what you’re describing it does sound like a valve related issue to me. Even though your output valves are new it doesn’t mean they haven’t gone already. There could be an underlying issue in the poweramp or could be that you just received a duff pair of valves. When were the preamp valves replaced? One of these could have failed or worn out. The vintage Orange Amps are notorious for chewing through power valves quicker as they’ve got very high plate and screen voltages and no standby switch to protect the amp from huge inrush currents. I would definitely recommend taking it to a reputable technician who can inspect it, do the required repairs, replace the filter caps (if not done already) and get it biased properly. I would also recommend getting a standby switch installed. It can be installed on the SLAVE OUT on the back so there’s no need to drill new holes to the chassis.
I have a 90’s Overdrive 120 half-stack. (Also an OR15 that I love!) How close to the originals are the 90’s amps? I know some of the chassis, etc are original but is there any way to tell specifics? Mikko: For the most part they look pretty close to the originals. The preamp design looks very similar and even the PCB layout is nearly the same as on the 70’s models. Some of the component values are different, for example the capacitor values in the tonestack of the reissues were taken from the Overdrive Series Two circuit. The transformers on the reissues are of course from a different manufacturer. Those 90’s (pre ‘97) reissues were built in the U.K by Matamp and sold by Gibson as they had licensed the Orange name. I have never seen one of these amps or any circuit diagrams for them so I’m afraid I can’t be much more specific than that.
If someone can answer my questions it is probably you: Which Solid State amps can I use without a load? I have an OB1, can I use it without speakers? I was also thinking of getting a Little Bass Thing or aTerror Bass reissue, and that would be a decisive factor. There’s always contradictory information from people on the internet and even from the sales people at Orange. Thanks for your time! Mikko: You’re fine to use any of those solid state amps without a load. With modern solid state amplifiers this is rarely an issue. This definitely comes in handy for silent recording at home!
Does the original Rocker 30 share a preamp stage with any of the modern heads? I heard the R32 has a different schematic. And is that because of the fx loop? Thanks! Love my Rocker. Mikko: The Rocker 30 and the Rocker 32 share a very similar preamp stage, they’re nearly identical apart for a couple of components. A little bit of brightness was added to the Rocker 32 clean channel as people thought the Rocker 30 clean channel sounded a bit too warm. There were other design concepts implemented that made these amps very different. Such as: The ‘Rocker 30’ runs the preamp heaters at 5vAC rather than the typical 6.3vAC. The mains transformer used had a spare 5v winding for a rectifier valve (not used in the R30) and this tap was used for the preamp valves.. Very cool stuff! Also the cathode biased EL34 output stage sounds and feels very different.
My JR terror is extremely noisy at high gain… even with a quality noise gate… what could be the issue? P.S… I love your products! Mikko: The Jim Root Terror is a 4 gain stage amplifier, so it will always have some noise to it at extremely high gain settings. But if you’re experiencing an offensive amount of noise it is very possible that you have a bad/noisy valve in your amp. I would try swapping out the first and second preamp valve one at a time to see if that does the trick. Also make sure you’re using your noise gate in the FX Loop! If you’re using a lot of gain there will always be some noise coming from the preamp so putting your noise gate in front of the amp isn’t going to do very much.
I have a 70’s OR80R combo. Turning up the reverb also adds high frequencies. Mikko: ‘It will just do that’ is the short answer to this question. Some of the older Orange Amps, especially the rarer models with add-ons such as reverb, master volume, slave outs etc. can be a bit weird with some design quirks to say the least. The OR80R is a very rare amp and there weren’t many made in the first place so it wouldn’t surprise me if the reverb was implemented in some strange way. That said, I have never seen one of these amps in person and there aren’t even any original schematic diagrams left as far as I’m aware. A regular chassis with some rudimentary modifications was used to build these amps so even that shows it was more of a limited and experimental model. It looks like a separate PCB was used for the reverb components and no reverb transformer was used.
Reverb is out on my Rockerverb MKII 100 How do I know if it’s the fuse or spring? Mikko: If your amp is working but your reverb isn’t, it won’t be a fuse. It will most likely be a dead reverb valve. The Rockerverb MKII uses two 12AT7 (ECC81) valves for the Reverb (positions V6 & V11) and if one of these is dead you won’t get any reverb. If that doesn’t solve the problem then we could be looking at faulty reverb leads, tank or even a faulty reverb transformer. I would recommend taking this to a reputable technician and it should be a fairly quick and inexpensive fault to fix.
My OR15 will turn on but won’t produce any sound. Worked fine the day before this happened. Have checked all fuses and tubes. Took to local shop, but they aren’t a certified Orange dealer, so they couldn’t really do much investigation. Any suggestions? Or do I need to have it sent in? Mikko: When you checked the fuses did you do it by visual inspection only or did you test them with a multimeter as well? If it was only a visual inspection there is a possibility that your HT Fuse is just faulty (the filament could’ve come loose). You should plug your guitar directly into the FX Return of your OR15, this will bypass the preamp entirely and put your signal straight into the power amp. If this works it could tell there is a fault in the preamp (eg. a bad valve). You could also have a bad contact in your FX Loop jack sockets on the back of your amp. If one of these contacts has dirt or corrosion and something is not making contact it will cut your signal entirely. The FX Loop is a fully valve buffered loop running in a series configuration meaning the signal still goes through the valve and the switching jacks when unplugged. You should definitely try cleaning the FX Loop jack sockets, a simple way is to apply some contact cleaner (if you’ve got some) on a jack plug and inserting it into both sockets a dozen times. This should clear out any dirt and you’ll quickly find out if it was that! If any of the above doesn’t work or help you should definitely take it to a local amp technician/repair shop. They should all be capable of repairing the amp with or without being Orange Certified. Alternatively if you live in the U.K you’re more than welcome to send the amp in for us for a repair. If this is something you’d consider you can email us on [email protected].
Would my OR15 ever need a “tune up”? Also, how often do the tubes need changing? Thanks!! Mikko: Yes your OR15 will eventually need a tune up! Lucky for you these amps are very low maintenance and easy to keep running for years by yourself if you’re comfortable with the occasional valve change. I personally don’t really change my valves unless there is an issue or the amp is starting to sound dull but it is good practice to at least change the output valves every now and then. This really depends on how often you play: If you’re playing everyday and gigging every week you probably want to change them at least once a year. If you play at home once a week and play the occasional gig they’ll last you a lot longer. The OR15 uses 2x EL84 valves in a cathode biased configuration meaning you won’t need to get the bias adjusted when you replace them. You just need to purchase a matched pair of EL84’s (they must be matched) and install them in your amp. I recommend JJ’s as they seem to make one of the most reliable and good sounding EL84’s at the moment, they are widely available and won’t cost you a fortune.
Since this morning I have no more sound on my Orange Rocker 15, but yesterday I had sound. Have my tubes gotten out of service? Mikko: Assuming the amp still powers on yes it is very likely that one of your valves has gone bad. But first I would check the HT Fuse, this might seem fine on a visual inspection but if tested with a multimeter it could just be a bad fuse with a loose filament. I would also try plugging the guitar straight into the FX Return on the back of the amp. This bypasses the preamp entirely and let’s you plug straight into the power amp so if you’re getting sound the fault must be in the preamp (eg. a bad valve). You should also try and clean the FX Loop jack sockets. The signal still passes through the switching jacks when disconnected so any issues here could cause it to cut out. Apply some contact cleaner (if you’ve got any) on a jack plug and plug it into both sockets a dozen times. This should clear out any dirt or corrosion and fix the problem. If none of the above works it is definitely time to take it to your local Orange Dealer or an amp repair technician.
Which valves should I put in my OTR120? Thanks! Mikko: For this amp I would try to pick output valves that can handle the higher plate & screen voltages. If I wanted to stick with EL34’s I’d probably go with Svetlana Winged C’s. The KT77 would be an interesting option, they’re a direct drop in replacement but can take the higher screen voltages and I’ve heard them sound great in other amps. Valve choices largely depend on taste and budget but I would ask the dealer about EL34’s that can handle higher plate and screen voltages. For preamp valves I’d personally go with some nice NOS valves like Mullards for example. There aren’t many preamp valves in it (1 preamp valve and 1 phase inverter) so it won’t cost you much, and they’ll last you a lot longer so you won’t be swearing everytime you blow an output valve.
So my OR100 just seems like it loses its balls about 30 minutes into playing. Worn out tubes? Mikko: This will most probably be old and worn out tubes. If you’ve had these in your amp for a while it’s probably time for a visit to the tech for an inspection, a revalve and a bias!
My RV50MK3 is making an angry kinda grumble/buzz, I’ve taken the back off and tapped all the tubes with a pencil but that didn’t make any noise, where do I go from here? Love your amps. Mikko: Is this only affecting one of the channels or both of your channels? Is this affected at all by the controls and tone controls of your amp including the reverb? The input jack is on a switching jack so when you unplug it it mutes the preamp. Does it shut up when you unplug your instrument lead from the amp? If the answer is yes to all or some of those questions the fault is most probably in the preamp. If it’s on both channels and none of the controls do anything to it then it’s most probably a power amp issue. It does sound like a valve related problem to me so it might be time to contact your local Orange Dealer or an amp repair technician about a service, new output valves and a proper bias adjustment. If your amp is still under warranty then take it back to your dealer and they will take care of this for you.
What do you use to clean pots that make scratchy noise from dust??? Mikko: Contact cleaner lubricant. They come from many brands but it must be the lubricated type. And don’t use too much! If the pot is still scratchy and didn’t improve at all after the first application the pot might be worn out or you might have a bad preamp valve that is putting DC on the pot.
So I don’t currently own an Orange but I figured you guys could help me out… I recently got a 1969 Marshall Super Lead (my first amp ever) it was serviced right after I bought it, got a new set of power tubes (matched quad) and got it biased. Just yesterday I bought a cab for it (a 1960BV model from 2003), I also bought a THD Hot Plate 16ohm Attenuator so I can use it at home. The problem is my amp gets WAYYY TOO HOOOOT!! After using it for a little over an hour my whole house smelled like a mix of burnt wood, metal and wires, and that smell didn’t go away for like 5 hours after I turned off the amp. I use my attenuator close to the right knob on the front and I was using my amp with the volume all the way up on both channels. I was looking up some information online and apparently people have issues with their Super Leads when they attenuate it too much? Have you guys ever experienced anything like this? Could over attenuation be the cause of the heat and the smell? Mikko: You are playing your 100W amp at full tilt, things are going to get hot! The amp doesn’t know it’s got an attenuator after it which is kinda the entire point of the attenuator. It lets the amp work at maximum power, cooking the valves and pulling loads of current through the mains transformer and power supply. The transformers are going to get hot, the valves are going to get shit hot and don’t forget about the attenuator which is there to dissipate the excess power into heat before reaching your speakers. Of course things can get a bit too mental and you might blow some valves or worse one of your transformers.. I’ve seen this before.
Traynor YBA1 late 60s. What mods would you do? Mikko: First I would make sure the death cap has been removed and a proper 3 prong cord has been installed. If I had to mod it I’d probably mod one of the channels into a plexi style thing as we’re not a million miles off.
Do you guys pack an electrical print with the Amps? Mikko: If you’re talking about a schematic diagram no we don’t send these out with our amps. We do supply these to service technicians around the world upon request.
What’s a good way to get into amp building? Mikko: ‘I love the smell of solder in the morning’. Let’s start with the obvious – you need to be very interested in AMPS.. if not obsessed! If schematics, wires, old dusty valves and capacitors remind you of some kind of robotic pornography you might have what it takes! I knew for years that I wanted to build valve amps and work with vintage audio equipment but I just had no idea how to get into it. It was very frustrating because I was completely alone and I didn’t know anyone else who was interested in it so I didn’t have anyone to discuss the topic with. So the hardest thing is to find the information and resources to get started learning and initially you’ll have to do this all by yourself. Be prepared to spend many lonely nights in front of the computer with a cheap bottle of wine building amps in your imagination. The next most important thing is to get out there and meet other people who are into this stuff. That’s easier said than done as most techs are reclusive mad bastards but once you’ve made some friends who work in the industry you’ll be amazed at what you’ll start learning!
Your first project: Are you going to repair, restore/rebuild or scratch build an amp? I know you want to build amps but is this really the most sensible first project? Building amps from scratch costs a lot of money. It’s your first amp so you’re going to make some mistakes, buy some wrong parts etc. and there are no guarantees it will even work. So a more sensible first project could be a restoration. Yes vintage amps cost money too but if you choose wisely and do the work right you’ll at least make your money back or even turn a profit when you resell.. or end up with something really cool?! You will learn a lot more this way and after some success you will have the confidence to build your first amp. There are plenty of amazing books and resources out there, to name a few: The Tube Amp Book by Aspen Pitman, RCA Radio Designer’s Handbook by Langford Smith, Valve Wizard…
Did the overdrive 120‘s used different transformers thru the mid to end 70‘s? Mikko: Yes Orange used a variety of different transformer manufacturers throughout the 70’s. I’ve seen Partridge in the very early ones, Parmeko towards the mid 70’s and the latest example from 1978 had Ladbroke transformers in it.
Outside of broken input jacks, what is the most common failure for the amps you see? Mikko: ‘User has been a twat’ or crap fuses seem to be the most common. You’d be surprised how many people put a pint in their amp!
Where is a good place to get replacement fuses for my Orange amp? Mikko: If you’re in the U.K you should look on RS Components! They do free next day delivery so I get them from there. If you’re abroad you should try any other electronics/component supplier. The fuse size you’re looking for is 5x20mm and they’re really cheap.
Does the bell bottoms make the amp sounds better? Mikko: They make everything better! Unless the flare’s too big and I can’t tell which pedal I’m treading on.
Where can I find bell bottoms as dope as these? Mikko: The ladies section at ‘Council Thrift Shops’ in the corner of North Fairfax Avenue & Oakwood Avenue in Los Angeles, CA. Also there’s no changing room so you’ve got to strip on the shop floor. $8
What kind of oranges do you guys use to get those amps to sound so badass? Mikko: The Orange Sunshine kind!
RIFFLORD, who are you and what are you guys about? Wyatt: We started out back in 2007 in the basement of a punk house where 8 people were living. We were all in punk/hardcore bands at the time, and began digging into the roots of heavy music with bands like Blue Cheer, Hawkwind, Deep Purple and of course Black Sabbath lighting the path for us. We soon began hunting down every vintage tube amp we could find to recreate that tone. It’s been 13 years since then, members have come and gone but the core remains the same: loud tube amps, heavy drums, and a loud hammond organ. Being rural midwest boys we were raised with a lot of country and rebelled by listening to heavy/hard rock and metal. Bands and artists like T. Rex, MC5, Sabbath, Motorhead, Hawkwind, Judas Priest, ZZ Top, Robert Johnson, Mississippi Fred Mcdowell, Hank Williams, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson formed us. When naming the band, our options for names were Kilowatt or RIFFLORD. Thankfully we chose the latter.
You’ve released two records so far, what can you tell us about them? Wyatt:“26 Mean and Heavy” was recorded and mixed by ourselves in a basement of the Riff Easy mansion. It was a house that we shared with some local skateboarders. It would repeatedly flood so we had our orange 4×12’s on cinder blocks to protect them from water damage. The house was cursed, literally. The lightbulbs overhead would explode from time to time, a strange black sludge began rolling out of drains in the house, voices appeared on recordings that weren’t suppose to be there. We were messing with some Jimmy Page/Crowley magik then. You can hear that grimy magik on the record, haha. “7 Cremation Ground” was a year and a half challenge. Recorded and mixed by Mike Dresch of Cathouse Studios. I had moved out to our ranch and the rest of the members were living in different states, Texas, Minnesota, and another 3 hours from me in South Dakota. We sent files, bought plane tickets and spent countless hours in car rides to make it happen. When it was all said and done the material spanned over a decades worth of songs pulling from all spectrums of musical influence.
Let’s get down to business, what’s your history and experiences with Orange? Wyatt: I first saw one in a pawn shop in Rapid City SD, it was the Orange Hustler Reverb Twin. They had it priced at $125 and i was too young to afford it. The Next sighting was the infamous Black Sabbath live video which made me pine for that sound. My first ever Orange Amp was a gift from my now wife Tory. An Orange twin channel AD140. It was straight thunder. It sonically stood out from anything i had ever heard or played. It started me down a slippery slope which is now a loving addiction. My current Orange collection is two graphic only OR120’s, an OR80, an Overdrive 120, an OR100, and an AD200b.
What do you guys look for in an amp, and what’s the bands current set up? Wyatt: It needs to be able to handle a lot of low end while maintaining clarity, pedal friendly, and not to be that guy, but its got to look good. Orange is all of the above. We’re currently running:
Guitars: two OR120 and an OR100 through two 6×12’s, OR120 and OR80 through two 6×12’s
Hammond Organ/Keys: AD200b through a 2×15 and a 4×10.
Bass: AD200b through 8×10 and 2×15
How does a day in the life of Rifflord look like? Iommi worship and chill? Wyatt: After we take care of the chores on the ranch its stacking cabs, plugging in heads, and cooking tubes.
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.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Youtube-Thumbnails-Monolord-no-logo.jpg17242584Orange Ampshttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px-279x103.pngOrange Amps2019-10-03 14:33:162019-11-30 16:51:51Our interview with Monolord at Desertfest.
Alright, I’m Mike Vennart and I play guitar for my own band Vennart and I play guitar for Biffy Clyro.
I look for articulation more than anything, I think it is fair to say when your playing through an amp or when you are trying any instrument or anything like that. If it brings the best out of you then it is a source of inspiration. What I need personally on a very specific level is a clean sound that is articulate, defined, really crystal clear, really brings the most out of each individual note attack but will then act as a great foundation for pedals.
What’s great about the amps I use with Orange is the distortion is a very thick distortion, you get a very warm, full articulate sound. But the clean is of equal importance for me. So there is an awful lot of things that I need but with Orange they are incredibly simple. This one has got six knobs on it and yet for such little control, it does so much, it does everything i need it to do.
This guitar in particular is a weird beast because you have this big hard rock humbucker at the back and this really vintage sounding single coil at the front. With that there is a lot of sounds in there and with a lot of amps, they can’t really cope with this mismatched idea. But the Orange, I play everything from really detuned heavy riffs to really spangly, jangly wiry clean stuff that I love and I need an amp that can cut it and do those different things. To be honest most of the amps I have tried can’t.
I decided that the Retro 50 was the amp for me after I went to see Pavement several times over the period of a year, as I am a big Pavement fan. Everytime I came away saying “What is that guitar sound?” Not only was the clean full and very precise but it was nicely broken up and it took the pedals great, it was just huge. So I did my research and I think that was when I pressed go on contacting Orange and saying I need this amp in my life. And that was nearly ten years ago and like i said I have never entertained the idea of getting anything else, as its just perfect, the best!
When i’m out on tour with Biffy, i’m using the OR100 because it is a split channel amp. It has a really pumping distortion channel and again the clean channel takes pedals really well. I use a lot of fuzz, big muffs, delays and stuff like that, it does it all, it’s a really good amp.
The primary thing about using the vertical 2X12, in an ideal world we would all want a wall of Orange amps behind us. But the places that I play in my band Vennart, they are all quite small anyway and its not needed to have an awful lot of volume on stage. Nevertheless, I tried this thing out, not only does it sound huge and it’s perfectly loud enough, it’s incredibly light so it’s actually quite a pleasure to load in and out of these absolute toilets that I play. I just love it, it sounds great!
I think it is recognisable the way that Orange has been since the late 60’s, early 70’s up until the present day. It hasn’t dabbled in anything other than what it is, it is a tool for guitar players. It’s not trying to be anything that it isn’t, so you don’t have any of these digital components and scrolling menus. When you play through one of these it’s an inspiring thing to actually put your heart into and it brings the best in your playing. I don’t really get that feeling with digital products myself.
I’m absolutely delighted to be an Orange ambassador because I don’t know, there is something inherently attractive about having one of these things onstage behind you. I love the logo, I’ve got an Orange tattoo, by the way! I’ve got this exact symbol on the back of my neck! They are just cool, I hate using that word cool. Somethings are cool,something aren’t cool and there is no tangible explanation for what makes something as cool as it is. This is the shit!
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/Mike-Vennart-PPC212V-Retro-50-2018-1.jpg1200798Orange Ampshttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/04/Orange-Pics-logo-307px-279x103.pngOrange Amps2019-01-21 13:00:262019-11-30 16:51:53Interview: Mike Vennart from Vennart.
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-279x103.pngElla Stormark2018-01-09 19:00:192018-12-18 13:13:28Interview: Danava & Sons of Huns’ Peter Hughes