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’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.
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 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’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.
OB1-500 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.
https://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Hannah-Wicklund.jpg14001863Ella Stormarkhttps://orangeamps.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Voice-of-Orange-Logo-QUALITY.pngElla Stormark2019-03-08 12:00:552019-05-19 20:54:02International Women's Day: Women in Rock
Hi, I’m Jonathan Higgs and i’m the singer and the guitar player in Everything Everything. My current setup is the Rocker 32 combo, it’s a pretty versatile amp. You can use it in the studio and we have done, but it really comes alive on the road, it’s very resilient and it sounds great on stage.
The best thing about the amp if the simplicity, its just basically a big volume knob, it’s just simple; you turn it up and there you are. You can sometimes get bogged down in all sort of settings with amps but this is nice and simple.
Alex Robertshaw (Guitar)
Hi, i’m Alex and I play guitar in the band Everything Everything. So at the moment i’m using the Orange Rockerverb MKIII, I decided to go for the Rockerverb MKIII because it has a very high Wattage and I wanted an amp that was really clean. It’s got loads of headroom, I want an amp with loads of headroom, so I can keep bumping it up and I am not hitting any compressed ceiling.
Jeremy Pritchard (Bass)
So i’m running the AD200 head and the 8×10 cab and the pedal board goes straight into that and it just covers everything you need in terms of frequency response on stage. I’ve always favoured any amplifier with just very high quality but simple components. I’ve always liked the heritage of the brand as well.
The actual look of the cabinet design and the head design is so distinctive, so you always knew if you were watching someone playing Orange. I used to go see bands like SUNN O))) and Sleep, really heavy stoner doom bands and they would always have these very distinctive cabinets and heads on stage. And a lot of those bands that i was really into and still am used Orange.
Plus our mates Foals, who have such a ferious live sound, Walter was always using the 8X10’s and Jimmy’s entire guitar rig is Orange. Even when I was a teenager and seeing Noel Gallagher with that classic Orange look was really memorable.
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/2019/08/Voice-of-Orange-Logo-QUALITY.pngElla Stormark2018-01-09 19:00:192018-12-18 13:13:28Interview: Danava & Sons of Huns' Peter Hughes
It’s a pretty neat bus you’ve got here, which I’m guessing will be your home for the next couple of weeks. I know you’re 15 shows into quite an intense tour, how’s the last couple of weeks been? Yeah they’ve been good! A lot of sold out shows and the crowd’s been pretty crazy. We’ve also got quite a busy summer ahead, we’re playing Glastonbury which will be interesting – it’s quite a different crow. We’re also playing a few festivals in Germany and Romania, and I reckon we’ll be busy all the way up until December.
Whoa, that’s pretty busy. Are your days hectic when touring or do you get time to sit back and relax a bit as well? When we’re on a tour like this one on a bus, it’s pretty relaxing. We roll in, and I get to sleep until 11 if I want to. When you’ve been touring for as long as I have, you end up having friends in lots of different cities, so before and after soundcheck I do get quite a lot of time to hang out and catch up with them. Flying tours on the other hand, is less relxing. You’ll end up having to get up at 4 in the morning after 3 hours of sleep to rush off to the airport, fly to where you need to be, hopefully have a nap, then play the gig and do it all over again – or change it up a bit and sit in a van for 16 hours, hah. There’s a lot of just sitting down in moving vehicles or planes…
What’s your history and experience with Orange Amps? Before joining Napalm Death as a live guitarist, I used to be in a band called Corrupt Moral Altar, and I was actually endorsed by Orange Amps. I had a PPC412 and a Thunderverb 200 and I just really liked the tone and that big fat sound, especially that raw kind of tone you get from the speaker cabinets. I very much look at the tone when buying an amp, which is why I’ve ended up with and love Orange.
Were you a big Napalm fan growing up? And what other kind of music were you into? I was definitely a big Napalm fan, and it’s kinda surreal to be in the band now. I also used to be in Venomous Concept with Shane and Danny from Napalm, which was pretty surreal as well. As far as music goes, I was into a lot of punk bands like the Exploited and Discharge as well, anything that was noisy really. Iggy and the Stooges, proto-punk and all that kind of stuff, and then after that it just got heavier and more and more extreme. I also listen to other stuff, one of my favourite bands is My Bloody Valentine, I like Lush, and a lot of shoe gaze with delays and stuff like that. Coming off stage with Napalm I’m not exactly gonna go and blast the same kind of music when I need to wind down.
Hey man, who are you and what’s your deal? My name’s Chris Pritchard, and I play guitar in Blood Youth. I actually wasn’t allowed music or music lessons when I was a kid because I’ve got ADHD, so when I wanted to get into music, my teachers at primary school and stuff wouldn’t let me, I had to kind of make my own way about that. I had a guitar at home, which was really bad, so when I started showing interest in that I eventually got a cheap guitar for Christmas, a Squier. I started playing that, but then swapped over to drums, which I played for about ten years. I actually studied that in UNI, and that’s what I wanted to be, a drummer. Eventually I decided I have to much energy for the drums, to sit there and be kept away, so I fell back into playing guitar. I’ve always loved that, and I think that’s my main thing.
That’s so odd though about your teachers, because surely you’d expect them to be excited for you to have this creative output? It was probably the fact that they worried I’d use it to distract the other students, they just weren’t having any of it, so I would love for them to see what I’m doing today!
What kind of music sparked your interest and got you into playing? I wasn’t really allowed to listen to the music I wanted to listen to – I wasn’t allowed Kerrang Magazine because they’d might have Slipknot in them, I wasn’t allowed anything with swear words or parental advisory on them. My mum would always listen through a record before I could have it, and I was so intrigued by Slipknot, KoRn, System of a Down, and all those early era Kerrang bands, and I’d end up paying my older sister to go into town to buy me Slipknot records and sneak them in without my mum knowing. My mum would always find them though, and hide them so I couldn’t get them. So, obviously having had all this kept away from me for all these years, my interest just grew stronger and stronger, so when I was actually allowed it was like this massive explosion where everything just hit me all at once. There was no smooth transition into anything like checking out one or two songs, it was full on binge listening and being blown away, and that was it, I’ve never looked back.
Well, I guess you must be preeeeeetty stoked about being endorsed by the same amp company as KoRn and Slipknot then? Oh definitely, and Mastodon as well, I love them. I’ve been watching so many rig rundowns, and I especially love the Orange ones. Before I had the endorsement with Orange and I’d end up using rented backlines, every time it was Orange they’d always sound so, so clear, and would compliment distortion and this heavy tone so well, and I knew I wanted it straight away. I’m looking to get another Orange amp as well, but at the moment I’ve got two Orange PPC412 cabinets, and they sound sick – they are by far the heaviest things I’ve ever lifted though, totally worth it though. Plus they look killer! I want stacks of them, that’s the dream.
Hey dude, who are you and what are you about? Hi, I’m Jonny Hall, the one with the bigger beard in HECK. I play guitar and bleed on things a bit.
How would you describe HECK’s music and live performances to a stranger? Musically, HECK are an intense beast. We have always seemed to thrive off relentlessness. It’s like that moment when you have that secret scream at the mirror to purge your frustration, except very public. The live shows are essentially an arena for everyone to sack off inhibition and join us in accepting that most of real life is bollocks, ‘so let’s do whatever the fuck we want for an hour’. It’s chaotic, extreme and powerful, and it’s fucking fun.
You released your debut album ‘Instructions’ earlier this year, how has life been ever since? It’s been difficult but rewarding. Self releasing the album means there was no one to do our dirty work for us, so we plunged headfirst into a world we knew nothing about and we’re thankfully still afloat! We’ve done some amazing tours and played to thousands of incredible people. We’re frankly amazed by the response we’ve had, people seem to have really ‘got’ the album, bizarrely. The only downside is that everything awesome that you do only makes you hungrier for more. I’ll never be completely satisfied.
Can you tell us a bit about your history and experiences with Orange? When I was a nipper just learning to play orange amps seemed like some unobtainable relic of guitarness. Pro’s played Orange, I couldn’t play it too, as I was clearly not good enough. I played about with a few different amps in my youth but nothing ever gave me the huge sound I’d been after. I wanted something with balls. Preferably several sets. The more superfluous the better.
When I started jamming with Matt (the smaller beard in HECK) he had a Rocker 30 running into a PPC212. It sounded to full that, despite the fact that my rig was considerably more powerful than his, I genuinely couldn’t hear my guitar due to it being made to sound so thin by his. I immediately applied for a credit card because clearly, owning an Orange rig was more important than any hint of financial security. Totally worth every penny of debt.
What’s your set up? I currently run a Rocker 30 into a PPC212 and PPC412, drive channel only, with a ProCo RAT as a ‘death’ pedal before it. When i kick that in, it sounds like the amp-apocalypse.
Back to the band – if you were all zoo animals, who’d be what animal, and why? Paul Shelley would be a walrus.He’s mighty, girth, stubbly and wise, with a touch of class and an air of authority. The rest of us would be the shitty pointless grubs they feed to the lizards in the reptile house. We’re there out of necessity.
You recently did a massive co headline tour with Black Peaks around the UK and Europe, how is it being back home after a month of madness on the road? It’s rubbish. It’s difficult being in a touring band as it’s like getting post holiday blues every time you get home, but from the best holiday you’ll ever have, where you feel like you’re actually achieving something with your life, but it’s actually your job, that you love, and you want to do forever. Then one day it stops and you find yourself sitting in your pants eating microwave Tesco Value macaroni cheese and dry bread, watching six consecutive seasons of Friends because you can’t be bothered to click ‘back’ on Netflix. I do get to see my girlfriend though, which is nice.
Top ten songs played in your tour van: Talk Dirty – Jason Derulo (Repeat) (Repeat) (Repeat) (Repeat) (Repeat) (Repeat) (Repeat) (Repeat) (Repeat)