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My name is Daniel and I have been at Orange for nearly four and a half years, when you put it like that it sounds like a prison sentence! Over the years I have had the pleasure of sitting down and chatting to a lot of artists in my role of European Artist Relations at Orange. A lot of these artists I have grown up listening to, which is I am very much aware i’m in a very lucky position. So I thought I would go through a few of my favourite interviews and some of the background to them.

Tim from Prophets of Rage

I have been a fan of Rage Against the Machine for as long as I can remember, I saw them and nearly died in the pit at Reading Festival 2008 and it is still one of the best shows I have ever seen. So when there was a chance to interview Tim from Prophets of Rage I jumped at the chance, we were in the artist area of Download Festival in 2017 and managed to get 10 mins of Tim’s time. Tim was a gentleman and complete professional, speaking with real enthusiasm about his style of finger playing and how he feels the advent of YouTube is helping to teach new players. What also made me really enjoy his interview was how even after lots of years in the industry he still enjoyed played music in a band. Shortly after interview I got to see the band destroy the Main Stage at the festival and saw how the band hasn’t lost any of its original groove when Tim and Brad lock in. The fact that Tim uses an AD200 live is for me one of best bass players we have on our roster.

Brian ‘Head’ Welch from Korn

I drove all the way to Nottingham for this interview… or it could have been Birmingham, any way it wasn’t in the warmth of London. But it was worth it, to sit down and chat with at the time, our newest endorsee Brian from Korn. Brian had just started to play the Rockerverb MKIII Head, after his guitar tech had come and chatted to us at festival the year before. The Rockerverb was in Brian’s rig and I enjoyed hearing how he called it a ‘Buttery tone’ and also how the band unknown to all of us at Orange has been using our gear since the early 90’s on their records. Jim Root gets an honourable mention as well from Brian and not only was the interview great to shoot but the show was so much fun. Perfect lighting for footage and I was able to get some great live shots. Not only this but the band were playing on a bill with ‘Madball’ and ‘Limp Bizkit’ which is enough of a reason to drive wherever in the UK to go see.

Pepper Keenan from Corrosion of Conformity

Pepper has been a guitarist I have followed through his many different bands and projects, I have always felt that for me, COC was the pinnacle of his work. When he rejoined a few years ago, I straight away bought tickets to the show at the Electric Ballroom as I couldn’t miss it. With Orange and my previous employment, I have on and off worked with Pepper but finally I got to interview him properly just last year when the band came into town. You always know with Pepper you will get a great interview and his description in previous interviews of Orange amps being like “petting a snake” has always made me laugh. In this interview you can really see his love for Orange, which I can honestly say was done with minimal prompting, I really only needed to ask “what do you think of Orange?” and leave the camera rolling and he waxed lyrical!

Matt Pike from Sleep, High On Fire

This was a very last minute interview request, i remember being asked if I was able to get down to Kentish Town to chat to Matt Pike, well I really couldn’t say no! Within a couple of hours i was one of the only people in an empty Kentish Town forum (capacity of 2.5K people) hearing Sleep soundcheck. It is still one of the loudest things I have ever heard, I was stood in front a wall of Orange amps being cranked, while Matt was shredding. After I had recovered, I got to chat to Matt about exactly how he controls that amount of noise. His understanding of guitar frequencies and feedback was one of the most interesting points of the interview, he spoke for at least 10 minutes about bringing different amps in to the mix and how they can be used to project different frequencies. Thinking back on it there is still so much from this interview I wasn’t able to put into the edit. The band show that night was a masterpiece in stoner rock and left the whole building shaking. It’s still one of my favourite video interviews I have ever done, due to me being personally incredibly interested in the thought process of building massive amp rigs.

Jim Root from Slipknot

Jim Root has been a guitar player I have been listening to since Slipknot’s first album and when he strolled into the portacabin at Download I was knocked back how friendly and funny he was but also how whatever amp he plugged into it, sounded exactly like the record. He was coming in to try the new Rockerverb 100 MKIII that had just been released and sat down with one of his personal guitars and played for at least a ½ hour. Only stopping to tell me how earlier that week he had been jammin with Josh Homme by playing the classic ‘Better Living Through Chemistry’. Then came the interview and playthrough, which just became every Slipknot hit played note perfect. After the interview Jim was so enamored with the amplifier he took it to play that night in front of 120,000 people, what a way to try a new amp!! This is one of my favourite videos because one, it’s the most popular and two it’s not great quality (one shot is a phone camera!) but it still works. Jim’s playing is great and he speaks from the heart, we really need to film a new Jim Root video!!

Sergio Vega from Deftones

Honestly I think Deftones are one of my favorite bands, they combine so many different elements of music that I love and I feel have consistently made great albums from their first till latest release. So being able to spend time chatting to them about gear, look at the their touring rig and sometimes see them rehearse for shows has been something that I have had to keep cool about during these times. I think this was either the second or third time I had shot Sergio and this was at the end of the day with the band while they were rehearsing before 2018’s Meltdown show at the Southbank in London. We spoke about his use of Orange in Deftones and Quicksand, Sergio also played through a few of his favourite bass lines from his career. The reason why this is one of my favourites is I think it came out really well, the day was long but throughout it all Sergio was fun and an utter pro about getting the right shots and sounds.

Orange Amps EL34 Tubes

Like sediment, rock music has been compounded by time. Layers of innovation and genius have terraformed our culture, leading to two unique sounds that lay either side of the Atlantic Ocean. We are of course talking about the American and British sounds of rock.

The origins of guitar amplifier tone

Delta Blues, a contemporary to the folk music of plantations in the southernmost states of America carried with it the soul of African American sentiment; there it stayed until mid-1930s. Its transience, owing to the affordability of tabletop radios powered by pioneering 6v6 valve technology spread the sound of the blues up the Mississippi; eventually evolving into electrified Chicago blues.

Electric amplifiers carved a new sound into the bedrock of the music industry. Inside, those same 6v6 valves, once providing comfort to wartime widows awaiting the return of their loved ones, became synonymous as the sound of American rock and roll. Open and glassy; unforgiving as they are transparent, 6V6 tubes provided an almost cheery optimism for an economy recovering from the brink of collapse.

In part, the American sound maintained its roots in the country styles from which has been a staple of the pop music since the ‘20s. It’s ideally suited to articulate picked or plucked notes, highlighted with a bold, solid voicing and bright top end. Just like audio production methods still used today, the American sound is tight and precise.

But on the other side of the pond, an alternate path was being drawn. Manufacturers adopted a higher-powered newcomer known as the EL34 that soon became a staple for use in British guitar amplifier design.

Arise the British sound

The EL34 reflected the gritty realism of post-war Europe, a dark time that was played out through the music, with guitarists expressively pushing their amps to the edge. The EL34 valve was perfect for the role; its scooped mids, gave a nastier, forward and downright aggressive tone without necessarily distorting the signal.

A bullish, British sound that gave Hendrix the headroom to expend blistering performances, driving home a wall of sound from his favoured Marshall Plexi Amps right up to his 1969 performance at Woodstock. From that point onwards players were looking for something extra to make their mark, and they found that in Orange Amplifiers.

The timeless sound of a nation

Fleetwood Mac, one of Orange Amplifier’s first endorsees took the first Orange rig on a three-month tour of America in the winter of 1969, and although the true voicing of the EL34 valves had yet to be realised. Neither the less, a monster wall of tone pummelled through six 100-watt amps (two with standalone spring reverb units) and 16 speaker cabinets (a mix of rectangular 4x12s and 2x12s), making the world take note.

Fleetwood Mac’s former guitarist Peter Green

By the 1970s, the first true Orange Amp, the GRO100 Graphic Overdrive amp came to be, with those classic EL34 tubes being ground into by the front-end input. That thick mid-range compression breaking up in a raw, unadulterated way voiced the British sound of many classic rock albums of that era.

OR100 Amplifier Front

By the 1980s music had evolved from those heady days of psychedelic hippy rock and valve amps fell out of favour, eventually being replaced in guitar music with solid-state amplification.

A reprisal of THAT sound

In the mid-90s that signature Orange Amplifier sound broke new boundaries as Oasis conquered the record industry worldwide, of which Noel Gallagher used Orange OR series amplifiers to record his first two albums. An example of that classic tone can be heard on Some Might Say featured on their 1995 release, ‘What’s the Story) Morning Glory.

Times have moved on since the early OR series amplifiers with the modern equivalent, the Orange OR15 features EL84 power tubes. EL84s give that same British roar but with less headroom, allowing the amp to break up faster. They don’t blow your head off in smaller spaces, but still retain that classic grit tone.

Tonal flexibility

Fans of all things tube require more raw power than the OR15. The AD30 is a 30-watt Class A amplifier that offers more flexibility to tonal flavours than a gelato ice cream seller on Brighton Pier.

Along with that vintage British power amp distortion, a second channel offers a creamy, classic voice; a Swiss Army knife of amplifiers, like the bastard son of the Vox AC-30 but with that earth-shaking Orange tone. A lovechild embraced by Jimmy Page of which can be heard on the 1999 record, Jimmy Page and The Black Crows ‘Live at the Greek’.

We will accept no compromise

Since 2004 the British tone has received a pumped-up steroid-fuelled monster called the Rockerverb, genetically modified to satisfy the tastes of touring musicians that want to fully manipulate headroom, volume and the wrangle with the beast within. Today’s Rockerverb 50 MKiii disregards the protest movements of the old guard, instead choosing direct action with chimey cleans and iconic gain tones that goes from classic British crunch through to the darkest, heaviest modern genres. 

If you want a great example of the Rockerverb 50 MKiii in action listen to Mothership’s 2017 release ‘High Strangeness’:

British sound transformed

There’s no denying that the two sounds, British or American are distinct. So much so that when it came to producing all-analogue solid-state amplifiers that personality had to shine through.

The Crush Pro series is the epitome of that transition. The analogue signal path allows for those rich tonal characteristics, the hallmark British sound combined with the ruggedness of a solid-state amp. Two channels, one is a classic vintage-inspired design with sparkle at the top end, but as you push it a bluesy crunch oozes from within. Channel two matches closely to the Rockerverb’s high gain aggression. Flying the British flag of inclusivity, yet tipping the hat to those across the pond.

Orange Crush Pro CR120H Amp Head

In conclusion

Rock music has always been about pushing the limits, from its roots through to the complexity of modern-day performances featuring an array of tonal weaponry laid at the feet of giants. And that British sound, still as prominent as ever, lives on because British amplifiers give that something extra.

And like many great mix engineers will tell you:  ‘It’s better to cut from a sound than it is to add to it’.

Back in late 2017 I was tasked with creating an interview video for the, at the time, soon-to-be-released Brent Hinds Terror amp. I’d sit down with Brent, guitarist and co-vocalist for the Grammy-winning metal band Mastodon, and we’d have a chat about the work that went into creating his first signature guitar head. I’ve worked with Brent for almost a decade and quite frankly I’m one of the only people that seems capable of getting him to sit down for an hour to capture an interview.

When it comes to Brent, very little is ever scripted. He just doesn’t operate that way. In fact, most of the time he shows contempt when you give him too much input. Instead, you give him a vague idea and he does the rest, even if “the rest” doesn’t result in usable content. Editing is definitely important in these situations.

About 30 minutes into the official interview it dawned on me that we weren’t going in the right direction. That’s when Brent threw out the idea of having me “get mad” at him on camera. I’d be telling him exactly what to say, he’d say it the wrong way, and then I’d get upset and scream his line back at him. It resulted in a hilarious back and forth that actually resulted in Brent giving us MORE usable content than ever before. Breaking from the standard interview format relaxed him enough that we were able to delve deeper into his psyche. Many people told me that we got one of the best, most serious interviews out of Brent they’ve ever seen (despite the fact it starts off so fake and kooky).

With that said, I wanted to show you the outtakes from that day of filming. This is all unscripted and it’s very “classic Brent.” We only used about 1 second of this footage in the final cut, out of roughly 20 minutes of Brent doing random stuff on camera. Enjoy!

There is one thing we love more than anything else and that is rock ’n’ roll, in all shapes and sizes – we love it, can’t get enough. Without rock ’n’ roll, we wouldn’t be where we are today, and we owe everything to this beautiful genre and it’s offsprings. We like to take this opportunity to shine a light on a few (of many) rock bands and artists on our roster today.

Billy Gibbins, ZZ Top

Bax Bangeetar
Micro Dark

Another legendary guitarist making their way into this article is ZZ Top guitarist Billy Gibbons. Gibbons started his career in The Moving Sidewalks as a young teen, a band that landed shows supporting bands and artists such as Jimi Hendrix and The Doors – he then went on to forming ZZ Top in the late sixties alongside bassist Dusty Hill and drummer Frank Beard (who funnily enough is the only member without a beard), which remains the standing line up of the band today nearly fifty years later.

Throughout his time in the band, Gibbons have become a massive name among respected guitar players, and again and again produces quality blues infused rock albums whether it’s with the ZZ Top or as a recording solo artist. Latest one out is his solo project “The Big Bad Blues” released September 2018, which just adds to his already impressive resume. Billy Gibbons is a master bluesman, to say the least. Gibbons is not a big user of pedal, so we were particularly pleased when he took a liking to our Bax Bangeetar pedal which he uses both live and in the studio.

Phil Campbell, Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons

Phil Campbell is first and foremost known as the former guitarist of legendary speed rock band Motörhead. His career in the band lasted for 31 years, which he pretty much spent on the road touring or in the studio recording. Sadly, the band’s disbanded in 2015 after the tragic passing of frontman Lemmy. Since then, Phil has formed his own band “Phil Campbell and the Bastard Sons” with three of his actual sons, almost a family business much like our own, sort of.

Rune Rebellion, Turbonegro

AD30HTC x 2
Rockerverb100
Turbonegro kind of came out of the Norwegian woods having created their own sort of genre called “Denim Death Punk”, which is pretty close to what we call rock ’n’ roll hence why we’re allowing them on our list. Turbonegro were initially formed in the late eighties and kept it going for about a decade, before a three year long hiatus. Luckily, to the joy of Turbojugends across the world the band got back together and kept releasing music. Rune’s one of the founding members of the band, and has been a constant member with the exception of a few years which we’re choosing to ignore. Watching Turbonegro live is in many ways the most masculine and feminine thing you’ll ever see all at once – middle-aged men in daisy dukes, sailor hats and make up, playing sweet rock ’n’ roll to a bunch shirtless dude and women (although they tend to keep their shirts on) – few bands throw a party like Turbonegro. Rune’s been using Orange for about 15 years now both live and in studio, and tends to stay clear of effects, as “The Rockerverb sound provides him with the softness of classic rock mixed with the modern hard rock growl which is perfect for the full on Turbonegro guitar attack.” – Rune Rebellion.

Scott Holiday, Rival Sons

OR15
Acoustic Pre
Custom Shop 50
PPC412

PPC212

Some people say rock ’n’ roll is going, so whenever a band such as Rival Sons comes up it makes us happy as it means we can prove people wrong. Rival Sons are one of those bands that are kind of ticking all the boxes for a classic rock band, but with a modern twist – they have the anthems as well as the ballads, a killer frontman who can play the tambourine and look super fly while doing so, which is pretty rare in 2019, and they have Scott Holiday and his magician moustache. Scott’s all about the big sounds, and with the “killer and colourful heritage and history, healthy list of some of the greatest players ever and the high quality of current amps and cabs, Orange was an easy choice.” – Scott Holiday.

Danava, Peter Hughes

Rockerverb 50
OR100
PPC412 x 2
Peter Hughes, the classically trained and exceptionally skilled guitarist of heavy rock ’n’ roll bands Danava and Sons of Huns. Peter got his hands on his first ever Orange (which was a Rockerverb 50 combo) back in 2007 having just graduated the Willamette University with a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Guitar performance. It didn’t take longs before he had his hands full playing for both bands, venturing far away from the classical sounds but bringing along all the tricks of the trade to the table, now catering for a new audience with his high paced and heavy rock ’n’ roll which would suit fans for the likes of Motorhead and Thin Lizzy. Since then, he’s become an official Orange ambassador and acquired a few more pieces to his rig in the form of two PPC412 cabs and an OR100. When Peter isn’t playing his Orange amplifier at excessive decibels, he enjoys “plucking out the Baroque stylings of the one and only J.S. Bach on Classical Guitar”, as well as being a amateur mycologist, or a fungi enthusiast.