Sonically, what can listeners expect from your new band – Snake Reviver?
The first track, “From The Impact” is out now and is a good taste of what’s to come – punchy hardcore with a sludgy finish. We combine those elements in a few different ways over the course of the planned EP. My favourite is probably the one with the working title of “Doom Sandwich” because it sounds just like that – doom, meat, doom. We’re taking a very DIY approach to the recording and I’m enjoying the challenge of putting the whole thing together, learning new skills and building on others.
How and why did you first pick up the guitar?
I think that can be blamed on a combination of Metallica and peer pressure. All the cool kids were indeed doing it. I started off on a little Silvertone nylon string we had lying around the house and eventually got a Yamaha strat copy and a little Johnson amp with push button distortion (amazing!). I’m not a little Metallica bogan anymore but they did have a big hand in getting me where I am, music and guitar-wise.
First album you purchased ?
Freak Show by Silverchair. I’m definitely an “old Silverchair” guy, I think it’s great when artists mature and do their own thing but sometimes they mature in a direction you’re not so keen on as a listener and that’s fine.
What kind of attributes do you look for when choosing an electric guitar
I’m quite partial to Fenders and have been through a few – my current stable includes an American Standard Tele, a MIJ Jaguar Special and a Marcus Miller Jazz Bass, my main instrument for Snake Reviver. Fenders just feel right, not too thick or thin on the neck, a good rocky feel and I’ve always liked using rocky gear for stuff heavier than it’s usually used for.
My favourite guitar by far though is my custom made (for someone else) Electrical Guitar Company EGC500. It’s all-aluminium and somewhat hollow, has a zero radius fretboard and my preferred guitar pickup choice of bridge humbucker and P90 neck. Playing bass in Snake Reviver I haven’t been able to give it a run live yet but it will happen eventually! Tonally it’s pretty bright but that can be tamed easily, and it rings out in such an interesting way, almost as if it has a natural chorus to it. It handles beauty and aggression equally well, a handly little slab of metal indeed.
Can you describe your approach to songwriting — how do you decide which riffs good and which are bad?
The majority of our writing so far has been done in the jam room with roughly a 50-50 split between myself and the guitarist Luke as far as riffs go. This gives us a nice bit of variation as we have pretty different styles, I love my sludge and my non-4/4 riffs and Luke is a lot more punk and rock driven. We seem to make a pretty good combination so far.
Tone-wise, what was your recording setup like?
We’ve been taking a very DIY approach to recording so far, it’s given me a great opportunity to work on some new skills while we all save a few dollars. I’ve been working on getting good results out of the gear I have and a few mics and I’m pretty stoked with how it’s turning out!
For the bulk of the guitars we had a track of Luke’s EMG loaded LTD Viper and a track of my American Standard Tele (w/ Broadcaster pickup) down left and right channels, run through the same chain with a bit of different EQ on each to suit the different guitars. It’s a pretty simple setup, just a Maxon OD808 running into a Vox Night Train 50 head into an Orange closed back 2×12, mic’d up with an SM57 and an MD421. The usual post processing, a little EQ and comp, etc and a little delay added at the DAW stage for taste during choice moments. Simple!
Things were a little more complex on the bass side. I had three tracks of my Marcus Miller Jazz Bass combined – the straight DI with some in-DAW processing for the low end, a DI from my EHX Deluxe Bass Muff for fuzz and high end and the bulk of the tone came from my amp and pedal chain. I’m using Bass -> Keeley 4 knob compressor -> EHX Deluxe Bass Muff -> MXR M-80 DI/Preamp -> Ashdown Little Bastard 30 watt tube head -> Sovtek 4×10, miced up with the MD421. For the next round of recording I’m going to give the AA Vajanus a bash in there alongside the Bass Muff, there will be a lot of tonal possibilities between the two.
Live I’m using the exact same bass setup (without the studio trickery of course), although I’ve recently introduced an AA Vajanus fuzz into the mix with pummeling results. Luke is very much a plug-and-play guitarist and runs his EMG loaded LTD Viper into a tuner and straight into his Randall stack. Although we lose a few of the extra layers we’re throwing on the recordings we have been keeping that to the minimum as live we’re going for the energetic one guitar band kind of vibe.
With the AA showcase being our first show we’re ready to get gigging! It’s been a great opportunity, giving us that extra push we needed to get over the line. We’ve all had stage experience in other bands and it’s been a while for some of us so we’re absolutely starving for it. Time to get that rolodex out and start working our contacts! Besides that it’s all systems go on the rest of the EP now that we’ve got the first taste out there.
Give us your best “wtf” live show experience…
We had a bunch of things go wrong in my previous band Mercurial, but that’s what you get when you have two keyboards and occasional samples. Windows XP startup/shutdown sounds being broadcast over the PA was a fun one…
The biggest WTF moment was a charity show we played in Fremantle for something I forget because it was a long time ago (2005 or so probably). In any case, there were a bunch of young children – proper young – doing acrobatics and stuff. During our opening song there was one of them doing a routine on one of those giant ribbon things, twirling around to our reasonably aggressive music. Also there were children practicing their breakdancing and robot moves in the front row. Not our usual crowd, that’s for sure.
Thanks for taking the time to give us your insights
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