Great Gable are an up and coming band, originating from South Western Australia, Bunbury. Now located in Perth, with a recent debut EP – GG successfully released and their song “Taste” enjoying some national airplay, we chat to lead guitarist Matt Preen about fusing elements of soulful blues, alternative rock and reggae vibes.
How and why did you first pick up the guitar?
I first picked up a guitar about 6 years ago when I was in my last year of High School and was really loving Jack Johnson, so all I wanted to do was play his songs on acoustic. My first guitar was an acoustic Yamaha worth about 200 bucks, but now I have a beautiful Cole Clark Fat Lady. Plays an absolute treat!
What does your new release GG mean to you?
GG is our debut EP so it definitely means something for me, and the other guys as well. Alex (vocals/guitar) and I first started playing together 5 years ago, just jamming on Jack Johnson, City and Colour and The Kooks, and to progress to the band finally being able to release something, it’s almost a weight lifted of the shoulders.
The songs are generally about our journey from the beginning. The song ‘Punga’ was the first original song Alex and I wrote together about 2 years ago, but the whole groove of the song has changed since the beginning. The name came from my nickname and we just called the song that because we didn’t have a name for it at all, and it has stuck since. ‘Taste’ was also written pretty soon after but has grown over time. The songs are mostly about girls and life experiences, the standard!
‘Drift’ is my favourite, I still remember hearing the vocal melody and coming up with the guitar riff and thinking, damn this is tasty.
Can you describe your approach to songwriting?
I’m really picky and sometimes when I come up with something cool I’ll like it straight away, and then learn to hate it. So I generally ask for my band mates opinion riffs wise. I’ll play around with pedals/scales until I find something that fits well and is catchy. For example, the opening riff for ‘Drift’ took a long time to come up with, it started out with 3 basic chords and we added in another one, then I eventually came up with the riff while sitting on it for ages. The funny thing about Drift is that it’s just four chords the whole way through, we just tried playing with dynamic and the feel of the song.
First album you purchased ?
Pretty sure it was either Eminem’s Curtain Call (an absolute classic) or Michael Jackson. I can still recite all the lyrics to Eminems’ ‘Just Lose It’..
What kind of attributes do you look for when choosing an electric guitar?
I’m a Fender fanatic and own an American Deluxe Telecaster in Cherry Sunburst with a maple fret board. That’s a definite 1st choice, maple is the best. I only have the one electric guitar at the moment, but I’m looking to get something new in the future. Will most likely be a Stratocaster or something with Humbucker pickups!
What was your recording setup like for GG ?
We recorded our EP at Foxhole Studios in Bayswater in the DIY studios with two good friends, Nick Ireland and Calum McLaughlin coming in and engineering for us. The owner of the studio, Chad Blondel, did all the mixing and then Don Bartley (David Bowie,Paul Kelly, Cold Chisel, INXS) did the mastering.
I play through my Tele and a Vox AC30 amp, pretty sure we used a Neumann and an SM57 to record the guitars. Pedal set up is the same in the recordings as I use live which goes (right to left) Vox Wah, AA Gold Class Overdrive, Boss Blues Driver, Boss DD7 Delay, MXR Analog Chorus and Strymon Blue Sky reverb. These pedals switch around depending on the song (spring reverb, slap back delay etc).
You recently released GG to a sold out crowd at Jack Rabbit Slim’s. Now that GG has been released what next?
We still have one more launch show on Friday the 3rd of June at The Prince of Wales in Bunbury (hometown show). That should be large! After that, we have a gig lined up supporting a friends bands single launch at the Rosemount Hotel in Perth, then a few big shows are being booked for the coming months. We’re just going to keep promoting the EP and hopefully get some more radio time. Play a bunch of shows around town basically!
Give us your best “wtf” momment or experience in Great Gable…
Late last year we were playing a gig in Sydney and we were in a Taxi heading to Bondi Beach. When we hopped in we got strange vibes from the driver straight away.. About 5 minutes into the trip, the driver found out we were in a band that played some reggae and thought this was the perfect opportunity to try and deal us weed (we said no by the way Mum). After politely declining, he started to tell us he could channel Bob Marley with his ‘3rd eye’ and then he started singing No Woman No Cry to us, acapella style. This is 100% legit, good bloke though.
Thanks for taking the time to give us your insights
You can check out Great Gable at –