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I think when you stumble across one that feels comfortable for whatever reason; you’ve probably found the one.
Exactly. The neck was comfortable. Nice high frets. It stayed in tune. Good bridge and all that good stuff. So I used that. For all the acoustic guitar stuff I used a Collings and on "Water on Ares" there’s a mando guitar which is built by TEO.
Bring our readers up to speed here, what is a mando guitar?
It’s basically a 12-string, but it’s a shorter scale so it starts an octave above a normal guitar, but it’s an electric guitar, not an acoustic. That’s the main guitar on "Water on Ares."
I know you’re freaky about cables; anything along those lines that helped your tone?
I did go a little crazy with cables. I used Evidence, the Lyric HG. I read up on cables and know that Dave Gilmour was using it, and said, "Wow, it’s probably pretty good!" [laughs]
The studio that we recorded drums and mixed at, Blacksound, I gave them one and said, "Just try it." About a month later that guy had a bunch of guitar players in there and they did a cable shootout and he emailed me back and said, "Hey man, your cable won."
What did you notice about it that was cool? Increased clarity, high-end, what?
Not so much high-end, but mids, you know? I mean, I know what my pickups should sound like and this cable enhanced the upper mids on guitar. It gave it a lot of presence and a lot of punch. It’s a really great cable.
So what’s your favorite track on the new album?
That’s a tough one with this record because they’re all so different. “Small Arms Fire” is definitely one of my faves because it encapsulates so many different styles. It starts off with a bit of Flamenco guitar.
I love the way it showcases your classical abilities. I know you delved into that for quite some time.
Yeah, so that’s one of my faves. “Water on Ares” is definitely a favorite. I was watching the news the day I wrote that and that was when we learned they had discovered water on Mars. And that was such a big deal, I couldn’t figure out why the story was so buried, so I wrote that.
And then “Josephine,” that one’s got my vocal on there. It was written for my fiancé, and I’ve never really written a song for a girl before so that’s something I’m proud of. Then there’s “Prime Mover,” which has just one guitar. I figured there needed to be one track on the record with just solo guitar, No rhythms, just me soloing over a groove.
Kind of straight up, this is who I am, no studio tricks, no layering. That’s a ballsy move, man.
Thanks. Yeah, a bit of ray gun guitar on there. It’s like, yeah, you wanna hear me solo, here ya go.
I commend you on the well-rounded journey. In some respects, it reminded me of a Led Zeppelin record, in that when you put on a Zeppelin record they take you on a big journey to different places in the world and I think you really hit that. The diversity was crazy. I’m hearing a fresh new way of soloing for you. I think it’s gonna make a good mark for you.