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May 2014
more... GuitaristsMetalProgShredAugust 2011

Last Chance to Reason: The Other M

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Last Chance to Reason: The Other M

Did you record the stuff in chunks, or did you record whole passes?

Waterhouse: It was definitely chunks to keep that consistency. To be on par with a lot of other bands, we had to keep everything as tight as possible on the album.

Did you use click tracks?

Waterhouse: Yeah, we all do.

Do you have the click programmed into all of the different meters?

Harvey: It depends on the part. If the odd time signature is really characteristic of the part, the click will change with it. But if it’s an underlying thing that just creates more syncopation, the click will stay in 4/4.

Waterhouse: The click track is intense—all the accents, subdivisions, and time signatures are there. Evan actually plays the click tracks live.

Harvey: It’s on a sampler, and Evan’s got headphones on. One reason we do that is because there’s so much atmospheric stuff on the backing track—synth layers, different oscillators, distorted synth tones—that goes in sync with the music and comes in different parts throughout. The other reason is because it keeps the tempo consistent.

Are the song tempos also preprogrammed into your delay units?

Harvey: Yeah. For example, it’s 150 BPM for the solo in “Upload Complete.” Then the next bank is set at 180 BPM for the leads I have at that tempo in “Apotheosis,” and so on. I only use time delays on solos and leads, and I have consolidated all of my delay and harmony effects into two or three banks on my TC Electronic G-Major 2.

This would be a good time to talk about the rest of your gear.

Harvey: I have a new Ibanez S7320 7-string loaded with EMG 707s that I play through a Peavey 6505. I also push it with an Ibanez Tube Screamer. Venue to venue, the rig will have more or less gain for some reason or another, so the Tube Screamer’s drive is changed night to night, but it’s usually between 1 o’clock and 3 o’clock, while the level is between 12 o’clock and 3 o’clock.

Waterhouse: I have an old Ibanez RG7321 7-string that also has EMG 707s—but my neck pickup is tappable. I have a borrowed Carvin DC747 that is unbelievable, and an Eastman El Rey hollowbody too. I use a stock Mesa/Boogie Triple Rectifier with a Mesa oversized 4x12 cab, and I have the controls pretty much all in the middle. I also use a Tube Screamer to boost it a little bit and tighten up the low end of the oversized cab.

Corey: I play a Carvin BB76P Bunny Brunel signature 6-string. My B string has a Hipshot Xtender that tunes it down a whole step to A, and I use that on “Taking Control” and “The Linear.” My amp is an Ampeg SVT-3PRO head, and I run it through Avatar B410NEO and B212NEO cabs, which have speakers with neodymium magnets so it’s light on the lifting. I like them, but I’m looking to upgrade soon. I feel like anytime I’ve played out of an Ampeg 8x10, it just pushed a lot more power and had a lot more balls. But cabs are such a wide market that I haven’t really decided. Because of touring, I can only stop in a guitar shop so much.

Your music obviously demands incredible precision, but, live, there’s no margin of error. If somebody gets off by even a sixteenth-note, you could have a train wreck. Has that happened? And if so, how did you recover?

Waterhouse: It’s happened maybe once in the past year. If we fall off that badly, Evan can turn off the click track and continue. It takes a lot of listening to everybody else and making sure you’re right in the pocket. The jazz background helps in always knowing how to get out of it as quickly as possible.

I’ve seen the scores to some of your songs, and they’re as complex as The Rite of Spring. But, unlike orchestral players, you guys play everything from memory. How do you balance the showmanship aspect of a concert with trying to keep the music together?

Waterhouse: We do as much as we can onstage, but it’s really important to us to play the stuff correctly.

Harvey: At this point, we move to the rhythms and look like we’re feeling it, but not to such an extreme extent. We still try to keep some ounce of showmanship in there. We headbang, but we aren’t doing guitar whips—they’re not as conducive to sounding good.

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