The cover of GrimRobes Live 101008.
On the cover of GrimRobes Live 101008 there’s a RAT pedal with a Sunn O))) logo. Is the RAT part of your arsenal?
Yes, the RAT is the main pedal Stephen and I use.
RAT freaks are obsessed with the LM308 op-amp used in older models and the recently discontinued “whiteface” reissues. Are you that picky, and does your RAT have that chip?
That’s exactly what we both use. We have some other versions of RAT pedals and some modded Rats as well, but the main one on all the recordings is the original RAT with the 308. It’s the foundation of the front end of our sound before it hits the amp. I’ve used the pedal since the ’80s. I think I still have the same one I used back then.
Are there any other effects, like delay or reverb?
I’m pretty minimal with my effects. Stephen sometimes uses reverb, like a Roland Space Echo pedal, mostly for quieter parts of the set with more dynamics and not the full-on roar. But for the heavy riffs it’s really just the RAT directly into the amps. Stephen’s main guitar is a Travis Bean. I don’t know what pickups he has in there, but I think they’re the original ones.
I’m still not clear on how you get the drones to last so long!
Sometimes we ram the headstock into the cabinet, but a lot of it just happens between the RAT and the head. There are no other tricks or anything.
Photo by Gisele Vienne.
You mentioned that you’re a jazz fan. How does that influence seep into Sunn O)))’s music?
Well, I’m definitely not a jazz player. I can’t play as technically as people I admire, like John McLaughlin. But I’m a huge fan of the music. What I take from it and apply to Sunn O))) is the openness and freedom of improvised jazz. Stephen and I are really obsessed with Miles Davis’s late-’60s/early-’70s period. That vibe, and the darkness of it.
Sure. Technically, we’re nowhere near that, but that’s not the point. The point is the aesthetics and some of the concepts of that music. We draw inspiration from that.