Crunch and Atmosphere: Pedal Talk With WAAX

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  • August 25, 2017
WAAX

Wild and Weak, the new EP from Brisbane’s WAAX, is one of the most hard-hitting releases of the year so far. Part of this stem’s from singer Maz De Vita’s wailing vocals, which barrel throughout the five throughout the five tracks with unrelenting ferocity. But a huge part of the band’s explosive sound is the guitar work.

We talk to WAXX guitarists Chris and Ewan about what’s on their rigs at the moment, balancing crunchy rhythms with atmospheric leads, and the source of tone: the fingertips.

WAAX

We talk to WAXX guitarists Chris and Ewan about their rigs at the moment, balancing crunchy rhythms with atmospheric leads, and the source of tone: the fingertips.

Can you run us through what’s on your board at the moment?

Chris: Boss TU-2>EHX Nano Pog>Hot Cake>MI Audio Blues Pro>Devi Ever Soda Meiser>Strymon Mobius>Boss DD-5>Visual Sound Dual Tap Delay>Fox Pedal Wave Reverb

Ewan: Boss TU-2>Boss NS2 (Noise suppressor)> Dunlop Jimi Hendrix wah> Boss CH-1> Fulltone Fulldrive2 > Boss OD-1> Boss Giga Delay>Boss RV7

I love the way you guys blend dry, crunchy rhythm and atmospheric lead tones across the EP without leaning too much one way. What are we hearing on This Everything?

A mix of a lot of things really, the guitars used on This Everything were mainly a Jag and a Tele. The Jag gave us those darker tonal qualities and the Tele offered a brighter alternative, which allowed the guitars to sit well we in the mix together. There were a variety of different amps used; they ranged from a Fender DeVille 4×10, Fender Super 60 Head through an Orange 2×12 cab, Vox AC30 and an Orange AD30. The Tele found its home with the DeVille and AD30, while the Jag was complemented with the Super 60 and AC30. We found throwing the wet atmospheric leads behind the dry crunchy rhythms in the mix was the key in allowing the guitars to find their place.

What was the first pedal you bought?

Chris: Boss Metal Zone lol

Ewan: Boss Turbo Distortion

What do you have on your board at the moment that really shapes your sound?

Chris: The Hot Cake is pretty much the only thing I leave switched on my board. It’s the foundation of my tone.

Ewan: The Fulltone Fulldrive 2 is the base of every sound I use currently and has a second boost channel, which always comes in handy.

How do you approach your signal chain/routing?

Chris: Our approach is pretty typical; Wahs/Filters/Comps into drives into mods into delays into verbs.

Do you switch pedals in and out often?

Chris: Not as often as we would like. We seem to stick with what works best until we feel the need to upgrade. At the moment I’m looking at some new reverb and delay for more textural variety.

Is there anything you’re really hanging out to buy at the moment?

Ewan: If I could get Klon Centaur that and maybe a Line 6 DL4.

Chris: Hologram Electronics Infinite Jets. Google it, it’s wild.

Who are some of your favourite pedal builders?

Chris: I really like what’s coming out of Chase Bliss Audio. There is a quality about them that is surpassed by none.

Ewan: Earthquaker pedals always seam to be coming up with new and amazing pedals and concepts.

Do you have any particular ethos when it comes to using guitar pedals?

It’s not what you play though but how you play it. You can’t forget tone starts at your fingertips, you can have the best gear but that still has nothing on good technique.

If you had to cull your board down to two pedals, what would they be and why?

Ewan: The fulltone and the Giga Delay, they are the two pedals I use the most and they are the pedals that shape most of my sound.

Chris: The Hot Cake and Reverb, much like Ewan they are the ones I use the most and is all I really use when writing or coming up with riffs.

Do your pedals influence what amp or guitars you use, or vice versa?

Not really, when touring you sometimes don’t have the luxury to play through amps you are familiar with, because of this we tend to play pedals that are flexible in their application.

Do you have any pedal heroes or other artist who you feel really nail a sound through their rig?

Ewan: John Frusciante has always had a very impressive rig and has always been able to get the very interesting tones. From his early days when he use to run like 4 pedals until now when he run god knows how many pedals.

Chris: Ooft I could name a few, however Wilco’s Nels Cline is currently god, easily has the best Rig Rundown on YouTube.

Check out WAXX’s new album, Wild and Weak here. The band are on tour throughout September and October, check out the dates here.

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