The Ruminaters are endlessly flexible with what they can do with two guitars, drums and bass: salt-crusted surf, Yiddish psych, punk-ish throwdowns and 70s soul covers – the Sydney four piece can pretty much do it all.
We caught with Rumies guitarist Jake Mossop (with some input from singer, Pencil) to chat what it was like working at the famous RAK Studios in London, whacked-out delay tones and the magic of trusty old Orange Tortex picks.
Chatting to Sydney garage rockers The Ruminaters about working at London’s famed RAK Studios, whacked-out delay tones, and the magic of Orange Tortex picks.
Hey Jake, can you run us through what’s on your board right?
On my board right now I have a TC electronic Polytune for all my tuning needs. Keeps me out of idiot flat. I have a Tubescreamer just like everyone else. A [Way Huge] Swollen Pickle fuzz, a BOSS DD-7 digital delay, an Earthquaker Devices Organizer, Empress Superdelay, Alexander Radical Delay, Vanamps Solemate real spring reverb and some shit pedal Pencil let me borrow that isn’t even plugged in cos its so shit.
I’m a big fan of the all those fluid, watery tones spread across your latest record. What are we hearing on Song For a Dandelion?
Your hearing a few pedals on my board in this song. But the main lick I am using the Organizer by Earthquaker Devices. This was originally Pencil’s pedal. He tried it once and was so impressed with it that he just bought it. Realised that it didn’t really work on his board so he gave it to me. I love it and actually use it quite a bit. Usually stacked up with other pedals to get a weird tone rather then actually trying to simulate an organ with it.
In the chorus your just hearing the DD-7 with the mix turned right up on modulation mode. Also bloody love this pedal. Nothing seriously amazing about it he’s just a good mate. I can rely on him for hell simple delay tones.
You have spent a lot of time recording at RAK in London over the past year or so. What is the studio like, and how did you end up there?
The studio is amazing. We recorded in studio 2 which is my personal favourite room. It’s nice and intimate. The mixing desk is up on a mezzanine that’s boxed in with glass so the engineer can look down and watch us while we play. Saw a lot of stupid shit going on through that glass.
Our good mate from back home in Avalon, Rob Brinkman moved to London a few years back and somehow landed the position of in-house engineer at RAK. First time we went to London we went in there for a day to punch out a couple of songs and we fell in love with the studio and Rob. He’s a bloody genius. So we decided to go back there and do a whole record which Rob produced and is currently mixing. You’ll being hearing tracks off that very early next year!
How has working at a world-class studio influenced your sound? You recorded your debut album in a shed on a farm, right?
It’s definitely changed our sound. Its way more polished and well thought-out. Our songwriting has progressed so much since the beginning that the shed approach might not have been the best option. For our new record anyway. We have a whole bunch of punk songs that we wanna put on an album called “piss off” one day so maybe we will get back in the shed for that…
What was the first pedal you bought? Is there a story behind it?
I think it was a Tubescreamer. Or a tuner. Pretty exhilarating I know. Nah I think i just wanted some distortion for a couple of shit solos I had come up with in the early days and the dude at the music store was like DEWWWWWD, THE TEWWWB SCREAMERRR IS THE GO. So I just got it. I actually still use it heaps but by no means is it one of the pedals that seriously shape our sound. Just a good ol’ bit of OD.
What’s your favourite piece of gear under worth under $100. What do you love about it?
To be honest probably a fat pack of the orange Tortex picks. The best pick on the bloody market. We need a sponsorship. Hear that Dunlop? Rumies love orange Tortex picks. I’d love to know how much I’ve spent on picks.
When we were in London, one very boozy night we grabbed some rent a bikes and rode to the top of Primrose Hill. I challenged everyone to a race to the bottom. And the loser had to supply picks for a year. I came off about half way down and lost so I’ve been buying picks all year. Send us some picks Dunlop.
What do you have on your board at the moment that really shapes your sound?
PROBABLY my Superdelay – rad delay – and the Organizer. The are all pretty interesting pedals. The Superdelay makes some very unique sounds. I use this pitch shifting/octave/reverse arpeggiating mode quite a lot. Definitely always challenging myself to get tones I’ve never really heard before. A lot of the discoveries are an accident. Just recently bought the Mel-9 by Electro-Harmonix which simulates a bunch of different string and brass instruments.
I see you guys use quite a range of guitars – Les Pauls, an old Harmony, a Flying V, a Duesenberg – what influences your choices?
Ah the Les Paul is just a back up guitar that I had. We don’t use it for recording or live much. It’s too heavy. The Duesenberg was an impulse buy for myself. I’d just gotten a credit card and walked into a guitar store and saw it. played it for like 5 seconds then just whacked it on the creddy and walked out. I like the size. It’s super light cos it’s a semi-hollow but with a body like the size of a lesbian paul. And yeah it just plays really nice. Great build. Serious attention to detail. Duey cuts no corners. Pencil’s Flying V was an impulse buy ‘swell I think. Its a 70’s Greco and it actually plays so good. Pencil’s last name is Voroshine so it’s the Flying Jake V.
Pencil, you use a vocal processor live right? How does it shape your sound?
Yeah I was playin’ with one. Found that it was soundin’ a bit shitty. I’ve done heaps of shit trying to find the right tone. I was playing with the TC Helicon voice thingy and found it was too harsh sounding. So went and got some guitar pedals instead for me voice. And just split my voice to have a dry and wet channel for the soundie. I usually tell them to bleed the wet vocal into the dry till it feels good. I used to have a couple pedals for my voice. But now I just use the Nemesis delay. And flick between a quick light delay and a long drawn out delay. Fucks me up having too many pedals.
Is there anything you’re really hanging out to buy at the moment?
Mmmm I just got a bunch of new pedals to try out. As I said, the Mel-9 which I’m freakin’ on!! I got an Apocalypse Distortion by Death by Audio just cos it’s crazy. I got a new reverb that’s a bit more than just a reverb by Empress. Makes heaps whack sounds, but also just mimics the nicest spring and plate reverbs. I got a MIMIQ by TC Electronics which is like a doubler. It’s designed to fill your sound out by “doubling” every note you play. As you would double a guitar part whilst recording to really beef up the section. I’m sure there are gonna be more pedals being added and removed always. Me and Pencil are constantly exchanging videos and shit on new pedals. It’s weird.
Who are some of your favourite pedal builders?
Empress. Full Stop. Period. They make the best delay in the world and a very impressive reverb. If I had the money I’d probably have their multi drive pedal and a bunch of others too. They are really challenging themselves to make something seriously unique. My first pedal that I bought from Empress was $650. It blew up a day before we left went to record I Hate The Ruminaters. So I had to buy a new one and express it to myself. Which was another $650. And I just bought a reverb off them which was $650. So yeah, Empress, sponsor me. Dunlop is.
Do you have any guitar heroes or artists who you feel really nail a sound through their rig?
To be honest I don’t really have a guitar hero. I dunno why. I just don’t freak on guitarists. Julian Casablancas is a hero of mine but he’s not really a guitarist. Although his new band with The Voidz I love. I know he’s the brains behind it all so I guess I can say that I think he nails it. He’s definitely trying to steer from the norm with their guitar tones and irregular guitarmonies. It’s weird shit and I bloody appreciate it. I appreciate a shit load of artists and their sounds but I’ve got a sore back from sitting here typing so much.
LOVE&HONOUR THE RUMIES XX
Check out tunes from The Ruminters on their Spotify.