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ISSUE 8 Credits EDITOR Roberta Pia 0131 229 8227 roberta@reddogmusic.co.uk DEPUTY EDITOR Alex Marten 0131 229 8227 alex@reddogmusic.co.uk CHIEF WRITER Roberta Pia STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Andy McKay (Purrrfect Photography) CONTRIBUTORS Signe Akmenkalne, Will Baker, Garry Boyle, Alex Fenton, Martyn Hopkins, Alex Marten, Toni Martone, Andy McKay, Guy Perchard, Rod Vaughan Shop Photographs DN Anderson www.dnanderson.co.uk ADVERTISING Roberta Pia 0131 229 8227 If you would like to advertise in The Dog, please email marketing@reddogmusic.co.uk Front cover ILLUSTRATION The 16K Design Works DESIGN & ART DIRECTION The 16K Design Works 0131 661 3737 info@16kdesign.com www.16kdesign.com PRINT Cocoa Creative Consultants 0800 644 0646 info@cocoadesign.co.uk www.cocoadesign.co.uk CONTACT Red Dog Music 1 Grassmarket, Edinburgh EH1 2HY 0131 229 8211 info@reddogmusic.co.uk www.reddogmusic.co.uk

AUTUMN 2012 THE DOG 3


DOG EDITORIAL top DOGS REDDOGMUSIC PRESENTS THE

REDDOGMUSIC’s

What’s on the Red Dog Music stereo this Issue

Hiya pals! Lads and ladies, as this will be the last magazine release before 21/12/12 (in other words, EVER), I am dedicating this edition to The Doomsday Prophecy.

N

ot Doomsday Prophecy, the 2011 “made for television” movie, where Eric and Brooke team up to save the world. (*SPOILER ALERT* the world doesn’t end, but yes, Eric and Brooke do hook up – just in case). No, no, I’m talking about the ancient Mayan Calendar prediction, which should obviously be taken seriously.

“what are YOU going to do with your last days on Earth?” It was based on the observations of a dark rift in the Milky Way (sounds delicious) and basically implies that we all have, roughly, less than 100 days to “get busy”. Luckily for us at Red Dog Music, we already went and won Instrument Retailer of the Year 2012 in The Scottish New Music Awards, so PHEW - our work here is done. Got that in the nick of time, didn’t we!? YAS! We did. And while we’re here, thank you to everybody that voted for us. The question now is: what are YOU going to do with your last days on Earth as we know it? Probably act like a sane person and not climb Everest, but enjoy life’s simple joys: music and food. So, crack on with this 4 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

magazine, buy yourself the guitar that YOU’LL NEVER HAVE THE CHANCE OF HOLDING AGAIN, write the greatest song ever written before it’s too late, and gorge yourself on kebabs and sausages. Unless you’re vegetarian. Actually, if you’re vegetarian, you probably should. Because, like, it doesn’t matter now... On that note, I’ll leave you with a musical/food-based pun - because I got sole! (That wasn’t it). We made a cookery programme recently with Snoop Dogg - just before he changed his name to Snoop Lion, incidentally. In the last scene of the programme, he really made us all laugh out loud (or lol, if you prefer). He is, after all, our ‘Dogg’ brother and knows how to tickle us (with puns), so he busted this out: “Whole chicken breasts, grilled and sliced - never diced, please. Chopped up carrots, radishes, tomatoes and some lettuces. Spinach, onion, garlic and cucumber thinly sliced. Avocado, hummus, if you’re feeling saucy, rice – and that’s a wrap.” Yours faithfully, until the end of the world... Roberta ‘Dog Evangelist’ Pia

John Williams ‘Jurassic Park’ Theme TUNE Yep, it’s still on repeat. Don’t you judge us.

Dub Phizix and Skeptical feat. Strategy ‘Marka’ A filthy beat, an awesome vocal, a total tune.

Frank Burkitt ‘Mr ITV’ A song about the state of the X Factor generation. Something we can ALL relate to.

Lulu and the Lanmpshades ‘You’re Gonna Miss Me’ Two girls, two cups. No, it’s not what you think. YouTube them and prepare to be AMAZED.

Check ou

rb

blog.redd log at... ogmu .co.uk sic


Lau are, without a doubt, one of my favourite bands in the entire world.

L

istening to their records is one thing. Seeing them perform live is another... I remember watching them for the first time at Ord Ban in Aviemore and completely forgetting to scoop my jaw up from off the floor until long after they’d finished their set. Needless to say, I had drooled down my own chin, but ashamed I was not - the energy and musicianship of these three legends is beyond belief. Don’t like instrumental folk music? Take it from me: don’t knock it until you’ve tried it on for size. Interview by Roberta Pia

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did you come up with your name? •LauHow is an Orcadian name for light, or fire. Kris

have a UK tour coming up in October, •as You well as the release of Race the Loser. Talk to us.

(Drever) is Orcadian - it came from him

•Indescribable, fantastic, describable. us about your songwriting process. •It’sTell a true democracy. We actually write whole

Yes I will! This is the best planned, most exciting, biggest tour of Lau’s UK life. We have new music that we love, old music that we love, and I just bought (from Red Dog Music, of course) a shiny new Moog Minitaur (which we used a lot on the album) to shatter the foundations of venues around the country. As we speak, I am working out how to wire it into my accordion. No, I’m not joking... although yes, I probably should be. Come and see the tour, folks. It will be epic.

Describe your music in three words

melodies together. Very slow, very rewarding.

What do you want your music to achieve? •A gold house and a rocket car. Which bit of music gear could you not live •without and why?

We all love a well built DI box - not even joking. Buy a good DI box folks, it won’t ever let you down.

“I JUST BOUGHT A SHINY NEW MOOG MINITAUR TO SHATTER THE FOUNDATIONS.”

•Ghosts (Martin) - I love it and am proud of its

What’s your personal favourite Lau song?

politics.

What’s your favourite track off the forth•coming album, Race the Loser, and why? Saint Monday, which for us was a new way forward in combining music and words in what seems like a very natural and intuitive way, although it took us a few years to get there. For me, it seems like the song that is a starting block for the next album.

Which album would you recommend the track-skipping generation listen to from start to finish?

Stevie Wonder’s ‘Innervisions’ because it is very nearly perfect.

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FAVOURITE FESTIVALS

The Insider Festival {Aviemore} The most amazing little music festival on Earth.

Glastonbury

“THE REALLY SHORT GUY IS BETTER ARMED.” If you could only listen to one •artist for the rest of your life

Martin Green, Kris Drever and Aidan O’Rourke

LAU’s

- excluding The Beatles, because they’re too obvious a choice - who would you pick? Bearing in mind they’d need to have a good back catalogue that would suit all sorts of moods and times of the day (unless you’d be content listening to Gabber for breakfast, lunch and dinner in which case, good for you).

Damn, that is a preposterous question. The album that lives on my mp3 player for all travel occasions and stress relief is Glen Gould playing Bach’s Goldberg variations. It’s an album that comes up a lot on Desert Island Discs, and obviously has some lasting quality because I have never been unhappy to hear it - even after hundreds of listens. But actually, it’s just a silly question.

Perhaps this is a populist choice, but true!

Who would win in a fight - you, Kris or •Aidan? What would each of your fighting techniques be?

I would win of course, the really short guy is better armed - didn’t you know that? Also I have no pride or sense of fair play.

What’s your favourite instrument? •Today, it is The Moog Minitaur If you were asked to put in a message in a •bottle, what would you write?

If anyone knows how to wire a bass synthesiser into the back end of a piano-accordion, please contact me immediately. And come and see Lau.

Baltimore Fiddle Fair {County Cork} They wait until everyone has left the pub and walked up the hill to the marquee before they let the band start. Magical and sheer class.

www.lau-music.co.uk

AUTUMN 2012 THE DOG 9


REDDOG

PRODUCT

PICKS!

A few of the Red Dog Music staff take time out to tell us what they think are the coolest bits of gear in-store at the moment. Let’s meet them and find out what they think rawks...

Intellitouch Freedom One:

The First Wireless Guitar Tuner Pedal (Red Dog Price: £89.95)

Picked By:

Name:

Will

Alternative Recommendation AKG WMS40 Guitar Wireless System £59

A

re you ready for something ridiculously exciting AND futuristic? Nice one, take a seat – we don’t want you to pull a muscle and/or wet yourself – and put your paws together for the first WIRELESS guitar tuner pedal. You heard us.

“Basically, stay perfectly in tune with minimal effort.”

It fits onto your pedal board, as normal; the difference with the Freedom One is it comes with a high quality wireless link that plugs directly into the output jack of your guitar. All you have to do is whap it in and the Intellitouch sends a wireless signal to the pedal, saving you from having to plug anything in. You don’t even need to bend over. Basically, stay perfectly in tune with minimal effort. Intellitouch does the hard work, so you don’t have to. Just like Flash.

Wireless microphones have been done, wireless headphones, wireless speakers... so it makes sense that a wireless guitar tuner would eventually make its way into the land of brainmelting musical equipment. It’s very simple – OnBoard Research Corporation, the company that revolutionised the musical instrument tuning industry by creating the world’s first clip-on tuner, have taken the concept of the original guitar tuner, crossed Buy online at it with the concept of the standard tuner pedal and RedDogMusic.coat.uk the and use code ‘dog2’ created the Intellitouch to get 5% OFF ut cko che Freedom One. or come your purchase into the shop for a demo!

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Epiphone EJ-160E John Lennon Vintage Cherry Electro-Acoustic Guitar (Red Dog Price: £379)

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n the words of John Lennon, “all you need is love”. Well, music heads -that’s not strictly true, is it? Because what is love if you don’t have your favourite guitar in your hands? That’s why we’re asking you to take a minute to check out THIS curvaceous wooden structure. The first thing I noticed about the Epiphone EJ-160E is how playable it is. It’s easy to rock out on and it’s pretty flexible in terms of playing style. The second thing I noticed about the Epiphone EJ-160E is how lovely it sounds – it has a warm, bright tone to it that made my ears happy the minute the first note rang out. The third thing I noticed about the

Epiphone EJ-160E is how unusual it looks, with the volume and tone knobs placed on the front of the guitar – commonly found on electrics, of course. The reason for this is because the EJ-160E is modelled on John Lennon’s famous Gibson J-160. It’s the same jumbo shape, the same feel and includes the same mini-acoustic humbucker pickup as Lennon’s original J-160 – this particu-

“modelled on Lennon’s famous Gibson J-160”

Picked By:

Name:

Roberta

lar model, however, features Lennon’s signature on the body. If you’re a Beatles fan - and let’s face it, if you’re not, you’re either a) mental o r b) lying to try and be controversial – this beast of an acoustic guitar is an absolute must. If you’re still not sold by the EJ-160E, then maybe we can push you over the edge with the following two reasons: a portion of the proceeds of each guitar will be donated to the BMI Foundation, Inc. for the John Lennon Scholarship Fund which supports music education AND – wait for it - it costs less than £400. In short, IT’S A WINNER. Let me sup with this: I love The Beatles. John Lennon is my hero. This guitar is Buy onlin RedDogMus e at awesome. I’m a fan.

ic

.co.uk and use code ‘dog checkout to ge 2’ at the t 5% OFF your purchase or come into the shop for a demo! 12 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

Alternative Recommendation Epiphone Hummingbird Cherry Burst £219


P R O D U CT

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Roland V-Studio 20 Computer Recording Solution

Gretsch 5123B Hollow Body Bass Guitar (Red Dog Price: £1199)

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(Red Dog Price: £172)

f Johnny Cash played bass guitar, he’d play THIS bass guitar. Look at it go! It’s a sexy beast in a fetching shade of ‘sunset orange’. You can get an idea of what it looks like by looking at a photo of it, sure, but you won’t really be able to appreciate it in all of its magnificent splendour and majestic glory until you clap eyes on it in real life. It’s absolutely beautiful, completely unique and, most importantly, a rare hollow-body style with a big, warm, rich sound that’ll make your organs rumble. The Gretsch 5123B was originally a limited edition model, originally offered only to America’s massive

Guitar Center as a “doorbuster special” back in 2010. There was only one of these basses allowed per store, and not every store was offered one. For the lucky motherfunkys who got their paws on one, they got themselves a big beautiful hollow-body bass with two TV Jones

“a whole lot of WOW for your money”

Picked By:

Name:

Barker

Picked By:

Name:

Andy

ThunderTron pickups for well under a grand. However, the response to this limited edition was so good that they decided to make a few more, and then a few more, and then a few more after that. So, to cut to the chase, it’s not limited edition anymore... BUT it still looks awesome and has a brilliant back story that you can impress all your friends with. Plus, it’s only a little over a grand – and you’re getting a whole lot of WOW for your money. As mentioned above, you really can’t understand HOW lovely the Gretsch 5123B is until you see it in real life, get your paws on it and have a little rock out. So, Red Dog Music invites you to come in and have a bash. Be Buy online at our guest.

ne Buy onli

14 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

computer for further editing and mixing using Cakewalk Guitar Tracks recording software. The V-Studio 20 looks cool, it’s easy to use AND it even comes with built-in stereo mics for recording those impromptu jam sessions, whilst

“the perfect recording device, whether at home or on the road.” you and your pals are getting off your chops on White Lightning or Cherry Lambrini or, you know, whatever. All of this awesome in one little box, and to top it all off, it’s cheap as chips. If we didn’t know any better, we’d say we were being spoilt rotten. In the words of Snap, you’ve got the power – and for £172, it could be at your fingertips.

at

.uk Music.co RedDogcode ‘dog2’ at thFe

RedDogMusic.co.u k and use cod e ‘dog2’ at the checkout to get 5% OFF your purchase or com e into the shop for a demo!

G

uitarists, your dreams have FINALLY come true. Imagine if BOSS guitar effects and Roland’s groundbreaking COSM modelling joined forces in the form of a very simple, sturdy and portable black box that included a powerful piece of recording software that could, potentially, help you take over the world... well, there’s no need to imagine it. It’s been invented, and they’ve named it the V-Studio 20. This amazing product, from the amazing minds of Roland and Boss, features the simplicity of a portable, hardware recording system and f uses it with the power, flexibility and control of modern computer-based recording software. The V-Studio 20 is the perfect recording device, and can be used whether you’re at home, stationary, or on the road, not stationary – all you have to do is connect your guitar or microphone and the V-Studio 20 offers up an array of BOSS effects for you to play about with. Once you’re ready to rock, you can record directly to your

Alternative Recommendation

Alternative Recommendation

Eve 4-String Pro Fretted Electric Bass £1199

There’s no other product like this on the market. It’s THAT good.

and use t to get 5% OF checkou hase or come rc your pu e shop for into th o! a dem

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P R O D U CT

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PIC

Roland Microcube Black 2 Watt Compact Guitar Amp

Moog Minitaur Analog Bass Synth Module

(Red Dog Price: £99)

(Red Dog Price: £489)

L

adies and gentlemen, please; clear a path for the Moog Minitaur: the embodiment of pure filth. Good filth, though. Bangin’ filth. The Minitaur is a powerful, compact Analog Bass Synthesizer that features a classic one knob per function design – so it’s very hands on and simple to use. It is the first instrument in the Taurus family that doesn’t use foot pedals. At only 8.5” x 5.25” and less than 3lbs, the Minitaur puts legendary analog Moog bass into a package designed to fit into today’s performance and production environments, to quote Ace Venture, “like a glove”. There are no confusing or convoluted menus to dig through. Plug in a MIDI controller or hook it up to your computer and start playing immediately.

Picked By: And before you get fooled by its size, the Minitaur delivers all the growl, snarl and low-end that is

Picked By:

“face-meltingly filthy bass sound” associated with the Taurus family of Bass Synthesizers in a rugged performance package that is small enough to take with you anywhere. If it’s a face-meltingly filthy bass sound that you’re gagging on, look no futher – this badboy has your name plastered all over it. The Moog Minitaur takes Moog’s legendary analog circuitry to a new, lower price point, allowing anyone to add the fattest of fat bass to their sonic arsenal. Show us your bass face.

Name: Name:

Paws

Dee-dee

Buy onlin

RedDogMusice at .co.uk and use code ‘dog checkout to ge 2’ at the t 5% OFF your purchase or co into the shop me for a demo!

16 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

Alternative Recommendation

Alternative Recommendation

Moog SlimPhatty £649

Fender Mustang Mini £99

I

f you’re familiar with the Roland Cube, you’ll know that it’s an awesome, powerful and much sought after guitar amp. Imagine, if you will, all that awesome and all that power in a much more compact, portable version that still packs as much punch as ever... Ok, you can stop imagining now (and wipe your chin)

“an awesome, powerful and much sought after amp”

uses the advantages of multiple modeling methods and succeeds in accurately emulating existing sounds, as well as producing sounds that have never before been created.” Thanks, Roland. You’re a pal. The Roland Microcube also features 6 DSP (Digital Signal Processing) effects and a brand spanking new Digital Tuning Fork, so you’ll never be out of tune again. This amp really does offer all the tone you’ll ever need whilst on the move – so, if you’re a musician that doesn’t like to remain stationary for too long, this is the amp for you. What else? Oh yeah, IT’S TINY - so, you could potentially play a game of catch with it, if you were feeling completely idiotic.

as we present the Roland Microcube. The first thing to note is that it features Roland and Boss’ signature COSM (Composite Object Sound Modelling) amp models - SEVEN of these babies, to be precise. Don’t understand what this means? Me neither! I’ll let Roland explain... “Once a musical instrument generates sound vibrations, it reaches the human ear through various mediating, objects, each of which significantly affects the sound. The material and configuration of the instrument, the electric/magnetic amplifying system, the air and the reverberation of the room all affect the final sound. Sound modeling, the latest DSP at technology, “virtually” Buy online .uk co reconstructs these c. si u M g o RedD de ‘dog2’ at the objects. Roland’s co and use get 5% OFF breakthrough Comcheckout to or come se ha rc posite Object Sound pu your op for Modeling (COSM) into the sh a demo!

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Yamaha DXR Speaker Series (Red Dog Price: £480-£619)

Y

amaha have launched a brand new range of PA speakers that aim to boldly go where no speaker has gone before. Taking inspiration from their big brother, the DSR Series, Yamaha have managed to combine FACE-MELTING power in a totally compact and easily portable unit. What every musician wants from their speakers is a) to be able to carry them between gigs without breaking a body part and b) to sound as loud, as pure and as awesome as humanly possible. Never before have you been able to get active loudspeakers that are both portable AND affordable, as well as harbouring the kind of power that the DXR Series boasts. Team Yamaha, however, have combined the two most important features that a musician desires from their speaker system.

Yamaha DXR8: The most compact of the DXR Series speakers, the DXR8 makes the most of its 1100W of power, delivering extremely high output while maintaining outstanding resolution. Adding a DXS12 sub-

“speakers that are both portable AND affordable”

woofer gives you an ultra-compact high-power SR system. Yamaha DXR10: Portable, yet capable of producing an astonishing 131 dB SPL, the DXR10’s compact, functional design makes it ideal for a wide range of applications. Whether providing simple vocal/ instrument amplification, very powerful floor monitoring or comprising a compact SR system—the DXR10 delivers without compromising sound quality and power. Yamaha DXR12: The DXR12 is an extremely high-power loudspeaker that is capable of producing a maximum SPL of 132dB with its impressive 1100W of power. It is the perfect solution for live sound applications that demand wide bandwidth and extremely high-resolution sound. Yamaha DXR15: The DXR15 achieves class-leading SPLs and full bandwidth performance by combining a powerful Class-D amplifier with a Buy online at RedDogMusic high-power woofer and .co.uk and use code Yamaha’s cutting edge ‘dog2’ at the checkout to ge technologies. Throw in t 5% OFF your purchase some D-CONTOUR and or come into the shop you’ll feel like you’re for a demo! using a subwoofer.

18 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

Picked By:

Name:

Alex

Alternative Recommendation JBL PRX525 Active Speaker £674


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Go-Go-Gadget! On Stage GK7800 Guitar Care Kit (£9.99) Keep your guitar looking f-ff-fresh with the On Stage GK7800 Guitar Care Kit. It comes with 4oz of Guitar Polish, 2 Polishing Cloths (one to apply polish, one to wipe polish off), 3 picks (1 light, 1 medium and 1 heavy)and last but not least, a string winder. In short, this is the

SE Electronics Reflexion Filter Project Studio Mic Shield (£89) Based on its industry standard predecessor, the Reflexion Filter Pro, SE Electronics have come up with a much cheaper option – 3 years and a bunch of poor imitations later. The Project Studio Reflexion Filter allows you to record a dead signal in even the worst acoustically-treated room. Looks cool, ‘sounds’ awesome and perfect for bedroom studios.

IK Multimedia iRig Mic (£39) You know when you’re sitting on the bus home, feeling somewhat inspired after going to see your favourite band, and there’s some absolute hero up at the back, blasting out Encore Une Fois from their phone? Or when you’re drunker than a Fresher in September, singing along to The Final Countdown at the top of your lungs. These special little moments where you think of a brilliant melody or vocal idea – and you don’t know whether it’s because of your musical genius, or because it’s the theme tune from Jurassic Park. The iRig mic has been invented for this very moment. Just plug it into your iPhone, iPad or iPod, and you can produce quality audio or vocal recordings wherever, whenever.

20 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

ultimate guitar survival kit that will keep you and your beloved guitar feeling happy, looking SEXY and, most importantly, prepared for any eventuality – such as beer spillages, pick loss, or broken strings. It’s a tough life, being a musician.

TC Electronic Polytune Mini Pedal Tuner (£64) Vocalzone Throat Pastilles (£3.99) Vocalzones are a new kid on the block for Red Dog Music. Up until now, Vocalzones have only been on sale in pharmacies – so, we thought we’d get some in for all you singers out there; particularly the ones who are prone to getting smashed, smoking loads of fags, delivering torrents of affectionate verbal abuse to their peers and passing out in a gutter the night before their gig... No? Just me? Cool. That’s cool. Basically, bosh one of these and relieve your irritated throat – whether you’re a pro, an amateur or just somebody who likes to sing in the shower. Be warned, they’re strong – like in an ouch-stopit-I-like-it sort of way. Importantly, though – they get the job done.

A most revolutionary bit of kit indeed – the world’s very first polyphonic tuner. Rather than spending an awkward amount of time tuning each string individually; all you have to do is strum the guitar once (hitting all the strings, of course) and the PolyTune will tell you which ones are out of tune. Genius, we know. Gone are the days of having to keep chatting to your audience while you tune your guitar, creating an awkward silence between the performer and the audience, more often than not because human beings tend to find multi-tasking incredibly difficult, especially if they’re male, apparently.


Vigier Guitars

“definitely has a Vigier ‘I don’t know what’ about it”

presents

presents

Excalibur Special

Clap your eyes on our brand new range of French fancies...

{Deep Blue}

O

ut of our range of Vigier Guitars, the Vigier Excalibur Special is probably the most likely candidate for a cameo appearance in Wayne’s World (probably played by one of the long-haired dudes in Cassandra’s band, Crucial Taunt). It’s glitzy, plays like a dream come true and in electric blue, is certainly designed to catch your eye. Featuring an unusual marble-effect scratch plate, The Vigier Excalibur Special definitely has a Vigier ‘I don’t know what’ about it.

Excalibur Indus

{Text Black (Tremolo/Fixed Bridge)} lick to the eye and even slicker to the touch, the Excalibur Indus gives the impression that you could bounce it off a hardened surface and it would survive. The unique textured finish means that it marks very easily, and as such should be handled with care. Still, it’s guaranteed to make you look pretty rock and roll with that blue outlined scratch plate and, lo and behold, it even sounds rock and roll. The question now is, tremolo or fixed bridge?

S

“Slick to the eye and even slicker to the touch”

GV Rock T

{Burgundy Fade}

he Vigier GV Rock is part of the award-winning single-cut range from these French guitar luthiers. Featuring hand-wound pickups made by Amber, the Vigier GV Rock sounds nice and loud, whilst remaining light enough to rock out with on stage. With its beautifully shiny Burgundy sheen, your fans will be swooning at your feet when you whip the GV Rock out – a classy guitar, to say the least.

22 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

“the simplest and most efficient Vigier guitar”

Excalibur Supra

{Urban Metal}

he Vigier Excalibur Supra is the simplest and most efficient Vigier guitar. You will love its crunchy bridge and warm neck pickups, which can be split in positions 2 & 4. Equipped with Vigier‘s non-locking tremolo mounted on ball bearings and locking machine heads, it is free of tuning hassles – making rocking out with your Excalibur Supra out easier than ever. Urban metal heads, this guitar has been designed with you in mind. Pay close attention.

T

AUTUMN 2012 THE DOG 23


“combining classic looks with a lovely, warm tone”

ts

presen

Excalibur Supra

{Natural Alder Matte}

A

nother guitar from the Vigier Excalibur Supra family, only this time in a gorgeous wood finish (alder, to be precise). It still rocks as much as as the other members of Team Excalibur Supra, it just does it in a slightly more subtle fashion. Smooth to the touch, this particular Excalibur Supra is a beautiful addition to the Vigier range, combining classic looks with a lovely, warm tone. For those of you who like the natural look, this Excalibur Supra is the guitar for you.

“maintains that classic ‘electric guitar’ look”

Expert Retro 54 {Antique Violin}

f you’re not stuck in the past, the Expert is the single-coil guitar that you’ve been looking forward to. It combines tradition and moderism, and is available in three pickup configurations. It’s noiseless with a single-coil sound that has rarely been heard. Vigier‘s guarantee against detuning is its non-locking tremolo mounted on ball bearings combined with oversized Vigier locking tuners. This is a three single coil guitar made for Expert ears – this particular model comes in an unusual shade of faded red but still maintains that classic ‘electric guitar’ look.

I

24 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

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“Get together with other bands and promote your own nights.”

I

t’s not all doom and gloom, though. Alongside changes at the majors, advances in technology have made it easier than ever to go it alone. Bands can record, release and distribute music, sell tickets and merchandise directly to fans and take control of their own careers in a way that was never possible before. Great numbers

First and foremost you are a musician, but you are also in business, so be prepared to behave like one. Lay out your strategy and goals. Portion out different organisational duties to bandmates or other people best suited to perform them.

The days when a relatively unknown band could sign for a huge advance from global record labels are largely dead. The music industry has changed massively in the last ten years, with traditional major labels altering the deals they offer artists and generally reassessing the way they do business from the ground up.

26 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

of artists are choosing the DIY approach, and globally recognised acts like Amanda Palmer and Blood Red Shoes are proof that going DIY can be a shrewd business decision and not just necessity. Here are some useful tips for DIY artists, put together by the UK’s fastest growing gig booking service, BandWagon.

Live has always been the cornerstone of DIY. Almost every band and musician starts out on their own as a proto-DIY outfit, organising their own performances. Put your all into every performance. People will respond to your passion – and you never know who might be in the audience.

Online isn’t enough. Every gig is an opportunity to win over more fans, so make sure you let them know how to sign up to email lists or stay up to date through social media. Sign up to collecting societies PRS and PPL as soon as possible to start making money through your copyrights.

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Can’t get booked for the sort of gigs you want to play? Get together with other bands and promote your own nights. Need money to organise a tour? Raise it through services Pledge, or by selling music and merch direct to fans at gigs, or online using services like BandCamp.

In the world of DIY, managers are no longer just middlemen, they are entrepreneurs and organisers. Consider a contracted trial period to make sure you can work together well. A strong band-manager relationship is essential, but an open relationship where everyone knows what they are doing is even more important.

It is a small industry and people talk. If you are professional and likeable, people will want to work with you again. The opposite is equally true. Being friendly with bands that make it big can also help to boost your profile.

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“If you are professional and likeable, people will want to work with you.”

Don’t fall into the trap of playing lots of free entry gigs – you risk not being taken seriously by promoters and creating a fan base that resents paying to see you play. Don’t be afraid to play for free early on – it can offer valuable experience and exposure – but make sure people will be prepared to pay when the time comes.

It may seem overkill but can help avoid disputes at all stages in your career. Even if it’s just an agreement about what split of the door you’re getting at a gig, it’s better to have it written down before you play.

About BandWagon BandWagon is an online platform for bands and artists to find and book gigs with promoters and venues across the UK. Bands can organise their bookings, search for new opportunities, book tours, showcase their music and manage their own live careers. In addition, it offers promoters a simple way to complete gig line-ups, scout new acts, or create and curate entirely new events. Get started for free at... bandwagongigs.com

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The History of

The History of

PEDALS

“We must develop unique and innovative effects for the world’s guitarists.” – So declared BOSS’s founder 35 years ago, when the very first BOSS pedal, CE-1 was launched.

“the company that put the ‘stomp’ in ‘stompbox’.” its legendary line of colourful guitar and bass effects pedals. Put simply, BOSS gives you the great-sounding tools you need to spend less time tweaking and more time playing. Here we have showcased some of the pedals that have to come make BOSS a number one choice for guitarists, from beginners to stadium filling bands and some pedals that have truly changed the way in which we play today.

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DS-1 Distortion (1978)

DM-2 Delay (1981)

Known by professional guitarists the world over as “that orange BOSS distortion,” the DS-1 launched a million guitar solos and can be heard on countless hit songs. More than 35 years later, this timeless pedal is still in the best sellers list!

The first compact analog delay of BOSS. It’s characteristic warm and natural delay tone still grabs many ardent fans today.

B

OSS has stuck by that mantra for over 35 years. From introducing beginners to the world of guitar sound to experienced players that use them for their innovative way in changing sound, their reliability and quality. Known around the world as the company that put the “stomp” in “stompbox,” BOSS is the division of Roland Corporation most easily recognised for

PEDALS

CE-1 Chorus Ensemble (1976) This first-ever Boss effect, this big grey pedal is often regarded as the mother of all choruses, with its unmistakable warm analog stereo chorus and vibrato sounds. Incredibly, the original CE-1 Chorus Ensemble is still in demand today!

BOSS Pedals (1977) The first BOSS pedals ever made were the OD-1 Overdrive, PH-1 Phaser and SP-1 Spectrum. These classic stomp-boxes included a number of ‘world firsts’, like silent FET switching (to eliminate pops and clicks), non-skid rubber panels and a quick-access battery compartment. This classic BOSS stompbox design hasn’t changed since 1977!

“the DS-1 launched a million guitar solos.”

Sound Control Centre SCC-700 (1982) Years before programmable multi-effects were to arrive, BOSS let you take seven compact pedals and, with an audio switcher and computer control, store 32 memories of pedal on/off status and the order of the pedals in the chain!

DD-2 Digital Delay (1984) For the first time ever, guitarists and other musicians could have pristine-sounding digital delay in a simple stomp-box. However, like all digital pedals, unless you had an endless supply of batteries, an AC adapter was a must.

ME-5 Guitar Multi-Effects (1988) The world’s first integrated, floor-based effects processor, the ME-5 let guitarists tap into a wide range of high-quality programmable BOSS multi-effects. The ME-5 launched a whole category that remains popular to this day.

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The History of

PEDALS

MT-2 Metal Zone (1991) If your first thought is ‘I own one of those’, you are not alone. The Metal Zone is one of BOSS’s most popular pedals ever. Still available today, the MT-2s popularity is a result of it producing some of the most over-the-top, insane distortion tones in the world.

RE-20 Space Echo (2007)

AC-3 Acoustic Simulator (2006) By 2006 Roland’s proprietary COSM technology had been used in a few BOSS multi-effects and twin pedals, but the AC-3 was the first time the technology was used in a compact (stomp-box) pedal.

“To say that the RE-20 was enormously successful would be an understatement.”

Although musicians have been on the retro bandwagon for some time, BOSS resisted the mere ‘reissue’ concept. The RE-20 twin pedal is designed to emulate the original 1973 Roland RE-201 tape echo, but also had additional functionality to give musicians new possibilities. To say that the RE-20 Space Echo was enormously successful would be an understatement.

VE-20 Vocal Performer (2009)

GT-100 Amp Effects Processor (2012) It’s way too early to tell what will be the outstanding BOSS product from 2012, but the GT100 would surely have to be a contender. The newly developed amp models are incredibly responsive, thanks to the proprietary ESC2 chip.

32 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

Although it was demonstrated at the January NAMM show, it took BOSS nearly a year to advance the prototype to a stage where it was officially ready for release. The wait was worth it, with the Vocal Performer being very popular with singers from all corners of the world.

S0,

with over 40 BOSS pedals from you to pick from in current production, you wont have difficulty in finding the right one for you. BOSS has consistently pioneered and delivered cutting edge performance and tools for you to inspire your sound for over 35 years and will continue to do so.


Recording

Drums

a basic guide to...

Recording

Drums It’s one of the biggest and most daunting of recording tasks, but also one of the most important. by Alex Fenton (Studio Manager, Swanfield Studios)

our tunes need a groove, otherwise no one’s gonna move! With so many elements to a drum kit, it’s difficult to know where to start. This article should give you the basic knowledge to begin your journey towards that epic drum sound.

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A couple of pointers to begin with: it’s common sense but make sure the drum kit is in good condition and tuned well. Some useful accessories to have around are a drum key, some tape and extra padding. It’s best to start simple - follow some basic guidelines and you can get pretty impressive results with just a kick, snare and over-head mic.

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Recording

Recording

Drums

Drums

Kick in the face... better to start than the W here kick or bass drum - it’s the driving force behind your rhythm section and cements the beat to the floor of your track. In order to capture it properly, you’ll need a microphone designed for bass frequencies. Industry standard models include the AKG D112 and Shure Beta 52, but there are plenty of starter models available. Depending on the design of the kick, you can either use a short stand to position the mic, or simply place it inside the bass drum itself. A quick test recording is always a good idea to check the tone, so you can adjust things as necessary. If you’re finding the sound too thin, you can make it weightier by moving the mic further into the drum. If the front skin prohibits this, it’s usually worth taking it off. If you’re after a tighter sound, you can add some more padding to dampen things down a bit.

easily handle the loudness and give you plenty of tone to work. If you want a chunkier sound - try a clip on mic like the Sennheiser E604. If you’re after a brighter, snappier tone - miking the underside of the snare as well will give you a good blend to work with. When it comes to EQ, there are a couple of guidelines to work to. For rock drums, you can add more chunk by boosting around the 200Hz mark. Some snare drums can have a bit of a ring. I find a lot of drummers seem to like a bit of ring - but if it sounds too much, you’ll struggle to remove it later. Use your ears and if it needs taming, try a bit of tape on the skin, or use a dampening product such as Moongel. If there’s still too much ringing going on, look to cut in the region of 700Hz on an EQ to smooth the rest out. This should give you the best blank canvas to work with.

“Most Studio Sessions don’t involve an amp with the master at 11!”

mics, a pair will give you a nice stereo image. The overhead is probably the most difficult to position. In fact, I often catch myself walking round the kit several times to check spacing and distances before settling on a final position. Make sure you get a decent height without ending up with too much room sound - and if you’re using two mics, try to spread them roughly evenly across the kit and at the same height.

“Where possible; record several signals.”

Putting it all together... REMEMBER nce you’ve recorded your drums, O you can experiment with blend- Trust your ears ing different proportions of the signals to see what effect it has on the sound. Depending on the style of

and sonic glory will soon be yours!

Who is Alex Fenton?

Snappy Snare... Over the head... he snare is the most musical overhead mic does exactly T part of the drum kit and, as T he what it says on the tin. It sits such, can make the difference between a lively and lifeless drum recording. The common approach is to use a dynamic mic such as a Shure SM57, which will

music, it should be pretty easy to find a blend you like. When it comes to processing; EQs, gates and compressors are common on most drum signals. The kick and toms can be tightened up with gates and you can put some level of compression on every channel. I usually find it helps to group the drum channels to a stereo bus, so the final sculpting can be done to the kit as a whole. If you need some inspiration, listen carefully to the drums on your fav-ourite records and try to emulate what you hear.

lex is an experienced sound engineer and music producer who started out by setting up his own company, Fentek Audio, after gaining an honours degree in Music Technology. Alex has helped many local bands enhance their status with the likes of White Heath and Birdhead gaining label deals off the back of his creative production style. He now runs Swanfield Studios, a custom built studio in Leith offering recording, mixing and mastering as well as training.

A

over the top of the drums, capturing an overall sound of the kit with detail across all the different elements. A condenser mic is your best bet for this. You can get very respectable results with one but if you have enough www.swanfieldstudios.co.uk

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How did you come up with your name? Just before releasing our first album we decided to change our name. We only had a short window to come up with something. Sarah fired us a bunch of suggestions via email and Admiral Fallow seemed the strongest contender. I’m a great believer of the idea that the music makes the name and not the other way around. After all, Radiohead is a pretty crappy name, but what a band.

Describe your music in three words It’s Pop Music. Tell us about your songwriting process Generally I’ll take an idea in some form to the others; having perhaps home demo’d it before hand so I can remember how it goes. It won’t always be a full song, sometimes just a verse and chorus. We’ll then work it up into the full band set up, trying out different grooves and instruments. For the most part, it all comes together fairly quickly. What do you want your music to achieve? As long as people keep enjoying the records we make, we’ll keep doing them. We’ve been very lucky to have played in some incredible venues both here in the UK and over in the US, which we’re very grateful to have done. We’ve also

had the pleasure of opening for some of our favourite artists, which is a real treat. As for what we want it to achieve, I reckon being given these opportunities is a fine achievement and we’ll happily carry on as we are. Which bit of music gear could you not live without and why? I’m not all that precious about specific gear though I really like the instruments I use. It’s really boring but I guess a tuner of some sort. I’m the least punk person you’re likely to meet and it f**ks me off when stuff’s out of tune. The tuner would need to have a mute thing on it too. I don’t want to hear the tuning. What a dickhead.

“ it f**ks me off when stuff ’s out of tune”

Name your top three music festivals Glastonbury: No description necessary. We’ve all seen it on the telly. It’s even better in the flesh. SXSW (Austin,TX): It’s actually more an industry type of affair, so it’s not the most punter friendly. That said, Austin is an incredible place and will always have a special feeling for us with it being our first ever show in the states. Unbelievable food too. Insider Festival (Aviemore): Quite simply the greatest tiny festival I’ve ever been to. It’s the only festival I’ve stood in the rain consistently, for three years running, and never complained about. What’s your favourite track off your new album, Tree Bursts in Snow, and why? I’d probably say ‘Oh, Oscar’. Like a lot of our songs, it started as a sketchy little number which I took to the band with no particular form in mind. It’s very simple with only a few short verses. The arrangement came together very quickly and naturally in the rehearsals leading up to making the album; I believe we had only played it a handful of times before we came to record it. Songs on the same album with more complex arrangements cont...

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had rightly taken up the majority of our time and energy during the recording process and so, with only an hour or so remaining on one session, we set up the room to try to get a sound for ‘Oh, Oscar’. I was feeling very tired and, having had a couple of wines with dinner, also more relaxed than I perhaps should’ve been. All five of us set up in the same room together, playing ‘as live’, and we ended up using the very first take. I like it because it’s not perfect. It has little flaws in sound and the vocal is slightly unsure of itself, the lyrics having only been finalised minutes before recording. For me personally, it was a lesson in what can be created when you’re not feeling any pressure and you’re relaxed. It was a nice way to work.

“I’m a believer that every album should be listened to in its entirety”

WHO ARE? ADMIRAL FALLOW

Admiral Fallow are, quite probably, a new-to-you band – albeit one landing in your in-tray or inbox today with a debut album already under their collective belt, 2010’s superbly acclaimed Boots Met My Face. As What was the idea behind your music video for such an achievement should suggest, The Paper Trench? this Glasgow-based ensemble has paid The idea for the ‘Treeman’ video was pitched to us by the its dues several times over, sleeping director Greg Davenport (he also directed our wedding band on floors on tour and making the most video for follow up single ‘Guest of the Government’). We got of meagre resources to further a cause a few different ideas through but his was the most interestthat’s earned them comparisons to the ing sounding. It all rested on the ‘Treeman’ costume looking likes of The Delgados and as good as it could, so we were slightly worried Midlake and attracted plaudits about it in the run up to the shoot. We were so hapfrom such high-profile py with the outcome. The reactions of the folks he individuals as Elbow’s Guy meets as he makes his pilgrimage from Glasgow’s Garvey, King Creosote and East End out to Loch Lomond were totally natural Guillemots’ Fyfe Dangerfield. Phil plays DW Drums with no ‘actors’ being used. We got a lot of positive Now, with the release of Tree & Zildjian Cymbals. feedback from it. Bursts in Snow – produced and Louis and Stu play mixed at Glasgow’s famous Which album would you recommend the Fender Electric Guitars track skipping generation listen to from Chem 19 studios by Paul Savage (Tele, Jazzmaster & Strat) start to finish? (Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, & Martin Acoustic Guitars. It’ll read like a politician’s answer but I’m a believer Teenage Fanclub), and Joe plays a Fender that every album should be listened to in its entirety. mastered by Greg Calbi (Bon Precision Bass. After all, it was made to be listened that way. Of Iver, Fleet Foxes, The National) Sarah plays an Altus Flute course, if the listener thinks it’s not for them by at Sterling Sound in NYC – the with an Arista headjoint.  track three, they’re probably best giving up. five-piece (regularly swelled to Kevin plays a Buffet a larger collective live) is ready R13 Clarinet. Who would win in a fight a moustache to take the next step: from the We also use or a beard? recommended column of Roland & M-Audio Beard. It’s bigger. several critics’ reviews Keyboards. What does the future hold for AF? catalogue and into the hearts We’re playing some shows through Europe and then of the wider public.

KITLIST

over to North America, which we’re all pretty excited about. Then there’s a short UK tour in December with a headline show at The Barrowland Ballroom in Glasgow - the only Scottish date – on the 8th December. 40 THE DOG AUTUMN 2011

admiralfallow.com


Vigier Guitars: The French Connection

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Whether it’s their ground breaking Citroen suspension or their uncompromisingly tough political agendas, the people of France have always been a nation of fiercely independent thinkers. The impressive new range of guitars from French guitar manufacturer, Vigier, would seem to consolidate this reputation. Their flagship Excalibur model ably demonstrates a characteristically individual take on the universal Super-Strat theme. The body is a loose interpretation of the original, tried and tested three pick-up ergonomic masterpiece. The slim, bolt-on neck sports a simple oiled finish, with 24 medium-jumbo stainless steel frets on a 12” radius for positive fretting and effortless string-bending. Interestingly, Vigier have opted for a ZeroFret instead of a conventional top-nut. This, they say, promotes a more even response across the neck from all strings, whether open or fretted. The strings themselves still have to run through a nut but it acts more simply as a lateral spacing guide and is made of Teflon, in order to provide a low friction path to a set of locking machine-heads. The use of two guitar string ball-ends (complete with half an inch of string) to create a decent break-angle over the nut is quaint to the point of being eccentric - why not just use staggered height tuners and be done with it? I suppose, if nothing else, they provide a talking point on the merits of Gallic charm. 42 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

For years, players wanting high performance whammy action have had to settle for either a Floyd-Rose style, knife-edge pivot unit which, by its very nature, was prone to wear from the word go. The alternative Kahler system, where the moving parts ran on comparatively friction free roller bearings required the use of large castings, in which the bearings were housed, making any guitar both heavy and ugly. Vigier have cleverly managed too create a much lighter

“the people of France have always been a nation of fiercely independent thinkerS” unit using needle-roller bearings. This combines the superior attributes of the Kahler design with the much smaller footprint of the Floyd Rosetype tremolo - actually it’s even smaller and neater than that and looks the absolute business. Other innovative features include a Carbon fibre rod set into the neck - designed to do away with the need for the usual truss-rod, which requires a channel to be routed out from the neck’s core. Vigier argue, the traditional arrangement detracts from both the strength and tone of the neck, whereas the carbon rod enhances it. Time will tell but full marks to them for having the courage of their convictions. Vive la France.

Dr. Fretlove returns next time... AUTUMN 2012 THE DOG 43


RoundUp

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE BEST PRODUCTS IN THEIR CATEGORY, ThIS ISSUE IT’s...

Vocal Processors

There have been effects pedals for guitars, bassists and instrumentalists in general for years.. but nobody had thought to specialize in purely vocal effects until very recently. Now, there are a whole range of vocal processors that have stomped their way onto the market from top brands such as Boss and TC Helicon, and have certainly taken the vocal world by storm. For example, if you’ve written a piece of music that requires eight-part harmony, but you only have five mates, and they all sing like wounded manatees - you can simply add harmonies at the press of a button. This is just ONE of the awesome features of vocal processors and there are LOADS. We’ve taken the liberty of rounding up the best of the bunch and showing off exactly what each of them can do...

I

t’s small, lightweight and TONS OF FUN. What sets the VE5 apart from the rest of the Vocal Processors on the block is how userfriendly it is. Its functions are laid out really clearly, so you don’t need to spend too much time figuring out what does what. If you want to loop your vocals, press ‘Loop’. If you want to add effects, press ‘Effects’. What do you think the Favourite Sound button does? Yep, that’s right. The VE5 is perfect for singers, rappers, beatboxers... whatever. Basically, if you’re a musician who uses their voice, the VE5 is for you. Let’s seal the deal – it clips onto your mic stand, it’s battery operated (so, perfect for street performers) AND it doubles up as a tabletop processor, if you’re more of a stay-at-home type. It even has an internal microphone – just in case you get bored on the bus.

“The VE5 is perfect for singers, rappers, beatboxers...”

Boss VE5 from £219

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Round Up A LOOK

UCTS IN THEIR CATEG AT SOME OF THE BEST PROD

“sits comfortably at your toes”

ORY, ThIS ISSUE IT’s...

Boss VE20 from £199

rs Vocal Processo

T

he predecessor to the VE5, it includes all of the same high quality effects, the only difference being that the VE20 has more of a ‘classic’ pedal design - in other words, you use your feet instead of your hands to control it. It sits comfortably at your toes and all you have to do is gently tap it to add Reverb, Delay, Harmony, Double-Tracking - or Special

he VoiceLive Play series from TC pulls all the vocal-tone power from their huge professional legacy of innovative, beautiful sounding effects into a small, beginner-friendly box. Jam-packed with compression, EQ, reverbs, delays, modulation effects, chorus and phasers, harmony and doubling effects, distortion and – the surprise addition – auto-tuning. Full to the gills with awesome presets or create your own. Any effect can also be set to trigger from the switch on the front panel so you can crank your big delay just for the chorus, or put a Lo-Fi filter on your middle-8. Genius!

TC Helicon VoiceLive Play GTX from £270

“hard like Cher, or soft like Bublé, this baby won’t let Tc helicon you down” voicetone e1

“when you’re by yourself, this thing comes alive!”

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he white GTX version is basically the same beast, but with an advanced harmony engine. Plug your instrument in, then it analyses what key you’re playing in so it can get creative with the harmonies on your vocal. It also has a good selection of instrument effects, or you can just bypass your guitar to your own gear with the dedicated instrument output. It’s when you’re by yourself, this thing comes alive! It has a practice mode that analyses your singing, has a built-in looper and microphones so you can work on your sounds while sitting in your bed with your headphones on.

PRODUCTS IN THEIR CATEG

ORY, ThIS ISSUE IT’s...

Vocal Processo rs

Tc helicon voicetone C1 from £116

from £100

A

nifty little pitch-correction effect that you can activate with a click of your heels! It can listen to an incoming instrument signal to determine what key you’re playing in, or you can manually select it with a dial. Whether you want it hard like Cher, or soft like Bublé, this baby won’t let you down.

TC Helicon VoiceLive Play from £195

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“Full to the gills with awesome presets”

FX such as Distortion, Radio or Strobe - to your voice. The added bonus of the VE20 is that it includes Phantom Power, so it can be used with a condenser mic. The downside of the VE20 is that it’s a bit clunky to carry around but if you’re more used to foot pedals, as opposed to hand-controlled, then the VE20 will be much more up your street.

Round Up

A LOOK AT SOME OF THE BEST

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his little chap is basically like having another singer on stage with you. A tiny singer. In a box. That you stomp on. They love it really, it’s okay. There are loads of settings like double, group, octave up & down and shout that will help flesh out your live vocal sound whenever you need it.

“JUST beautiful, lush, vocal-tuned reverbs”

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Tc helicon voicetone D1 from £100

D

elays are really what put TC Electronic on the map back in the day, and having some of their classic vocal delays easily controllable in one pedal for a good price is incredible. You can set the parameters manually, or you can tap-tempo so you sync with your band. Aces!

Tc helicon voicetone R1 from £100

hat’s the point of having a bazillion presets for every instrument you can imagine when all your really want is a good vocal reverb? Well, this is good vocal reverb in a stompbox. That’s it! Nothing fancy, just beautiful, lush, vocal-tuned reverbs that sound awesome live. Perfect!.

Buy o

RedDogM nline at us and use co ic.co.uk de ‘d

og2’ at the chec kout your purch to get 5% OFF ase or com e in the shop for a Dem to o!

P L E A S E N O T E ! P R I C E S A R E L I A B L E T O G O U P A S W E L L A S D O W N . C H E C K ON L I N E A T R E D D O G M U S I C . C O . U K F O R A L L T H E L AT E S T P R I C E S . 46 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

AUTUMN 2012 THE DOG 47


going back, no turning this up or that down, and that record is sonically magnificent. It was done as a result of not wanting to use headphones. So, is this a limitation or an opportunity to be creative?

THE INNOVATION OF LIMITATION The Ramblings of a Recording Engineer A Limitation or an Opportunity for Creativity? Written by Garry Boyle

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ver the last few decades, technology has grown at a massive pace in the recording world - giving us unlimited options, massive channel counts and an ability to change anything at any time during the process of producing a song. Have things got to the point where we fear commitment in the recording process? Has the ability to keep every scrap of audio left us in the position where we fear making a decision? Have recall and plugins pushed us to the point where we can revisit every decision we make and change it at a later date? Have we got to the point where we fear committing to anything?

48 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

I love limitations being imposed on myself and my workflow. It comes from a desire to push myself with a new challenge. Recently, I have been thinking about records and the limitations they had imposed on them. The Beatles’ Sgt Pepper was recorded to only 4 tracks because 8 tracks weren’t around at the time. They had to transfer the songs from one tape machine to another (at massive degradation of the audio) simply to free up channels for overdubs. Sgt Pepper is one of the all-time greats! They had no going back. Once the band mix was

decided and transferred it was done. They couldn’t tweak anything any more. They were committed.

“Have we got to the point where we fear committing to anything?” Aberfeldy’s first album (produced by Jim Sutherland) was recorded on one microphone, 100% live, in mono. There was only one chance for the mix - essentially how close everyone was to the microphone - which would be done by the end of the take. No

“I love limitations being imposed on myself and my workflow.” Some of the best sessions I have ever done were for a project that I run called The Mashup Session where we would record, mix, and master and, finally, release a studio collaboration between two artists in 24 hours. This never felt limiting to me at any time and, in fact, the energy, pace and excitement of those 24 hours totally shines through those tracks! No opportunity to revisit the track or take time to live with it. It was done and out in the public domain in 24 hours. This got me thinking about my own workflow and what sort of other limitations I could impose on myself that would result in having to be more creative in how I record, mix and produce. But where could I start? Restricting the number of microphones I use is a good start. Ok, so I now have 3 microphones for the drum kit where I would ordinarily use between 7 and

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“limitation becomeS the greatest opportunity for creativity.” 16. What about the microphones? I can only use dynamic or ribbon microphones, no condensers. Alright, now that’s going to affect the sonic quality of the album - cool. The backing vocals on the record need to be recorded onto inbuilt laptop microphones, rather than in a studio. Now we’re talking! All effects used during this mix must come from guitar pedals. The possibilities here are endless! Can you imagine how these little tweaks to work flow will change the sound of the record and enhance the character of the songs? Do any of these sound like limitations now, or a chance to be hugely creative?

50 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

Limiting the microphone count on a drum kit to three would make the placement so much more important and you would be committed to that drum sound forever more. Using strange microphones or unorthodox techniques (such as the inbuilt monsters in every laptop) would result in you recording the voice and the ambience of the room at the same time - no going back. There are millions of guitar effects, so a million sounds and combinations available to you to experiment with. Again, how do you think this would affect the character and work flow of the record?

Who is..?

I regularly question why I do things and always look for new ways of achieving a result in order to make every record I do sound in some way unique. Try any one of these ideas during your next recording or production and really see just how limiting it is. I guarantee this limitation becomes the greatest opportunity for creativity you have had in years.

Garry Boyle is a freelance recording engineer and producer from Edinburgh currently working out of his own studio at The Depot and Castlesound Studios. He works with a large cross section of the Scottish music scene including Broken Records, The Horndog Brass Band, Homework and The Banana Sessions. www.garryboyle.com


There’s School like School. by Toni Martone (Wasted State Records)

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ne stand out memory was in 1998 (I was 14, you work it out). I worked weekend nights in my old man’s restaurant, and as a result, have a fair whack of expendable cash compared to my peers. There was a music magazine; I think it used to be weekly (it’s now s**t), that started doing a series of cover-mount CDs. I got totally hooked on a band’s track, so the following week I went out and bought one of their albums at random alongside the latest issue of said magazine, and no doubt some tooth rotting sweets. During a house move at some point in the 90s my parents made the mistake of giving me their old hi-fi. It was as old as I was, but it was great. I got off the bus, wandered home with no real sense of purpose, went to my room and parked myself in front of the hi-fi with my sugary treats, magazine and CD. One thing I never thought about again until I was punching barcodes

on a label release is that there is a knack to getting cellophane off CDs. At 14, I didn’t know my arse from my elbow, so I no doubt made a dog’s dinner of it. Regardless, the CD was

“the CD was freed from its plastic prison and went into the player” freed from its plastic prison and went into the CD player. As the first track started, I thumbed through the cover booklet looking at the photos and wandering (in my naive state) why a band would need an engineer. As the first track kicked in I was looking at a photo of the singer/guitarist (doing what I now understand as) laying down his vocal track. The look of energy and emotion in that photo, combined with the intense power and sonic brilliance in the song playing a

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foot away from me changed the way I listened to music. I didn’t know it then, but I sure as s**t know it now. This is one of the things that I look back on and lament that the advance of technology and its social implications mean that future generations will never get the tactile experience that we got with CDs, or - for you older readers - vinyl. The Internet and music TV have cheapened music, along with other arts. “Back when I was a lad” was a quote I would often hear from my grandfather when I was

“Now, you can stream music from the Internet to your f**king TV!” young, and I don’t think I ever appreciated it, I just thought he was a lot older than me and could remember the war. But when I was a lad, we didn’t have instant access to songs, albums, biographies and countless information. It was coming, soon, and quick, but in the meantime, we had the excitement of the bus ride home with a bag of CDs or vinyl and the anticipation of getting back to our smelly teenage rooms to sample our wares. Sometimes, we’d have to wait weeks to get an album, shops wouldn’t have it in stock, our pocket money had been spent on other teenage bulls**t, or we were at (or pretending to be at) school. This all added to the excitement of buying music. It meant something. Now, all people have to do to get and listen to an album is turn the computer on, type in a name, and

four and a half minutes later you have a low quality album on your computer, or phone. Now, you can stream music from the Internet to your f**king TV! Music, as I - if somewhat briefly knew it, has been cheapened by the fast-food-I-want-it-now-and-if-Ican’t-get-it-now-I’ll-do-somethingelse culture - brought on by the proliferation of the Internet. I have bought one album through iTunes. It cost me £7 odd, took the best part of 5 minutes to download and felt like I’d been robbed. £7, for a compressed recording, no artwork, no sleeve notes, nothing to put in the CD rack, and I’ve got to listen to it on the fucking computer. Now, don’t get me wrong - the Internet has its merits. Countless merits, and digital music is happening, so there’s no point in pissing and moaning about it. It’s such a big thing now, if you don’t embrace it, you will get left behind. The last 10 to 15 odd years has seen record labels of all sizes vanish into the ether or be amalgamated into one of the majors, because they panicked about how the technology was changing, what has historically been a very lucrative business, or ignored it as a technological fad. It’s funny how things come full circle - vinyl record sales are on the increase, and labels, both major and independent, are taking advantage of this. The one recurring pattern being that the majors are slow off the mark. And who cares? The major players in the recorded music industry floundering at the starting post is giving the independent labels and shops more room to move. Long may it continue.

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Who is..?

Name:

Toni Martone About: Toni has been a musician for 20 odd years, although you’d never be able to tell. When not playing bass with Edinburgh stoner rock cretins Gareeda, he runs Wasted State Records and nurtures a fast evolving record collection that receives more love and attention than most middle class children. In the process of writing his first book, there will be more meandering words from Toni in the near future. wastedstate.com


REDDOGMUSIC PRESENTS

REDDOGMUSICPRESENTS

DOG

DOG THE

THE

synths

Taken from the rldwo famous Dog Blog. Check out

blog.reddogmusic .co.uk

work stations

for more articles...

give you great hands-on control of your software and also provide a totally different way of composing. For example, if you have been staring at a computer screen in work all day, sometimes it can be nice to leave that behind for a while and produce an idea using the workstations own sequencer. Another benefit is that producing bits of tracks within a hardware sequencer can free up memory or processor power on your computer leaving it free to run other things more efficiently. Larger workstations are often equipped with 88 weighted, piano action keys which allow for incredibly expressive, enjoyable performance. On the other hand, we have hardware synthesiser like the Nord Stage 2 and the Roland Jupiter 80. Hardware synths distinguish themselves as being dedicated to creating, combining and playing sounds. What they lack on the music-production front, they more than make up for as performance instruments. Hardware synths are usually entirely dependant on the sounds they can create internally, and whilst these options can be vast, their “limitations” often give

a well defined, identifiable “sound” that is unique to each specific model. Ultimately, the equipment you use should reflect your need as a musician. If you love to perform live, to sit and while away hours creating unique sounds and drawing inspiration from them, a hardware synth would be your new best

“limitations often give a well defined, identifiable sound” friend. If the idea of having a musical base of operations, where you can take musical ideas from embryonic idea to finished product all in the one place using an almost limitless array of sounds, the workstation keyboard will likely make your dreams come true!

Nord Stage 2

Oh, the dilemma between workstations and synths!

The main difference really is that a workstation keyboard is designed to do pretty much a bit of everything...

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Korg Kronos

I

nstruments like the Roland Fantom G8 or Korg Kronos are a combination of a really powerful synth, a piano, a vast library of instrumental sounds, a sequencer and multitrack audio recorder, a sampler and a live instrument with options to split and layer sounds any way you like. The great thing about it is that all of these

functions are incredibly high quality and relatively easy to use once you’re familiar with the interface. Why would you bother with a workstation though, if you already have a high spec computer running DAW software that’s already loaded with sounds, samples and loops? The answer lies in how you want to produce music. Workstation keyboards can

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DOG THETOP10... DOGTHETOP10... 2 REDDOGMUSIC PRESENTS

REDDOGMUSIC PRESENTS

THE

THE

Who is..?

Constantly suffering the indignity of having to explain the concept of a musician performing under their own name whilst playing with a full band, here are Steve Heron’s Top Ten bands who perform under a person’s name.

3

(On a similar note, Jesus and Mary Chain are not a couple).

10 Ryan Adams He’s not quite

folk, country, rock, indie, or anything - but for me, he is all kinds of excellent. Also, he shops at Red Dog Music when he’s in Edinburgh. I saw him with my own eyes. I’ve also seen him inspire adoring silence amongst almost 2000 people by himself and reduce a grown man (not me) to tears of joy with The Cardinals backing him up. That says to me that Ryan Adams knows what he’s doing.

9 Morrissey To me, he’s one of

the best British lyricists ever and although he’s as popular as a fart in church with a lot of people, British music could do with a few more people like him. Any writer worth their salt should always say what they think and, love him or hate him, he definitely does that!

9 58 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

7 Bruce Springsteen Despite being born more than 3000 miles apart and with more band members than Earth, Wind & Fire and The Polyphonic Spree combined, you would think that The Boss singing about muscle cars and all things Americana

4

Name:

Steve Heron

“A brilliant storyteller.”

About:

10

They sum up their sound as Melodramatic Popular Song. They’ve been likened to The Smiths and Talking Heads. Since their debut release in November 2010, they’ve supported the likes of Razorlight. In summer 2011, they released an EP previewing a selection of songs that will feature on their debut album. facebook.com/ steveheronmusic

6

8

would be hard for an Edinburger to relate to, but that’s not the case. For all the cringe that can go with stadium rock, great songs always shine through. Plus, if attractive ladies are still clambering to grab your “junk” at 62 years old, then hats off all round. music without the tragic stories, and they’re only tragic in many cases because you wish certain people were

years, but even at retirement age, you could see he marshalled his band like no other. Watch some of the live footage from the Soul Train shows in the 70s and look at the terror in the eyes of anyone who makes the slightest misstep.

Steve on Bruce Springteen

THE

6 Elliott Smith Music isn’t

8 James Brown Saw him live in his twilight

“If attractive ladies are still clambering to grab your “junk” at 62 years old, then hats off all round.”

THETOP10... DOG REDDOGMUSICPRESENTS

Steve on Tom Waits

still around making music. Elliott Smith is one of those people. You’d be hard pressed to find any better example of honest songwriting.

5 Evan Dando Surviving heroin

addiction AND being mates with the Gallagher brothers in the 90s? Good work i’d say. For me, The Lemonheads are one of the most underrated bands. Great pop melodies combined with heartfelt lyrics are always likely to get my attention.

3 Scott Walker You’re in a

manufactured boy band with heartthrob status and all the perks that go with that. What do you do? Do you jack it all in and start making Jacques Brel inspired experimental baroque pop music? That’s what Scott did. That’s a pretty bold move I’d say. I’d like to see Harry Styles make an album with the slowed down sound of an apple falling off a table and using a cow carcass as percussion.

Stevie Wonder

2 Stevie had Ray Parker Jr play on ‘Talking Book’. He clearly has a sixth sense when it comes to seeking out serious talent. That shows the level of genius we’re dealing with here.

1 Tom Waits Says he can

breathe better underwater. I believe him. A brilliant storyteller in so much of his music that goes alongside some really experimental avant garde stuff too. Never anything less than brilliant.

4 Jeff Buckley So we all

know about the swoon-inducing version of ‘Hallelujah’, but there’s much more to Jeff Buckley than the one cover version. He made every song he played his and it never mattered who wrote it originally. That’s something that virtually every musician tries to do at some point.

1

7

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REDDOGMUSIC PRESENTS

REDDOGMUSICPRESENTS

DOG GUEST INTERVIEW

GUEST INTERVIEW DOG THE

THE

GOLD LIONS T H E

A two-piece indie rock band with an aftertaste of the blues that won’t fade... ... even long after the gig, once the lights have been switched back on and the room is left with only the sound guy tucking away the equipment. The energy that these Edinburgh based fellas – Owen and Rupert – radiate on stage is unbelievable, so having them in front of me for an interview, in a much calmer state, makes me wonder whether there’s perhaps a need to worry about a serious case of bipolar disorder. Interview by Signe Akmenkalne

How do you write music? Rupert: Owen will start with an idea, then we’ll jam it out and sort out the arrangement together. He’ll make up lyrics and I’ll tell him they’re sh*t, he’ll make up some more lyrics and I’ll tell him they’re sh*t, then he’ll write some more lyrics which are good.

Does it make it easier or harder having just two members in the band? Owen: Way easier! We’ll never play a song the same way twice; there will be something different each time. That’s partly because we’re not practising enough, and partly because, between the two of us, it makes it easier to change things up

60 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

depending on what the crowd want. Rupert: You can change the song really easily – Owen can nod at me and we’ll speed up or slow down, put a break or an extra solo in. The best thing about being a two-piece is when one of us messes up it’s so easy to cover it up. It’s brilliant!

Do you ever get fed up of each other? Owen: It’s like being in a fifty-yearlong marriage. Rupert: We have quarrels. Owen doesn’t clean up. But it’s not that bad, actually.

What’s the best piece of musical advice you’ve been given? Rupert: We went to see Band

“I did a gig with only one arm once - that was pretty awesome.”

of Skulls, before they became big, in Sneaky Pete’s around the time when they released their first album. I bought a guy one drink after the gig and then they took us out and we got really really drunk. Owen: We picked their brains to find out what they’re like. They told us to get a tube amp, which was the best idea. Rupert: It really was! It changes the guitar sound so much. Analogue distortion is awesome and it sounds great! If you push it too far it still sounds great, while digital distortion just won’t work.

“as long as we can survive on this, I’m happy.” How do you prefer to record – dubbing or live? Owen: Doing it live is definitely better because you can never really know what’s going to happen. Rupert: And it’s not just about the sound. Two or three songs that we recorded for the album turned out completely differently from how they were originally written, but they work. Owen: Some of the old songs were recorded in my bedroom. Rupert: Yeah, but it sounds like a really good recording. Sometimes people are like ‘Man, how did you get that awesome four track sound?’ Basically, because we recorded it with one microphone.

What is your kit list? Owen: I use a Gretsch Electromatic Walnut guitar with a Marshall amp and a Blackstar HT-Drive Valve Overdrive pedal. Rupert: 3 piece Pearl Masters

Custom Kit with an undrilled bass, Vintage Premier 2000 snare drum, Tama Iron Cobra Single pedal, cymbals by Zildjian and I play with Vater Manhatten 7a sticks.

What’s your most memorable gig? Rupert: I did a gig with only one arm once - that was pretty awesome. I dislocated my shoulder a week before the gig so I had an arm in a sleeve. I think it went pretty well, actually. I was pretty impressed myself.

Who are?

What’s the worst gig you’ve done? Owen: When nobody turns up. I think every band has to deal with that at some point. Rupert: Before a gig in Glasgow, we were told that someone from some magazine was coming to see us and the soundman was out-of-his-mind drunk. So, halfway through a song, he turned Owen’s guitar off. It was awful.

What would you put on your rider? Rupert: Whisky, a couple of beers and a clean t-shirt for me - I sweat a lot when I’m playing. Owen: Probably beer and, yes, clean underwear.

Just get your mums to come on tour with you. Where do you want to be in five years time? Owen: Sounds a bit cheesy but not even earning loads of money, as long as we can survive on this, I’m happy. Rupert: Yeah, to be able to live on this would be it! Even though a diamond encrusted pool would be pretty amazing. Probably dangerous, though. It’s crazy – the amount of people that come up to us after the gig and say ‘Are you gonna be neuroscientist or go and do engineering? What’s it gonna be – the band or that?’ Obviously, the band! It’s so much better; it’s the best f**king job on the world - if you can call it a job!

Name:

The Gold Lions About:

The first time they picked up their instruments, it wasn’t because of the fame, the fortune and the groupies – instead, it was down to the encouragement of their parents (super cool parents, then). Owen Robertson and Rupert Lee have been playing instruments since childhood but it wasn’t until university that they met and decided to get together to create music and a good time for the crowd as The Gold Lions. After having graduated in Neuroscience and Mechanical Engineering, they’ve continued playing their fine brand of indie rock, with some dirty blues thrown in for good measure. Their album - Elsie’s House - is about to be released. Watch this space. facebook.com/thegoldlions

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DOG NEWS&EVENTS REDDOGMUSIC PRESENTS THE

RED DOG MUSIC

U P C O M I N G

EVENTS

FEATURED EVERY 2nd TUESDAY (8.30pm-LATE) •

UKE Boogie • •

with Pockets @ The Banshee Labyrinth, Edinburgh

IN-STORE • • • • •

SAT 27th OCT (11AM-4PM) •

• • • •

Epiphone Day

Win a Les Paul!

Red Dog News Red Dog Music takes delivery of Scotland’s Largest Guitar!

W

e’re rather excited to announce that, after several logistical nightmares, we have taken delivery of what we believe to be Scotland’s Largest Guitar! The instrument is a 13ft tall, 192kg resonator, reminiscent of the instrument from the cover of Dire Straits’ Brothers in Arms album. The guitar has murky

62 THE DOG AUTUMN 2012

origins, though it is thought to have originally been built for a restaurant in London prior to appearing on eBay and being snapped up by Red Dog Music. An extremely accurate scale model, the strings and tuning pegs actually work, though we intend to get our luthier, Rod Vaughan, to take a look at the action. Come in and check it out!

Dress like a famous Les Paul player and Win the instrument of your dreams! Costumes will be judged at 3pm The winner will get an Epiphone Les Paul. Other prizes and goodies for runners-up. @ Red Dog Music • • • • • SAT 27th NOV (11AM-4PM) • • • • •

ROLAND

PIANOS with James Taylor

Roland’s very own piano man will be in store demonstrating our beautiful range of Roland keys. @ Red Dog Music


THE DOG - AUTUMN 2012  

Issue 8 of The Dog includes an interview with folksters Lau, top tips for DIY musicians, and loads more.