First thing’s first. Tell me all about your solo record!
Of Burdens Birds and Stars is a collection of songs written after Delirious? ended and before 2014, so kind of in the space of transition. They are songs that didn’t fit anywhere else, because they are so personal. More artistic and alternative. There’s a lot of struggle in there, and my story wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include them.
I see everything as part of one big story, so for me, they totally sit alongside what I’m doing with One Sonic Society, or anything else I do.
Did you have any outside help with the record?
I pretty much played everything apart from drums (Paul Mabury), bass guitar (Tony Lucido), cello (Cara Fox), and some piano by my British songwriter friend Shane Beales. Paul helped me get them ready for mix so he had some production input.
I remember the first time I heard Here I Am, Send Me. I had never heard that kind of guitar playing in Christian music before. The best way I’ve found to describe it, is that the guitar had ‘authority.’ You’ve said that you like to hang out around the major scale. Is that a strategy you developed, or is it something that just happened as you learned guitar?
I learned the C major scale in all 7 positions really early on, so those shapes burned their way into my brain and fingers. So for Here I Am Send Me, I’m playing like a Gm pentatonic but really it’s Bb major.
What pedals or guitars are inspiring you lately? I’ve seen you with the Duesenberg quite a bit.
Yeah I use the doozy live a lot because it’s solid and replaceable if anything happens. I also like that it’s kind of a Les Paul/Gretsch hybrid.
Apart from that, loving the Earthquaker Devices Organizer and Hoof Reaper, the Gigrig G2 switching system, and working on a little surprise overdrive pedal that may become available to purchase.
Ah! Are you able to say who you’re working with?
I’m talking with Josh Scott at the moment but it’s very early days.
JHS pedals seem to have become a staple for a lot of guitarists these days.
Yeah we both agree that this has to be a special pedal. There are so many out there.
How do you incorporate new or unique effects in the studio or when writing?
Really, most of the time it’s by recommendation. I’ll hear someone play and be like “how did you get that?” My board is quite conducive to experimenting, so I’m always trying things out.
I have to ask what it was like working with Tedd T. What did you learn from him?
Tedd is one of the most creative people I know. The thing I saw him do the most was capture multiple ideas and create from that. Tedd was working with Tim on programming and keys parts while I was working with Chuck Zwicky on guitars. Chuck was an amazing fount of knowledge, and a super talented engineer as well as a player and producer. Chuck taught me about looping and ambient playing, as well as micing and getting the best out of an amp. With Chuck, he wanted to capture a whole performance. He pushed me all the way.
What is your current go-to amp?
I am very lucky when it comes to amps. So right now mic’d up in the studio is an AC30 Korg Era and a Morgan JHS. On the road with Smitty, is a Jackson Amp Works Britain 30, and my Marshall Bluesbreaker. I keep a Vox AC15 Hand Wired and a Jackson Amp Works Newcastle in my garage for short notice sessions. Then I have a 73 Plexi and 4×12 cab, a 70’s Park 50w combo, and a ‘62 AC30.
So I’m a happy bunny when it comes to amps.
Do you have any advice for worship guitarists?
Yes. Always think about what’s best for the song and for the environment first and foremost. It’s an act of service. It’s more important in that moment that we help other people engage, than it is to lose ourselves in worship. Sometimes it’s about what we leave out rather than what we play. So be sensitive to the gathering, to whoever is leading, and to the Spirit.
That’s very good advice. It was awesome talking with you, man. Thanks for taking the time. Bye!
Bye for now!