Ace (Skunk Anansie) and the importance of authentic live sound tone
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Ace (Skunk Anansie) and the importance of authentic live sound tone

Ace, guitarist in Skunk Anansie, discusses the trials and tribulations of translating painstakingly created studio sounds into a live environment and why it really does matter.

 I would say that when you see Metallica live and they start a song without an introduction like “Nothing Else Matters” or Matt Bellamy launches into plug in baby with his Zeevex solo beginning, the importance of the real sound and the recognition in fans ears is essential and invaluable.

For years I’ve recorded sessions in the studio with multiple blends of vintage and modern pedals to create unique and interesting sounds. Then I’ve entered the lengthily and complex process of recreating and amassing them for the live show. Sometimes this can as simple as adding a pedal to the existing board, which is no big deal (as long as you have a space for it) and other times it may be researching and purchasing a new one that sounds similar to the combination of a couple of rarities added together to get one solid sound.

More often than not though, I find myself alone in the studio or rehearsal room programming rack units when the rest of the band are laying in or out on the town. I’m not a massive fan of the all in one solution of rack units as I feel that stand alone boxes have better and unique sounds due to them having one core function, but racks do come incredibly handy for what I do. When dealing with clean sounds, especially for me, I can program multiple effects to recreate the recorded studio sounds pretty accurately. Reverbs for room, specific delay times, modulation, light crunch and EQ all to arrive at the same time without a tap dance and brain rush to go with it.

I’m not a massive fan of the all in one solution of rack units as I feel that stand alone boxes have better and unique sounds due to them having one core function, but racks do come incredibly handy for what I do. When dealing with clean sounds, especially for me, I can program multiple effects to recreate the recorded studio sounds pretty accurately. Reverbs for room, specific delay times, modulation, light crunch and EQ all to arrive at the same time without a tap dance and brain rush to go with it.

Image titleYears ago when I was knee high to a grasshopper on my first world tours (1996), I had two boards of pedals with a switching system in between to go between clean and dirty amps. They were all the pedals used on the LPs, but the tap dance and maintenance of them trucking across the globe became wearing. I was asked by DigiTech at this time to do an advert for some whacky new pedals they were releasing and met a great man who goes by the name of David Karlsen. Dave introduced me to the the DigiTech 2120, a new valve front end rack multiFX on the pro level. Once I had got my head round programming it I replaced my whole board of pedals on the clean side of my rig with it. I’ve never looked back since. I used them relentlessly from the mid 90’s until a few years ago when I upgraded to the GSP1101 rack successor. In the studio I still use pedals on clean sounds, but I can recreate them as I go along within the rack for live.

But you may ask why do I spend so much spoddy time slaving over the perfect recreation of these studio LP sounds. Some bands just jack into their old faithful trusty rigs and crank it up and push it out. Some of the old bands don’t even have their original amps and use digital set ups, but they look great up there and the tunes are rocking.

Well I would say that when you see Metallica live and they start a song without an introduction like “Nothing Else Matters” or Matt Bellamy launches into plug in baby with his Zeevex solo beginning, the importance of the real sound and the recognition in fans ears is essential and invaluable.


Fans reconnect with their own personal feelings and experiences of the previous material through sonics and new fans are never disappointed when they purchase any of the LPs.

When I start Skunk Anansie classics like Hedonism with the right sounds and launch into riffs like “Yes, it’s F***ing Political that are as fat and authentic sounding as the early LPs, the crowd reaction has something extra special about it. Fans reconnect with their own personal feelings and experiences of the previous material through sonics and new fans are never disappointed when they purchase any of the LPs.

You may call me a spod, with no life, but I feel if it matters this much to me I know it matters to them too, as when we are all in that concert hall or festival we are synchronised on a journey together for that specific time.


Ace



For more information on Skunk Anansie please visit http://skunkanansie.com/




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