60 seconds with...
A minute’s all it takes to find out what makes a great guitarist tick. Before she dived into her limo for the airport we grabbed a quick chat with Mie Debray of South African garage-punk rockers, The SoapGirls.
GT: Do you have a type of pick that you can’t live without?
MD: Dunlop 1.5mm Maxgrip picks. When I have some of those I know it’s gonna be a good show. I can’t play with floppy soft picks, it honestly does my head in.
GT: If you had to give up all your effects pedals but three, what would they be?
MD: The only pedal I use and can’t live without is my Zoom G5 multi-effects pedal. The sounds that come out of it are just insane and you’re guaranteed to find something you like.
GT: If a music chart were put in front of you, could you read it?
MD: If it were a simple music chart, yeah; but if you’re talking about sheet music for an orchestra, then no.
GT: Do guitar cables really make a difference? What make are yours?
MD: Shitty thin cables can really mess up your sound. We usually use Fender or Kirlin.
GT: Is there anyone’s playing (past or present) that you’re slightly jealous of?
MD: Lindsey Buckingham. He’s my guitar hero; how he can make his guitar speak is amazing. I love emotional players and he uses his fingers – you just have to watch him live on an acoustic song to want to play like him. John Frusciante too, he’s also an amazing player; very emotive with his playing. I’m big on the melody and emotion. And Steve Vai. I mean, who wouldn’t want to play like him?
GT: Your studio is burning down: which guitar do you salvage?
MD: It would be my Ibanez Jem77 Black Rock Mirror guitar because that is my baby!
GT: What’s your favourite amp and how do you set it?
MD: Blackstar have an amazing range of different amps but my favourite right now is the HT Metal 100. I usually go through the clean channel. Because of my effects pedal I find the patches work better that way with my volume turned up nice and high; treble at around 6 o’clock and the bass at 4 or 5. I like using the Modern voice setting on this amp (it has different style channels). If I’m not using my pedal then I like the OD1 channel for its aggressive tone, again with the volume nice and high.
GT: What kind of action do you have on your guitars?
MD: I prefer higher than lower but not too high. I feel that the tone is warmer and wider when it’s higher.
GT: What strings do you use?
MD: Rotosound Pure Nickels, either .009s or .010s. They last really long and the tone is amazing. On my acoustics I use Rotosound Jumbo King Bronze – 010s – the tone and feel are just great.
GT: Who was your first influence to play the guitar?
MD: I fell in love with the guitar playing on Billy Idol’s track White Wedding. Steve Stevens is a very underrated guitar player. Then I heard Fleetwood Mac and fell in love with Lindsey Buckingham.
GT: First guitar you lusted after?
MD: A neon pink Ibanez Jem 777 – I still do!
GT: What was the single best gig you ever did…
MD: Definitely at the Rock And Bike festival in Derby this year. Performing to such a huge crowd who just love music and are having a good time is priceless!
GT: …and your worst playing nightmare?
MD: We performed at one venue and red liquid was thrown full in my face and all over my guitar, pedalboard and mic. It sucks playing with only one eye working and having your hard-earned equipment trashed!
GT: What’s the most important musical lesson you ever learnt?
MD: When it comes to music there’s no wrong or right way; experiment and express yourself.
GT: If you could put together a fantasy band with you in it, who would the other players be?
MD: My sister, Mille on bass, definitely; Lindsey Buckingham and John Bonham.
GT: Is there a solo by someone else that you wish you had played?
MD: Jimmy Page on When The Levee Breaks – I love that!
GT: What’s the solo/song of your own of which you’re most proud?
MD: I love what I did on the song Waiting In The Wings – the quiet breakdown I think is beautiful.
GT: What would you most like to be remembered for?
MD: For our music and for our message of non-judgment, and anti-animal abuse.
GT: What are you up to at the moment - gigs, recording, etc?
MD: We are currently just finishing this leg of our tour in the UK, and about to do a music video for an upcoming single. Then we are touring the rest of the EU from September before coming back to the UK from mid-October for some final shows before we head back to South Africa. But we will be returning in 2017!
Mie and sister Mille of The SoapGirls