THE AMITY AFFLICTION

THERE’S SOME­THING DIF­FER­ENT ABOUT DAN BROWN’S GUI­TAR TONES ON THE NEW AMITY AFFLICTION AL­BUM. TURNS OUT HE’S MADE THE SWITCH TO THE BIG F. BY PETER HODG­SON.

Australian Guitar - - Contents -

The ocean­core over­lords have made an ex­plo­sive re­turn with LP #6, Mis­ery. But as they keep smash­ing through goals, their tra­jec­tory is any­thing but mis­er­able.

The Amity Affliction know who they are. There’s a def­i­nite thread that links each al­bum son­i­cally, and while they do drift out­side their es­tab­lished sound a lit­tle bit on each record, there’s a very es­sen­tial, iden­ti­fi­able qual­ity to their recorded out­put. You hear a cho­rus, and it could only be Amity.

Even count­ing the line-up changes that have oc­curred over the years, there’s a con­sis­tency to the band’s song­writ­ing and iden­tity. It’s on the fringes that they shake things up, and in the case of new al­bum Mis­ery (their sixth in to­tal), you can hear it in long­time gui­tarist Dan Brown’s gui­tar tone.

It’s a lit­tle rounder and warmer than on pre­vi­ous re­leases, and feels like a con­scious ef­fort to put a new spin on Amity in a sub­tle, yet impactful way. We caught up with Brown to talk about what’s go­ing on in the world of Amity, and what the deal is with that all-new gui­tar sound.

So what’s been hap­pen­ing since the last time we chat­ted?

Not much. I’m just nurs­ing a cry­ing baby at the mo­ment! We just had a new baby, so our life is all about that at the mo­ment. He’s about a week old, and our dog has just been like, “Oh no.” He’s the big­gest baby of the fam­ily [ laughs]!

Is this your first?

Yeah! It’s a big learn­ing curve, but it’s been re­ally nice. We’ve made a lit­tle cave at home and we’re do­ing the whole ‘mum and dad’ thing. The guys are on the Warped tour at the mo­ment, so I missed that so I could be here for the birth and have a bit of time off.

So let’s talk about the record! Where’d you record this time?

We did it in the States, near Washington, with Matt Squire. That was a bit of a change for us. We were go­ing to fly Matt out to Aus­tralia be­cause

we’re all here, but Matt put his foot down and said, “We’ll get a lot more out of you if you come here.” So we went back and forth and said, “Well, we’ll do pre-pro­duc­tion in Aus­tralia then come out there,” and he said, “No. You come here.” It’s not that be­ing at home is su­per dis­tract­ing, but it’s just that you’ve got that one job, and that’s all you’ve got to do.

One of my favourite sto­ries about a band go­ing away to record is Faith No More do­ing An­gel Dust. Mike Pat­ton stayed up pound­ing cof­fee for like three days, then wrote “Caf­feine”. You can’t re­ally do that at home.

Well, it worked!

How do you think this en­vi­ron­ment af­fected the record?

It al­ways changes with the en­vi­ron­ment. It does af­fect the sound. That whole east coast of Amer­ica has a darker vibe than if we were to go to LA to record, where it’s all happy time sun­shine and beaches. But Bal­ti­more is an older city – it’s cold and it has a harder edge. I’ve never thought about that, but I’ve recorded metal al­bums in Swe­den be­fore, and be­ing the home of metal, I’m sure that had an in­flu­ence.

You guys were drum­mer­less at the start of the year…

Yeah, our friend Joe Lon­go­b­ardi from De­feater played on the record. He’s just a gun. He’ll be do­ing our next tour with us. We’re just moving slowly in that world be­cause it’s a big com­mit­ment to get a new drum­mer, but he seems to be fall­ing into this role pretty eas­ily. He’s a re­ally quick learner. I wrote all the mu­sic for this one, so I pro­grammed the drums and sent them to him. He didn’t re­ally have much in­put un­til we got into the stu­dio, and then we would try his parts to see if they worked. If not, well, he has no ego, and he was happy to do what we needed rather than just try to im­press ev­ery­one. And he re­ally killed it. Plus, we’ve toured with De­feater, so he’s some­one we know.

What gui­tars are you play­ing on the record?

I used a Fender Elite Stra­to­caster. I just signed up with Fender, and they just kind of said, “What do you want?” I re­ally wanted to get a dif­fer­ent sound for the band. Ev­ery­one uses... I won’t say what brands, be­cause I don’t want to bag ‘em, but ev­ery­one seems to use the same gui­tars in this genre, and that same high-gain sound, and we’re not re­ally a metal band any­more. It just didn’t feel right to go for that big, heavy sound, so mak­ing the switch to the Fender was a big part of that.

They just gave me the cream of the crop to take to the record­ing. I made a few mods on it to tune it low. I put some big, fat strings and an Ever Tune bridge on it to stay per­fectly in tune, and I’m stoked. When I was look­ing at mak­ing the switch, it was be­tween Gib­son and Fender, and I thought Fender seemed a lit­tle more ver­sa­tile for what we do – es­pe­cially with the clean tones on the Strats. We’re al­ways chas­ing that melody from the ‘80s, and those melodic clean tones were all Fend­ers back then.

In terms of live gui­tars are you go­ing to have a bunch of Elites with Ever Tunes?

I’m play­ing a few Amer­i­can Pro mod­els live. They don’t have Ever Tunes on them yet, but I’ll get around to having them in­stalled. I think Drop F# is as low as we get on the al­bum. We didn’t re­ally go in look­ing for a heavy sound – it was just where the song wanted to end up. So we have to fig­ure out which songs we’re go­ing to play live, and I’ll prob­a­bly take those two Amer­i­can Pros. I’ll prob­a­bly start tak­ing this Elite to do those re­ally low tun­ing, be­cause oth­er­wise, the strings re­ally flap around.

What about amps?

We al­ways play with Kem­pers live, so we’re al­ways try­ing to keep that in mind. When we’re in the stu­dio, it’s easy to go “Let’s just use the Kem­per tones,” but if you’re go­ing to the ef­fort of us­ing a nice gui­tar with a cer­tain sound, you have to make the de­ci­sion to use real amps. We used Or­ange and Mar­shall amps, and I wrote down the tones and set­tings and all that, so I’m go­ing to dial that into my Kem­per to use that live. We put the Mar­shall through an Or­ange cab and the Or­ange through a Mar­shall cab, and they just did their wiz­ardry. The Or­ange did most of the heavy work and the Mar­shall did most of the clean work. You just can’t get that Or­ange midrange out of a dif­fer­ent amp.

I RE­ALLY WANTED TO GET A DIF­FER­ENT SOUND FOR THE BAND.

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