Detroit metalcorers A War Within had quite the 2017. Among other things, they issued their breakthrough twelve-track sophomore album Believe on July 6th and are already hard at work on laying down tracks for their third recording. Wanting to delve deeper into their sound, we had the chance to connect with guitarist Spencer Maybe to discuss some of his favorite gear, including his Kiesel DCM7 guitar.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound? Spencer Maybe: We just started recording our next album with some new gear, in particular my Kiesel DCM7 guitar.
What about it makes it so important to you? Maybe: The Kiesel has fan-fretting which in our drop Bb tuning makes it way easier to play and keep in tune for tracking. Tuning is the most important thing to have solid while in the studio. The other part is how the guitar sounds. I guess how it feels when you play it can be important but for me some instruments just have a distinct sound that can help embody your vibe or sound as a band. The Kiesel creates a punchy and bright tone and with the newer songs we're writing it really helps make them sound so damn good.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album? Maybe: We are currently tracking our third album this winter. We're really excited to hear people’s thoughts on the parts and clarity of the guitar for these songs.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set? Maybe: It can really help to have the same instrument you recorded with. I firmly believe that your hands can play a big part in recreating a sound live. The only other thing that stands in the way is the amp and cab. We use 2 Axe FX and have spent quite some time dialling in a proper tone.
What are the major pros and cons? Maybe: Pros: People listening really have a familiarity with tones. All things on the recorded tracks have a subconscious reference when listening live. Making the choice to use the same elements or close to the same elements live really draw in what people love about the recorded version. If it's off a bit it can seem like the band playing isn't as tight or something equivalent.
Cons: People grow and like to experience new gear more and more. As a musician, there's always that lingering feeling in the back of your head searching for the perfect sound or tone for your instrument. Some of can be blamed in the writing process but there's still desire for the perfect sound. When you have quality instruments such as these that search gets more limited because the room for error is so much smaller. It's still out there I feel it just takes more convincing.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what? Maybe: For guitar I love my ESP LTD GUS-600EC. In fact I just bought an Evertune bridge for it for better stabilization for its intonation. It's not as punchy or bright as the Kiesel but i has a very mean aggressive tone that i highly enough as well. It doesn't have as noticeable distinct sound but it blends into the same sound as older Les Pauls.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it? Maybe: I've had my LTD for a good 7 years. It's always held tune very well, been very rugged and hasn't had any major issues. I feel as gear progresses companies like Kiesel just enhance things like fan frets to help the lower tuned instruments. The quality for advancement on a specific thing is just like any athlete or any operator who uses a tool is to make the handler better at their craft. Hence that voice in your head always still open to a newer better sound/instrument
Give us your best "gear goes wrong" story. Maybe: Axe FX has built in FX integrated into it so it's not just an amp module. This removes the use of any pedals, from tuners to delay, distortion, chorus, compression, it all just becomes preference on how the pedal sounds. This is an opinion of preference on what you want. So if you want a pedal, more importantly pedals, you need a pedal board. They take up space on stage depending on the amount of the pedals you have. On stage on a tour we were on we had a pedal board sitting between me and the cabs and of course stage monitors on stage that is not so deep. We rock out pretty hard on stage and of course you might forget exactly where the pedal is holding real estate on the stage with the lights and the crowd being in this moment. At the end of one of the songs I managed to step on the pedal board enough to have it flip over completely and dump all the pedals on the stage unplugging them from the specifically calculated order and positions they were in on the pedal board. It was a moment in which I also didn't have a large time frame to fix. You can imagine a distinct set fumbling and scrambling frantically to put the pedal board back together. This makes me glad and maybe just having less of a care for effects now that having a midi switching amp module to use on stage now.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear? Spencer Maybe: For the moment I'm excited to keep using the Kiesel for a tight, beautiful, bright, punchy and powerful sound. Our new album will be a nice reflection of how wonderfully well the gear has worked. It's really been an easy process keeping it in tune and when recording that's the biggest set back. As far as a recommendation I suggest you get out and try these instruments. Until then keep searching for what you love. Thank you so much for taking the time to read this!
Watch the band map out "Where The Lines are Drawn" with their latest video.