Doom supergroup The Watchers (featuring members of Orchid, SpiralArms, and BlackGate) are about to embark on a tour of the United States in just a couple of weeks. Even though the band is busy preparing to head out on the road, guitarist Jeremy Epp was kind enough to take time out of his schedule to speak with us. Read the interview below and then check the band out at one of their upcoming shows supporting their November 4, 2016, release Sabbath Highway.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound? Epp: I would have to say my Mesa Boogie Mark V mini lunchbox amp.
What about it makes it so important to you? Epp: The tone is second to none. From clean tones to full on distortion and everything in between, it really sounds great.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album? Epp: I’ve integrated the mark V mini into my console desk at my studio and I use it for every single guitar track that I record. I’ve got it plugged into a nice iso-cab loaded with a vintage 30 speaker. I like the C+ setting with a fuzz pedal in the front end. With that, you cant go wrong for rock and metal guitar tones.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set? Epp: I use a slightly different set up live. I use my modded Marshall through 4X12 cabs but with the same guitars and pedals that we use in the studio. I don’t need it to be the same, and because it is “live” you can get away with using different gear. Same goes for Bass. For vocals we are at the mercy of the P.A. system and the sound person. Some clubs have great sound systems and others, well you gotta just roll the dice.
What are the major pros and cons? Epp: The pros would be the slight contrast in sound, live vs studio, adding a breath of fresh air so to speak. There are several pieces of gear that work best in live or studio situations and don’t always work for both. We’re gear freaks so its cool to try different amps and things but we’ll always play through the best stuff we can get our hands on. The only cons I can think of is having to lug all the gear around, but even that keeps you in shape ;)
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what? Epp: We have one or two backups for each piece of gear, but usually we only bring what we need. I guess we have faith in our gear, but we’ll bring an extra Marshall or Orange amp out with us if there is room, just in case.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it? Epp: Referring to the first question Ive had the Mesa in the studio for about 2 years now. For now, I would not change a thing. It's perfect for the job in size, build quality, and tone. I saved up and was gonna buy the Axe-Fx or the Kemper but something inside told me to buy a real amp, put a microphone in front of a speaker and do it the “real” way...and Im glad I did. So many studios are going direct with their guitar tones and while that can sound very impressive, you can still hear that its not real.
Give us your best "gear goes wrong" story. Epp: In 2005 my main amp was in the shop and I had a big gig to play, I borrowed a friends amp that I wasn’t familiar with and ended up frying the amp on stage in front of like 800 kids(smoke and everything). It took about 5 min (a lifetime) to get another amp to finish the set. We ended up only playing 4 songs that night on what was at the time our biggest gig.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear? Epp: Do your homework and find the right piece of gear that will work the best for what you need. Chances are that it’ll be expensive so take the time, save your money, and buy it once.
U.S. Tour Dates:
06/17 - Reno, Nevada - Jub Jubs Thirst Parlor
06/18 - SLC, Utah - The Urban Lounge
06/19 - Ft Collins, Colorado - Surfside 7
06/20 - Lawrence, Kansas - Replay Lounge
06/21 - Chicago, Illinois - Reggies
06/22 - South Bend, Indiana - Smiths Downtown
06/23 - Wapakoneta, Ohio - Route 33 Rhythm & Brews
06/24 - Frederick, Maryland - Cafe 611 (Maryland Doom Fest)
06/26 - Tulsa, Oklahoma - TBA
06/27 - San Antonio, Texas - Limelight
06/28 - Austin, Texas - The Lost Well
06/29 - El Paso, Texas - Rock House
06/30 - Tempe, Arizona - Yucca Tap Room