Article By: Leanne Ridgeway, Owner/Chief Editor
The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has had devastating effects on the music world. We had started a few things to highlight some in their plight. All these temporary additions are now permanent features. Along with our regular articles and reviews, we’ll have a weekly quick-list of bands (formerly “Virally Affected” and now the “Hearkened Heap“), as well as this series of “Gear Assembly” interviews. The interview series is especially for the music gear addicts, or simply the curious like myself.
Each article in the Gear Assembly series features a different musician answering the same questions, highlighting both their varying preference in music gear, as well as their own music that results from using that gear. Hopefully it brings some awareness to both the artists and their gear makers. You’re here reading, so we’ve got at least one more person! Find more music, learn about who’s making it and what they use to create it…
GEAR ASSEMBLY Series #9:
GRAVEHUFFER’s Ritchie Randall
Ritchie Randall, guitarist for the Joplin, Missouri quartet of GRAVEHUFFER can usually be found ’round the various strands of the interwebs sharing music and generally being enthusiastic as all hell about most anything metal music related.
GRAVEHUFFER has been spending some of their time in these recent months getting some recording done, but we can check out what Ritchie Randall is up to these days, as he’s here to be our ninth piece in the Gear Assembly! Rock on…
Riff Relevant /Leanne: What instrument(s) do you play?
Riff Relevant /Leanne: Give us a rundown of your current live gear set-up.
From fingers to amp:
InTune Guitar Picks .88mm
SIT Strings .12-.52
Seymour Duncan pickups
Solar Guitars E Series
Spectraflex Cables braided series
Custom Audio Mutation amp CAM 850MII
Arachnid Cabinets 4×12 with Eminence Texas Heat speakers
Riff Relevant: When was the exact moment you realized you wanted to play your instrument(s)? Who was your primary influence at that moment?
When I picked up my dad’s copy of Judas Priest’s ‘Unleashed In The East‘ on vinyl. I saw KK Downing throwing shapes with his Gibson Flying V and knew that’s what I wanted to do!
Riff Relevant: Which one of your songs best exemplifies you as a musician? Why?
Probably the song “Chains Around You“.
It starts out with a clean guitar part, builds in intensity, goes completely into a thrashy punk section, then slows to a super heavy doomy crawl. It pretty much has a big part of my influences in one song.
Riff Relevant: Is there specific gear you prefer to use in the studio that would be different from your live set-up?
I use the exact same gear in the studio that I use live. I don’t use any pedals to record any of my rhythm guitars.
Guitar straight into the amp for the most pure tone possible!
Riff Relevant: Any type of pre-show/practice warm up rituals?
I always have to piss before we play a show, haha!
As far as practice, I usually start by playing some riffs or songs I’m inspired by that I’ve been listening to during that week. Then I just start playing whatever pops in my head. If something excites me enough, I’ll record it on my phone.
Riff Relevant: How do you keep things interesting when able to be out on tour & playing the same set each night?
We actually change up our set quite a bit. It takes a lot of practice time, but it’s fun for us to switch it up, plus each crowd gets a slightly different show each time.
We usually throw in little variations from the recordings, too. Almost all of our songs are a little bit different live than they are on the album.
Riff Relevant: What do you think gives your playing its signature sound?
Probably all the different influences that get mixed in that come out in my playing.
Sometimes I have no idea until someone else tells me that maybe a certain riff or something sounds like one of my influences. But in the end, we always get told that no matter what we do, it always somehow sounds like Gravehuffer.
Riff Relevant: Any brand loyalty? Are you partial to one company over another? Any current sponsorships or your own signature gear?
Yes most definitely!
I am endorsed by the following companies: Arachnid Cabinets, Custom Audio Mutation amps, Firebird Straps, InTune Guitar Picks, Seymour Duncan pickups, SIT Strings, Solar Guitars, Spectraflex Cables, WB Gear, Maverick Apparel Company.
Riff Relevant: What is the most important piece of equipment currently in your live set-up? Why? What is it about that one?
I have to say it definitely starts with my Solar E Series Guitar. It plays so perfect. It’s comfortable to play standing up in a live situation, sitting down recording in the studio. It feels and plays better than any guitar I’ve ever owned.
It basically gets out of my way so I can just play. It’s sharp and pointy, too, so there’s that. Plus the color is “Blood Red Matte”. How metal is that?! There’s just some really great mojo in this guitar!
Riff Relevant: What do you enjoy doing outside of music, that you feel ultimately contributes to your musicality? (For example, a hobby that you turn to in order to stimulate your creativity.)
I get inspired by other music, of course. My family, the weather, animals, coffee, shitty people, political stuff, art, reading, holy crap I’m a sponge I guess… ha!
Riff Relevant: Are there any newly emerging artists or bands who are currently influencing you (or you just enjoy)? If yes, how so?
Right now I’m really into Acid Witch, as far as newer stuff. I love their mix of riffy doom stuff, with some old death metal, and the John Carpenter keyboard vibes.
Riff Relevant: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming musician, what would it be?
Be nice! Network with each other. We’re all in this together, as cheesy as it sounds. Support your friends in all aspects of what you do. Reciprocation is so important. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you need to grow up.
Riff Relevant: How has the virus pandemic impacted your music life or career? What are some ways you’ve been doing things differently?
We had to cancel for 6 shows so far since March. A couple were ones that we were booked but not announced yet.
It’s definitely a confusing time. We’re just trying to pimp our merchandise online, doing that networking thing I just mentioned, setting up some live stream shows, and finishing up recording our new album.
(Check out Halsey’s review of their last release HERE.)
Riff Relevant: If you could have any music gear you wanted, what would be your ideal set up?
I honestly think I have my ideal set up now. I’ve been working with this band since 2008, changing my gear in the process. It’s taken quite a while to get to this point but I finally feel like with the gear I have now, that I can just play and not have to worry about anything else.
Actually, there’s one thing. My next Solar Guitar will have the Evertune bridge system in it. They never go out of tune!
Want to be featured in a future Gear Assembly article? Answer our questions [HERE]!