Article by: Leanne Ridgeway
The Gear Assembly 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 reading, so we’ve got at least one more. Find new music, learn about who’s making it and what they use to create it…
GEAR ASSEMBLY Series #15:
TELEPATHY’s Richard Powley
The U.K.’s TELEPATHY has grown by leaps and bounds since their debut EP ‘Fracture‘ was released in Summer 2011. Their first full-length ‘12 Areas‘ dropped in Spring 2014, followed by sophomore album ‘Tempest‘ in March 2017. Their third album ‘Burn Embrace‘ arrived in late March 2020, a beautiful instrumental blend of post-metal that dips its hands into blackened atmospheric sludge, but in any terms you wish to categorize it, it’s intriguing.
The band didn’t have much chance to tour in promotion of it, as they’re unfortunately on the same touring break as every other active band at the moment, but we’ll find all about what Richard is up to, as he’s here to be our fifteenth 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.
Riff Relevant: When was the exact moment you realized you wanted to play your instrument(s)? Who was your primary influence at that moment?
I remember being about 10 or 11 years old and listening to the soundtrack for the Dave Mirra BMX 2 videogame. It had a live version of Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” by Ozzy Osbourne and I was OBSESSED with this track!
Following a school exam, my mother, who has always been super into music, took me to a record store and bought me the boxset of the first eight Black Sabbath albums.
Pretty soon after this, I started playing guitar, learning songs, and exploring every piece of heavy music I could get my hands on!
Riff Relevant: Which one of your songs best exemplifies you as a musician? Why?
To be honest, I think every musician is still trying to write that piece of music, it’s kind of an eternal search, you know?
At the moment, the tracks of which I’m most proud of would either be “The Void in Aimless Flight” or “Sorrow Surrender Its Crown” on our new album ‘Burn Embrace‘. Both tracks are equal parts atmosphere, giant riffs and feature progressive song structures with an underlying melancholic and psychedelic nature.
Riff Relevant: Is there specific gear you prefer to use in the studio that would be different from your live set-up?
Yeah, the band and our producer Gomez are always going off the deep end in the studio to come up with the best and most appropriate tones for the songs.
Riff Relevant: Any type of pre-show/practice warm up rituals?
Usually I’ll be hanging out at merch checking the the band before us and about halfway through that show, we’ll warm up together, stretch a bit and depending on the day, have a toast with our crew before going on stage.
As soon as we hear the intro tape rolling, we’ll get together behind the stage and then its game on.
Riff Relevant: How do you keep things interesting when able to be out on tour & playing the same set each night?
Every show is usually slightly different in terms of the stage, venue, vibe from the audience or any number of other factors, so it’s usually pretty easy to keep yourself fresh and ready to play!
It’s always nice to have mid-tour festivals to change up the set and play at a different time of day and meet some friends.
Riff Relevant: What do you think gives your playing its signature sound?
I’m not sure about a personal signature sound, I guess that would be for others to judge, but I can say for sure give you a moment from my youth that made me take a new approach to writing riffs.
This was learning to play tracks by a few bands like Melvins, Soundgarden, and At the Drive-In and falling in love with these odd timed, but still monolithically heavy riffs that created an immense atmosphere.
Riff Relevant: Any brand loyalty? Are you partial to one company over another? Any current sponsorships or your own signature gear?
I don’t have any sponsors, but I will give a shout-out to Dunable Guitars, who make some of the finest guitars going and whose Yeti model I now couldn’t live without!
Riff Relevant: What is the most important piece of equipment currently in your live set-up? Why? What is it about that one?
Right now, aside from my guitar, it would have to be the Friedman BE-OD Deluxe pedal.
It took me a while to find a pedal capable of recreating the tone of the modded JCM800 we used on record, and this pedal does just that, and also has a second channel for a lovely “Marshall with guitar volume down” crunch.
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.)
One important thing for me that influences the writing for Telepathy is checking out films and their associated soundtracks.
Riff Relevant: Are there any newly emerging artists or bands who are currently influencing you (or you just enjoy)? If yes, how so?
Riff Relevant: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming musician, what would it be?
Just follow your heart and create what you want to hear! Ignore any trends see coming along and just play for yourself!
Riff Relevant: How has the virus pandemic impacted your music life or career? What are some ways you’ve been doing things differently?
Well, the band had to cancel our record release tour in the UK, so that has limited the amount of promo we could do for the release of the album on March 27th.
Aside from that, this pandemic has sent shockwaves across the whole industry, and had thrown into jeopardy a bunch of Summer dates we had coming up, as well as packing venues’ schedules full of rescheduled dates in the Autumn.
I must say that it’s not just bands in the entertainment industry that are suffering, there are booking agents, road crews, venues and their staff who have been diligently slaving away behind the scenes and also had their lives turned upside down.
Riff Relevant: If you could have any music gear you wanted, what would be your ideal set up?
Oh, pretty much the one I have is serving me really well, but I would love to add a Fender Twin Reverb Silverface for an A/B clean channel. Working on it, though!
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