I play a bunch of the acoustic parts live, Sahaj plays some of em too. I don't have any piezo equipped guitars...I've heard that question a lot lately. I play them on a regular electric guitar with some tasty fx from my boss gt-8.I've noticed more and more acoustic work being added to the layers on several of the songs from the past two cds. When you play live shows now do you have anyone playing those parts and if so do you use any piezo-equipped guitars when playing live?
All the electric guitars were ESP's. Most of the tracks were recorded through a '92 Mesa Dual Rectifier head that has been completely modified and sounds amazing. We do NOT bring that on the road, it is strictly for the studio. We used Mesa & Marshall cabs on this record. As always we use Boss GT series pedals for a lot of the FX...at least for the ones that weren't added later in the mix.Follow-up question now that I've listened to the whole cd 4 times through D):
You had some fantastic tones on the latest release, any chance of a thorough run-down of what you were using in the studio (still ESP and Mesa, or did you deviate a bit?)? Are you using the same gear live?
Write a ton of songs and try to listen to them objectively. Weed out the weaker ones and keep writing. Great songs is the first step. Learning to record yourself is another important step...otherwise every time you want to record a song you have to shell out boatloads of cash and have a time limit. If you take the time to learn to record yourself, your studio time is free and there is no time limit.Any advice for people trying to start a band?
I'm not sure Ra fits into the contemporary "heavy" music scene. Bands like Shadows Fall, Avenged Sevenfold, Bullet for My Valentine...we don't really fit with them I don't think. I don't know where the hell we fit. We've been called Nu-Metal, Prog Rock, Alternative Rock...what the fuck are we? I don't know. haha.Back when Ra first broke on the scene their sound was in vogue and there were dozens of similar-sounding bands around. Now that most of those bands have dropped off and fashions lean toward the more extreme end of the metal spectrum, where do you think Ra fit into the contemporary heavy music scene?
I LOVE Muse....they are may favorite newer band. But I always listen to Radiohead, AIC, NIN, Pink Floyd, the Doors, the Beatles...a lot of classic rock. For heavier stuff, Slipknot has always been one of my favorite heavy bands...Shadows Fall, Korn...a bunch more.What music is inspiring you these days, Ben?
I'm not sure where it comes from....sometimes I'll hear something in my head and play it...sometimes I'll be jamming and play something and dig it. I always try to document my ideas so I don't forget them. I used to do it right into Nuendo. Lately I record my ideas using a web ***...actually a lot more helpful when you can see the ideas played as well as hear them...haha. Makes it easy.when you write a riff, where does it come from, and how do you decide if it's right for Ra versus something you should stash for your solo album?
- "From One" was a pretty heavy album, but then Ra explored a more melodic sound on "Duality." "Black Sun" however seems to represent a return to a heavier sound. What influenced this change, was it a conscious decision or did it develop during the songwriting?
On Black Sun we were consciously trying to mix the sounds of From One and Duality. We were trying to achieve the mix of the heaviness of From with the melodic sound of Duality.
- Sahaj recorded and produced "Black Sun," correct? How was it working with your vocalist? Did you ever have any production clashes, or did the two of you mainly see eye to eye?
I'm used to working with Sahaj in the studio, he actually did Duality as well. Not really anymore clashes than you ever get with 4 people working on 1 creative project.
- How were you recording guitars in the studio this time around? Did you try anything different? What were you using for mics and gear, and was there anything you were doing to the guitars in the mix?
We recorded similar to how we always do. I don't remember the mics that were used...
- The acoustic intro and breakdown to "Broken Hearted Soul" that opens the album is awesome. What's the story behind that part?
Just one of those things that happens..haha.
- "Waste of Space" sounds somewhat autobiographical. If you can, could you provide some background?
Waste of Space is about our experience of being completely fukked over by Cement Shoes (the label we put Raw out through.) Some of the overdubbed conversations were pretty much word for word to actual conversations that went on with the label owner.
- You just released an album on your band's own label, and you're about to release a solo album independantly, too (gotta confirm this). What was the process like, and could you give our members who are thinking of doing the same any advice?
The process was LONG...haha. I've been working on my solo record for over 3 years now. I is finally to the point where it is actually at the CD duplication plant!!!! Doing it independently was something I wanted to try after all of my lovely experiences with record labels. If it gets out of hand I'll figure out something. I have thought about shopping it to Shrapnel and a couple other instrumental based record labels, but I haven't gone there quite yet.
The advice I would give is, take you time. There is a lot involved...f'n understatement. Take your time, make good decisions and don't rush it.
- What are your favorite moments on the new disc?
I LOVE the bridge in The First Step!!! I'm always a sucker for cool panning FX, polyrhythms and whatnot... Some of that track was actually recorded in my studio...ended up keeping the original parts.
More after lunch.