1. Favourite knob/fader/switch on a piece of gear and why?
I would have to to say the auto-off bypass switch on my Crybaby 95q. I had a Crybaby wah before with a standard footswitch. But I found it quite frustrating to press down and seconds later realize that I hadn’t pressed hard enough and the wah was still on. I sing and play guitar at the same time, and I really need my switches to be responsive. With the 95q I just activate the footlever to start the wah and just remove the foot to disengage the effect. Its just a beautiful feature when I need to do a lot at once.
2. Do you have an ‘almost’ perfect bit of kit? What would you change?
Although its a quite recent addition to my gear, it is definitely already my favourite. I’m talking about my Paul Reed Smith SE, Mark Holcomb signature guitar. It has an amazing sound and great output range. The satin neck makes it a joy to play even the most challenging riffs and I’m just madly in love with the feel of this guitar. The only thing I would change is that I didn’t get it a lot sooner.
3. What setup do you bring on holiday/tour/commute etc.?
If I was to go on tour I would bring my PRS guitar and my pedal board. I’ve set up my board, just the way I like it, for now.
4. What software do you wish was hardware and vice versa?
Interesting question. I’m not sure I would know how to answer it thoroughly. I mean nowadays it seems everything is possible. Guitar amps are available digitally and you can add just about any switches, stomps or racks. I’m not ready to go digital yet, but I find the concept pretty interesting.
5. Is there anything you regret selling… or regret buying?
I regret buying a Boss AW-3 Dynamic wah. Back when I was trying to solve my issue with the wah switch, I bought the dynamic wah to help me out. But its just not the same. The feel and sound of an automated wah is far from the one you get from controlling it yourself. I’ve tried selling the Dynamic wah for a long time, but without any luck.
6. What gear has inspired you to produce the most music?
Definitely my guitars. I started out as a vocalist, but really wanted to play guitar too. My guitars are a tool to write music and sometimes I just pick one up and start playing to see what happens. I write more songs just goofing around on a guitar than actively trying to write something. I even customized two of my guitars to resemble yin and yang, because its been a core concept in our band for years. The look of the guitars inspires me to consider both sides of an idea or theme. I don’t play the Yin/Yang guitars in the band any more, but they hang side by side on my wall to remind me to keep an open mind.
7. If you had to start over, what would you get first?
I would still start by getting a guitar. But I would probably save up more money to get a more expensive guitar. I started with a very low budget guitar and it was really counter productive to learning how to play. I would definitely tell anyone who is starting out, to go for a great quality guitar. It just makes it more comfortable and easier to work with.
8. What’s the most annoying piece of gear you have, that you just can’t live without?
The pedal board. Its heavy and bulky. It needs constant updates and attention, wires, cables and pedals. You just can’t help looking for ways to upgrade or change the setup, so its constant work and worry. However it just wouldn’t be the same without it.
9. Most surprising tip/trick/technique that you’ve discovered about a bit of kit?
I’ve recently been recording in my home studio and playing around with sound settings like never before. I’ve been really surprised how significant the middle tone is to great guitar sound. I’ve learned that with high gain guitar, the middle tone is best left pretty low. Its of course a matter of taste in the end, but to me it sounds great.
Artist or Band name?
Zen In Noise
Melodic progressive rock (we call it Math Grunge :D)
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Jutland, but moved to Copenhagen about ten years ago.
How did you get into music?
It was just always something I wanted to do. I’ve always been creative, drawing, writing and acting. But music had a strange allure to it. I couldn’t stay away.
What still drives you to make music?
For me its actually more the other way around. Making music is what drives me to keep going. I think I would lose my mind if I couldn’t make music.
How do you most often start a new track?
Mostly I sit down with a guitar and play around with chords and notes. When something starts sounding intriguing I keep going at it, till it sounds how I want it to. I usually have some idea of a concept or theme before I sit down, but having the guitar in hand is pretty important to me.
How do you know when a track is finished?
I have to play it with the band, several times. I’ve even had examples of tracks that weren’t completely finished in years. We would play them, but feel something wasn’t quite right. Then all of a sudden an idea would complete the track. In some instances my improvement in guitar or vocal technique, was the reason for a change in a track that would complete it.
Show us your current studio
Right now I use Magix Music Maker free. Its a pretty good program, but has limitations. At some point I want to upgrade to a more professional program. I use a Focusrite audio interface to record guitars and vocals. My microphone is a cheap solution from China. When recording you start realising its a costly affair.
Best creative advice that you’ve ever heard?
Don’t limit yourself. There are no boundaries or rules for creating.
Promote your latest thing… Go ahead, throw us a link.
We’ve been on most streaming services for a while with 4 singles. We’ve been making our own videos, which can be found on www.youtube.com/zeninnoise and www.facebook.com/zeninnoise.
[Editor: Do you have a favorite tip, trick or way of working with any of the gear from this interview?
Then throw a comment below…]