Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Interview: Stu Makin Talks 7 String Les Pauls and Life

Austerymn is a band that confuses me a little bit if I'm being perfectly honest.

Their history is murky.

Their sound is classic death metal.

Their "debut" album is brand new, but they've been a band for longer than two decades.

As is my wont, when I hear a great album, I really want to learn more about the people behind the notes. I've found as I've aged that the people who play the music, the sports, the roles, the etc that we all enjoy, well they're honestly real people! Some of these people even have jobs like  us...

The ones who feel the pain they play, and here's what Stu Makin had to say to my silliness.

Glacially Musical: Thank you for taking the time. It's always appreciated.

Stu Makin: And you, rather humbling to give my first interview haha

GM: Give me the 30 second history of how you started to where you are now?

SM: For as long as I can remember I've always wanted to play the electric guitar, I thought it was just the coolest thing. 

At the age of 10 I first heard Randy Rhoads and Blizzard of Ozz, I saved up £30 and bought a Sunburst Satellite guitar from the local 2nd hand shop and set about teaching myself and never really put it down. 

The rest is history.

GM: Who are your biggest guitar influences?

SM: Randy Rhoads, EVH, Dave Gilmour, Hendrix, Page, Satch, Vai. 

I love all the late greats and the riffs we all grew up with. Modern stuff Zakk Wylde, Mark Tremonti & Phil Demmel are amazing players, but top of my list today has got to be Rick Graham. 

He's phenomenal and such a humble guy, players like that give us all something to aim for.

GM: What about your rig. I've tried and tried, but I can't recreate that 90's death sound. How do you get it?

SM: Boss HM2 + Big Valve amp + Gibson LP = Swedish DM.

I'm not a huge fan of effects, not for our stuff anyway. Live the last thing I want to be doing is a tap dance on a pedal board when I'm halfway through a solo. 

I like to keep things simple so there's less that can go wrong, so live I use a 5150ii with a Boss EQ and TC flashback through the loop for my solos and clean up with my volume knob if need be.

I've seen people use loads of effects and run drive pedals through the clean channel of £2k high gain amp, then have problems with power supplies, patch leads etc just before they play a gig, it's like WTF ????

GM: What guitars did you use on the record?

SM: I used my trusty Epiphone"Matt Heafy" signature 7 string, through the 5150 or Riks Engl and a HM2. 

We experimented with a few guitars doing the "In Death" ep, using my Kramer 5150 and 80s Ibanez Sabre I built, but at the end of the day we settled on my Gibson LP custom with EMGs and 10-60s it just sounds fat as fuck 

I didn't like playing 6 strings down tuned so much due to far less string tension. I tried a few 7 strings and preferred them. I'm a Les Paul player at heart, so when Epiphone released the "Heafy" sig with EMGs and access neck joint that was it for me 

I'm playing about with an Ibanez 7 string I've put together at the moment, but I'm not a huge fan of Floyd Rose trems, but I want to start using one.

GM: How English are you? I mean, what's your favorite tea, football club? (Full disclosure for me it's the Arsenal and Taylor's of Harrogate Scottish Breakfast.)

SM: Cut me in half and I'm red & while inside. I'm very patriotic, 

Full English Breakfast, Sunday roast, Yorkshire Tea kinda guy. 

I love my country. I don't follow football. I was brought up between two rival rugby towns in the north of England, to this day I still support Wigan RLFC, but don't really follow the sport. 

My kids and music don't leave me much time to follow anything seriously.

GM: What is the first death metal record you can remember hearing and how did you react to it?

SM: I'd have to say Sepultura Inner Self on an old UK TV show called "The Power Hour." 

At a time when it was cool to be into the heaviest stuff possible, when Metallica, Anthrax, Megadeth, Slayer etc were in their heyday , 

Sepultura was like being kicked in the face, slower and heavy as fuck. I was instantly hooked. After that we got to know the guys from Anathema and they blew me away. 

Slow and heavy with an unbelievable melody I had never heard. They were a huge influence on me.

GM: What are your touring plans? Don't forget about St. Louis, MO...

SM: I'd absolutely love to get over to the States.

I've got some good friends over there. Vegas or Maryland Deathfest would be awesome. We are heading over to Greece in November for their "Brutality over Sanity" festival and maybe a gig over there before. 

Steve's working on something over Europe hopefully soon and in between that were playing any decent gigs were offered that work and family schedules allow.

GM: What do you take with you on the road to stay sane?

SM: A bottle haha, no in all seriousness the guys keep me sane. 

We all get on really well together and have a good laugh when we're out. I think that's the most important thing, if you take things too seriously that's when things get stressful.

GM: What's the first thing you do when coming off the road?

SM: Recover from the hangover, spend time with my kids, my girlfriend & my guitar tutor. 

It's nice to have a break from playing now and again, it makes me want to go back to it more. I love taking lessons though.

I've got an amazing tutor.

GM: How do you go about doing your leads...work them out ahead of time or just push record?

SM: Basically I play what I hear in my head. Sometimes I have a melody I can already work with, other times I just record the backing, listen to it over and over and see what the guitar in my head comes up with. 

I'll lay down a rough version and then play about with it until I'm happy. The solo for "Written in the Scars" was conceived while I was washing the dishes haha. 

Out of respect I try to incorporate a Randy Rhoads riff in each of my solos, that guy is the reason I'm still doing it.

GM: What should my readers know about you and Austerymn?

SM: I wouldn't do it with anyone else. Before I joined through previous experiences I was adamant I'd never be in a band again. Too much BS and arguing about musical direction etc. 

I'd have gone back into teaching and playing what I wanted to play on my own. The guys give me that freedom to do the stuff I want to play. I listen to very little Death Metal now, but I do listen and genuinely love the stuff we do otherwise I wouldn't do it.

The band has seen me go through the worst time in my life and gave me something to focus on. 

I dunno where I'd be without them. We've known each other for 20 odd years, through the ups and downs we always come out stronger, they're not my band they're my brothers \m/

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