What are some projects you’ve been involved with lately? Anything you’re particularly excited about?
I’ve been working a lot with Incubus. We try to stay busy. For the last few weeks, we’ve been getting together to play and figure out what’s next. This year I spent some time making live performance videos with Ashley Mendel and Daniel Gallardo. We started a series called “One Take Theater” where we learn a song and film a live take in a few hours. That’s been really exciting. I’m also working on new solo music. I am forever trying to crawl out of my comfort zone and make new records.
What are some challenges you see musicians facing in today’s scene? How do you personally traverse those challenges?
I think it’s a difficult time for musicians. Trying to make money making music was hard enough before the pandemic hit. It sometimes feels like the music business has shattered into a million tiny pieces. Every other type of media is shamelessly willing to do or say whatever it takes to keep people’s attention at any cost. Still, many artists are making amazing music with their whole heart and it’s a gift to be in the audience for it. I’m just trying to make new stuff that reaches new listeners.
What do your current bass and guitar rigs consist of and how are you using them to shape your sound?
My bass rig is a never-ending project. I’m really lucky I get to keep trying different things in different settings. For a long time, the centerpiece has been a Mesa Boogie 400+ amp into a Mesa 8×10 cab. I’ve been experimenting with having small combo amps mic’d up off stage for front of house. I have a handful of different basses I play. I use a pair of Boden Original 4 basses, along with a few Laklands, a custom Serek Sacramento and a Music Man. Each one is a work of art.
My guitar rig is a lot more simple. The last few years I’ve been really happy playing through a Mesa Rectoverb 25. I’ve been using Mesa’s Cab Clone IR+ whenever I’m on in-ears and a 1×12″ cab for moving some air. As for guitars, I recently got my hands on a Sälen Classic and I can’t put it down. It’s currently my favorite guitar to play. I also use a Boden OS 6 and a Boden Classic 7. Lots of EndurNecks here at the crib.
How did you first find out about .strandberg* Guitars?
I saw Tosin and Javier from Animals As Leaders playing .strandbergs*. I loved the shape at first sight. I had no idea there was so much thought behind the design. I just thought they looked dope and futuristic. I spoke to Mark Holcomb of Periphery and he had great things to say about Ola and his designs. I had to try one out. I eventually bought a Boden OS 6 and fell in love. I was blown away by how I could play the guitar for hours without my hands getting tired. And the guitar sounded perfect.
Who have been some of your major influencers over the years?
I feel like everything I’m exposed to influences me. I grew up on 1980’s MTV and was a teenager in the 1990s. What a special time. Prince made me feel like anything was possible. Hearing Yngwie was supernatural. The Edge and U2 showed me you could paint with sound. Bad Brains got me through high school. A Tribe Called Quest brought me so much joy. Ahmad Jamal and Wes Montgomery were waiting for me to open my ears enough to hear what real mastery of an instrument sounds like. I could go on for hours and still only scratch the surface.
What are your plans for the immediate and long-term future?
I’m very inspired right now. I’m going to watch the Mets game on TV in a few hours. LFGM! Then hopefully I’m going to keep making the best music I can with all of the amazing people around me. This is a special moment in time. So much is uncertain. One thing that still brings us together is music. I’m thankful for every second I get to call it my job.