Killswitch Engage: Seasons in the Abyss
GW How did you get turned on to Splawn amps?
DUTKIEWICZ Joel heard about them through the grapevine, and then he actually got one to try out. When I heard it, I said, “That’s incredible!”
GW What other amps did you use?
STROETZEL For the clean tones we used a mixture of things. We had an old, Seventies Fender Vibrolux with a combination of pedals for tones ranging from clean to slightly dirty. And we used a Fuchs Triple Drive for some clean stuff, and an Orange Tiny Terror.
GW What effect devices were indispensable to your guitar tones on this album?
STROETZEL As far as dirty tones, we always have a Maxon OD808 on at all times, just to boost the signal a bit.
DUTKIEWICZ It’s kind of the Maxon version of the [Ibanez] Tube Screamer. It just sounds a little more bubbly.
STROETZEL There’s also a lot of delay on guitars on this record. We used one of those Maxon vintage analog delays, a big, purple pedal [the AD999]. We also used a Maxon phaser and a Hughes & Kettner Rotosphere in a few spots to get some chorusy tones.
DUTKIEWICZ And we used a real Leslie cabinet on a lot of the guitar parts. That’s definitely a cool sound.
GW The album has songs in a few different keys, as you mentioned, but there are also quite a few that are in or around the key of C. Did you tune down for those?
STROETZEL Yeah, most of the songs are in a dropped C kind of tuning. The songs in other keys are played in different positions.
GW So you take everything down a whole step and then you take the low string down another whole step?
STROETZEL Exactly. So it would be C G C F A D, from low to high.
GW “Take Me Away,” which is in A minor, sounds like it might be in standard tuning.
STROETZEL That’s in standard but taken down a whole step, so it’s D G C F A D. We just don’t drop the low string for that one.
GW How do the two of you divide up the guitar work?
DUTKIEWICZ Normally, the dude who wrote the part is the dude who will play the part.
STROETZEL Or whoever feels like playing the riff or feels it with the drums a little better will do it. There are not a lot of parts on this record where we’re actually playing at the same time. It’s kind of either one or the other. We didn’t have a lot of time in the studio, so whoever was most comfortable would play a part or an entire song.
GW Some of the songs, like “The Forgotten” and “Light in a Darkened World,” have harmonized lead lines. Who played those?
STROETZEL I did the leads in those two; Adam played the leads in “Starting Over.” It’s all divided up differently.
GW But whoever plays one lead line will also play all the harmony tracks?
STROETZEL Yeah. That just makes things easier, because we have slightly different [finger] vibratos. If you want to get that stuff really tight, it makes more sense to have one person play all the harmonies. But obviously we both have to play them live.
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