Spotlight: Axel Carrington of New Talk

Axel Carrington
(Image credit: Rift Photography)


PLAYS: Solo, AND IN: New Talk
SOUNDS LIKE: Destructively dynamic alt-rock with equal parts passion and punch
LATEST DROP: Time & Memory (LP out now independently)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
My most recent acquisitions have been a mid-’00s Japanese Mustang – bought off my good friend and fellow Perth musician Tanaya Harper – a Yamaha NTX3. The Mustang is so light and whimsical, but still has a similar feel to the Jaguars I adore. The Yami is the ultimate “chill out at home” guitar, and one I look forward to exploring each and every day that I play it. I just wrote, recorded and released a solo album under my own name using nothing but this gat!

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
My Dad (a.k.a. Big Nev) is a guitarist, as are my two brothers, so I was essentially predetermined to play it. My first real guitar was one of his former ones, gifted to me when I was around ten or 11 – it was a black Washburn from the mid-‘80s, which I still have. It’s in a slightly different form now, but at the time it was so liberating to have an instrument that had lived through some bizarre country Victorian gigs, which I could add to the story of.

What inspires you as a player?
My favourite guitarists are John Fahey, the great American-primitivism maestro, and Sonny Sharrock, the fire and brimstone shronk-jazz lord. They both taught me that space is everything, that you can make noises on a guitar that the instrument is not designed for, and that it’s important to always push yourself. I also try to remember what great artists like Nina Simone, John Coltrane, Gareth Liddiard and Joanna Newsom do in their work. Be yourself, even when you’re other people.

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I have far too may pedals – which are all weird and wonderful in their own ways – but the two I really couldn’t live without are the MXR Blue Box and my old silver screw Boss VB-2. My Blue Box is busted up beyond belief, but is the cornerstone of my sound in New Talk. The VB-2 is a recent acquisition, which I turn on during soundcheck and don’t turn off until packing up after the show – I use it in every project I’m in now, because everything must be wild and wooly.

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I’d love to go back to the day, about ten years ago, that I played a pre-CBS Purple Jaguar in a store in Adelaide – only this time armed with ten grand and change. Otherwise, I’m very much a happenstance kind of gear person and kind of stumble onto things. I’d love to have an original EHX 16 Second Digital Delay, with the gargantuan chips in it, to pair with my reissue and really go Frippertronic.

What would your signature model look like?
It would be exactly the same as my (almost completely exploded) ‘07 Japanese Fender Jaguar, except cleaned of gunk and grime, and not on the verge of disintegrating every gig. It’s currently held together by pins that my plumber friend installed after a particularly hairy show in Fremantle. Do the Fender Custom Shop also do custom duct tape strap locks? 

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
I would trade it all to be a fly on the wall watching Ronald Jones layer his guitar parts to The Flaming Lips’ Clouds Taste Metallic record. I would play nothing – what else can you play to the “Evil Will Prevail” Lindsay Buckingham overdubs? Nothing – you sit in silence and awe!

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Ellie Robinson
Editor-at-Large, Australian Guitar Magazine

Ellie Robinson is an Australian writer, editor and dog enthusiast with a keen ear for pop-rock and a keen tongue for actual Pop Rocks. Her bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (where she also serves as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Her go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, she only picked up after she'd joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped her see the light…