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Spotlight: Kelly Jansch of Totty

Totty
(Image credit: Britt Andrews)

HAILS FROM: Wollongong, NSW
PLAYS IN: Totty
SOUNDS LIKE: Pop-punk made by a sentient skateboard who lives on a diet of Mountain Dew and weed
LATEST DROP: Garden (EP out now via Ratbag/BMG)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
I pretty much always reach for my Fender Powercaster. I got it as a present for my birthday last year (thanks Simon!). I’d never seen one before – I think they were pretty new at the time – but I love the size of it. It’s really lightweight too, which is great when you’ve got the back problems of an 80-year-old. I think part of why I love it so much is because it’s sentimental, and it wasn’t something I knew I wanted until I got it. It’s really versatile with the bridge humbucker and P-90 style pickup in the neck. 

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
I grew up surrounded by music – my two older brothers and my dad always played the guitar. I’ve always played flute, so I honestly didn’t gravitate towards the guitar until I was around 17 and I started looking up basic chords on Ultimate Guitar. I was just playing along to songs I liked at the time, and I bought my own guitar when I was 19 – it was a white Squire Telecaster Deluxe. I was living and working in Brisbane with no friends and heaps of spare time. I was looking at a specific shop online and had zero knowledge of what I was buying, but it was actually a sick guitar! It’s got two Fender Wide Range humbuckers, which make it sound so crisp.

What inspires you as a player?
Honestly, I look up to the people closest to me, my mates in bands and my brothers. Their influence is what pushes me to become better, expand my knowledge and develop my own styles. It feels funny to call myself a guitarist! 

Are you much of a gear nerd?
I try to get deep into that world, but my knowledge isn’t huge. I think I’m more in it by association, because our drummer Chris is a big gear nerd. My favourite amp is a JCM800, mainly because I want to be like J Mascis, but also because playing through that with a Fender Twin next to it is just sick. Huge, thick tones. In terms of pedals, I love my Boss DS-1, and I just started playing with a Way Huge Green Rhino for my overdrive. I like to keep things pretty simple. 

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
I’ve always wanted a Fender Jag HH. There’s also this guitar that I once saw on vintage resale Instagram shop. It was a Jazzmaster, but it had F holes and a squared-off body and sides. It was sparkly pink with a matching headstock. I wish I could remember the name of the shop... I saw it go live and definitely couldn’t afford it at the time, but I still see it in my dreams!

What would your signature model look like?
I reckon I’d just want it to be my Powercaster, but with a light pink body and matching headstock, and a black pickguard with purple binding around the outside. Very specific colours, but with the same specs as the Powercaster. That guitar is my true love. 

If you could jam with any guitarist, dead or alive...
I would give anything to play with Frank Zappa. I don’t know how well I’d keep up with his mastery, but he is hands-down the first person I’d choose to play with if I had the chance. It would be so sick to sit down with a guitar and tap into the brain of J Mascis, too.