Spotlight: Tom Elliott and Joel Martorana of Peace Ritual

Peace Ritual
(Image credit: Otis Bennie)

TOM ELLIOT + JOEL MARTORANA

HAIL FROM: Naarm/Melbourne, VIC
PLAY IN: Peace Ritual
SOUNDS LIKE: Soaring pop-rock with a tasteful crunch
LATEST DROP: Peace Ritual (EP out now via Last Ride / Brick + Mortar)

What’s your current go-to guitar?
Tom: My current go-to guitar is my Squier Jazzmaster. I bought it for a very low price, from a kid in my hometown, a few years ago. It’s my only guitar with a tremolo arm, which has become an important part of the Peace Ritual sound, so it’s the one I reach for the most when I’m writing at home.

Joel: My one and only guitar – ever – is my Fender Paramount acoustic. I picked it up in 2018 to try and learn a handful of chords to help with my songwriting and singing. I love how easy it feels to use and it makes learning basic songs less daunting for a beginner like myself!

How did you initially fall in love with the instrument?
Tom: I was always surrounded by rock music growing up. My dad had an old Les Paul copy laying around that he never really learned to play, but some of my earliest memories of noodling were on that guitar. Years later, I destroyed the same guitar for a project in film school.

What inspires you as a player?
Tom: Jonny Greenwood. I think his style is super unique and unconventional, and it’s a big inspiration to me.

Are you much of a gear nerd?
Tom: I love my Marshall JCM900. It’s definitely a misunderstood amp that is capable of producing some amazing, sparkly clean and crunchy tones.

Joel: Everything about Peace Ritual and our songwriting process makes me want to become a gear nerd. I’d love to play with vocal and loop pedals, and incorporate other (more electronic) sounds and gear components into our live shows. That’s something we will step into more in the future.

Do you have any ‘white whales’?
Tom: I’ve been searching for a Yamaha SPX90 and Alesis MIDIVERB II, which were both famously used by Kevin Shields to create his signature reverse reverb sound.

What would your signature model look like?
Tom: I’d love to see a modern reimagining of the original 1980’s Fender Bullet, which is kind of like a shrunken Stratocaster mixed with a Mustang. They’re super rare and not always in the best condition, but I really love the feel of the three-quarter scale, low-profile neck.

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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. Their bylines include music rag staples like NME, BLUNT, Mixdown and, of course, Australian Guitar (on which they also serve as Editor-at-Large), but also less expected fare like TV Soap and Snowboarding Australia. Their go-to guitar is a Fender Player Tele, which, controversially, they only picked up after they’d joined the team at Australian Guitar. Before then, Ellie was a keyboardist – thankfully, the AG crew helped them see the light…