Sick Riffs: Kyle Mortensen teaches you the delay-driven guitar solo of East of June's Rebel

Sick Riffs #122: East of June – a trio composed of vocalist Emily Rath, guitarist Kyle Mortensen and former Incubus bassist Dirk Lance – have a sound that blends whimsical electronica with a distinctly late '70s/early '80s production style. The result: enveloping arrangements with melodies that'll stick in your head for days after listening.

Rebel – released in 2019 – highlights this musical style brilliantly. It's a four-minute mid-tempo track featuring an electronically influenced four-to-the-floor beat, synth arpeggios and a pretty shredding guitar solo, the latter of which guitarist Kyle Mortensen joins us today to take you through.

He plays a 2018 Gibson Les Paul Classic electric guitar through a Mesa Boogie Mark Five:25 amp and a Strymon Timeline delay pedal.

“At first it was a little concerning in the sense that we had no idea when we’d be able to physically see one other again. After the first month of quarantine I think we became acclimated to the situation by making the most of our time to create new song ideas and finish some older material that we’d been sitting on. 

“I think what I’m most proud of is our song Little Bird which never would’ve seen the light of day if it wasn’t for being on lockdown. That first week alone at home I figured I better write something stripped down that we could record at home without all the big production and fanfare. 

“So I sat outside on my porch with an acoustic and noodled around until the basic idea for the song came together. Once I presented it to the band the 3 of us went back and forth with ideas and arrangements and made something really special with it.”

Support East of June

Sick Riffs is a Guitar World video series designed to help guitarists affected by the coronavirus. Self-isolating players around the world have each filmed a lesson where they teach you one of their own guitar riffs, up close and personal. If you dig the lesson, we encourage you to buy music and merch from the artist or stream their music.

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Sam Roche

Sam was Staff Writer at from 2019 to 2023, and also created content for Total Guitar, Guitarist and Guitar Player. He has well over 15 years of guitar playing under his belt, as well as a degree in Music Technology (Mixing and Mastering). He's a metalhead through and through, but has a thorough appreciation for all genres of music. In his spare time, Sam creates point-of-view guitar lesson videos on YouTube under the name Sightline Guitar.