Welcome to our annual feature where we bring you a diverse cross- section of prominent guitarists and bassists in the music industry. And, at the risk of sounding like a cliché, this is our best roundtable yet, with the legendary Rick Derringer, Nashville blues rocker J.D. Simo, prog-rock bassist Jennifer Young, metal core guitarist J.B. Brubaker and The 1975’s Adam Hann all sharing essential tips and hard-won knowledge.
Contact: Hillary Siskind, firstname.lastname@example.org
Adam Hann is guitarist and keyboardist for the burgeoning U.K.-based alt-rock and pop group The 1975. The Manchester quartet’s latest album, on Dirty Hit/Interscope Records, bears the hefty title, I Like It When You Sleep, for You Are So Beautiful Yet So Unaware of It.
Who are some of your musical influences?
I was a big fan of Rage Against the Machine when I was a kid. Not only was Tom Morello a fantastic guitar player technically, but the way he used effects and manipulated the sound of the guitar was very interesting to me. As I got older there was the band Phoenix. That’s where a lot of the compressed single-note lines come from. When we were touring recently we had been listening to a lot of Bowie and INXS and that’s where a lot of the choppy chords stuff comes from.
What’s your top gear?
For amplifiers I’m using two Hi Watt Custom 50’s, which run in stereo along with a Roland Jazz Chorus to add some brightness. The Hi Watts are quite nice, but they’re a little warm sounding. With guitars I tend to use Fender Jazzmaster and Jaguars. I’m using a MusicMan guitar on this new album because it’s got a great out-of-phase sound. For strings—Ernie Ball 11’s on everything. I think they have a better sustain than 10’s.
How do you achieve your diverse tonal palette?
There are a lot of things that make up my effects rack. But if I had to go with a core setup it would be my King of Tone overdrive/distortion pedal and my Mobius, Timeline and Big Sky reverb, chorus and delay.
How have you become better at your craft?
I’ve always been fairly competent as a player. I think it’s important to not become too complacent. You might be playing something right or in time, but you can always play with a better feel, you know?
Read More: PHOTOS: The 1975 at Club Nokia
Do you have a practice regimen or pre-show warmup?
I always try to play the guitar for a half-hour/45 minutes before we go on. There’s one thing that I do, which is like an awkward-shaped arpeggio. I play down the arpeggio once and slide up one fret and keep doing that up and down the fret board. And that’s a good dexterity exercise.
Memorable stage mishaps?
In the early days we played on the side of a flatbed truck at a charity Fun Run. People were finishing this marathon or something and walking right past us to get in their cars and go home.
Live performance highlights?
There’s a few. Two that come to mind straightaway; there is an old prestigious venue called The Royal Albert Hall in London. Two years ago we played an amazing one-off show there. It’s about a 4,000- seat venue and the people there were genuinely appreciative. The atmosphere and feeling was very special. And the second one was playing Glastonbury in 2014. We played on the main stage and the entire festival watched our show. It was an amazing experience.