Not every band that's worth paying attention to in Indy is old enough to drink locally crafted beers. Such is the case with the trio of musicians in The Breakes. But we can make do – even in our beer features!
When Adam Meyers, Collin VonDeylen and Adam Vorndran sat down with me at Shoefly Public House, we sampled some tasty house bottled sodas instead. (I highly recommend the cranberry lime rickey.) While there, we discussed their album, their recording techniques and of course, the gear they play.
NUVO: Let's talk rigs. What equipment are you using?
Vorndran: I use a Gibson Les Paul Studio. It's been heavily modified – it's got a Bigsby (Vibrato) with one Burstbucker and one P94 pickup. I also have a Fender 72 Tele Thinline Reissue with humbuckers. I put baritone strings on it and tune it down to C.
My pedal board is a standard Crybaby wah pedal, a Way Huge Swollen Pickle fuzz, Fulltone Deja Vibe and a BBE Sonic Stomp
My amp is a 65-watt Egnater Renegade head and a Bugera 4x12" cabinet.
NUVO: What is your main bass?
VonDeylen: It's a Fender Precision. I played it in a music store, loved it, and paid a thousand bucks for it. It was pre-owned and had custom work done – custom finish, custom pickups. No one really knows what its story is, but it's really cool. The whole neck was redone and relic'd. I also have a white Mexican Fender P-bass that I drop tune to C.
Vorndran: It has a J-bass pickup, too.
VonDeylen: I like the P-bass bodies, but I really like jazz necks. I wish I could find one.
NUVO: Maybe scour Ebay and build a frankenstein.
Vorndran: You can literally just switch necks with Fenders.
VonDeylen: I was going to build one myself, when I found the newest one.
NUVO: What amp do you use?
VonDeylen: It's a Hartke 1000 watt head. It really pushes the cab and has a great, poppy sound. I'm using a Fender 4x10" cab.
NUVO: Do you use any effects? Any overdrive or fuzz like Adam [Vorndran]?
VonDeylen: I bought the cheapest fuzz pedal I could find. It's a Digitech. I wasn't going to spend $150 on an MXR.
Meyers: We wanted it to sound like crap.
VonDeylen: And it does. I just wanted it to sound gritty.
NUVO: Tell me about your kit, Adam.
Meyers: I don't really know my stuff that well. I play a Ludwig Keystone, a 4-piece kit. It's a 24" bass drum, a 16"x16" floor tom and a 9"x13" rack tom. The snare drum varies. It's whatever I can mooch from a friend. Half of my kit is from other people. I break pedals a lot. Right now, it's an Iron Cobra.
VonDeylen: [Vorndran] has to tell people what [Meyers] plays after shows.
Meyers: It's just I break it so often I don't know what it is. I have a Zildjian fast crash, which I use as a ride. Then some sort of a Sabian crash, but it sounds like shit. I try not to hit it that often. The last time we made demos I just took it off. I didn't want it on there.
Vorndran: It was just hi-hats and [the Zildjian] crash.
Meyers: I have Zildjian hi-hats as well. They're really bright. I wish I had something darker, but these sound pretty decent.
NUVO: Do you have a favorite snare that you like to borrow?
Meyers: Right now I have one of my friend Chris Kelly's DW snares. It's really nice. I'm about to get a DW Collector's Series dark nickel snare. I'm real excited about that because it sounds a lot darker than the other ones I play.
NUVO: Do you guys try different instruments in the studio?
Vorndran: Adam has a Japanese Fender Stratocaster. My real secret is on the last track [on "Free of Defects"], a hidden track called "The Binge," we used our old bass player's solid-state Peavey keyboard amp. I put in some overdrive and got a great tone with that Strat. I tuned the low E to Eb. It was beefy.
Meyers: It was a heavy piece.
VonDeylen: I had to EQ out the low-end because it covered everything up.
NUVO: What did you use to record the last album?
VonDeylen: We used a PA board that we ran all the drums into and mixed. Originally, we ran the guitar and the bass in at the same time, but it sounded like garbage. We went back and recorded those separately. We got the guitar sound with two condenser mics. The bass we just went direct. The vocals we went to a friend's house and she has a really nice mic.
Meyers: It's not a Neumann. I think it was an Audio Technica [large diaphragm] condenser.
VonDeylen: Nothing exceeded eight tracks. For our current setup we bought two eight input interfaces so everything goes right into Pro Tools.
Meyers: We bought a lot of new microphones — SM57's, a Beta 52 for the kick and a Neumann TLM 102. It's still a large diaphragm, just the baby of the line. It sounds fantastic.
NUVO: Are you in the process of recording right now? Writing?
VonDeylen: Next week we're going to start recording.
NUVO: Do you have the songs written?
Meyers: No, we were planning on having them all written, but I don't know ...
Vorndran: Jack White says he works best creatively when he doesn't prepare.
Meyers: Honestly, I feel that once we get in there it will be way more fun to write in the studio. And I think the songs will develop more creatively if we do it that way, too.
NUVO: Where are you going?
Meyers: My basement. Again. The only thing left in my bedroom is my bed. Everything is just our equipment and a big desk.
VonDeylen: At this point we've invested quite a lot in studio equipment. It's fun.
Meyers: We're hoping to get creative this time around.