Picture: Antoinette Goujon
ET: Joel, you are dedicated to Baritone guitars. Why Baritone?
JG: My musical backgrounds and first influences are to find in ‘90s crossover and new metal, so I started quite early to downtune my guitars. Eventually I would switch to a 7 string guitar and after that I went for the Baritone.
I like these kind of guitars for many aspects: They have a longer neck scale, which is better suited for lower tunings (I mostly play tuned in standard B, a 4th lower than a normal guitar), their sounds, and actually I use baritones to play every kind of music, I find them to be very versatile.
ET: What is your new album «AGAINST HEATWAVES» about? What was your instrumental approach for the album?
JG: May I switch the questions first? The recordings for the album were collected between July and August 2018 at my home studio. I play every Monday at Exil in Zürich, as a support for Nik Bärtsch’s Ronin, but I always find that these live ambient sets (which are always improvised on the spot) are also shaped by the audience, the place and the band I’m supporting during the evening. When I play alone at home, isolated from everything and everybody, the results go very often in different directions, I would say with a more intimate aura. Up to then I’ve never really recorded any of these house sessions. So I started to record these improvisations as often as possible, and at some point I came up with the ones which compose the album.
«Against Heatwaves» was recorded in the warmest summer time, and when I listened back to these sessions I felt like being on a glacier, between ice banks and cold winds. Hence the album title and the decision to name the songs after Swiss glaciers.
ET: Tell us more about your cooperation with Nik Bartsch and your last show in California?
JG: I first started to go to Nik Bärtsch’s concerts as a normal guest. Slowly I got to know the band and Bernhard Wagner, who was playing the live ambient guitar sets during the breaks back then. Thanks to him I got more into using live-looping techniques, and at some point I was asked to replace him for a few Mondays six years ago. I really enjoyed playing there a lot, and after arranging things with Nik and Bernhard, I started to perform on a regular basis there as well. Since 2 years I’m playing there every Monday, as Bernhard left to follow other paths.
My last shows in California were performed during the Y2K18 International Live Looping Festival (in San Jose and Santa Cruz) together with around 40 other performers (16 of whom come from all over the world). I’ve already played at live-looping festivals in Paris and Zurich in the past few years, and finally this year I managed to be there in California, which is the biggest festival of this kind worldwide.
ET: Best loved hardware vs. Best loved software?
JG: The only software I can list is ProTools, which I use to record, edit and mix my music. I never went for the computer to create my sounds, although I find today there are a lot of great softwares and plugins around: I’m an hardware guy. I need to have knobs and switches under my fingers.
Hardware-wise I could list a few things: MASF Pedals (I love their fuzzes, which can be quite musical and also super noisy at the same time), Zoom Multistomp pedals (which I commonly use for my reverbs), the Strymon Timeline delay and the Digitech Drop Octaver.
ET: Thank you, Joel. Cheers.
Thx for your support and buy «AGAINST HEATWAVES»