Pallbearer bassist Joseph Rowland swung by the shop to discuss his crushing low-end tone with us. Joseph walks us through his setup, gives us insight into his creative process, and talks about his obsession with synthesizers in this round of Tone tour.
Tone Tour - Joseph Rowland of Pallbearer
"(My rig is) kind of based around giving myself a new chaos factor every time we go on tour. " - Joseph Rowland, Pallbearer
This is not my Bass but it is virtually identical. I do use Avedissian custom wound pickups in my Bass that I basically just told Alex, the guy who makes the pickups, "make me pickups that sound like John Wetton's Bass." So, he just ran with that information and I'm super happy with what he did with it.
Have some of my a String Joy strings on here I like them quite a bit. You can get custom gauges made. I made the switch finally a few years ago from playing strings that were way too light of gauge. You know it's not going to go out of tune. I can I can do all this but yeah I finally was like Man this is like completely counter intuitive and having a tune during the song sometimes like I just need to like bite the bullet and get something that's you know I have to work up a little bit of like hand strength on it's kind of based around giving myself a new chaos factor every time we go on tour
by completely changing my pedal board.
So I've got a Solid Gold Effects Beta MOSFET Overdrive here and then I run that into. This other new pedal that I got recently which is a Night Owl Industries Oscar tube preamp just the nasty, super raunchy overdrive that I can control with the volume pedal if I need everything just sort of like revolves around that I have the Boss ES-5 switcher here that just kind of routes my....mostly just nasty dirt pedals that I have going on I don't I don't have a lot of modulation on my board right now because...earlier this year or the first tour that I did with the Boss was our tour that we did with Obituary and we were kind of just trying to come out swinging with a little bit more of our aggressive songs and I was like alright I don't really need to have like a delay and a reverb and you know all this other stuff for songs that are mostly just like crunchy. So I just have a chorus going on so I can get a little bit of my Pete Steele worship here and there which is sounds like this...
So I use the Earthquaker Hoof for that just disgusting fuzz tone and run it into the the Boss Bass Chorus that I also just got recently. Apart from that I've got an Idiot Box Blower Box pedal that's kind of I guess that company's take on a Rat. It sounds like...
Apart from that my always on pedal that I have in front of everything is a Fairfield Circuitry Account compressor.
I don't know how I managed to go the entirety of the existence of Pallbearer without using a compressor until this year it's completely changed the game for me especially playing finger style, there's so much variance in how much attack you have versus playing the pick. So like having something where like I still am in complete control of the dynamics but I'm able to also like not worry that I'm going to have a dead note somewhere or like lose my sustain in the middle of like one of our riffs that might have a note that holds for like 15 seconds.
Like it's a bad feeling when you're onstage and you're like "man this is about to get to the, like, really crushing part" and then like hit it. The bass note dies like one third of the way through and the rest of the band still like yeah.
So I'm just onstage like having to like pick it a bunch of times to make it look like I'm doing it on purpose.
Finally bit the bullet and I got a Lehle volume pedal. I had been using the Ernie Ball. I guess the just the one that everybody has like volume Junior. It never had a good sweep for me like it was like...
You could turn it up halfway and that's like when it was like to sort of like on all of a sudden instead of like a you know nice like there was no bloom to it at all.
Over here, this is not my amp, this was kindly borrowed from Chicago Music Exchange. It's similar to mine.
I have a Verellen Meat Smoke which is to me kind of like the end all be all tube bass amp that you can buy. If it is at all possible I will only use it a tube amp every now and then kind of get stuck in a situation on a festival or something where I may end up like if we've flown in somewhere and I have to use a solid state. To me there's like a massive massive difference between the feel of playing a solid state amp versus a tube amp like every time I play a solid state it makes me feel like I'm playing a bass that has rubber bands for strings.
For some reason it's just like, there's something really like boingy about it and there seems no I don't like once again it's like was like the bloom that you hear with tube amps.
Like when you hit both the preamp tubes and the power section you can feel when it's compressing and I have ended up basically tailoring my entire playing style around that sort of feeling that I get from it which maybe I'm a fool for doing that...But anyway this is somewhat similar to my amp. I don't really use...I've never been one to to write around pedals really like I know a lot of people do but for me I haven't been for the last couple of years I've not been writing the Pallbearer songs or parts that I write on bass.
I write them on guitar and then show them to the other guys and then I like will develop the bass line around that.
In addition to all this stuff I'm really really into synthesizers.
I have a modest Euro rack setup at home like probably 60 modules or something like that.
I say modest and actually I'm actually lying to myself because I don't want to...yeah you know I don't, I just don't want to like I don't want to be like real with myself that I've spent way too much money on it.
So yeah I I've I've been fascinated with synthesizers for years and years I have got a small collection of vintage synths at home and so like the aspect of that that I really enjoy is that you can literally build any sound you want from the ground up. If you have the if you had the knowledge of what goes in to subtractive synthesis or additive synthesis which also I've spent way too much time researching and kind of like teaching myself about...you can make anything.
So that I don't know for some reason like that part of my creative process like it feels like I always am kind of like dumping that super out there sort of like just trying to come up with stuff that I like haven't heard before. I want to like start to let the two intertwine a little bit more and start just getting a little bit more far out with the pedals.