With a tour of Australia forthcoming, Intervals mastermind Aaron Marshall finishes up his evening gym session and sits down for a video call with me to discuss everything from latest album “The Way Forward“, to what fans can expect from the supporting tour, as well as all the gear talk you could want from a guitarist with impeccable tone and technique.
Straight from the start Aaron discusses what it’s like for him to listen back on the latest album now that it has been out for some time, as well as touching briefly on what the most enjoyable song to perform live is out of the 8 tracks:
“I’m still stoked on it actually, which is kinda rare when you make art. I’m actually really, really happy with the record to be honest. It captured that space that was important to me. I think all the songs stand up in their own way, the interplay between them and the flow of the record. The rare time that I sit down and listen to my own work I’m still satisfied with it. I’m digging’ it man and it’s been very well received. The songs are super fun to play live, everything is really high energy. They’re all my children and I love them all the same. If you make me choose, at Wednesday, 8:03pm it’s ‘Impulsively Responsible.’ I think just goes hard and it feels good to play. It’s got a really good pocket; the riffs are really fun in my hands. The choruses are super high energy and everyone gets into it.”
On the topic of his momentary favourite, the guitar genius touches on whether he knows a song will be super enjoyable when performing it live as well as if he takes care when writing his parts so that they are doable in a live setting:
“For the most part I’ve learned to be perceptive about which ones are gonna be the live bangers. I would be lying I said I don’t have that shit in mind when writing. I try not to, I try to let the song be the song, but I do have to perform it live so there is some consideration for that type of stuff. I do kind of prioritize the live show. I mean recorded music of course is king coz you know, I’m not in everyone’s city every day of every year. But they still need to bang hard live for sure. I don’t wanna sacrifice creativity or a musical idea for economy. But I have shot myself in the foot, or in the hand so to speak, many times. An example, a lot of the older catalogue stuff. Songs like ‘Mata Hari’ moments in ‘Epiphany’ or a couple of solo moments in ‘Alchemy.’ Some of the initial stuff from the very first EP. I remember always being like “Why the hell did I write this like this!?” I was so ambitious to make it sound cool that I often forgot “oh yeah dude you have to do this in front of people.” It’s not that things are outside my skill set, I mean I write them and I record them. But some things are not the most economical. I think there’s something to be said for the performer enjoying what’s going on.”
The conversation moves to the upcoming tour of Australia and New Zealand and the preparation involved for that, to which Aaron shares:
“I won’t prep until August. I think far in advance but I don’t think that far in advance. I have some regional Canadian shows coming up which will get the machine moving again. So we’ll oil up and go handle those. In August we’re gonna set our sights on getting ready. I’ll be well oiled by the time I get to Australia coz we’re actually touring South East Asia and Japan before we get (there.)”
When chatting about what the Australian audiences can expect from the live show as well as the setlist, Aaron shared exactly what we all wanted to hear:
“The same thing they got last time, and probably more energy than that this time too. I’m a little bit more familiar with the territory. Not that that ever affects anything, I always go in and have fun anyway. But I’m really eager to get back. The show’s will be super high energy and a really good vibe anyway because whenever you put me and Polyphia in a room it’s always a fun time. It’ll definitely be a mix for sure. There’ll be a good, well rounded mix between The Shape Of Colour and The Way Forward. And I’ll most likely pepper in some stuff from In Time.”
As expected when talking to a self-confessed “gear-nerd” the conversation moves over to the guitars Aaron has been using for Intervals:
“I haven’t been with PRS since the summer of 2016. Love the ethos, love the company, love everyone there. Just not necessarily the correct fit for me. The guys at Aristides have been amazing to me and I really back the ethos with that company and their approach. I love the guitars and I love the gear. Haven’t been playing their stuff as much as of late just because I have been looking for a consistent and steady home with a company that suits my needs and makes all the things that I like. Values what I do and wants to get behind it. And that has 100% become Suhr. We’ve had a cordial relationship since 2014. As the tail-end of 2016 they brought me a Modern to my show in LA and I absolutely fell in love with that guitar and now I have a little bit of a stable of them. It’s Suhr from head to toe now.”
Touching briefly on what he’ll be running his guitars through on tour, Aaron clafiries that he won’t be bringing any traditional amplifiers:
“When I travel its always modeler stuff man. I’ve got a slew of amplifiers that I can never tell which I like. The easiest thing to do is to just bring the AX8. It goes into the overhead. I don’t have to worry about it breaking in the aeroplane coz I can be responsible for it. And even though it’s a floor-board, the way I run my set-up, I still automate MIDI to it so I don’t do anything with my feet except turn the tuner on.”
As the conversation winds down, Aaron gives some final words of advice to any musicians starting out in the industry:
“Make the shit that you like, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Be honest with yourself. Make cool shit that makes you happy, if anyone else fucks with it that’s a bonus. Make it for yourself. If everyone else catches on then you’re doing something that’s obviously worth continuing to explore. If it doesn’t catch on, it’s fine too. Don’t put a lot of stock into it”
GET YOUR HANDS ON “THE WAY FORWARD” HERE!
GET YOUR TICKETS TO THE TOUR HERE!