Industrial metallers Static-X
have been plying their trade to the masses for the past 13 odd years. For the band's founder Wayne Static
, it's been a long road to success.
The band's most recent studio outing Cannibal
also saw the band bring guitar solos to the fore courtesy of returning lead guitarist Koichi Fukuda who previously had left the band in early 2001.
The band has spent the majority of 2007 touring behind Cannibal and recently ventured down to Australia as part of Gigantour. Joe Matera
caught up with Wayne Static
and Koichi Fukuda
backstage before the band's performance in Melbourne for this exclusive interview for Ultimate-Guitar
Ultimate-Guitar: You're currently midway through the Gigantour with Megadeth. You've done a number of tours over the years with Dave Mustaine, so what is it like working with him?
Dave is awesome. We did our first tour with Dave back in 1999, on our first record and when we were just starting out. And he was great to us back then and he still is today. He is always gracious to the opening bands so it is always a pleasure to tour with him.
Over time, I have noticed by what many artists have told me in interviews, that the media perception of Dave is nothing like that which they have experienced.
Exactly I agree. I can't figure out why that is as I do know what you're saying as I read the stuff about him not being cool too. The first time I met him eight years ago, I was like 'you're fucking kidding me? This is the guy like I was afraid to meet?
' He just came up to me and said, 'Hey, I'm Dave thanks for doing the tour
'. And I was like, 'You are fuckin' kidding me, right?
' He is nothing but the nicest guy around. I don't know why the media perceives him differently. I just don't understand it.
After this tour cycle is over, you're planning to start work on the next Static-X album?
Yes. We haven't actually written anything as yet but I know exactly what we're going to do and we're going to attack full steam ahead. I'm going to first take three or four days off to do some four wheeling and then I'll be heading straight into the studio to start writing. And I hope to have the record out by maybe August or September of next year.
Will you use producer John Travis again?
Yes, John and I will be co-producing the next album just like we did together on the last album.
Since a lot of your songs are heavily focused on guitars and programming does a lot of the material, take form from riffs on the guitars or samples or do they spring from the band just jamming on ideas?
Every album has been different. With the last album, it pretty much started out with drum beats and guitar riffs mainly. Most of our stuff usually comes from doing it that way. I think Machine is the only record where actually every song started with a loop idea, a sample of some noise and then I made some weird loop and built the song from that.
On your most recent record Cannibal you've actually introduced guitar solos into the mix?
That is because Koichi is back in the band. I'm not a shredder and there is no reason for Static-X to put guitar solos in the music unless they're going to be fuckin' awesome! So having Koichi back in the band allows us to do that. And those solos are all him man. I can't play solos, I'm a riff master. I'm a songwriter and I play some tight ass fuckin' riffs. I do have a good pick and hand. But he [points to Koichi] is the shredder.
What sort of approach did you take when it came to the solos?
|"I hope to have the record out by maybe August or September of next year."|
I just listened to the parts many times and then just improvised over and over and then picked out the good parts I wanted to use out of the composition.
Every song was different. On some of the songs, he came in and had a solo completely done. And then on some of the songs he had some ideas and so he and I and John Travis sat in a room and worked on them. On a couple songs he didn't know what to do, so we'd just jam and record everything and pick something out of that. But every song was different.
Koichi, the reason you originally left the band was due to excessive touring, have you finally been able to reconcile that aspect now that you're back in the band?
I have no more problems with the touring now
Things were different back then man. You got to realize we were on the road for two years solid without one day off ever. We would go from one tour and then when that would end, we would drive six hours and jump on some other tour. And because we weren't making any money, we were in a van or some RV or a crappy bus and also no hotel rooms. It was really hard times. I wanted to quit too. So I don't blame him for quitting back then. But I couldn't quit as it was my band. Things are different now, it is all more comfortable and we're all making a little money and we get hotel rooms and a nice bus so it is a lot easier now.
Surprisingly one of your favorite singers is Steve Perry from Journey. It is a total contrast to the type of music and style you're associated with?
Yes he is my absolute favorite singer! I don't listen to much metal music myself really. I enjoy writing and performing and it is fun screaming and banging your head like that but I really like great vocalists. And vocalists like Steve Perry and Chris Cornell who is my second favorite, I really enjoy. I can't sing like that and maybe that is why I like it so much. Steve Perry's voice has this quality to it, it has a little bit of raspy-ness and edge-y to it and it seems effortless. And the melodies he comes up with, are absolutely brilliant.
You've started using ESP guitars now, why the switch from Epiphone to ESP?
ESP is making really great guitars now. I was playing Gibsons and I had my signature model through Epiphone too for awhile and then Shawn Glass who is in Soil, gave me one of his ESP guitars as a gift for helping him find a new singer a couple of years back. He was like, 'here have one of my guitars'. And I loved it so much that I totally switched over to using those. And then I went to ESP and asked them, 'do you want to work with me?' and they said 'yeah' and I haven't looked back. The ESP guitars are so far superior to any other guitars that I've ever played. They're just fuckin' awesome guitars.
ESP is a very good supporter of the band and also because ESP, as Wayne has said, is making really great guitars too.
Wayne, when it comes to live gear, what are you currently using?
I have my signature model ESP guitar fitted with Seymour Duncan Distortion pickups and Dunlop strings. I'm running that in to an Electro-Voice digital wireless system. I have two of those, one for each guitar. And then from there I go into a Boss Noise Suppressor pedal and straight into my amp, which is a Marshall MG-100 HDFX solid state amp.
Why do you choose the solid state over a valve amp?
|"I have no more problems with the touring now"|
Because it is my sound. And that is all I've ever played. I used to use the old Valvestates but they stopped making those or changed them and so I switched over to the MG series. I like it because it is very consistent and it is very tight sounding and the low end is really tight. And so, that there is the Static-X guitar sound, the Marshall solid-state.
And what gear are you using Koichi?
I use ESP guitars with Seymour Duncan Distortion pickups and the same wireless system as Wayne. That goes into a Boss GS-10 effects unit and then into a Hughes & Kettner Switchblade head.
Have you ever considered changing or experimenting with your set-up?
I haven't changed my setup in six years. I'm very happy with it as it does exactly what I want from it. Because I don't play any leads, all I need is my crunchy tight rhythm sound to be consistent and it does what it does. So I don't see any need to change it.
When you're in the studio, what is the modus operandi that Static-X will usually adhere to?
Basically I demo everything first on my sampler with programmed drums and then I build all the programming around that. So basically all the programming stuff like the loops and percussive stuff and keyboards, all of that stuff is already done on my sampler before we go into the studio. Once in the studio, we basically will lay that down first and with a click track and that is the framework for everything right there. Then we just build it up from there, with drums and bass and whatever. But I put everything on my sampler first.
Wayne, you recently announced a new band called Pighammer. Can you tell us what we can expect from that?
It is going to be a side project and I'm going to write with a whole bunch of different people and it is going to be heavy as fuck. And it will not have any boundaries as I'm not going to worry about who is going to play it or if we're going to play it live. I am just going to do it for fun. It is going to be very extreme and I'll be working with as many different people as I can. And I'll be doing all the vocals on it too. But beyond that, I'm going to try and get a bunch of different cool people. I'm going to be writing with John 5, we've talking about working with Al Jourgensen too and Tony Campos is also going to help me out. Whoever wants to help out, I'd love for them to so. I'm even talking about working with Tommy Victor from Prong. I want to write some music with these people but then make it my own thing too. But Static-X is really on a roll right now and we've had a fantastic year thus far as things have been going up and up. It is full steam ahead for us. The Pighammer thing will happen when I have time. At the moment though, Static-X will remain my main priority.
2007 Joe Matera
|Listen to Wayne Static and Koichi Fukuda (photo) greeting Ultimate-Guitar.com at this location.