Lies For The Liars
is The Used's third major label outing and sees the band forging a more heavier sound. With the new album, the band is hoping to break away from their screamo
roots and any other labelling imposed by critics.
Could this be their commercial crossover
album? The band is not fussed either way. For them, the love of making records and performing is what matters and is what has garnered them their ever burgeoning fan base and platinum sales of their first two albums.
During the band's recent tour of Australia - a country where the band are so popular that they can sell out shows in minutes - Joe Matera
sat down with The Used's six string sonic master, Quinn Allman
for this interview for Ultimate-Guitar.
Ultimate Guitar: The most noticeable difference heard on Lies For The Liars is that it is a heavier sounding record?
Yeah I wanted to have more air in the sound and have more clarity. I also didn't really over stack my guitar as far as I used to, I just used more stereo tracking on guitars. The overall bigger sound is due to the riffs and the drums.
Speaking of drums, Dan Whitesides recently came onboard replacing original The Used drummer Branden Steineckert. What qualities has Dan brought to the band?
Dan is amazing. I mean I could play the most wrought sounding thing on the guitar and Dan will be able to keep something going underneath it. And as a person he keeps us all together. We all share so much in common together just in our personalities and he helps bring it all out. We're such amazing friends and I've known him for five years and because of that, he has got his head wrapped around where I start and finish and get frustrated as far as writing goes. And he's really into the song writing too, you know with parts and different things and is all for trying this and that. So he's really nice to work with.
Dan doesn't play on the album though?
That is correct. Dean Butterworth [from Good Charlotte] played on the album but all the tracks were basically Dan's parts. Everything was demoed with Dan as is. But in the studio we weren't sure with having Dan in the band and actually going in and recording with him. Yet he basically told us that because he'd never done this sort of thing before in a studio, he didn't want to fuck it up. So we were cool with that and got Dean to come in.
Bert McCracken recently stated that The Used "no longer wanted to be a part of the scene that was eating them alive right now, screamo
It's really just looking at what we've doneWe are artists that can paint something in half an hour then come back and have a look at it and tear it up. We are saying this is something we're really not into now. There is so more to what we're really trying to say and in what we're trying to put out there that is so not aggressive and sensitive at the same time, it is just what it is.
On Lies For The Liars you seem to have given those aggressive and sensitive elements a healthy balance. I would say the album is The Used's crossover record. Would you agree with my sentiment?
|"We are artists that can paint something in half an hour then come back and have a look at it and tear it up."|
Absolutely! And I don't think it's contemporary or anything like that word or whatever but it is definitely pushy and has got an edge. It is something that has definitely allowed us to grow within our signature sound. And thought it is now faceted and catered to differently, it's really themed into different ideas and sound in general. Like there are ballads and there is some destructive shit all within these bigger sounds. And all of it is cool.
You reportedly had 40 songs written for the album and recorded 20 during the sessions. Because of the overabundance of material, you're planning on releasing a further two EPs later this year.
And more! It is not formulized in exactly as to what we're going to do and how. But for starters with the artwork, with the Chadam guy, there is going to be a 52 page story that Alex [Pardee] has written up that has the mythology behind the character and his world. Some of the other ideas are a book, an illustrated book, where the sketches are coming to life and a short film with four songs. We're definitely talking of doing two EPs, but we're not sure what we're going to do. But it could be this type of thing where we could release it song by song on I-Tunes or something similar.
Why didn't you just make Lies For The Liars are double album instead?
We just didn't want to as we wanted to hold on to the other songs for later use.
When it came to guitar and amps what did you use for the album?
On the album, 20% of the time I used a Gold Top with P-90s while everything else was done on my SG, which is like the cheapest SG that Gibson makes and without the finish on it and of which I have fitted an Alnico 5 pick-up in the bridge to. The guitars all went through a Soldano and an Orange head via a Marshall cab that has G12H Celestions and Vintage 30s in it. My main thing though is really the Orange head. For a lot of the stuff I turn it all the way up and do lots of single string playing and because there is so much fuzz on it, it really sounds like a big chord or something. My secret weapon though is a Line 6 DL-4 that has the loop sampler thing on it. I do a lot of stuff with that, like just play something in half time and kick it off in half time so it's actually in double time and then I'll record it in and lock it up with all kinds of weird shit behind.
Do you take the Orange with you out on the road?
Yes, I only play the Orange on the road. I was playing a Marshall at one stage butthe Orange is amazing. I somehow managed to get this Orange Rockerverb 30 protoytpe that has like a large transformer in it and it is just amazing.
What about other effect pedals?
Live, I have that DL-4 and a Boss PS-3 Pitch Shifter, I also have a Super Shifter too which is cool and weird but that is for mostly turning knobs and making noises. I also have like this Ibanez pink Delay pedal that I'll squeeze up and down and mess with it together with my Pitch Shifter so I can get all this weird shit kind of happening.
You mentioned earlier that there were less stacked guitars on this album?
|"Whether 'Taste of Chaos' is still around in future or not, I know that we will always be touring."|
Yes, everything got mixed down to the very minimum. It got balanced down to being really small like not more than four guitar tracks on almost everything. A lot of the songs I tracked with an acoustic guitar behind it as well. I used an old Harmony and an old Martin acoustic which both sounded amazing. I also recorded some stuff partly in a shower too like with Paralyzed. The mikes on that track for example were an AKG C12 which sounded amazing and some capsule mike which I don't know the name of.
What does working with long time producer John Feldmann bring to the recording process?
Everything really. He is just really good with how he approaches everything in the recording sessions as it's normally really done at a fast pace. He wakes up before everybody else, he goes to bed later than everybody else and his work ethic is just crazy. Regardless of his work ethic, he always seems to have time for his family too. He is very specific too and when you kind of throw an idea to him, he will never be like 'play this or play that
'. On the production side of things, I've basically been hands on with him on all of it. And it is at the stage now where you can look each other in the eye and know straight away whether something is to work or isn't going to work.
Any plans to do another cover song like you did with the Queen cover, Under Pressure?
Nomaybe, but I really doubt it.
You're headlining the Taste of Chaos tour again this year. Do you think this festival may run its course soon? I mean with the fast changing pace of the music industry in general do you think the idea behind the festival will loose its appeal with music fans?
I want to think so but I'm kind of a sceptic. I mean, I'm right there with everything that is happening with our label and all. And seeing the way that I predicted for a long time that, 'dude this batch of other stuff going on the internet should be purely independent and purely be where management should be at. Fuck the labels as they're all going down the hole
'. And all these labels have all just gone gone gone. And all these people are now going, 'oh My Space isn't gay it is actually really good
'. Bands are booking tours and selling merch and selling their tracks and all this stuff because of My Space. So now it is like, 'I told you so. I also think that consumerism is based off on so much of our lifestyles that it is kind of the scary part to the whole 'Taste of Chaos' thing. 'Taste Of Chaos' has been brought up through this screamo-emo sort of world wind and when that kind of ceases to exist it seems it will be more like 'The Used Taste of Chaos' rather than a 'Taste of Chaos' tour. But I do think whether 'Taste of Chaos' is still around in future or not, I know that we will always be touring.
2007 Joe Matera