I recently had the opportunity to speak with Eric Hersemann, guitarist and bassist for the death metal band Gigan. These guys play an extremely technical at times avant-garde type of death metal that really packs a punch. Here’s what Hersemann had to say about the gear he uses to obtain his signature sound.
What one piece if gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Eric: It is a combination of technique and equipment, but I would have to say my ENGL Powerball 100wt amp defines my personal guitar tone. I also use about twenty various pedals (Morley endorsement) and a Theremin, live. I am also endorsed by BC Rich (for seven years now) and use their custom instruments. Right now my main axe is a custom lefty Virgo. It is 24 fret neck through and GIGAN green. Passive pick-ups, always.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Eric: ENGL is the only amp I have ever played where I can get my desired tone with a low gain setting and no distortion pedal. Literally plug in and play. I prefer clarity to the buzz-saw tone I have had to use in the past. The Theremin and pedals are integral to my signature GIGAN sound. I use the guitar, pedals and Theremin sometimes simultaneously to achieve the sounds I am looking for.
What are the major pros and cons?
Eric: The pros I mentioned above. The con with the amp is cost. The only way I was able to afford the damn thing was cuz I had an endorsement at the time. It still cost over a thousand bucks! Also, it needs re-tubing once every couple of years or so… I never re-tubed my Marshalls. The cons of the pedals are that if one craps out-they all do. It can be quite nerve racking to be trying to fix two separate pedal boards and pedals when 500 impatient people are watching! The con of a Theremin is they are fickle instruments… sometimes it performs well-sometimes not. Either way, it’s fun!
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever chance it?
Eric: I have had the ENGL for six years or so. It is my main amp and I never go without it if I can! I have been playing with a ridiculous amount of pedals for several years now-before that I was quite basic: amp, tuner, distortion, and wah-pedal. I adopted the Theremin idea many years ago but implemented it when I started GIGAN.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Eric: Yes! Gear is important and so are endorsements and stuff, but technique, skill and live experience are what makes great players! Practice! Guitar Center is full of people with all the best gear in the world, but they use it to badly play cover songs or jam in their living room. Practice and dedication will get you to your goals, not a specific amp pedal or whatnot! Strive to find your own voice and try to learn from the mistakes of others. Stay home and practice, then go to band rehearsal and practice, then go home and practice, then the next day blow off your girlfriend/boyfriend and practice! Get what I am saying? Practice!
Check out the song: “Still Image Symphony”