Shai Hulud guitarist Matthew Fox has been busy touring in support of the band’s latest album, Misanthropy Pure. Recently I hung out with him in Oshawa, Ontario picking his brain about the Ibanez Tube Screamer. Read on to find out why Matt has depended on his Tube Screamer for about 10 years.

What one piece of equipment do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Matt: It’s funny, if anything it’s not my signature sound. It would be more Unearth’s signature sound cause a few years ago when I was talking to their guitar player Ken Susi about different sounds he said: “Do you want to sound great? Get yourself a Marshall JCM 2000 and an Ibanez Tube Screamer.” Now of coarse these days there are amps that sound just as good if not better than that, but when he introduced me to that combo I went out and tried it immediately and fell in love.

The Marshall JCM 2000 is a great amp that sounds good on its own, but once you throw that Ibanez Tube Screamer on there it really screams the tubes or whatever the hell it does; it works! It takes a decent sounding amp and makes it sound monstrous; thick and heavy. So again I can’t take credit for signature sound, if anything it’s Ken Susi from Unearth’s idea that he gave to me which I’ve been using for about 10 years now.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Matt: Like I said the Marshall amp sounds great by itself, I’ve always been a fan of Marshalls as they have a likeable tone. But it may lack what some would call ‘balls’ and as soon as you put the Tube Screamer in conjunction, it’s got big balls. What’s that song… “Balls To The Wall”, that’s exactly what it is, your balls are to the walls when you use the Tube Screamer. Without the Tube Screamer it’s a modest sounding amp. But the Tube Screamer really gives it the bite and the balls that I think any heavy band is looking for.

What are the major pros and cons?
Matt: The pros I have discussed. The cons are depending on the size of the room and how close/small the stage is. I use the tube screamer where I like to have it set so that if I play and the stage is too small and I’m really close to my amp, the feedback is immense and sometime uncontrollable. So I like where I have my tube screamer set, but I need an average size stage. Aside from that maybe not keeping up with the battery which I should are the only cons that I found.

How long have you used this piece of equipment and would you ever change it?
Matt: I’ve used it as I said before about 10 years I think. Can’t believe it’s been that long that Ken told me about it. And would I ever change it? I don’t think so. I mean, I’ve heard the Peavey 6505 have a lot of bite and balls so I don’t know if the Tube Screamer is necessary, but if we ever move to a 6506, I would definitely have the Tube Screamer handy just in case. It really have been an invaluable tool for our live shows over the past 10 years.

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Matt: It’s got a nice green color, it’s pretty to look at. Any final thoughts on it? I just love the damn thing, it makes a boy sound like a man. Gives me those balls that after 38 years of living I still have never achieved as a human being; but at least my sound has balls thanks to the Tube Screamer!

Check out the song “Misanthropy Pure” here.