In the late 90s Topon Das started up one of the craziest Canadian bands of all time, Fuck The Facts. He has also opened up his own studio, Apartment 2 Recordings, where he’s recorded bands such as The Great Sabatini, Deamon, Alaskan, Fuck The Facts and other killer projects. Guitarist Topon gave PureGrainAudio some time to talk about the Peavey 5150 Amp Head he lugs around for live shows, and the Garnet Pro-200 Amp Head that he uses in the studio.
What one piece of equipment do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Topon: For the past 7 years I’ve been using a 5150 live. I like it enough that I bought a 2nd one, just so I would have a back up on the road. So I actually own one of the block letters and one of the signature series. In the studio one of my main go-to amps is a Garnet Pro-200 “super”, I bought it about 2 or 3 years ago. It’s the only amp I used on the Unnamed EP, and on Die Miserable and Misery it’s a combination of the 5150 and the Garnet. I also pull out the Garnet regularly with other bands I record.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Topon: Mainly, it’s what I’ve been using for so many years and I’m used to it. When I first bought the 5150, I didn’t really like it, actually I hated my main guitar when I first bought it as well. But I paid for it, didn’t have the time or money to shop around for anything else, so I made myself get used to it. Before I used a Digitech 2101 with a power amp, so the 5150 this was my first tube amp I ever owned. It’s a really weird change to make when you don’t really know much about gear to begin with. I like the Garnet because it’s so different and really not a “metal” head. I can get some really nice and warm tones out of it with just enough grit. I really love mixing the 2 amps together and if it was something that was possible for us to do live, I would definitely bring it along. But our van (and stage set-up) is already packed to the max.
What are the major pros and cons?
Topon: I find the 5150 to be a very reliable and durable amp. I’ve very rarely had any problems with mine, and I’ve been trucking them around without a road case and knocking them into everything for years now. For my taste it’s a great-sounding head for metal, almost every time I see someone playing one live, it sounds good. The head is also pretty much dummy proof because it’s just so simple, and for someone like me, that helps a lot. I’m sure it’s not the best head out there, but for the price and reliability, it’s been doing me just fine. I probably wouldn’t want to be bringing the Garnet head around without some sort of case for it. It’s a bit fragile, which is why it pretty much just stays at home or in the studio. It would be cool if I could get a little bit more gain and volume out of the actual head, but it’s not really made for that, so I’m fine with just throwing a tube screamer in front of it when I need to.
Would you ever change it?
Topon: I would definitely like to get more amps and try out different stuff, and I’m sure I would find a lot of other amps that I would enjoy. But for the moment I’m fine with what I got. I live a pretty lean lifestyle. I work as little as I can, so I don’t have a lot of extra money. I rather have the time to play music and enjoy time with my family then be working all the time to get nice things that I don’t have the time to enjoy. So I can’t say that I’ll never change it, but for now it’s what I got and I’m happy with it.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Topon: Not this gear specifically, but gear in general. I’ve seen many bands play through gear that is not the greatest and totally destroy, and other bands playing through really expensive gear and sound like crap. It all comes down to getting the best out of what you have to work with. An expensive piece of gear won’t make a crappy song any better. For me, the focus is always on working with what I have, live and in the studio. Once you’ve mastered that “crap” piece of gear and really got the most out of it, you’ll be able to get the most out of that sweet new piece of gear you’ve had your eye on. Gear is cool, but the music is what really matters.
Check out the song: “Census Blank”