The English metal trio known as Red Seas Fire are a group (comprised of Robin Adams, Pete Graves and Jake Fogarty) which are slowly but surely making a name for themselves. With simple yet potent music featuring heavy riffs and whopping melodies, the band is bringing aboard new fans one at a time. Guitarist Pete Graves recently took some time to answer our gear review questions and offer us insight into some of his most cherished gear.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Graves: All of my Mayones guitars really, I’ve had a lot of experience over the years of playing on many high end guitars from a multitude of well respected luthiers and guitar companies, but the first time I played on a Mayones guitar I just felt the creativity starting to flow. All of the Mayos I have owned since are the same, they seem to coax these riffs out of my fingers that form the basis of the Red Seas Fire sound. I suppose if I had to pick one of them in particular it would be my custom Legend model 6 string.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Graves: It’s a ridiculously versatile guitar, and looks wise it’s pretty one of a kind, mostly because largely guitarists of the metal genre tend to be into pretty standard looking guitars as far as colour schemes go. Mayones do this great process of painting the grain of an ash top a different colour to the flat top of the wood. It’s a process which tends to be dubbed the “Gothic” finish and I think it’s a pretty flamboyant look as it is, so I decided to go all out in my customisation and asked for something I hadn’t seen before, and given just how garish and un-gothic it was I decided to dub the guitar “The Antigoth Legend”.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Graves: The Legend was used on the entirety of two songs from Confrontation, the all out tech-metal type song “The Gold Room” and the much more serene final track, “Compass”, and it was also used to track any cleans for the other songs also. The guitar is loaded with Bare Knuckle Pickups, a Black Hawk humbucker in the bridge and Sinner singlecoils in the middle and neck positions, when the pickup selector is set to blend the middle and neck pickups, even with a completely unprocessed signal, it’s my favourite clean tone of all time. The other guitar used was a 7 string Setius model, again by Mayones, loaded with a pair of Black Hawk humbuckers.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Graves: Live I use an Axe FX Ultra which is run without cabinet modelling through a Matrix GT1000FX solid state power amp, which is in turn run into my custom 6×12 speaker cabinet by Zilla Cabs.
What are the major pros and cons?
Graves: The rig makes the guitars sound exactly as I want them to; terrifyingly powerful when they need to be, delicate and pretty when they need to be, and on top of that the 6×12 cab matches the colour scheme of the guitar so it looks pretty darn cool onstage too! The obvious con here is that a 6×12 is incredibly heavy, although thankfully Paul at Zilla Cabs installed some wheels on the bottom back edge of the cab so that along a level plane it’s easy as pie to transport. It’s just a bummer that so many venues are either up or downstairs from loading bays!
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Graves: I have some backup guitars and a couple of extra speaker cabs should any of those cause me issues, but really everything I own is a total workhorse. The Mayones guitars in particular are built like tanks and as a result need servicing and setting up incredibly rarely in comparison to other guitars I have owned or experienced.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Graves: I’m just so happy to be using guitars and gear that fits me and my playing so well, by companies who aren’t afraid to indulge my silly requests. Check out the companies who manufacture the most important elements in my setup: www.mayones.com, bareknucklepickups.co.uk and www.zillacabs.com.
Check out the album ‘Red Seas Fire’