Queens, New York-based quintet Emmure are gearing up (pun intended) for the April 15th release of their seventh studio album, Eternal Enemies. Currently touring all across the U.S. in support of this fine new slab of deathcore-styled metal, we manged to snag some time with Guitarist Mike Mullholland and lean more about his Fractal Axe-Fx 2 guitar processor and how it was used in this new recording.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Mullholland: Over the past couple of years we’ve been phasing out our tube amps and giant rack setups and transitioning over to the Fractal Axe-Fx 2 for all of our live tones and effects. It’s been a complete game changer.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Mullholland: I think the most important aspect for us, aside from achieving truly awesome tones, is the ability to travel with the same setup everywhere in the world with complete consistency, night after night. Before we made the switch over to the Fractals, we’d end up starting a tour in Europe or Australia or wherever and would have to rent four different heads in the hopes that two of them would sound good enough to use on stage. Shot tubes and blown fuses are commonplace with rental gear that gets rocked on all year, so now all of that is a thing of the past.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Mullholland: We used it extensively in both the demo and recording stages for Eternal Enemies, in conjunction with Line 6 POD farm.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Mullholland: Well we’ve actually got some pretty wild signal routing going on with both of the guitar rigs at the moment. Each of us has one amp model (ENGL) going to two simulated cabinets each going to front of house, with a separate amp model (Bogne), bypassing the cab modeling and going straight into a Matrix 1000-watt power amp and Omega 4×12. This gives us tons of control over our sound on stage, and we can make adjustments that won’t affect our tones that go out to our front of house guy, Nate. Mark keeps his bass set-up pretty simple with a SansAmp & Fender Bassman 300. It’s beastly.
What are the major pros and cons?
Mullholland: The only downside to having one unit controlling everything is of course, if it fails, we’re screwed.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Mullholland: We’ve got back-ups for almost everything. In case things get really gnarly, we have a backup pedal board with all of the effects we need to get through the set through whatever backup amps we have on hand (usually 6505s).
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Mullholland: I never like to fully commit to anything, but until something comes along that can surpass the convenience and sonic capabilities of the axe-fx’s, we’re going to stick with them.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Mullholland: Ah man, we’ve had it all… from starting the wrong songs, entire rigs failing, click tracks going to front of house, botched effects… The biggest gear fail lately wasn’t on our behalf, for once. We were headlining a sold out show in Moscow, Russia last summer and the room was completely packed to the brim with just over a thousand people sweating and freaking out. Little did we know, the electricity in the venue hadn’t been grounded properly and during the first song, our vocalist Frank took a massive shock from the mic and went down hard, completely unconscious. We had to end up canceling the set after half of a song to assess the situation and make sure Frank was okay. My Axe-fx 2 also suffered some fried outputs, but that was the last of our concerns at the time. Luckily, he ended up alright and we’re headed back to Moscow this summer (a year later) to make it up!
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Mullholland: We get an outstanding amount of support from Ibanez, Fractal Audio, Omega Enclosures, Matrix Power Amplification and Ernie Ball strings so check them out if you haven’t already. Thanks so much for the interview.
Check out the song “Nemesis”