Smile And Burn are a Berlin, Germany-based Punk Rock quintet who release their latest album, Action Action, on October 3, 2014. The 12-song effort is loaded with both catchy pop-punk as well as grittier, more aggressive punk/rock moments. We love learning about a group’s sound and as such we chatted with Smile And Burn’s bassist, Chris Brauer, who told us about his Dunlop MXR M80 Bass d.i.+ pedal.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Brauer: Well, signature sound is a bit of an exaggeration. Sound-wise I do depend on my MXR M80 Bass D.I.+ though.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Brauer: It’s got a variety of functions. I hardly ever use the D.I. option but the EQ is the best I’ve ever seen. Bass sound has got to be gritty and this little preamp makes it more aggressive and puts the cherry on the cake of my Orange Bass Terror.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Brauer: I literally used it on every single song with just slight changes in the EQ. Bass sound has to be one of the pillars of an album, so it’s better not to experiment too much on it.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Brauer: The MXR is insanely flexible and pretty robust, so it can be used on a stage of any size. To make the sound as balanced as it is on the album, and to eliminate nasty noise that comes from the gain, I use a Boss limiter as well as a noise suppressor.
What are the major pros and cons?
Brauer: Pros. It sounds brilliant! Cons. None!
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Brauer: Absolutely not. If this breaks, we’re fucked.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Brauer: I’ve used it for five years now and to be honest it’s without any alternative. I don’t like the sound of a Sans Amp too much. Whenever I want to add new variations in sound I try and work around it.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Brauer: There’s loads. Most of the time it’s my fault, but at some point all the cables and knobs are just too demanding when everything’s in a rush on stage. We recently got an all wireless system for our guitars. Sound check went fine but as soon as the show started it was all gone. Apart from this I’ve been through a lot: leaving my amp on standby during a show, leaving the tuner on and so on. That’s why I have all my gear tagged with tiny hints.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Brauer: Gear is always best, when it can be used both on stage and in the studio. When it comes with too many options it’s useless because as soon as something goes wrong on stage you’ll never get your personal sound back.
Check out the song “Action Action” here.