Raleigh, NC melodic death metal fivesome, Necrocosm, released their 10-track debut album, Damnation Doctrine, on September 4, 2015 and it is awesome! Admittedly, we’re pretty new to the group and their music so we emailed with bassist Matt Brocking who in turn has helped us to get to know the band’s sound.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Brocking: That would have to be my acrylic bass that I have been putting together for the past few years. I’m always tweaking it to give it a better sound. I recently replaced my bridge EMG pickup with a Chrome MEC to give it a better crisp sound, as well as reversed the phasing of my neck EMG JX pickup to give it some added booming low end. Having 2 completely different pickups, as well as an acrylic body, gives me a tone that cannot be replicated.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Brocking: Well it’s hard to choose just one thing. I have always wanted an acrylic body bass ever since I started playing back in ’05. I started doing research on them about 3 years ago, and every article I ever read was saying to stay away from acrylic bodies, as they have poor tonal qualities and are just for show. Well 2 years later I believe I have one of the best-sounding 4 string basses out there, AND it’s an acrylic. Haha!
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Brocking: So I recorded the Necrocosm debut album, Damnation Doctrine, with Jamie King, and this bass could not have performed more perfectly. I was able to record most parts in 1 take with how easy it is to play, and how comfortable I have gotten with it over the past few years. Even got some compliments from the man himself, which absolutely made my day.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Brocking: For a while I used a pedalboard to try to get me my best sound, but after I replaced my bridge pickup with the MEC, I found the pedals actually masked the natural tone the pickups gave. So everything on the album was recorded with no effects, and I do the same thing live. All you’re hearing is my acrylic bass, EMG/MEC active pickup combination, an Orange half stack, and me playing everything the best I can.
What are the major pros and cons?
Brocking: Well the biggest pro is that it is a completely unique instrument that is everything I have dreamed of starting 10 years ago. It looks amazing, and sounds even better! I have found no cons with this bass at all. If I do find one, I just tweak it a bit until I like it. Right now I couldn’t be happier with it. One thing everyone tries to complain about is the weight of acrylic instruments, but my bass only weighs about 8 or 9 pounds at most.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Brocking: I don’t actually. The only problem I could see with this bass is breaking a string on stage, but even then, with the help of a Kahler bridge and Sperzel locking tuners, I can change a broken string and have it in tune in about 30 seconds and be ready to play again. Might not be the smartest thing, but until I make another one of these, it will have to do.
How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Brocking: I have had this bass for 2 years, and it constantly changes. (Usually very small tweaks.) But as far as switching to another brand of basses, It would have to blow me away to give up on this.
Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Brocking: I’m lucky enough to have never suffered a “gear goes wrong” situation. This bass is rock solid and easy to maintain.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Brocking: One thing I always try to tell people is to make something your own. I have owned a good amount of basses over the years and I can honestly say nothing gives me more gratification then having a killer bass and knowing I am the reason for it sounding the way it does. So make things unique to you and don’t settle.
Check out a “Plains of Inexistence” bass playthrough here.