UK-based sludge/hardcore band Allfather recently released their new album Bless the Earth with Fire to rave reviews. The EP, which showcases their blend of sludge-infused hardcore has won them a ton of new fans and proven that they are certainly a group to watch in the coming years. Allfather’s guitarist, Alan Cordner, recently took time out of his busy schedule to talk to us about his gear and the band’s sound. Read the interview and stream he new release below (and buy it Right Here)!
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Cordner: I have a really beefy setup on my old SG, The Wife. I’ve gone from setup to setup over the years, but I’ve finally found what sits nice in it and what brings a smile to my face. Ultimately it’s a combo of the tampered circuitry of my amp crossed with the BKP Warpig in the bridge. But I’m going with those pickups. It happened by accident but now I wouldn’t change it. I didn’t mean to get a Warpig, I was going try something else but I found a guy that had a dodgy one for sale, I got it fixed and put it in. I don’t know why I didn’t do it sooner! That’s it. Add the heaviest set of strings I can get on it and there you have it.
What about it makes it so important to you?
Cordner: Because the band (Allfather) have a diverse sound I couldn’t go for one specific classic sound like scooped, or stoner, or crunch or whatever. We hit heavy in the bottom end side of riffs but there’s some serious down-picking, and I play lead. So I had to find something that had “chug” yet shone through. I focused on what I love in the bands I grew up listening to and went from there. Most Doom/Sludge acts have an Orange or a Green behind them with the tone rolled back on their guitars and push the low frequencies etc. I just went for what makes me happy and applied it to our songs, the Doomy parts, the thrashy parts, the stoner parts, they all got the same treatment: aggression.
I enjoy an abrasive yet thick bottom end sound, with highs that sing for those lead parts. The Warpig really helps me dial in that Richter scale defying bottom end and aggression without having to get into Active territory. I have a beautiful ESP Ecplise with Blackouts installed (insanely good pickups) I just don’t think they work in a live environment if you’re not mic’ing the amp, which often happens. There’s too much heading to the front end of the amp and unwanted feedback is a huge problem unless you want to suck the life out of the tone with a gate and frankly, fuck that. We’re not Fear Factory; we groove as well as punch. We’re like a ballerina with knives for shoes.
How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Cordner: I brought it along to Son of Sun, plugged it in, dialled it and fucking smoked it.
How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Cordner: Use it. As simple as that. Make it happen in the studio, make it happen live. We’re not a pop band. I think our album sounds like us, shitloads of feedback, chug, abrasion and meat.
What are the major pros and cons?
Cordner: Pros: it’s a great guitar and I know every inch of it. I could play it blindfolded and would know it’s mine. Cons: because I’m precious of it I’ve never let anyone touch it. So there’s a world of shoddy soldering and mistakes all over it. I should get it looked at one day.
Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Cordner: I’ve just purchased a backup. I’m retiring The Wife to just a handful of select shows every now and then and then probably the next album. I bought an ESP Phoenix and got in contact with Zombie Dust Pickups, a newish bespoke outfit. I gave Willie the spec of what I wanted and together we came up with a plan. He made me a set I called the Blood Eagle. Similar spec to the Warpig but a bit more ballsy and add a HSP90 in the neck. The thick mahogany with the monster pickup setup is fucking killer. Willie’s done a great job, so that’ll be the mainstay of my live rig now; give the old girl a break.
Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Cordner: I spent a long time looking into technical fancy shit, multiple complicated loops, bits of different pedals to make one sound. At some point I just thought fuck it. What do I really want? Why am I trying all this pretentious self-indulgent crap when all I really want is feel those speakers tremble and THAT abrasion. You can’t do that while you’re tap-dancing on stage with FX. I leave that to the Death Metal guys.
Check out the album Bless the Earth With Fire