Have you checked out the “These Aren’t Mirages” video from Californian prog metal outfit Artificial Language yet? No? Do it! (Head below.) The single is from the band’s debut offering, April’s The Observer, which boasts a sound reminiscent of acts the likes of Haken, Human Abstract and Leprous. Forever ones to want to know more about artists, their gear, and how they create their sound, we connected with guitarists Charlie Robbins and Victor Corral to talk tech.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Charlie Robbins: Ernie Ball Music Man guitars are our go-to instruments. We’ve been playing them for years and love everything about them.

What about it makes it so important to you?
Robbins: The feel is 80% of what makes a guitar for us. It has to feel like it’s a part of you.

How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Robbins: Both Victor and Charlie tracked all of the guitar parts on Musician guitars, minus the classical guitar section on “Fortune Teller”. Vic Corral played his acoustic Yamaha on the last part of that song. We wanted to give it an authentic Latin feel and we felt that was a fun way to do it.

How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Robbins: Our Axe-Fx II is very important for maintaining the same sound you create in the studio. It’s not always perfect because live settings always change. What’s cool about the Axe-Fx is it’s very flexible. You can edit as you go and save your presets.

What are the major pros and cons?
Robbins: Pros are portability, and consistency. Cons are it’s still not a real amp. There’s something about having a real amp that adds character. Not just in sound, but you can really have a connection with an amp. It’s a lot harder to do that with a processor. With that being said, we are still very much attached to this thing haha.

Do you have a backup for this gear, if so, what?
Robbins: We have backup Peavy heads. JSX and 6505+


How long have you had it, how do you use it, would you ever change it?
Robbins: We’ve had the Axe-Fx II for about 3 years now. We don’t plan on changing it just yet, but there will eventually be something that will sway our opinions at some point. Whether it’s a newer more improved version of the Axe-Fx or something completely different. We’re always open to new ideas and change.

Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Victor Corral: We’re playing a show in our hometown and that day we decided to start our set with a Dream Theater cover for fun. We got about a minute in and we started seeing smoke pour out on the left side of the stage. We turned and looked and the p/a monitor on that side head burst into flames. They had to clear out the venue and make sure everything was secure. After 30 minutes someone dropped off another p/a monitor and we finished our set.

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Corral: Ernie Ball Music Man is the way to go!

Check out the video for the song “These Aren’t Mirages”

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