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Geared Up: French Garage-Punks JOHNNY MAFIA Discuss the Instruments They Use to Create Their Rock Ruckus

After recently completing their first-ever North American tour supporting their sophomore album Princes de l’Amour, out via Dirty Water Records, we spoke to France’s Johnny Mafia about their favourite gear.



French garage-punk band Johnny Mafia just released their sophomore album Princes de l’Amour, through Dirty Water Records. Working alongside producer Jim Diamond, the recording’s eleven songs are full of reverb-heavy guitars, a high octane and grungy low end all brought to you with the attitude of snotty, classic punk rock music.

The group hails from Sens, France, better known for its specialization in wheat and cereal production than punk-infused rock n’ roll. Taking the inspiration from The Ramones, T. Rex and The Clash, Johnny Mafia are intent on bringing that explosive sonic attack and fun, young energy of those bands in their heyday. After recently completing their first ever North American tour, we spoke to the band to find out more about what their favourite gear to use is in their music making.

The band’s new album Princes de l’Amour was released on November 9th, 2018.

What one piece of gear do you use to obtain your signature sound?
Johnny Mafia: For guitar, we use the Fender Mustang 1969 with Amplifier, the Fender Twin Reverb with Preamp and the Fender Greta with pedals (boss chorus and fuzz). We also use the Squier JazzMaster with Amplifier Musicman 212 with pedals (boss super chorus with electro-harmonix, with holy grail and fuzz). For drum set, the Natal (Drum 22″/Tom basse/Snare Ludwig) with Cymbal Ride K and Charley Sabian. And for bass guitar, the Fender Precision with Amplifier Ampeg 410/Bass head SVT Pro 6 and pedal (overdrive).

What about it makes it so important to you?
Johnny Mafia: They’re important to obtain our sound’s color, our signature sound, the power of Johnny Mafia!

How was this gear used during the recording of your latest album?
Johnny Mafia: We used this backline along with other instruments (Snare Ludwig LM400 of 1969 with pedals made and brought by Jim Diamond.)

How do you recreate your album (guitar/vocal/bass) tones in your live set?
Johnny Mafia: We play the same instruments with effects on the three voices in live by our sound engineer, like reverb and slapback on a few moments.

Exclusive pics of the band’s gear? Yes please!

Do you have a backup for this gear? If so, what?
Johnny Mafia: We have one Fender Twin amplifier in spare with two guitars (Danelectro Vintage and Squier JazzMaster) and of course, picks and drum wands in spare.

Give us your best “gear goes wrong” story.
Johnny Mafia: In 2015, for our first gig in Germany, we didn’t have the power adapters between France and Germany, and Theo (guitarist/main vocals) had to plug directly into the mix table with an amplifier simulator.

Any final thoughts or comments on the gear?
Johnny Mafia: We hope to have shared our passion for the backline with you and for the future, we’d like to talk about you of the catering in venues, our second passion!

It’s “Crystal Clear” why you should watch this fun new video from Johnny Mafia.

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