Hot off the release of their December-released single “Total Recall,” Orlando’s Iron Will have entered 2021 on a high. The song is a worthy follow up to their October released “Public Enemy,” with both tracks highlighting the band’s fondness of punk rock-inspired fire and intensity. The trio is confidently moving forward off of the momentum created by the release of their 2019 debut EP Secrets, which introduced the band as a radio-friendly outfit that would be right at home within anyone’s new music playlist.
Things have moved at a fast pace for Iron Will, with singer and guitarist William Walsh first forming the group in 2019. Walsh, along with bassist Jeff Daughtridge, and drummer Jamie Pannucci, have attracted national attention for their arena-ready brand of modern rock, inspired by bands like Stone Temple Pilots, 30 Seconds to Mars, and Circa Survive. The guys have garnered radio play from over 100 stations nationwide, and won the IndieCon 2019 Next Big Thing Award.
With their revved up, aggressive brand of rock defined by beautiful musicianship, we decided to catch up with Iron Will bassist Jeff Daughtridge to discuss his favourite gear, most notably his Tech 21 SansAmp RBI.
One piece of gear to obtain your signature sound?
Jeff Daughtridge: “This would be the Tech 21 SansAmp RBI.”
What about it makes it so important to you?
“It’s just tone wise exactly what I want… It’s in the middle between clean and distorted, a great ‘clanky grindy’ sound that cuts the way I want it to but also sits in the mix the way I like as well.”
How was the Tech 21 used in your recording and in which parts?
“Our producer, Logan Clough, prefers to go DI for our recording process. We used a plug-in and tried to model my sounds as close to it as possible and re-amped where needed. Now the producer is using my tone for a bunch of his other projects; he named it ‘Jeff’s Iron Will tone!’”
How do you recreate your live tone?
“A Sterling Ray 34, SansAmp RBI, plugged into a line six low down 750 watt with the built-in compressor dialed at about 3/4, and that is plugged into an Ampeg HLF 410. This is my main signal path and is used for 80 percent of our live sound. For extra dirt I use a Dark Glass B3K, an Electro Harmonix Mel 9 for background ambience and organ sounds that I usually run a looper with and play over top of, and I also use a line six M9 for all other effects like chorus reverb delay and everything you can think of depending on what I’m doing. My bass is a four string; I use a set of DR 5 string bass strings where I use strings 5, 3, 2, and 1.
Using that extra thick low string helps with tuning stability and the overall thud of my sound. I swear by cleaning my strings by either soaking them in denatured alcohol or snapping them clean while detuned, new sounding strings are a game changer to your sound!”
What are the major pros and cons?
“Pros: I can get any sound I want in a relatively simple manner… I use a Joyo switcher so any combination I want is one button press away. Cons: As a bass player I could definitely simplify and run one cable. Because I run a slightly complicated rig, sometimes there’s failures or things getting unplugged and there is a weight issue as well.”
Do you have backup for the Tech 21?
“I don’t really have a backup for the head (which I just used for power) but if it were to go down I can just plug the RBI straight to the PA and we’re good to go. I also bring a backup SansAmp bass driver on the off chance the rack fails; This can also be DI’d and run straight into the PA.”
How long have you had the RBI?
“I haven’t had a very long at all actually, I stuck mostly to the bass driver pedal, but the RBI has more tone shaping abilities and it’s just more simple to have it in a rack. One of the best purchases I’ve ever made for bass. After playing guitar for 22 years and finding my guitar tone relatively quickly (5150), it took a few years to find what I wanted for my bass tone; SansAmp RBI, active music man type bass, lots of power and discovered recently…. Clean or new strings.”
Tell us your best gear goes wrong story.
“I’ve never had my bass gear fail even more of a testament to what I use. If we were talking guitar, now that’s a different story! I’ve had a lot of stuff fail live with my various iterations of live rigs.”
How did you come across the RBI in the first place?
“I’ve been wanting this piece of gear since one of my friends let me play his rig probably 13 years ago. It took a long time to find somebody selling this piece for what I wanted to pay for it, and realizing it had more what I wanted than the pedal version. I knew who the seller was and I followed various bands he was in and knew he was trustworthy and his gear was taken care of so I finally jumped.”
How easy is it for you to tweak the RBI and get the tone/sounds you need?
“Well I marked my settings the day I bought it and I never moved them ever, sometimes I may dial back the presence if the strings are brand new.”
Are there any cons about it?
The only con I have is myself not buying it earlier!
Any final thoughts or comments?
I don’t know why everybody doesn’t have this. It’s awesome in the studio and awesome live and it always creates tones with anything that’s plugged into it that sound great!