There are some Vacancies available at the Winter Hotel, so you better be damn ready to book a room! Why? Because you’ll be hard-pressed to find any alternative metal that’s comparable to this captivating new act. Drawing on midwestern emo, southern metal, and post-hardcore, the London quartet just released their new EP Vacancies, five new tracks that blur the lines of the boundaries between different types of metal and rock.
The musicianship is high quality and the heart and desire are fully on display, emphasized by lead singer Warren Porter and his scorching lead vocals. Interestingly enough, Winter Hotel took a different approach to releasing their new songs through the pandemic. Rather than wait for one grand release, the band has been dropping songs from Vacancies separately, one at a time, as individual chapters of what they view as a larger narrative.
With such an original, finely crafted sound, Winter Hotel seemed like a suitable candidate for our latest Geared Up interview. So we hooked up with guitarist Liam Osment to speak with him more about his Schecter Omen-6, how he first got it, and what makes it his weapon of choice.
What one piece of gear do you use to obtain a signature sound?
Liam Osment: “As the rhythm guitarist for Winter Hotel I play a Schecter Omen-6, it’s a beautiful, dependable guitar from a trusted brand within the alternative and metal scene. Its built-in pickups give a great tone that is very representative of many of the bands I bring to the table as my influences.”
How did you come to possess the Schecter Omen-6?
“It was actually a gift from my dad, he really inspired me to pursue music from a young age and taught me a lot of what I know now on guitar. Winter Hotel played its first show around the same time as my 21st birthday so my dad took the opportunity to give something that would both mean a lot to me and help drive us forward as a band.”
What made you choose the Schecter Omen-6 and were there any close seconds or alternates?
“For a while, I did consider using a 7-string guitar for Winter Hotel, but overall I much prefer using the 6-string. As a band that prides itself on taking my own lighter influences in the realms of post-hardcore and Midwest emo, and marrying them together with our frontman Warren’s influences of slamming death metal, I like that the 6-string keeps me in a lighter range, forcing me to be more creative when I write our heavier parts, and keeping me in more familiar territory when it comes to writing our lighter riffs.”
What about the Schecter makes it so important to you?
“I guess there are several reasons; firstly, as I mentioned it was a gift from my dad who taught me how to play the guitar in the first place so that of course makes it mean a lot to me. It’s also a guitar that I associate a lot with many of the bands that inspired me to write my own music over the years. I also see it as being synonymous with Winter Hotel as it’s the same guitar I tracked my parts on for our debut EP Vacancies and have played nearly every show we’ve ever done with.”
Did you use the Schecter to a large extent during the recording of your latest song or album? If so, please elaborate on how and for what parts?
“Yes, all the rhythm guitar parts that you’ll hear on Vacancies are my Schecter tracked through a Kemper profiling amp. We recorded the entirety of the EP with the talented Mr. Myroslav Borys as our producer at Jigsaw Audio in Derby, England.”
Do you have any special ways that you recreate your album tones in a live setting, or is it more just plug and play?
“I wouldn’t say we have any particularly special ways of recreating the tones that are across the guitars during shows, I run a basic setup of three pedals going into my amp live. Those are a Marshall Guv’nor 2, a Regenerator, and a TC Flashback. These allow me to keep an accurate reflection of what you’ll hear in our recorded music in a live setting while keeping things simple enough so that I’m able to move around a lot on stage and not spend the whole time hovering over my pedal board.”
How easy is it for you to tweak the device and get the tone/sounds you need?
“Super accessible; the Omen-6 just has a volume control, tone dial and a pickup switch, that’s it. I like things kept simple, I’ve not really got much interest in any extra bells and whistles. I’ve seen some setups where guitarists control their tone via an app or can change their tuning using a dial on the guitar itself. I’m sure there’s a benefit to that but it just really isn’t my cup of tea.”
How does this guitar hold up with regular touring and gigging?
“It’s held up pretty well thus far, it needs a lot of love and attention to keep it in its best condition. I generally re-string between every performance and give the neck a healthy application of lemon oil.”
Do you have a back up for the Schecter?
“I have a Tanglewood TSE-605 as a backup. It’s a nice enough guitar albeit quite a basic one. At some point I’d like to invest in another guitar to have as a backup, perhaps an Ibanez, but the Omen-6 is yet to let me down.”
Any final thoughts or comments on your Schecter guitar?
“No final thoughts or comments on the gear specifically, but just some parting words of advice to any other instrumentalists based on my own experience would be to try any piece of gear before you buy it, make sure it’s the right tool to convey who you are as a musician and don’t sweat any fancy additions, be the best musician you can be regardless of what features your gear comes with.”