1. What is your role in the store?
Being a guitarist and producer, as well as a total gear nerd, my role mostly involves trying to match the sounds in someone's head with the right combination of gear to make it a reality, and then the right gear to capture that sound. Sometimes it's straightforward, and other times it can be quite technically challenging, but it's always an interesting process and something I'm always happy to chat about. As someone who's gutted and rebuilt many a guitar/pedalboard/home studio over the years, I also like to get my hands dirty with guitar setups and servicing.
2. What styles of music are you into?
Mainly alternative rock and blues, with a little folk, electronica and country mixed in.
3. Equipment you currently own?
Guitars, Basses and Amps:
- Fender Custom Shop 1960 Stratocaster Ltd. Edition (my #1)
- Fender FSR Jimi Hendrix Monterey Stratocaster (w/Lace Sensor pickups)
- Fender Japan FSR Stratocaster XII 12-String
- 1974 Greco SA550W (ES-335 Clone)
- Yamaha Revstar RS820
- Maton S60
- Tokai SG43
- Vox AC15C1 Guitar Amp
- Squier Classic Vibe 60's Mustang Bass
Keyboards, Synths & Drums:
- Kawai MP9000 Stage Piano
- Nord Electro 6D
- Behringer Model D Analog Synthesizer
- Behringer Pro One Analog Synthesizer
- Roland TD-17KV Drum Kit
- Behringer RD8 Rhythm Designer
- Vox VX50-KB Keyboard Amplifier
- Roland PM-03 Drum Amplifier
- Electro Harmonix Micro Synthesizer
- TC Electronic June-60 Chorus
- TC Electronic MojoMojo Overdrive
- Keeley Caverns Delay/Reverb
- Boss GT-1 Multi Effects
- Boss TR-2 Tremolo
- Maxon OD-801 Fuzz
- Bartolini Tube-It Overdrive
- TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb
- Mackie VLZ 32.4.2 32 Channel Mixing Console
- Steinberg UR824 USB Audio Interface
- Steinberg UR22 USB Audio Interface
- Yamaha HS7 Studio Monitors
- Behringer ADA8200 ADAT Interface (x2)
- Sennheiser, AKG, Shure and SE Electronics mics
- Steinberg Cubase 8
- Presonus Studio One 3
- ART Pro VLA II Stereo Compressor
- ART Dual Limiter
- Warm Audio SSL Mix Bus Compressor
- Golden Age Projects PRE-73JR Microphone Preamplifier
- Yamaha SPX90II Reverb
4. Piece of gear or instrument you have previously owned… and wish you never sold?
My first 'real' Strat, a Fender Japan '72 reissue. I didn't sell it as such, it was stolen out of my car one night, but it was a great guitar and I sometimes wonder if it might turn up again one day...
5. Favourite guitar?
Easily my 1960 Custom Shop Fender Strat. I've played a lot of Strats over the years, and this one just feels like it can do anything, like I can play anything on it.
6. Favourite effects pedal?
I have several - the Strymon Deco is 50's rock 'n' roll in a box, the Keeley Verb-O-Trem is a super sweet sounding and versatile tremolo/reverb combo, and the Ibanez Echo Shifter in 'Oscillating' mode is the most fun I've ever had with a delay pedal!
7. Where do you play at the moment?
I play guitar in The Saltations, but I'm mostly to be found working in my studio these days. Lately I've played a few solo shows around Perth in support of a recent EP release. For anyone keen to check it out, studio sessions, release details and upcoming shows can be found at bencourtmusic.com
8. Who have you played with?
I've recorded and produced a bunch of acts in the studio, most recently September Sun, Alex Canion (Voyager), The Saltations and Joanie Get Angry. With my band The Midnight Condition, I've been fortunate to play shows with some great Perth bands, including Lantana, The Milkmen, Frozen Ocean (probably the craziest band we ever played with), Aztech Suns, The Forgotten and Coronal Sky.
9. When did you start playing?
I started out playing classical guitar when I was 10, and soon switched to electric guitar after stumbling upon a Smashing Pumpkins concert on late night TV. I've dabbled with keyboards, bass and drums in the studio from time to time.
10. What is the best memory or gig you have played?
That would have to be the launch show for The Midnight Condition's first single "Sidewinder". It was our first "big" show, we had a great crowd that night, and the band was really dialed in. A friend had even baked us a giant cake that looked like the CD cover.
11. Who do you most look up to musically or who has influenced you the most so far?
As a songwriter, my two most important influences have been Billy Corgan and Neil Finn. As a guitarist, it's mostly the usual suspects: Corgan, Hendrix, Clapton and John Mayer. Mayer's tone and phrasing in particular inspired me to focus on becoming a more proficient guitar player.
12. Best piece of advice you could give to other musicians?
Write songs and play in a band. There's no better way to develop your craft than to get out there and do it for real, in a rehearsal room or on stage, with other people.