NHC MUSIC - In The Head Of The Artists Vol 11 - With Felix Saunders (Howling Lords)

Nhc's resident guitar geek Martin McCann gets the lowdown on his set up and finds out what he has been using both in the studio and live recently.

WARNING - this article may be steeped in guitar geekiness, proceed with caution!

The Howling Lords are mostly a two piece band, but sometimes not. Let's see what Felix uses and how he fills up the space when it's just him and drummer Jens.

Felix, can you tell us about the howling lords and a bit about how it came about. Also what got you started on guitar and a little about your music journeys this far.

As for the band forming, Jens and I have known each other since we where kids but didn't start playing together till we where in our 20's. We played in a few bands but they didn't last long. I started getting in to blues and started singing and writing stuff. After a while I took it to Jens and we started putting things together. By the start of 2016 we had 4 songs together and we did a live session at wee Studio and that was our start.

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Tools of the trade - tell us about your favourite guitars, the one you go to first. What do you like about it above all others. And any close seconds, don't spare the details. And I'm sure there were some that got away, is there any you regret losing for whatever reason?

My go-to is my 95 fender strat, it just plays great for me and my playing, my second is either my 2004 strat or my Gretsch Electromatic for a very different reason, the Gretsch is great for chords and open tunings!

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These go to 11 - what's your choice for amplification and given the chance what would be your ideal rig for live shows or playing at home. Do you need a specific type (heads or combos) or can you make anything work for you? What's your thoughts on the latest amp modeling options - do you think it will retire the old classics? And as a duo, do you use anything specific to maximise your sound?

I don’t think modelling will ever replace the classics. The main amp that l use is my vox ac 30. I sometimes run a fender front man with it, if it's willing to work. When we are recording, it tends to be a selmer treble 'n bass 50 or Marshal JTM 45.

Effects and pedals - the fairy dust sprinkled on the top of most good guitar sounds. What are your current little boxes of tricks? Is there any effects that have survived on your board over the years? Do you struggle to keep guitars clear in the mix both live and in the studio?

We use lots of fuzz and octave. At the moment I use the following - Boss TU-2, EHX Pog 2, Boss DD-3, Boss SD-1, and way huge Swollen Pickle. Mainly the Boss SD-1 and the TU-2 have stayed on my board. I tend to record as much as possible then leave it to the producer to sort it cause ill drive myself nuts if I am doing it.

Bits and pieces - when on tour or playing local is there anything specific you can't do without? From picks to strings, cables and capos - the little things can mean a lot. Any pro tricks you've pick up along the way you'd like to share with us?

Mainly beer... but I always seem to get to use a lot of my stuff so not been a problem. Yeah capos are dicks I always try and favor the snub capos as the don’t bend the strings when you put them on. Never drop your slide and learn to set up your own guitars, aside the money you'll save it's just really useful.

And finally, which guitarist has caught your ear recently. What inspires you to keep playing and who was your first guitar hero?

l really like the stuff coming from Vukovi, their riffs are fucking awesome! Not really sure of my first guitar hero but really loved 70’s rock growing up like Queen and Thin Lizzy.

Cheers for the chat Felix! Check out the Howling Lords on the link below;

https://www.facebook.com/thehowlinglords/