Bob Balch Talks Big Scenic Nowhere & More.

WORM – First of all, thanks so much for taking the time to do this. Could you tell us a bit how Big Scenic Nowhere got started?

BALCH – Gary had the name a few years back and they did a few gigs but that’s it I think. I’ve known Gary since 1997 or so. Fu Manchu practiced in his house in the desert around then. Last year he came back from tour and posted a Del Taco pic. I commented with my usually order of a regular red burrito with sour cream. Right after that he called me and said that we should jam and call it Doom Buggy. I said sure, we jammed but then I learned that Doom Buggy was taken already so he offered up Big Scenic Nowhere.

WORM – How did the name Big Scenic Nowhere come to be?

BALCH – It’s a street in the desert. He named the band after that. I’ll include a pic

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WORM – You have contributions from so many amazing talents on “Dying On The Mountain.” How did you all decide who to get involved?

BALCH –  We just started tossing names around. I’ve known Nick Oliveri since 1997 too. Fu Manchu toured Europe with QOTSA back then. We brought him up, I offered Tony Reed. He’s super talented. Fu just got off of tour with his band Mos Generator.I’ve done interviews with THE WELL for my site PlayThisRiff.com. I thought they would be a good fit. We both know Mario Lalli. Mario and Bill Stinson play in Yawning Man with Gary. I’ve done PlayThisRiff interviews with Mario as well. Nick too now that I think of it! And Thomas from Monolord is on the site too! So is Tony Reed. I guess we can credit the site. Ha!

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WORM – What is Playthisriff.com all about?

BALCH – I started that in 2008. It’s a site that hosts videos of artists teaching their own songs. I film them, edit, make the guitar tabs and post. It’s a subscription site. Some pretty big names on there! CLUTCH, MEGADETH, MC5, QOTSA, YOB, CIRCLE JERKS, BLACK FLAG. Lots of rock, metal, punk and stoner stuff

 

WORM – Do you have a wishlist of musicians you would like to work with Big Scenic Nowhere?

BALCH –  It’s giant! We are already talking about the next record and who to ask. The list keeps growing and some people have already said yes. Don’t want to jinx it but people are gonna flip out.

WORM – You and Gary have very unique and different styles. How would you describe your style and Garys style? 

BALCH –  I’m all over the place. I teach guitar for a living so I’m forced to learn a bunch of different styles. For this stuff though I wanted to be fuzzed out because I thought that would be a good juxtaposition against his dreamy delay drenched guitar and odd tunings.

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WORM – The tones you guys got going on this record are amazing. Can you tell us about what gear you used when recording?

BALCH – I used my signature Rola amp, a bunch of pedals but my main fuzz was a Regulus VIII by Creepy Fingers Effects. Nick used his QOTSA SVT which I was super stoked on! Gary had a 70s Fender combo. A 6×12 I thing. It’s was super tall!

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WORM – Speaking of  your signature amp, you recently announced you have your own Rola model. What is that thing all about?

BALCH –  It’s like an 80s Marshall 800 but with KT88s and an extra master volume. I love Rola. They are killing it!

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WORM – I also saw recently that your Fu Manchu band mate Brad Davis, who also is the mastermind of Creepy Finger Effects, made a Balch Fuzz pedal. How did that happen come about?

BALCH – I do a strange thing in the studio with FU. Two fuzz pedals at once. One has the bias control choked to act as a gate and the other fuzz is super blown out. The combo sounds insane. Davis found a way to make that sound with one pedal.

WORM – Is your live setup usually different than what you use in the studio? How do you get that Fuzz tone live?

BALCH –  I use a Creepy Fingers Regulus VIII which kicks major ass. But now that Brad Davis built “The Balch” I’m good to go! That’s pretty much my studio sound.

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WORM – How did the writing process for Big Scenic Nowhere go?

BALCH –  Gary and I jammed for 5 hours. I recorded it. I went home and arranged the riffs into songs. Then I brought those demos into a real studio to have musicians play over them to get actual takes. After that we emailed stems to singers/synth players. Per from Opeth played Synth on the long jam. Tony Reed did too.

WORM – What is next for Big Scenic Nowhere?

BALCH –  Full length comes out early January named “Vision Beyond Horizon.” Alain Johannes is on that one. We are also going to do a three day jam session with a bunch of musicians in November that should be released summer 2020.

WORM –  Did Alain Johannes produce the full length as well as perform on it?

BALCH –  No, he offered up killer vocals and guitars but I guess we all produced it. I oversaw everything but everybody contributed a ton.

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WORM – How would you describe the vibe of “Vision Beyond Horizon?”

BALCH –  Songs. Lots of influences but Pink Floyd shines through. Soundgarden too. It’s all over the place really.

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WORM – Anything in the future from Fu Manchu or Sun and Sail Club?

BALCH –  Fu Manchu is going to be really busy 2020. 30th anniversary! We will be touring a bunch and playing songs from our entire catalogue! We are also working on an EP now too! Sun And Sail is always on my mind. I have like two records ready to go! Just trying to find the right time to get that going again. Those dudes rule!

 

WORM – Anything else you would like us to know?

BALCH –  Eddie and the Cruise 2 (not one) and Shock Em Dead are the two best movies ever made

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I wanted to thank Bob Balch for taking the time to do this interview. Be sure to keep an eye out for the release of “Vision Beyond Horizon” from Big Scenic Nowhere in 2020. In the meantime you can head over to bluesfuneralrecordings.bandcamp to get “Dying On The Mountain.” Or, you can purchase the vinyl here.  Mr. Balch as some big things coming in the future. New Big Scenic Record, New Fu Manchu and possibly a new Sun And Sail Record as well.

Erik Trammell From All Souls

WH –  How did All Souls come together as a band? 

Erik – Antonio and I had been talking about playing some music together for years but we were always busy, we were both tour managing bands and touring with our own bands and there was never time. I moved to Austin, TX for a few years and when I moved back we just got the ball rolling. We played around with some ideas on acoustics and Meg and Tornay liked them so we started to discuss what we all wanted to do. We had some dinners/meetings and then jammed on some ideas and that was it, All Souls was a reality.

WH – Can you tells us how you guys came up with the name All Souls?

Erik – We sat down before ever playing a note and came up with a concise idea of how we wanted to approach this band. We were interested in our content having deep meaning and being inclusive and the words All Souls fit that idea.

WH – You have been playing with some amazing bands recently, who has been the most fun to watch?

Erik – For me it’s been The Jesus Lizard. Each guy is a force of nature on their own and when you combine the precise instrumental machine with Mr Yow, it’s truly amazing.

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WH – What are you most looking forward to about hitting the Bay Area?

Erik – The shows! I grew up in Moss Beach, CA and used to surf Pleasure Point and Capitola a bunch in high school so it’ll be pretty cool to visit those areas again.

WH – How did you link up with Marc and Doors To No Where and any chance you all will play more shows together down the line?

Erik – We connected with Marc via our drum player Tony Tornay, Fatso Jetson has played a million shows, I think they met through the band. We’re definitely hoping to come back to Santa Cruz or Capitola soon and it’d be great to play with Doors To No Where again.

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WH – Does your live set consist of songs from the album only?

Erik – We play most of the first record live but there are some new songs in there too.

WH –  Will those new songs in the set make the next album?

Erik – Absolutely, we have been playing one of the new ones since the Melvins tour but we might sprinkle in a few others on this west coast trip.

WH – Speaking of the album, it’s absolutely brilliant, did you know right away you guys had something special?   

Erik – Thanks, stoked you like it! We definitely had some goose bumps when we listened to it, we all had our own favorite moments but for me Time Bomb has always stood out. I like the interlude part a bunch and I love the outro bass/guitar harmony with the slide solo.

WH – The production on the album sounds so freaking good. Who did you work with and at what studio?

Erik – Thanks, we were specific about the structures and effects and Toshi Kasai has killer input. Toshi is well known for being an amazing producer/engineer and giver of rad ideas. He’s also a great musician and has been a friend for many years. That kind of a relationship makes it very easy to create. His studio is called Sound of Sirens

WH – Everything I’ve heard from All Souls has killer tones. I’m talking studio and live. Can you tell us a little about how you approach your tones?

Erik – That’s really cool of you to mention because the tones are pretty different. The record was mostly done with a 1976 Sunn Model-T and live I use an Orange Crush Pro 120 but I’ll be using the Orange in the studio next time. My main focus is to use any tools (effects, pick, e-bow, chicken pickin/fingerstyle, harmonics, volume,  etc.) to do something textural and complimentary to the song but sometimes a direct approach is best.

WH –  How do you guys approach writing songs?

Erik –  That’s a secret!

WH – Who are some of you biggest influences on guitar?

Erik – Dang, there are many amazing payers out there but for me it started with East Bay Ray and moved onto Johnny Marr, Tony Iommi, Robert Smith, David Gilmour, Chet Atkins, Robin Guthrie, Brian May, Billy Gibbons, Marc Bolan, Duane Denison, Daniel Ash, Poison Ivy, Prince etc.

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WH – You guys have been touring a lot recently, what does Erik and All Souls listen to in the van?

Erik – We usually listen to Howard Stern on the longer drives but I totally love this show called Knif Files on Mixcloud, it’s rock & roll and obscure music from the 60’s. I also play tons of Boards of Canada and kraut rock.

WH – What’s next for All Souls?

Erik – After we finish these dates with The Jesus Lizard we’re going to get into the studio as soon as possible. We have been able to write some killer songs between the Melvins and Jesus Lizard tours and we wanna get them on tape and into your ears ASAP!

 I would like to thank Erik for taking the time to do this for us at WormHound. All Souls is  an amazing band with  an amazing debut record. You can see Wormhound’s review here.  I can not wait to see these guys live and for their future releases. They have this magic about them that makes them sound so familiar and its all the feels while still being fresh and unique.  

ALL SOULS – FACEBOOK

WORMHOUND – FACEBOOK

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