We’ve been excited about the new Pray For Sound album, Everything is Beautiful – a lush, atmospheric, mathy piece of post-rock, and are happy to premiere these guitar playthroughs from Bruce Malley and Nick Stewart. Check them out below, along with Nick’s writeup about the track and some gear specs.
When Bruce approached us about writing material for what became Everything is Beautiful, I was pretty apprehensive. I felt like the process with Dreamer really dragged, and I wasn’t 100% on how a lot of those songs came out. However when he showed me the material he already had and the idea for the record, it got me really excited at the prospect of working on new material.
I didn’t want to repeat how grueling putting together Dreamer was though, so that birthed the idea of going away somewhere to solely “get in the head” of the record, and try and make it one complete idea that we focus on without the distractions of day to day living. Chris had mentioned to me at one point how cool it would be to someday go to a cabin to work on some music, so I pulled that idea back around and suggested it to Bruce and the guys, which led us to finding the spot in Glover, VT.
In the weeks leading up to the cabin, we had been working on some of Bruce’s demos and re working some parts, plus familiarizing ourselves with what we were going to be working on while we were there. I had a good handful of riffs and arrangements in my head that I’d been toying with for the past year or so, so I started working on them on my own. I only had the chance to demo out one song as a full arrangement, which became “Congratulations, You’re Alive.”
This song was the result of a failed demo that Bruce and I tried to put together the night he showed me the demos for the rest of the record. I knew what hadn’t worked in the previous version, and decided to try and put together a song that had a very easygoing vibe during most of the song, but finally builds to moments of intensity towards the end. However I didn’t want to just settle for something slow and quiet that built tension in a typical post rock manner, I wanted it to still be a song that felt like it had a hopeful chorus, and have an arrangement that was something the listener could follow without being forced to trace every step the song took.
When it came time to work on this song at the cabin, Bruce added a handful of the melodies over the top of the song that really help it shine, and we ended up shortening a few parts, but the song mostly remains intact from that second demo I made. This one is one of my favorites to play, because when we lock in some of the bigger parts hit really hard, but it has plenty of moments where we just get to relax while maintaining an upbeat feel.
Bruce’s Gear List;
PRS Custom 24 w/ Ernie Ball 10’s into an AxeFx II which runs into a VHT 2/50/2 power amp, powering an Avatar Contemporary 2×12 w/ Vintage 30s. I use the Fractal MFC-101 midi controller with a Mission expression pedal to control it.
Our Macbook Pro running our click also controls my AxeFx via Midi making all my preset changes for me. I also own and use a Fender Mexican Telecaster, a Fender Mustang, and a Gibson Les Paul Special Faded occasionally for recording. My home rig is a Peavey 6505+ into a Mesa Boogie 2×12 with the following pedalboard: Turbo Tuner > Boss DD-7 > Timmy > MXR Carbon Copy > Neunaber Mono Wet > Boomerang III Looper
Nick’s Gear List:
Fender Blacktop Jazzmaster (w/Mods listed below)
Ernie Ball Hybrid Slinky Strings (Guage 9-46)
Seymour Duncan PRails Bridge Pickup
Seymour Duncan SJM-1N Neck Pickup
Emerson Custom Jazzmaster Wiring Kit
Polytune tuner, JHS Prestige, JHS Moonshine, MXR Phase 90, EHX Holy Grail Neo, EHX Freeze, Line 6 DL4 (External Tap Tempo Mod)
Amp: Vox AC30 CC2