The Metal Horns: an Interview with Bruce Lamont (Yakuza, Corrections House, etc)

Bruce Lamont is a busy dude, the type of guy you need to take a deep breath for if you plan on naming all of his musical projects without hyperventilating. It makes sense that he has a new improvisational duo with Dave Witte, Brain Tentacles, because Dave may be the only person in the scene with even less free time.

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I first saw Bruce with over 10 years ago with Yakuza, a band that he still fronts as vocalist and saxophonist. He’s also been making the rounds lately with the aforementioned Brain Tentacles as well as Corrections House, a collaboration that features Neurosis’ Scott Kelly, Eyehategod’s Mike Williams, and Sanford Parker who played in Minsk but is best known as one of the most sought-after recording engineers in Chicago. Not enough projects for you? Well, Bruce also released a solo album recently, Feral Songs for the Epic Decline. Oh, and on top of all that, Bruce fronts the best damn Led Zepellin cover band out there.

So like I was saying, he’s a busy dude.

Was Yakuza the first metal band that you played Saxophone in? Did you originally start up the band with the intention of working that in or were you the solely the vocalist at first and the horn came later.

Yes this was the first “heavy” band I played the saxophone in. I did intend just to sing but when I mentioned I played the horn the guys encouraged me to bring it aboard.

What’s your live setup? Are you still using the mixing board and effects processor?

Currently I am running a TC Helicon Voicelive touch into a Berringer line mixer. From there I am using a couple of Boss guitar pedals (Metal Zone, Tremolo, and a looper) along with an Eventide Pitchfactor pedal.

Do you use a clip on mic or do you just pull down whatever vocal mic they have like an SM58?

I just use a 58 for now. I have used various clip mics in the past but I prefer the 58. I sometimes use the sax mic for vocals as well.

I’ve noticed a lot of engineers in the rock world have no idea how to record horns. I just found out recently myself that the mic should be farther away, at least 2 feet. Have you ever had to give instructions?

I have had the saxophone mic’ed in a variety of ways depending on what we are going for. I have given a little instruction but generally most engineers will close mic the horn along with a mic that is positioned further away.

Do you have a mic preference for your saxophone? Ribbon mics like a Royer 121 or 122? Large diaphragm condensers?

I don’t have a major preference. Sanford used a Coles 4038 ribbon mic for the last Yakuza recording and also Corrections House. Sounds great.

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As a guitarist and vocalist sometimes instrumental passages can be a relief because I get to catch my breath, but you don’t have that luxury. Does it sometimes suck when you’ve been belting or screaming your ass off on a part and then you have to pick up a horn and keep using your lungs?

Ha! No I don’t mind. That’s why I do cardio.

You have quite a few musical projects going on right now. Yakuza, your solo material, Corrections House, Brain Tentacles, and more right? How do you compartmentalize your brain for each of them? When you come up with an idea do you know right away which band to use it with?

I have ideas that might work with any project but the second some sort of a collaborative moment happens this is where as a group we begin to create together. Might start off with a simple melody, a riff, just an open jam session so we as a group get the feet wet per se. From there we build upon that idea. Now I am not always the one to initiate the creative process, no. My contribution then becomes an attempt to complement what is already there, expand on and help shape the final outcome. As far as my solo material is concerned I have a set of somewhat loose ideas and then will work them in a recording situation either at home or a studio with an engineer again building on the initial idea.

Thanks for your time Bruce? Any thing else to say in closing?

Hey thanks a ton Chris. Keep up the rock my friend.

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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and mp3.com were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.