Although basically every Southern state has produced interesting metal over the past two decades, Arkansas in particular has been a breeding ground in recent years for great bands, including our pals in Pallbearer, who have since gone on to become one of metal’s national leading bands.
And there’s plenty more great music from the state to dig into, including Auric, who play a really exciting blend of black, sludge, and doom metal – riff-based but overarching in songwriting and sonic scope. Think bands like Baroness, Kylesa, or the aforementioned Pallbearer, but with the songwriting pen dipped a bit deeper into the dark end of the metal inkwell. They just dropped their new album Empty Seas, which is one of my favorite underground releases so far this year.
We caught up with Auric to get a look at the ingredients for making tasty sludge. Check it out below, along with a stream of the new album:
Erik Ebsen, Guitar:
My current main guitar is a left-handed 2012 Gibson Les Paul Studio. It has stock pickups and features coil-split in the push/pull knobs. I use Ernie Ball Not Even Slinkys (.12) in AGCFAD and sometimes with the A tuned down to G.
I have an Ernie Ball VP Jr going into a Korg Pitchblack Tuner. From there I have a MXR Dyna Comp which I use as a hush pedal to cut some gain off for cleaner sections since I run my amp on one channel. I then run from the Dyna Comp to a MXR Phase 90 which I use in a moderately slow sweep most of the time. From the phaser, my chain goes to a Big Muff clone that Mason (bass) built. I use it on some of the fuzzier parts or if I want to make a bunch of noise. From the fuzz goes to a Behringer Echo Machine. The most important thing about this pedal is that it has the ability to self oscillate and make noise, we use it a lot in between songs and even during songs. I use the tap tempo a lot as well.
I use a Mesa Dual Rectifier Roadster head on the crunch channel, Avatar 2×12, and Mesa Slanted 4×12.
Adam Ferrier, Guitar:
My go-to guitar is a 2005 Gibson SG Special Faded tuned to AGCFAD/GGCFAD. I swapped out the stock pickups for a pair of Lace Dirty Heshers. This was my first serious guitar and I’d never part with it.
From the guitar, my signal goes through an Ernie Ball VP Jr. to a Snark Tuner. Next is an EarthQuaker Devices Monarch overdrive. My heavy tone is shaped around the sound of this pedal. From there is a Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh Fuzz for sludgier sections. Next is a weird octave fuzz that Mason built for me. It’s based off of a Green Ringer but with more gain. Next in the path is a cheapo Behringer Ultra Tremolo with the rate maxed out.
This all goes into the more “ambient” side of my board starting with an MXR Carbon Copy delay. After that is the EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath. This is probably my favorite pedal I own, it’s a reverb made of short stacked delays that you can get some really interesting sounds out of. Last up is a TC Electronic Hall of Fame reverb.
This all goes straight into an Orange Rockerverb 50 MKII. I like 50 watt heads for the size venues we play, because I can crank the head about as hard as it can go and get some great tones out of it. I run the head on a low gain setting and use my pedalboard to get any sound I need from there. The head goes into a Sunn 412L cab. I replaced the Sunn Transducer speakers with two Celestion G12K-100’s and two WGS Retro 30’s that pair nicely.
Mason Gills, Bass:
My bass is a Peavey Millennium BXP 5 string J-bass, it’s surprisingly a very nice player after a set-up. I string it up with D’Adarrio XL Nickel Wound 45-130.
The pedals I use are a Boss TU-2 tuner, a Proco RAT clone tuned for bass called an Idiotbox Blowerbox for distortion, which has a very grindy/Converge-esque sound. I use a Boss CEB-3 Bass Chorus to make cleans stick out better, which goes into a Frankenstein bass tuned Big Muff (mix of Ram’s Head/Green Russian). I added a feedback loop mod on a switch on the Big Muff for noise. From there, it goes into 2 different delays, one of which can act like a noise generator/distortion/ring mod, the other I use just as a regular delay or set it for short delay and use it as reverb.
For amps, I like these 70’s Peaveys. I used the “Musician” for a while until I got “The Bass.” They’re pretty much the same amp but “The Bass” has a little more headroom. They’re very punchy amps with all the low-end you could ever need from an amp. My cabinet is a 90’s Peavey 810TX. It has a ridiculous low response and handles a low G just fine.
Logan West, Drums:
The set up I have now gives me the most options while still being really quick to set up on stage. I’ve got three rack toms because tom rolls are just way too much fun. I use the two floor toms like a huge four piece kit a lot of the time. We play a large variety of riffs and it is nice to be able to produce both punchy and boomy sounds.
My cymbals are pretty straightforward. I’ve got big dirty crashes, some saucy hats, and a big classic china. The Paiste is my favorite cymbal ever. There are so many sounds to pull out of that thing. It can be super delicate and intricate or produce an absolutely sound eating wash.
Here’s the drum stat breakdown:
- Mapex Pro M Maple/Birch Shells
- 24″ Kick
- 18, 16, 14, 12, 10″ Toms
- 14×7 Bravura Walnut Snare
- 24” Paiste 2002 Ride
- 21” Sabian HHX Groove Ride x 2
- 20” Sabian HHX China
- 14” Meinl Rakes Top/HHX Goove Hat Bottom
- 9” Sabian Radia Cup Chime
- Kick – Remo Powerstroke 3
- Toms – Evans G2 on top/G12 on bottom
- Snare – Evans Hybrid Pearl
- P932 Chain Drive Double Pedal
If you’re a southerner like these lads, you can catch em’ on tour this August:
8/1 Tulsa, OK – Amarillo Villa
8/2 Springfield, MO – Front of House
8/3 Columbia, MO – Peste de Merde
8/4 Kansas City – TBA
8/5 Wichita, KS – South Lulu Temple of Doom
8/6 Fort Smith, AR – TBA
8/7 OKC, OK – Dope chapel
8/8 Denton, TX – Gatsby’s Mansion
8/9 Ft Worth, TX – 1919 Hemphill
8/10 Austin, TX – TBA
8/11 Victoria, TX – TBA
8/12 Shreveport, LA – TBA
8/13 Little Rock, AR – House Show
8/14 Fayetteville, AR – JR’s Lightbulb Club