You know how just one post ago I was musing on the benefits of small, portable, solid-state bass amps? Well screw that. After checking out this fucking monster setup from HUSH. 8-string bassist Jordan Cozza I now officially recommit myself to ginormous stacks of valve bottom end amplification. Assuming your spine can deal with lugging these two tours of enormity around, maybe you can take some inspiration from these monoliths.
I’ve been buying, selling, trading and collecting gear for a few years now. I think the obsession started when I bought a Sunn 4×12 cab and a 70’s Ampeg V4 head. I remember plugging in and thinking “I’ve wasted so much time and money on bad gear.” Even though I had finally found great tone, I wasn’t satisfied knowing there was so much more out there to try. I had a very specific idea of the sound I wanted, but it took me years of trying different variations to obtain it.
For HUSH., I have two stacks I use live. The one to the left of the stage consists of an Emperor 6×12 cabinet, a Hiwatt 4×12 cabinet and an OR120 powering them both. Since the inception of HUSH., the Emperor 6×12 cabinet is the only piece of gear I have used on both records and at every live show. It has 65 watt Weber speakers in it, it’s extremely loud and makes anything I plug into it sound evil. I love how dark this cabinet sounds. The Hiwatt 4×12 is a 1970’s model and is built like a tank. It has Celestion Greenbacks in it. The thing I love about Greenbacks is they are low wattage speakers and have great break up. I get the clarity I need, yet the speakers sound like their screaming out with pain. Up until recently, I was using an Emperor 4×12 in place of the Hiwatt. After recording Unexist, I decided the Emperor 4×12 offered me the brightness I wanted in the studio, but the Hiwatt offered me the disgusting sound I wanted live. The OR120 I use is a 1972 “pics only” model. The main reason I love this amp is because it’s so simple. It has minimal knobs but it was extremely easy to dial in the exact tone I wanted. It exceeded every expectation I had for it. It’s loud, very clean and reliable. It’s not what I anticipated of an amp that’s forty-plus years old.
To the right side of the stage I use a stack consisting of an Electric 2×15 cabinet, a Matamp 4×12 cabinet and a Matamp Legend 140 head. The Electric cab runs at 400 watts and is loaded with two Eminence Kappa speakers. I had this cab and my Emperor 6×12 cab built to almost the exact dimensions. The Electric cab is the one that will make your ball hair fall off. Next up is my Matamp 4×12. I put two vintage Celestion 50 watt speakers in this cab along with two modern Eminence speakers. I like the mixture of the speakers in this cab. It’s got a ton of low end and nice, warm mids. This cab not only matches my Matamp head, but it also compliments it’s sound. The Matamp Legend completely changed the game for me. They only made the green Matamps for a short period of time. I believe mine was produced in 1997. Until I bought this amp I had tried a Sound City 120, a Bad Cat, an Orange Thunderverb and the list goes on. I couldn’t quite find the right sound. As soon as I played the Matamp with my OR120, it reminded me of that scene in “The Neverending Story” where the nothing is coming and everyone looks horrified. The two heads blended just the way I wanted them to. Not only was the Matamp my main amp on the Unexist record, but Jeff used it to record many of his tracks as well.
Much like my amps, I like my pedals to be simple. There was a point where I had a fairly complex pedal board, but I decided less is better. Currently all I have on my board is a power supply, a tuner, my amp selector and a fuzz pedal. Just the necessities. I really like the Voodoo Labs amp selector. You can run four different amps at one time, which amp selectors rarely do. It also has four different ground lift switches on the back. That comes in handy when eliminating annoying buzz and hum. I use a Verellen Big Spider pedal to dirty up my tone. It’s everything I could ask for in a fuzz pedal. It’s fairly diverse for a pedal with only two knobs. I also like that it gives a nice boost to my low end.
Lastly, I’ll talk about my basses. They are both eight strings and both are strung up to sound kind of like a weird hybrid between a bass and guitar. I bought the Galveston years ago, after my Fender Jazz bass got stolen at a gig. I needed a bass quick and didn’t have a lot of cash. A friend of mine worked at a music store so I stopped in to see if he could help me out. He laughed and said “I’ve got an eight string in the back I’ll sell you for cheap”. I bought it knowing I only needed a few strings to play bass. I began experimenting with guitar strings on it almost immediately. These basses have long necks so, in order to put guitar strings on them, I tie them in knots up near the top to make them long enough. After becoming used to playing the eight string, I decided to put nicer pickups in it. I had custom Bartolini pickups made and the difference is huge. It takes forever to replace a string on these so I had to buy a second bass as a back up. Unfortunately, eight string basses aren’t easy to come by. When Charles joined the band I told him I was looking for one and he found an eight string Maestro and had it shipped over. In my opinion, the Maestro is better made than the Galveston. It has very hot, loud pickups in it. I used this bass on the Untitled album for that reason. Usually live I prefer the Galveston because the higher frets are easier to get to than on the Maestro.
Want to hear Jordan’s stupid awesome rig in action? Check out HUSH.’s track “Solus” at Invisible Oranges, or “Eater of All Things” at American Aftermath. The band’s debut full-length, Unexist, drops with the weight of two bass full-stacks on June 24th. Oh, and that cover is courtesy of Black Table guitarist/vocalist Mers Sumida. Neato.