Interview mit Ole Hartvigsen von Kampfar

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Interviews are usually done during the promotional stage of an album or a tour – and then they centre around these topics. However, albums and shows wouldn’t exist if the interview partners weren’t such enthusiastic instrumentalists. In our series „Saitengespräche“ (pun: „string talks“/“side conversations“) we want to take this into account – with interviews that focus entirely on instruments, amplifiers, effects, and other tech stuff. From gear nerds for gear nerds – and for those who aspire to be.

In this part of the series we talk to Ole Hartvigsen, guitarrist of KAMPFAR.

When did you start playing guitar?
I started playing the bass at first, around when I was 14, I think. Then I gradually moved over to playing the guitar.

What made you want to learn guitar back then?
It was just out of necessity, really. As soon as I started playing music I started writing my own songs, and since Black Metal is very much guitar centric I needed to learn playing the guitar. It was just the tool that I needed for song writing.

Have you already learned (had to learn) another instrument before?
Only the bass and some basic synth stuff. I’ve always just learned what I need to be able to write and record music.

Do you remember which model was your first guitar?
Yes, both my first bass and first guitar were cheap Aria Pro-II models. I guess they were the affordable brand that the local instrument shop had in stock at the time. I played it through a terrible 10W Park solid state amp and a Zoom 505 pedal for maximum distortion!

How many guitars do you own?
Currently I have six guitars and a couple of basses. Four of the guitars are different variations of ESP Eclipse, plus an LTD M-1000 and a Gibson Les Paul Standard.

Do the instruments have different uses for you, so do you have different ones for different bands or occasions, like studio, live gigs and holidays?
Absolutely, they serve different purposes. My two ESP E-II Eclipses are my live gig guitars. Then I have an EC-1000 with an Evertune bridge in our rehearsal room because I hate to waste time tuning while rehearsing. At home I have an ESP Eclipse-1 CTM with a Floyd Rose bridge that I use mainly for recording together with my Gibson Les Paul Standard. The LTD M-1000 is for just practicing.

What do you attach particular importance to from a technical point of view, what criteria must an instrument meet for you to be satisfied with it?
Sound, stability and balance is really important to me. That’s why I love the ESP Eclipses, and they look cool too.

You often hear about musicians who seem to have a special connection to their instrument. Do you feel the same way? Do you have a favourite instrument?
Well I do actually call my guitars my “babies”, hehe, so I guess I’m attached to them. I don’t have a particular favourite among them, but the ESP Eclipse-1 CTM FR is probably the one that I’ve used the most for recording and song writing, so it has a special place in my heart.

Did you make special modifications to it, or is it a custom model anyway? Can you tell us the technical details here?
The ESP Eclipse-I CTM FR has been retrofitted with the RED version of the EMG 81/60 pickups and all my guitars have proper Ernie Ball strap locks. Other than that, they are all unmodified.

Is there a model, such as the instrument of a great role model, that you would like to play one day?
Not really, no. I’m perfectly happy with my ESP Eclipses!

Which type of guitar picks do you use – and why this type?
I use custom made 0.88 xJ (jazz) picks from InTune. I like those picks because they are small and simple, and the printing of the artwork is always top quality.

Amps are often leased for tours – is that okay with you or do you have your own amp with you? Which model do you play?
We have a deal with ENGL, so on tours we usually get rented amps from them. I have an ENGL Powerball and a Peavey 6505 at home, but obviously those are impossible to travel with for fly-in shows. Festivals are not always able to supply the amps that we want, so to solve that problem I have made a light rig with a Seymour Duncan Powerstage 700 that powers my Headrush Gigboard. That way we only need to use the cabinets at the festivals, and if the cabinets they provide are shitty there’s also a Yerosov cabinet simulator in my rig that we can fall back on, so we always get “my” sound no matter what.

Besides the instrument and the amplifier, sound effects play an important role in the sound. Do you rely on single pedal mines, a multi-effect board or a combination?
I try to keep it light and simple when it comes to effects and that’s why I love the Headrush Gigboard. It’s really small and has all the features that I need. Playing around with stomp boxes would be too much of a hassle and too much stuff that can go wrong.

Let’s go into detail: Please explain the elements of your effect loop. Which devices do you use, in which order and why?
Because I use a multi-effect in front of a solid state power amp, the effect loop becomes a bit “virtual”, but my signal chain looks something like this:
Noise gate -> OD -> Amp-sim -> Delay (on/off) -> Looper -> Poweramp -> Cabinet and/or cabinet simulator.

Mind game: You are only allowed to take one single (!) effect on stage – which one do you choose? Which effect pedal makes up your sound?
That’s actually a simple question to answer for me: Looper! In KAMPFAR I am the only guitar player, but some parts require additional leads on top of the chords, so I use the looper to loop the riffs and then play the leads over them. Starting and stopping the loop recording has to be extremely precise, otherwise it sounds like shit! But it’s also really fun doing it live, because people get amazed by how it’s possible to do that stuff with just one guitar. I guess most people just think it’s pre-recorded backing tracks, but it’s not. Actually, I haven’t seen many other guitarists who do that when playing live, so I guess that’s a bit of a special thing.

Do you have an effect that you use in a completely different way than originally intended, or that you have perhaps even (re)built yourself?
No, I’m not that kind of a gear nut, to be honest.

You use a noise gate – why?
I use a lot of gain, which creates a lot of noise and feedback, so I have to. Also, I need to be able to control when I want feedback on stage or not, so I have different noise gate settings for different riffs controlled by switches on my pedal board. Sometimes I need sustain going into feedback, sometimes I need to bring up feedback before going into a riff, and sometimes I need the sound to stop or start abruptly. Controlling noise and feedback is actually a bit of a challenge when playing live.

Is your effect board “ready” or in constant change?
I like consistency, so I rarely change things when we are happy with everything. I spend a lot of time discussing sound and setup with my guitar tech and our FOH tech, but when we’re happy we try to keep it unchanged. Of course, every now and again a new piece of gear arrives and then we might get back to the drawing board. I’ve used a lot of different multi-effects over the years – Line6 X3, Line6 HD500, even a Zoom G3 – there’s always something new coming out, but right now I’m happy with the Headrush Gigboard. I’m curious about the upcoming Neural DSP Quad Cortex, it looks pretty amazing.

Finally, do you have a tip for beginning musicians?
The most important thing is to be aware of what you actually want to do and what you want to achieve. Spending endless hours practising technique is fine if you want to become amazing playing your instrument, but that might not bring you closer to your goals. Music is about so much more than just technique. If you set your goals first, then you know exactly what you are working towards, and that makes even practising feel more worthwhile.

Publiziert am von und Uta A. (Gastredakteurin)

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