Interview mit Patrick Mameli von Pestilence

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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 Patrick Mameli, gitarrist of PESTILENCE.

When did you start playing guitar?
I started playing guitar when I was four years old.

What made you want to learn guitar back then?
I was given a guitar by my parents, so it was no choice at four. Later on I decided it was fun to play.

Have you already learned (had to learn) another instrument before?
At the age of four the only thing I played with was probably my own flute.

Do you remember which model was your first guitar?
I think it was a branders guitar looking like a Fender Strat. Then I had a Gibson Les Paul, but I played on all kinds of brands really. BC Rich and Ibanez to name but a few. Now I only play custom-made guitars since my Steinberger is too precious to bring along.

How many guitars do you own?
About five or six. I also own the a vintage guitar synth, the Yamaha G10.

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?
Yes, for sure. My live guitar is custom-made by the Polish luthier Druzkovski. For recordings, I use my Steinberger and whatever I need for a special sound.

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?
Headless, a straight neck, I need a 1mm action. Good body wood.

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?
I have been more into synths lately, so I’m composing a lot of electronic music lately. Playing piano/synthesizer makes me a better musician anyways.

Did you make special modifications to your guitar or is it a custom model anyway? Can you tell us the technical details here?
I always want my guitars to have the same modifications I mentioned earlier. For example, my tremolo is always from the same manufacturer, Headless USA. I love a mix of multiple woods to make a body from. Neck through body with the neck made of maple and mahogany splices. For stability and good sound, the body wings from Mahogany or alder. Mahogany will give more low-end, while alder will give more mid-range.

Is there a model, such as the instrument of a great role model, that you would like to play one day?
No, I have already my dream guitar.

Which type of guitar picks do you use – and why this type?
Custom Dunlop-like pick, .75 or thinner. I play the round side.

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?
I swear by my Kemper on stage, which makes any other amps obsolete. I only need a poweramp to amplify my sound.

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?
All effects I need are within the Kemper. It’s a pedal floor board.

Let’s go into detail: Please explain the elements of your effect loop. Which devices do you use, in which order and why?
Always distortion, effect, noisegate.

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?
Distortion. But my sound actually is created by the way I play it.

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?
The volume pedal for swells.

Do you use a noisegate – why (not)?
Clearly for my music a noisegate is a must. For sudden stops and/or hits. For playing solo, the noisegate is turned off.

Is your effect board “ready” or in constant change?
I have ten instances of the same settings and effects. When I mess up live, I just go to the next set.

Finally, do you have a tip for beginning musicians?
Practise, practise, and practise. Use a metronome and increase your speed slowly. Watch YouTube videos on how to hold the pick! Learn your scales and modes. Good luck!

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