Let’s go back, let’s go way back. Or, maybe just a couple years. I was making pedals in my spare time, and frying mushrooms and heating up veggie pastas for my moneys. It fuckin sucked.
A few friends had picked up my Dwarfcrafts, and one suggested I contact Justin Meldal-Johnsen, FAMOUS BASSIST! Rumor had it he was looking for a pedal that sounded like circuit bent gear. Maybe like the Great Destroyer? So I figured, why not?
I Myspaced the dude. MYSPACE. Remember that thing? Anyway, he was super cool and super into the Great Destroyer! He was customer, like, 4, I think.
JMJ, I learned, has recorded on roughly 78,000 big albums and soundtracks, in addition to his tenure as bassist and musical director for Beck. He was eve on that first Mars Volta album!
Shortly after we met via email, Justin secured the gig as bassist for Nine Inch Nails, AKA My Favorite Since Age 15.
Justin then got me into Nine Inch Nails shows! WOOT! And he comes to my booth at NAMM, and sings the praises of TGD all over the place! He also was kind enough to answer a few questions for me, and you, dear reader, can now read the deep dark secrets.
Allright, here come the tough questions. They’re probably not in the best order, but it’s what I NEED TO KNOW!
1. Were you aware that you were Dwarfcraft’s third of fourth customer?
No. That’s huge.
2. Allright, give us the low down on where when and how you use Dwarfcraft Devices.
Wth Nine Inch Nails. The Great Destroyer and Hax pedals were on my board. I also used the oscillator pedal to be a sound source for a secondary synth rig.
3. I gather from the twitters and facebooks that you’re a proud poppa. How do you balance your family and professional lives?
It’s no small feat. But I’m so into my daughter that I give her everything I can and more. She’s the love of my life, for sure. She’s also been on planes and tour buses since she was six months old, so she’s probably now getting impatient and wondering when I’m going to get the hell out on tour again.
4. It seems like every few weeks I hear you’ve cut tracks on a record I already have, or a movie I have seen. Can you give us a heads up on what you’re working on now, so we can look smart in front of our friends?
I’m producing M83, Moving Units, Neon Trees, working some Nine Inch Nails related stuff that I can’t really explain in any other detail, helping with a very interesting Jean-Claude Vannier tribute at the Hollywood Bowl this summer, doing some “remote” mixing and session work (meaning: people send me files and I spew bass on them or mix/remix them).
5. When you were with Beck what was the process of making an album?
Every album has been different, sometimes drastically so. We’ve done every scenario. Midnite Vultures: a year of hyper-creativity and throwing things at the wall. Mutations & Sea Change: one song per day, including overdubs, and sometimes including even the mixing. The Information & Guero: hodgepodge style, various studios. Then there’s been stuff for films, mountains of unreleased recordings that haven’t been put on an album yet; there are piles of musical ephemera that may or may not ever get heard, but that were always a delight to work on.
6. I Imagine you have enough options to put together a specific rig for any situation or venue, but do you have any “old faithful” bits of gear that are always included?
I don’t know, maybe my ’66 p bass and circa 1998 Guild Starfire. Plus one of my Ampeg B-15′s.
7. I once sold a 69 Fender Jaguar, which I kick myself for every day. I also destroyed my first electric guitar onstage, No regrets. Any similar stupid moves/glorious smashings on your part?
Yeah, I’ve got one: my first bass, a Yamaha BB300. I loved it so. Nothing fancy, just a great simple bass that I learned a lot on. Anything I’ve smashed, I’ve never COMPLETELY smashed, so there’s always been a new life for it after headstock breakage/body splitting.
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