Edelweiss plays with elements of math rock and post punk all with a pop sensibility. Their songs are intricate yet catchy at the same time. The guitar work will keep you hooked so that is why we talked to Niko Porlier about how he achieves his sound.
Gear Metropolis: Let’s start with guitars. What do you use live and how does it contribute to the sound? When you’re in the studio, do you use anything different?
Niko Porlier: I’ve always played Fenders just out of response to what I saw my influences playing. After playing a Jaguar, Telecaster, and Stratocaster over the years I’ve really come to love the chiminess and rich tones that come with these Fenders. I’ve never owned an American made guitar until last year when I picked up a 1967 Fender Musicmaster. It’s light as a feather which is important for thrashing around on stage, and it’s only got 1 neck pickup which has always been the only pickup I used. It’s got some really fat low end to it for being basically a student guitar from the 60’s. Live, we have tons of buzz/noise as a result of all the single coil action on our gear in addition to the pedals we run it all through. It’s noisy as hell, but frankly I don’t really care. It’s part of the sound. Studio – we’ll use what’s at our disposal. I like having really diverse options in the studio, so we’ll use the Fenders of course but also a Les Paul for the sustain and heavier parts. Our last EP features a few G&L telecaster style guitars courtesy of Joe Reinhart and they did the job nicely.
GM: What amps/cabs do you use live? How has your setup changed over time? Did you use anything different when you were in the studio?
NP: Amps are tricky, because they’re big and heavy, they break and the ones that sound the best are ALWAYS the heaviest and most fragile. As a result, we just use whatever backline the show has. Rolling the dice is kinda fun like that eh? We own a Fender Deville which is great and I’m currently looking to add something British and beefy like a Hi-Watt, Marshall or something of that nature. But money, so…
In the studio we like to have lots of options, so for this next LP we’ll line up an old Fender Bassman, Orange, Hi-Watt, sprinkled with some pawn shop picks (small speakers are seriously underrated) to plug into.
GM: Le’ts talk pedals.What do you use and how do you choose? What are your favorites?
NP: My current setup consists of a boss tuner, Pigtronix Fat Drive, Strymon El Capistan delay, Big Ear Loaf overdrive, Walrus Audio Deep Six compressor, and I’ll add a boss looper from time to time. The Fat Drive is my favorite drive pedal that I’ve owned, it’s just incredibly versatile and can do everything from a mild bluesy crunch to a thick and heavy bludgeoning. I’ve only recently gotten the Strymon El Capistan, so I’m still figuring it out… but so far… wow it’s really great. When it comes to choosing, experience is best. I only get something if I need it and plan to integrate it 100% in the set. Otherwise I end up with a lot of waste and I already think the music equipment industry is heavily over-marketed and hyped. In truth, I only spend money if I absolutely love something and need it.
GM: How would you describe your tone? What guitarists/bands have you modeled your tone after?
NP: Our tone is completely unestablished. We’ve only released a few EP’s, all of which have basically been experiments so it’s hard to say what our tone “is” per say. We’re leaning towards hyper dynamic playing styles which favor clean, subdued tones contrasted with sludgy, menacing riffs. This next release of ours is coming out with a lot of influences at hand. We worship the thick sludge that Electric Wizard mastered in the 2000’s and we also like the subdued, honest cleans that ‘Do Make Say Think’ incorporated. British indie bands like Bloc Party are the reason we’re a band though, so I would say the delay and effects which they use will always be a staple in our music. Russell Lissack, Yourself and The Air, Thomas Erak, Mike Einziger, Dave Murray, Dave Davison would be some guitarists/groups who have left a mark on Edelweiss’ guitar style.
GM: What’s coming up for you guys?
NP: In the midst of writing a full length, probably about time? Revamping our live set, preparing future tours, playing throughout the Northeast with friends of ours. Lots of good times ahead.
Edelweiss released their 7” ep ‘Philadelphia’ with Mad Dragon Records last year