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This record really shows your writing style and it’s great to hear your voice coming through again, which we haven’t really had a chance to hear for a few albums.

Right! With this recording we had a little more time to spend on the songs and we really brought more of the ingrained roots of our past, especially in my guitar playing. With the producer Chris “Zeuss” Harris we wanted to recapture that magic of how we used to record guitars, and bring it into the 2015. I was more than willing because that’s a great guitar sound, and that is me (laughs)!


So what goes into creating the Queensryche guitar sound?

I think it’s taking time with the arrangements and making them as interesting as possible and just really bringing the most that we can pack into a song, layer-wise, and just giving it the depth. And that layering, first and foremost, does that. It’s just a process we’ve always done over the years that has evolved from album to album.


What’s your approach to soloing? You often tend to favour major scales over minor rhythm tracks.

I can’t really pinpoint telling you what scale or mode I’m in: it’s more of an intuitive feel thing. I just hear the notes in my head and that’s how I interpret them. And I think as a technician I tend to balance the minor scales with diminished and augmented situations, a lot of harmonic minor, melodic minor and natural minor. When you’re a guitar player it gets kind of mundane staying in those minor scales so you throw in something major every now and then. It opens up the whole experience. For me a lot of the old classics have these outside movements. A good example is “Eyes Of A Stranger.” After Chris and I have our double solo we go to this B section as a bridge, but then all of a sudden we add two major chords in there and it kind of pops that part before we bring it back to E Minor. For us as musicians that’s how you keep things interesting.


What guitars did you use on the record?

Primarily, a few ESPs – my old trusty ESPs that I use all the time. They have Seymour Duncan pickups. Sometimes it’s a JB, sometimes it’s a Duncan Distortion because some of the guitars are a little dark-sounding so you need a ceramic magnet to kinda brighten it up. So I use those. They all have Floyd Roses on them. I also used some of the ESP Eclipse models, their Les Paul-style guitars. But once you get one basic sound you tend to use that all the time. We did sometimes use a Gibson ES-335 and then a few ESP single coil guitars. Acoustically I used my Taylor. That really is the tried and true acoustic guitar for Queensryche. That was pretty much it! No more than six electrics and two acoustics.


And amps?

We used my Marshall Jubilee, one of the older ones. We’ve used that on numerous recordings
and it’s just a tried-and-true workhorse. We put a Maxon overdrive in front of it for leads or just
to brighten up the sound. But we did a lot of reamping too: when vocals were being done in my studio I’d be in another room with the session on my laptop, recording into there, and then we’d go into the main studio, import it and reamp through the Marshall. I’d never done that before and I was amazed that you can do that. You can reamp wherever you are! On hotels, on the bus, and as long as the performance is solid you can always go back and reamp through your main rig. 


Condition Hüman is out now via Century Media.