Ghost King‘s 2016 debut album “Bones” impressed our friends at The Deli so much that they made it NYC Record of the Month back in April. The album features what could be seen (and heard) as a noteworthy recap of the (indie) guitar rock sound of the ’90s, with references to bands as disparate and glorious as Sonic Youth, the Violent Femmes, Pavement, The Pixies and Guided by Voices. Considering the wide range of guitar tones in the record, we thought band songwriter and guitarist Carter McNeil might have something interesting to say about what inspired the record and what gear made it possible.
Your debut album ‘Bones’ has the right amount of grit and production, where/how did you guys record it and who helped you?
We recorded the album in New Paltz, NY at Salvation Recording Co. Christopher Daley produced and mixed the whole project. It was tracked live with pretty minimal overdubs. We’d run the songs over and over again until Chris felt we had something great. He really knocked us into shape which we really needed as a newer band.
What events, records, feelings have inspired the album?
At the time I was writing the album I was trying to listen to as much different music as I possibly could. It’s mostly about love, heartbreak and feeling stuck.
How did the track Leech get almost 200k plays on Spotify?
Leech has been on a few pretty cool Spotify playlists for a while which seems to be where we’ve gotten a lot of plays from. But other than that, I guess people like it!
On one of our favorite songs, opener “When the Sky Turns Blue,” we dig the crunchy guitar, overdriven bass, and effected vocals – were stompboxes used to get these tones?
For the lead guitar lick we used the Wolftone Helium Octave Distortion pedal by Malekko. For the bass tone we used a custom overdrive pedal that Chris had made, no idea what’s inside it.
Do you guys use your amps for distortion, or it’s just a pedal thing?
Live I keep my amp pretty clean and use a Malekko Diabolik Fuzz for distortion. The amp I use is a Music Man 112RD.
What guitars do you use and what’s their story?
I have a 1960’s Hagstrom SG 12 string. I saw the guitar being used for the first time at a King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard show and wanted one ever since. I scoured Craigslist and eBay for months until I finally found one. I had a friend drive me to Connecticut to pick it up from this dude, luckily he had kept it in perfect condition. I’m planning on getting the 6 string version whenever I have the money.
What other effects do you use (if any), and how?
I have a Wampler Spring Reverb pedal that I use for texture since my amp has basically no reverb. I also have a Boss RE-20 Space echo pedal. I use it for quick delay accents, swells and other crazy space sounds. Definitely my favorite pedal.
Are there any pedals out there you are itching to buy?
I’m pretty set on guitar effects but I would love another Boss Space Echo pedal for my vocals.