Half of the songwriting process is purely experimentation. What? What do you mean my favorite artist just totally wang my favorite song?
Well, we wouldn't say that it's completely mindless, but a lot of times, an artist depends on some good 'ol trial and error. A painter needs to mess around with water color and pencil to find that he or she loves acrylic. A writer needs to write a novel to find out that he or she loves poetry. A guitarist needs to try different pedals and guitars to discover what sound that he or she wants, and My Brothers and I
guitarist Jordan Roach does just that with his gear.
"When I want a sound I usually fumble around with what I have until I am satisfied with what I'm hearing," he told us. If you have an idea of what you want in your head but don't know how to make it - don't worry. It is completely okay to fiddle with different sounds until you reach the one in your imagination. And you can change it as much as you want. Roach seems to look at it as a fun benefit rather than a challenge and tends to change his sound merely based off of how he's feeling. "I usually change my settings every other night depending on the mood I'm in or the venue we're playing."
We asked Roach to go into depth about his favorite pedals, "I think the thing I change out most is guitar pedals. My favorite pedal is the Boss dd-6. Again, it's another pedal I've had forever so in retrospect I wish I had the dd-3 or another one with external tap tempo, but the reverse mode on this pedal is all over this album. It gives a bit more life to chords and solos without being too much up front. Another pedal I am still getting to know is the Ekko analog delay. For MB&I, the needed sound is to have something that pops, but also stays in the background. This delay helps give a little more 'something-something' to just single note melodies or chords that I play."
And as for his guitars, "I play live shows and recorded our debut album with the guitar that I learned on, which is a Schecter Diamond Series... I think I got it at Guitar Center for probably $600. I've always liked the classic sound of Fender Strats and Tele's like Clapton and Knopfler, but I like the diversity of my cheap Schecter. I can get a nice warm jazzy tone with my neck pickup or a clean sharp Prince sound with my bridge pickup. The other guitar I used for 'Don't Dream Alone' was a Gretsch. I wish I had a falcon or Tennessee Rose, but I have another cheaper GC one, the historic series. But honestly, I can find the tone I'm looking for with both guitars."
Listen to My Brothers and I's debut album, Don't Dream Alone,
below. The Portland-based indie pop act consists of brothers David, Erik, and Scott Wurgler, as well as childhood friends Jordan Roach and Johnny Iliyn. They recently followed up to last year's debut with a remix EP by Cathode, which you can stream everywhere now.