The King’s Feast Talent Search: TTK sits down with the March contest winners Wishpool.
Wishpool is a band with something to say. A message of optimism pervades lyrics melodically delivered over hard-hitting rhythms and string-shredding solos. It’s not surprising that this Syracuse band has a strong following that propelled them to the top of The Tone King’s list. Although with subtle hints of influence from bands like Sound Garden, Alter Bridge, The Cure, and Dream Theater, Wishpool commands a sound that’s completely their own.
TheToneKing.com had a chance to sit down with the band to discuss their new album Tabula Rasa as well as gear, their fans, and how even in uncertain times like these, there’s always the hope that we can all come together and rebuild.
TTK: Congratulations on winning the King’s Feast. A lot of your fans came out to vote for you guys. They seem really dedicated. How does the dedication of the fans help drive Wishpool?
Thom: They always come through for us. And, for this, they came out in force.
Adam: Without the dedication of the fans, Wishpool wouldn’t exist. It’s that simple. We live to play this music for the people who love it. Otherwise we would have never gotten out of the basement.
Andy: They are everything. What could be better than people singing along to your songs during a live show? We even had one guy YouTube himself singing along with one of our songs off of Resurrected!
TTK: I was listening to your tunes while I was working on the questions for this interview and my internet crashed. Is this part of your plans for world domination?
Thom: Absolutely. See what you don’t realize is that it crashed due to the rush of awesome that was coming through the speakers. It shut down so it could absorb and reflect on its experience with a brush of “WIN” that powerful (Laughs deviously)
Dustin: That and getting chuck Norris on our side and it’s all over!
Andy: Dave…what are you doing Dave…
Andy: Jim Morrison, Chris Cornell, Bruce Dickinson, John Lennon, and Ian Astbury.
TTK: Your song Find Me a Place is a song that really showcases your dynamic abilities. The song has that punch while keeping a melodic hook. How do you guys write your songs?
Dustin: A lot of different ways to be honest. But the best songs, like Find Me a Place, starts when I can take a Thom riff and mash it together with my ideas or the other way around. It’s great when we are all bouncing stuff around.
Thom: (Laughs) Yeah. What he said. We would like to thank any guitar store that has let me and Dustin jam for hours without buying anything.
Andy: It was Thom and our previous Bassist who came up with that concept. It describes this new album and sound because we really started as a new band with only two of the original members – me and Dustin.
Thom: The title itself has come to take on many different meanings to us as we were writing, recording, and gigging. The album itself came at a time when we were trying to change our whole vibe as a band. So, this album was literally a clean slate.
As we were recording it, we started talking about making a theme. How we feel America is lost. It doesn’t know who it is any more. All the suffering and pain and disillusionment that we as a nation are going through is pervasive. Even in all this darkness though we have a shot to rebuild, a chance to inject meaning and hope from this blank slate. So, we wrote songs we feel illustrated all that anger and confusion but also the hope.
Also Dustin and me are giant fans of Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Firefly fame) and he has a ton of episodes named “Tabula Rasa.”
TTK: Thom, your solos on We The People and Find Me a Place both cut through the mix without feeling like a knife in the ear. What kind of gear do you use?
On the record, I used my Warrior Guitars Isabella (‘Bella’) w/Duncan ’59 in the Neck and a JB in the bridge for all my tracks. I had just started my endorsement with them and the baby did an excellent job. JD over at Warrior is an incredible builder and an even more amazing man. For Amps I used my 6505+ with the clarity mod and one of Andy’s (our singer) mods in conjunction with a Randall RH 50 T for my rhythm sounds. For solo’s it was all 6505+. We used Dustin’s Mesa Road King cab and my Peavey Windsor cab (vintage 30’s) As far as pedals: Morley Bad Horse (1) Wah, Boss Super Chorus and a Guyatone MD3 delay.
Live, I use “‘Bella” and my new Warrior Guitars Isabella named “Roisin.” For amps it’s all my Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster. For cabs I got an Artist deal with Port City amps for the OS 2×12 with Celestion 100 watt speakers. These cabs are ridiculous! The two-twelve can bury any four-twelve. The design and the looks are flawless. Can’t say enough good stuff about them. Dan over at Port City is a genius. I use the same pedals as in the studio with one addition the Hardwire Delay looper pedal. I keep that in my effects loop for clean sounds and some spread on solos.
Evan: I think its safe to say I’ve always had a pretty bombastic approach to the drums, and I think people respond to that kind of rhythmic enthusiasm. As for tempo it’s really just a matter of making friends with the click track, which is definitely a long-term relationship. It’s tough being the guy who always goes first in the studio, there’s less time for reflection than with the guitars or vocals. With Wishpool, the drums are often an extension of the guitar parts, like with many of our verses that are designed to be very focused and cohesive.
TTK: What kind of kit do you use?
Evan: I play a Gretsch Maple 5 piece I got right when a new model line was introduced and quality was high. I’m a dual floor tom jazz set-up type player, which I think encourages a harder hitting style. I’m a big fan of the sound that my Zildjian K Hybrid ride brings to my kit, and it definitely works for the band!
TTK: Adam, you just joined the band. Are you planning on playing all of the bass lines exactly how your predecessor did on Tabula Rasa?
Adam: After playing several gigs with Wish Pool live I can honestly say that I have varied many of the bass lines from Tabula Rasa. Many of the riffs doubling the guitars obviously have remained the same; however, my goal is to add a solid rhythmic foundation with Evan to give Thom, Dustin, and Andy freedom melodically during our live performances.
TTK: What’s in your bass rig?
Adam: I play on a Fender Deluxe Active Jazz Bass (Mexican), a Little Mark Tube 800, and a Mark Bass 2×15 Cab. I also have a Boss GEB-7 that I use to change my tone.
TTK: Dustin, your rhythms on the album are really tight. Some rhythm guitar players will try and lock in with the kick drum and some will keep their tempo based on the high-hat. How do you manage to stay in the pocket?
Dustin: Ever since Evan got in the band we just clicked. He knew everything I was looking for when coming up with riffs, and he is so all over sometimes I can’t lock in on just his kick or high-hat. I would say it just locking in on his energy
TTK: The inevitable question now falls on you. What gear do you use?
Dustin: Ah, gear. I love gear! For the album I used a Carvin MTS that Andy had moded to get that rectifier sound and we mixed it with a Peavey 6505 and Mesa cabs all the way. Playing live now I have a Mesa Road King 2 head and Mesa cabs. Guitars, I use Schecter guitars with EMGs. I got a hotrod 39 that I love!
TTK: Wish Pool’s new album “Tabula Rasa” is dropping in may. Any touring plans?
Andy: Absolutely! Thom is our resident tour manager and gig prostitute. He is digging up some great tour opportunities.
Thom: Got a tour planned first two weeks in July with Convey and My Own Accord. It’ll be mostly in the NY, MA, VT, PA, NH area and we hope to see everyone there. I even hear the Tone King is coming to see us in Brooklyn (Laughs) You can check out more dates on our myspace or at our website www.Wishpooband.com.
- Andy Hathaway – Vocals
- Dustin Koval – Rhythm Guitar
- Evan Figel – Drums
- Adam Merki – Bass Guitar
- Thom Turner – Lead Guitar
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