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Studio Series - Nathan Larson (Late Night With Seth Myers, Shudder to Think)

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Studio Series - Nathan Larson (Late Night With Seth Myers, Shudder to Think)

Aaron Rogers

Welcome back to the EarthQuaker Devices Studio Series! We caught up with film composer, Late Night With Seth Myers guitarist, and former member of Dischord's Shudder To Think, Nate Larson to chat about his creative process and how he uses EQD pedals on a variety of sources for gigs in movies, television, and rock and roll.

Do you use EQD pedals during tracking, mixing, or both? If both, roughly what ratio?

Almost entirely during the tracking phase. I love to commit to a sound and just roll with it. Most of these photos are in my studio in Harlem.

What are your favorite EQD drive/fuzz pedal combos when tracking guitars? Which dirt pedals do you feel pair well with particular guitar/amp combos or certain styles of music?

This was my '67 Tele played through these pedals direct into an Avalon preamp, no amp. I would have the Talons on at all times, creating the basic tone...then I would use the Pitch Bay and Bit Commander as needed.

The Talons is so versatile I'll use it anywhere. The above photo was my pedal board in the early days of the Seth Meyers Late Night show, which also included the Grand Orbiter, and the Disaster Transport Sr.

I also had the Hoof Reaper in the chain but the show's producers couldn't handle the rock so I was forced to sideline it. In this case I played a '70s Guild S-100. This would all run at a very low level through a reissue Orange amp.

Another situation in which I used the Talons in a pretty unexpected context was tracking guitar with the Little Steven produced Darlene Love record.

It ran through the mid 60s blackface Fender Princeton Reverb. Very surprised that this pedal was able to communicate a kind of very slightly pushed Stax kind of sound. That pedal is spooky.

What other electric/electronic instruments or sources do you use EQD pedals with, and what are your favorite applications?

I've used the Cloven Hoof pedal with my old Prophet 5 synth to generate a kind of Suicide organ plus bass sound. It was perfect.

Also used the Spatial Delivery with an old Korg Lambda string machine (in addition to a Fulltone Tape Echo and a Digitech Whammy pedal) to make a freaky string pad.

One of the nuttier combos: this can be heard on the score for the film The Skeleton Twins - a Teenage Engineering OP-1 going through a Rainbow Machine, a Pitch Bay, and the Arpanoid.

Do you have a favorite outboard chain you like to pair them with?

When recording keys or guitar for film scores I tend to go direct through an Avalon 747 into a Distressor.

What has been your favorite standard "bread and butter" sound you've gotten from an EQD pedal? Are there any that have retired or semi-retired old favorites for the same application?

I can't overstate the usefulness of Talons. Also for anything ambient the Afterneath has got to be in there.

What has been your favorite crazy sound you've gotten from EQD pedal? Are there any that have made their way into well-known releases that you can share links to?

Here is exactly the chain I used on the whole score for HBO's Show Me A Hero. This was recorded in Europe so I had a different set up (though it's telling that I brought the Afterneath pedal with me 'cuz I wouldn't think of not having it available). As you can see, in addition to the Afterneath there's three excellent Mr. Black pedals, the Dark Echo, the Supermoon, and the Eterna. I played a 70s Gibson 335, again recorded direct.

Two other setups in more recent projects: Arpanoid, Pitch Bay, Tentacle, Interstellar Orbiter, and this custom made cassette echo called the "Space Case."

I had the Levitation around too but used it more in this configuration: Roland RE-201 Space Echo, thru a Neve strip that I would push and overdrive, then the Levitation pedal.

Which 2 EQD pedals do you use the most overall, and what would you typically use them on?

By far the Afterneath, and the Talons pedal. They're just so incredibly fucking great.

What do you think is the most overlooked or underrated EQD pedal, and what do you like to use it on?

I think the Hoof Reaper is fucking slaying. It's so extreme. I don't think it's overlooked but it's probably under-utilized.

How much energy does this lend to your process?

Tons. Thank you for making these works of art and for the steady stream of inspiration!