UTG INTERVIEW: A Will Away Talk ‘Bliss,’ Gear and Signing to Triple Crown

a will away

A while back, we had the pleasure of speaking with A Will Away at their Cambridge, MA stop during their tour with Pentimento. After being absolutely floored by their set, we spoke with singer/guitarist Matt Carlson and guitarist Colin Waldron.

In our time together we talked about re-releasing Bliss on Triple Crown Records, their gear preferences, and what’s next for the band. Be sure to pick up Bliss, one of our favorite releases of 2015 here.

So you guys recently signed to Triple Crown Records—how does that feel?

Matt Carlson: It’s crazy, it’s awesome. It’s nice that people are digging the record, it’s nice that Triple Crown are digging the record. It’s nice to be working with people who share the idea of what a good release should be.

Colin Waldron: I thought it was nuts. I listened to all those bands growing up. I never thought that something A Will Away released would be something that fits on Triple Crown Records. I am glad that it has actually happened.

Were you planning to re-release Bliss at all, or was that an opportunity that came around from Triple Crown?

MC: It was entirely because of Triple Crown. We put out the record, a couple of weeks after it sort of just snowballed. They contacted us shortly after that tour was over, and of course we wanted to sign to Triple Crown. It was cool; we got to have a level-headed conversation with Fred [Feldman]. He asked us, “What do you want to do?” We were definitely keen on keeping Bliss going.

So Bliss got the vinyl treatment?

MC: Yeah, it’s available on the Triple Crown site.

Bliss definitely has more shelf life, but what’s coming next?

MC: We’re writing a new record, we’re really excited about it. Bliss was a whole release in of itself, but this next thing is going to be, you know, the same, but it’s going to encompass more. We’re going to have more time to talk, more things to say. Taking a few months to do it, we’ll be able to piece together the best possible A Will Away music possible.

I hear you guys love using different gear. What amps are you using right now?

MC: Fender Supersonic 60-watt. I use the basement channel because it’s sick, and it’s all rock, man.

CW: I’m using a DeVille. Unfortunately at the beginning of the tour my head broke, so I am using an Orange 20-watt lunchbox amp; it’s doing okay.

MC: We’re doing a little bit of gear repair when we get home.

Colin, I saw you with a cathedral reverb.

CW: I don’t love it too much, but I keep it pretty dry, because it can really get away from you. I mostly use a delay pedal, the flashback, and a full tone overdrive.

Do you have a favorite pedal, Matt?

MC: My favorite pedal right now is the Catalinbread Super Chili Picoso—it’s a queen boost. It’s just a total machine. You turn it up, and anything below noon just busts out all your tones. Anything past that just slays. It drives the amp in such a natural way. It really just doesn’t color your tone at all, it just pushes. I love it. It was a random find; wandered into Guitar Center, and I saw it between the glass. I didn’t know what it was, so I asked. He gave it to me for 35 bucks.

And what are you using for guitars?

MC: I’m playing a Partscaster. It’s like a Frankenstein. It’s got part Strat, Goldtop 325 pickups, Squire vintage mod ’70s neck, which may be my favorite neck ever.

CW: It’s a custom shop. I bought it for like 190 dollars. It’s got noiseless pickups in it. They are cool, when you push them they don’t break up.

Now that you have Triple Crown behind you, do you have an idea on who you would want to work with on your next release?

MC: We think we’re going back to Gary Coiffi. We had a really good experience with him in the studio. We loved the way the record came out. I think where we are right now, we want to sort of see what we can do now that we are comfortable together. We have pushed each other back and forth a bit. We want to make something that is the culmination of us being comfortable with the space, each other.

CW: It’s funny, nothing is done in a standard fashion there. It’s more like, “let’s just see what sound we can get out of the room.” He doesn’t give up and I really love that about him.

How does your writing process go? Do things inspire you outside of music?

MC: Everything inspires us outside of music. Yeah, man. I think when we’re out here and we are touring, we are gathering experiences. We don’t write about things most bands write about. We don’t write the sad love songs, we don’t write the breakup songs, and if we do we’ll write a line in a song that has to do with a personal experience. I think because the fact that everything inspires us, I think everything, including this conversation at the table, can be turned into a song, and under the right circumstances might be. I think that as far as our influences go, we are just gathering information—people, players in the story. We are just gathering and piecing the story together.

To end, I’m curious as to what you guys are listening to right now?

MC: We listen to a lot of older music in the van. A lot classic rock. We’ve been digging Milk, the Better Off record, the new Pentimento record, Vacationer.

CW: Third Eye Blind’s self-titled.

MC: Bruce Cockburn, Somos.

CW: I would love to tour with Somos. We also dig Born Without Bones, a Boston-based band. I love their record, Baby.

*feature photo courtesy of Emily Tantuccio

Drew Caruso

Drew Caruso is a Bostonian who, when not writing about music and film, spends his time getting lost in New England, reading books, talking about science whether people want to listen or not, and more. To see the thoughts of a scientist by day and a writer by night, follow him on Twitter.
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