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Monday, October 6, 2014

Dorian Sorriaux from Blues Pills

At Getaway Rock Festival (Sweden), I had the privilege to listen the Blues Pills playing the small stage inside "the gas holder". Blues Pills is a band with strong ties to the increasingly growing interest in the 70's sound. The band is growing their fan base, especially in Germany. The first one might be stunned by is Elin Larsson's amazing vocals, but behind her singing you'll find a very skilled band with a guitarist that we will hear more about in future. That I can guarantee. His name is Dorian Sorriaux and comes from France. 

Blues Pills started by something as rare as three members from three different countries, USA, France and Sweden, who met online sending files between each other. The band started in 2012, their common interest in 70's music has generated a band with influences from Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix and Cream without sounding copied. They recorded an EP, "Bliss", 2012 together without having even met in real life. Shortly after they started their touring.

Full-length album, "Blues Pills," came this year and totally rushes on the lists, especially in Germany, where it recently reached the 4th place on the record charts. That they are taking off right now is easily explained, they are simply an awesome band.

The new album is good, there is no doubt, but the Blues Pills is an unbelievable good live band. They ares dynamic and has a jamming interplay that makes their band a real "killer" on stage. A bit into the gig at Getaway Rock I realize that this is one of the festival's best acts.

Dorian Sorriaux's guitar playing is "classic bluesy rockish" and he is impressively creative in his playing. Along with the others you'll get a swing that is most comparable to the classic acts from the "past".

His solos are dynamic and melodic without losing "blues bottom" or flutter away. He plays softly layered with mixed "high octane gained screaming" when needed while he is restrained and controlled in other parts. A very interesting guitarist. Dorian is no savage on stage, he just stands there confidently and calmly and supplies.

It feels like the Blues Pills was born in the wrong time period. I know I may sound overly positive but Blues Pills are simply magical live. It would not surprise me if they enters the main stages at festivals all around Europe or America next summer.

I met Dorian before the gig to hear a bit about how he thinks and what he looks for when he develops his sound.

You started in 2012? 
Yes we started in 2012 but we had known each other since 2011, we had actually recorded an EP together over the Internet. I did guitar tracks in France and the songs as a whole was assembled in the USA, then Elin put the vocals on in Sweden. After that we really wanted to go ahead and meet up in Sweden.

Perhaps an approach that is becoming more and more common? 
Yes it is one of the positive aspects of the internet, people from different parts of the world can actually come together and do things.

Did you play the guitar parts in your computer? 
Yes, I did, in a program called Audacity, a real beginner's program. I had a small 18 watt combo that I plugged into the Harley Benton cab with two Vintage 30 that I "miked" with an SM58 and an SM57.

And your guitar? 
I used a Stratocaster that I colored with a Fuzz and I also had a Les Paul Custom that I borrowed from a friend. Along with the amplifier and the computer program, which was very "Lo-Fi", it became pretty raw, but I like it.

What stuff are you using now? 
At the gig tonight I use a Gibson Flying V Reissue, otherwise I mostly use my Gibson SG recently, one which I bought in Australia. A 1970 SG Custom.

I was just on my way to mention that, because it sounds like it is very SGish on the new album? 
Yes it is but also a -65 Firebird with P90s. Firebird is very easy to play and does not weigh that much. I like P90s best but the SG has the mini-humbuckers, which I also like very much. They are not as thin as a single-coil but not as fat as the regular sized. And I think it fits our sound good in Blues Pills where it is very minor chords and quite soft. At the same time they work good for solos, I think, at least for me.

So why are you driving a Flying V tonight? 
It is Zacks Flying V. The thing is that we flew from Lithuania with Lufthansa and the airline managed to mess up the mount on the neck. I played some gigs with it but it just got worse and worse. I'm getting it fixed now. Before I bought my SG I always played Zacks V live, and after playing the SG now for quite some time I thought it felt a little strange when I had to change back and play humbuckers again. But it sounds good, I think, but not as my SG of course.

String thickness? 
10-52 and we tune down a whole step.

Regarding amps, are you touring with Orange stuff? 
Yes we are running very orange on this tour, usually Rockerverb 50. I like reverb in that amp and it's pretty easy to quickly get a good sound in most situations. I use a newer model of the Twin Reverb sometimes but to get good sound in it, I must "crank" it completely and then it will be super loud and the guy always tells me to turn down, even at fairly large venues. I've  tried to turn it backwards instead but it did not solve the problem. With Rockerverbs it is easier to just plug and play even at fairly low volume, you don't have to push it to maximum.

So tonight it's the Orange Rockerverb? 
No, today I'm going to play another amp actually, an old amplifier made ​​in Italy called DNS. It was distributed by Hagstrom in the 70s and was a tube amp that was some kind of "copy clone" of the Fender Twin Reverb and a Vox AC30. It has a super nice reverb and tremolo is fantastic, and it is my absolute favorite amp. 70% of the record is recorded with the DNS.

When you developed your guitar sound, from who did you get inspiration? 
I like guitarists who play few notes actually. Peter Green, of course, Paul Kossoff from Free. Guitarists who played with gain, but not excessively so the guitar's character was still there. I'm trying to find a tone that is on some kind of medium gain if one can say so. I have however a couple of distortion pedals for my soloing.

Can you describe the best sound you strive for?
I think a tube amp that you run pretty hard just before it cracks up is the best. For distortion I use pedals, but mostly it is "the push" and "sustain" I´m looking for.

What effects do you use live? 
I use an MXR Micro Amp to get a little more gain, it is on through  the whole gig in the background. For solos I run a dist named Velvet Minotaur from Greece, which is actually a copy of the Clone Centaur. It is so very expensive so could only afford the copy.  It gives me that extra gain I need for my solos and it always works. I also use a fuzz, an octave-fuzz, called Tychobrahe. It's a very strange name, as a Frenchman, that is. Ha ha ha. Then I have a Cry Baby, of course, it´s an old one. I like it because it's easy to get started. I also have an old UniVibe that I run together with Fuzz and Wah, it produce pretty crazy sounds.  On the album the sound engineer changed the speed at the UniVibe while I was playing solos and it we  got very strange and exciting sound out of it. A little difficult to do that live of course ha ha ha.

What about the future? 
We've been very fortunate with the tour actually start from 2012, 40-50 festivals and in autumn we tour a lot. It is fun.

It will be interesting to hear you play you tonight. 
Thanks, looking forward to.

Thank you for taking the time to meet The Guitar Zombie, and hey: Avoid Air Baltic ... 
Ha ha ha. Yes "stay away from Air Baltic"

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