We first met Vlad Holiday when he was
the hotshot lead player with Jet Lag Gemini. Now he’s cranking
out big anthemic riffs and burning solos with his new band Electric
Sun. GP checked in with Holiday upon the release of the band’s
debut, The Gilded Cage, a catchy blend of pop-inflected melodies
and kick-ass rock guitar.
What were the top five most important pieces of gear you used
to make your new record?
My 1987 Gibson Les Paul Custom is definitely my number
one brush in the studio and out. I have a few Les Pauls,
but this one plays and sounds the best out of any I’ve ever
played. It has a Gibson ’57 Classic in the bridge and a Seymour
Duncan ’59 in the neck. My next important pieces
are Guitar Rig, Guitar Rig, Guitar Rig, and Guitar Rig. I’ve
always tried to be forward thinking when it comes to both
songwriting and sound writing. I’m a firm believer in
fusing technology with music.
How did you get that crazy, choppy tone in “Fuel to the
Fuzz, fuzz, and more fuzz. I layered a ton of different
amps, cabs, mics, pedals, EQs—all virtually—
and panned them all over the place to
fill a big amount of space. As I was writing
that riff, I literally began to chop the
sound waves as an experiment. What
happened was essentially a very intense
tremolo effect that comes in and out
before you know it.
If you had to do a gig with just five pedals,
what would they be?
My Korg Pitchblack tuner would
be essential. It doesn’t matter how
heavenly my tone is if I’m out of tune,
and tuning by ear is vastly impractical
and unprofessional in a live situation.
Next would be a Z.Vex Fuzz Factory.
Those things make some elegantly disheveled
chaos. I’d also need a normal distortion
pedal—cranked for solo boosts—a noise suppressor,
and a delay/reverb.
What’s the weirdest thing that happened to you on a gig
that you came up with an interesting fix for?
One time at soundcheck, my amp started telling me sports
scores. As much as my audience might be interested in the
game, I believe there’s a time and place for everything. We
ended up using guitar strings and aluminum foil in wizardly
ways to try to block out the radio interference from
my wireless system.
What do you hear other guitarists do that bugs you?
Although I definitely appreciate some tight, simplistic
soloing à la Mike Campbell with Tom Petty, I think people
should experiment more with playing away from the drums
and getting into your own zone. Guitar playing for me is
about finding the right balance of “loose-tie” and “formal.”