Grouplove on Bringing the Studio to the Stage

Grouplove’s guitarists Christian Zucconi and Andrew Wessen have been busy of late.
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Grouplove’s guitarists Christian Zucconi and Andrew Wessen have been busy of late. They sold out their last headlining tour in support of their record Spreading Rumors, and kicked major ass at Coachella and Bonnaroo, as well. They’ll be headlining the Honda Civic Tour this summer and fall in addition to making appearances at Lollapalooza and Outside Lands. (Fun fact: Grouplove’s drummer/producer, Ryan Rabin, is Trevor’s kid.) Zucconi and Wessen explained a bit about what they need to take their show on the road.

Some of your tunes, like “Borderlines and Aliens,” have intricate, interlocking guitar parts. What gear do you need to recreate those guitar sounds? Is it tricky to give those parts the space they need while still making room for the vocal melody?

Zucconi: I just need my fingers to be working and both my overdrive and distortion pedals to be on. It’s super dirty but not too broken up, as it needs to cut through. When we first started playing this song, it was strange to play that line and sing at the same time because they contrast so distinctly. After a while, though, you get used to it and things fall into place.

Are you playing “Shark Attack” on tour? How do you like to amplify acoustic guitars? What’s your live acoustic rig?

Zucconi: We do play “Shark Attack,” and it’s been going off. That’s another song we amped up a lot more live than on the recording. I’ve been playing a pink Fender Sonoran acoustic, which sounds and feels awesome. I love the headstock look as well. I run that through a Fender Vaporizer amp, which sounds warm and is really simple to use, which I like. I run my acoustics through my pedalboard just like my electric guitars. I use a Way Huge Green Rhino overdrive and a Way Huge distortion pedal.

“Raspberry” has a crazy guitar solo. How did you record that and how do you pull it off live?

Wessen: It was one of the last days before the record was going to be sent off to be mixed and I thought it would be fun to try something in that space. It was literally the first take I did warming up. Afterward I said, “Okay, I’m ready now,” and Ryan said, “That was it.” When playing it live I just mirror what I did in that take. I look forward to playing that solo every night.

Has any song on this record changed drastically from the studio recording to the stage? If so, how and why?

Zucconi: “Ways to Go” is the most drastic. On the record we came at it from a strictly electronic vibe, which we had never done before, and it was a lot of fun to make. When we started playing it live, it just didn’t translate electronically, so we brought in guitars and drums and reinterpreted it. It rocks a lot harder now and is a definite highlight of the set.

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