Formed eight years ago in Las Vegas, Nevada, Otherwise took the indie route for its initial releases before signing on to Century Media for 2012’s True Love Never Dies. The album put three singles in the Top 40 of the U.S. Active Rock chart—“Soldiers,” “I Don’t Apologize (1000 Pictures),” and “Die For You”—and its success paved the way for this fall’s Peace at All Costs [Century Media]. The band mixes catchy vocal melodies with sweet and feral guitar sounds, exploiting the “start softly, then rage like demons” dynamics of many current hard-rock- pop acts. In this case, however, Otherwise’s best songs are memorable, anthemic, and full of interesting guitar textures.
To achieve the diverse tones on True Love Never Dies, guitarists Andrew Pugh and Ryan Patrick deployed a candy store of gear, including an Epiphone Prophecy Les Paul Custom, several Gibson Les Pauls, Gibson SGs, a Gibson Firebird armed with mini humbuckers, an Orange Rockerverb 100, a modded Peavey 5150, a Marshall plexi 1959SLP, a Fat Boy 100-watt Classic, and a Rivera Knucklehead II. Pedals included an MXR Phase 90, an MXR 10-Band Graphic EQ, a TC Electronic Transition Delay, and a Dunlop Cry Baby wah. As primary lead guitarist, Patrick went through almost everything listed for his parts, and Pugh tended to stick with the Fatboy, 5150, Epiphone Prophecy, Gibson Firebird, and Les Paul Standard for his rhythm tracks. Both guitarists used .012 sets of Ernie Ball Not Even Slinky strings.
“We had sonic and compositional goals for the new songs,” says Patrick. “We agreed to strive for the cultural relevance of Rage Against The Machine, the brutal grooves of Pantera, and the sexiness of Stone Temple Pilots. Those bands inspired our path for Peace at All Costs. We even mapped out tonal responsibilities for the guitars. The Les Pauls were for the heavy riffs, and the Fire-birds and SGs handled the more delicate and intricate lead lines. In addition, we held on to the concept of ‘less is more’—which helped us become better players and tighter bandmates. We didn’t care about the speed or difficulty of a guitar part—we focused on how our lines made us feel.”
Patrick says one of the frustrations of being a pop-charting, hardrock guitarist these days is not getting respect for being musically worldly—even though his and Pugh’s influences include Eric Clapton, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Andres Segovia, Strunz & Farah, Thrice’s Teppei Teranishi, and the Vandals’ Warren Fitzgerald.
“We want to continually grow as musicians, but it’s tough to do when you are categorized as an Active Rock or Metal guitarist,” he explains. “Those styles come with a lot of limitations, so we constantly seek out guitar tracks throughout the musical landscape that will help diversify our abilities. We want to make sure that, one day, we will be considered inspiring and multi-faceted guitar players—not just metal guys.”