7Dust Interview Pt. 2: Clint Lowery Goin' Heavy

You can play a whole lot of shows in 18 months on the road. Sevendust have spent just about that long on their current cycle of tours, supporting their 2013 album Black Out The Sun and their 2014, fan-funded and all-songs-by-request acoustic studio album, Time Travelers & Bonfires.

Now into their final month of touring, hitting the U.S. South wrapping up a series of acoustic shows, the band is looking for a little break, a little time to spend with families and to chill out, or “mow the lawn” as guitarist John Connolly told us.

In this exclusive Guitar.com interview Sevendust guitarist Clint Lowery talks with us about his rig on the acoustic shows, his PRS acoustic and electric guitars, and his home recording rig. And if you missed it, click the link below to read our in-depth interview with Sevendust guitarist John Connolly too.

Guitar.com: So Clint, what’s been going on out there on the road? Are you having a good time?

Lowery: Yeah man! I mean it’s one of the things where we’re having to dig a little deep because we’ve been out for such a long period of time. We’ve been out on the cycles with Black Out The Sun, with Time Travelers & Bonfires -- the acoustic record. It’s been a good year and a half we've been out here.

I think we're at the point where we’re ready for a nice break, but at the same time the people who are coming to the shows, they keep us going. But we’re at that point where, it’s time to go home.

Guitar.com: Yeah. Eighteen months is a long time.

Lowery: Yeah. There have certainly been breaks between that but nothing extensive.

Guitar.com: John and I were talking a lot about the acoustic guitars and the live rigs and all that. And he told me about the recording sessions for Time Travelers, and the Martin guitars, and the way guitars were reacting to drop tunings. So what have you been using out there on those acoustic gigs?

Lowery: I’m endorsed by PRS and I use electric PRS and acoustic. And I use the  Angelus that PRS came out with, and they’ve been great. They’re pretty standard. As far as the low tunings you just accommodate that with a thicker string gauge. It just seems to hold tunings a little easier. It's finding that balance of good action and not having too much fight on the fretboard.

Guitar.com: What gauge strings are you using?

Lowery: On the acoustic tour, it varies. I don’t know the exact gauge. I use  a heavier gauge on acoustic, just a heavier gauge, pretty standard Ernie Ball stuff. I’m not even sure, to be honest with you, the exact gauges on the acoustic. Like I said they varied from medium gauge for the higher tunings to the heaviest gauges you can get. I'm not really sure the exact gauges. I’m the worst at that, man, I just tell the tech what I want…

Guitar.com: What do you do on your electrics?

Lowery: On electrics, generally I do… for Drop B-tunings, I'll do -- and I have my signature PRS that's out, and they actually ship that in the drop tuning -- and that’s a .056 on the low, .042, .032, and I think it’s a .022, a .013, and .011. And I vary that G-string between the .024 and .022. So that can go back and forth. And on the A-sharp tuning I’ll do like a .058 on the top and that’d be the only thing that would change.

Guitar.com: And what is in your pedal board for these acoustic shows?

Lowery: A GCX. I use a Ground Control. I basically run a very simple system, I don’t have all that much stuff. I’ve got a Phase 90, a G-Lab, tc electronic delay, tc electronic chorus. I have a Whammy, but I use a volume pedal for the expression of that because the Whammy is real sensitive and they get uncalibrated very easily. So for me it's been easier to use the volume pedal for the expression of that. I've got a hush unit in there to kind of keep the noise down and tight, and that’s pretty much it.

Guitar.com: John was talking to me about you guys having a love for delay pedals. Are you in agreement with that?

Lowery: Yeah, yeah I use quite bit. I'll just tap out the delay myself. You know it’s just always a good color to throw in when you’re doing counter-melody stuff.

Guitar.com: So what do you work on when you’re not on the road? I know that you’re going to be taking a break. What are you going to do? Are you going to lay off the guitar for a little bit? Are you going to sit down and start writing a bunch? You got a side project you’re going to jump into?

Lowery: First and foremost I’m going to take some time off to deal with my family. And then I’m gonna start writing some music about a month after I get home, every now and then, if I have a couple of hours during the day. I’ll get downstairs, set myself up, and just try to track any ideas that’ll come to me. I’m always kind of putting ideas down. Sometimes I'm gearing towards Sevendust, sometimes I’m gearing towards a solo thing. Sometimes I’m writing with other people, doing co-writes with other bands, and stuff like that. So you know the creative space is always open but I don’t generally utilize it as much, when I first get home. I try to break away from that so I won’t get burned out.

it’s just such a part of my life. I really enjoy it. It’s not like a thing I consider to be work. I think it’s an expression, and it’s fun for me to do it. It’s never a hassle to do it. I just always try to be weary of getting too exhausted mentally and creatively.

Guitar.com: Right. Do you listen to different stuff when you’re off the road, or when you’re home?

Lowery: It’s weird. I don’t listen to a lot of music. I listen to a few things, a couple of favorite things. There’s a couple of bands I’ll kind of really… If I’m feeling nostalgic, I’ll listen to some older stuff. I don’t purchase a lot of music. What I do listen to is stuff that’s completely different, to inspire me to think different and to branch out on what I’m comfortable doing. Some music you'll hear, and it just inspires you, you know? And you always want to keep your mind open.

Guitar.com: What kind of stuff would make you jump out of your comfort zone?

Lowery: Just different bands people turn me on to. I’m a huge fan of The Civil Wars, they're a duo with like a dark country kind of sound -- amazing harmonies. A guy and a girl. I just love that for vocal ideas.

And I listen to Nine Inch Nails for production ideas. And I’ll listen to super heavy stuff, like Meshuggah, and different bands like that to pull out the prog in me. And I'll listen to old metal. I’ll listen to just different things -- old Led Zeppelin. I love Jack White, he's pretty creative on how he does things.

I’m a huge fan of the Queens of the Stone Age and what they do. And just different things, all over the place. R&B -- I love R&B. There’s just amazing beats in hip-hop, and there's all kinds of elements in each kind of music. I don’t steer away from any of it.

Guitar.com: So you have a home studio right?

Lowery: Yeah, I wouldn’t call it a home studio. I've got a laptop, Apogee Duet 2, a mic, I got some great plug-ins. You know, just stuff that I can set up on my desktop and just roll with it. Yeah, it’s pretty cool. It’s my creative station, I like to call it, instead of a "studio."

Guitar.com: Do you have a favorite amp simulator plug-in?

Lowery: Man, it’s funny you said that. I’m a huge fan of the bx_rockrack, and Plugin Alliance. I love that. As far as the guitar plug-in, that's my go-to. I really, really enjoy it. One of my buddies turned me on to it. And Peavey's got a new one out there that’s supposed to be amazing.

Guitar.com: Have you tried it yet?

Lowery: No, I haven’t tried it yet. He just sent it to me. The guy who turned me on to the bx_rockrack turned me on to that. So I’m excited, I’m going to get it when I’m home and check it out.

They’ve really come a long ways for the guitar plug-ins. I’ve always been kind of irritated with how buzzy they sound, how simulated they sound. But they’re really making some leaps and bounds in that area.

Guitar.com: When you're looking at gear like that, do you kind of keep your eye on new gear, on new guitars, on new effects, and recording plug-ins, and all that, or do you just kind of go with what people turn you on to?

Lowery: I kind of go with what people turn me on to. You know I have a couple of people that tell me about stuff. I use everything at a very novice level. I’ll find what works for me and I won’t branch out until someone says “Man, you got to use this.”

My brother’s a pretty good engineer and producer and he’ll tell me honestly, like, “I know you’ll like this.” As long as it's simple and user-friendly for me and doesn’t take up too much time. I just like to get down to the writing aspect of it. I like to dial up a tone pretty quick. I don't want to spend hours there, and then I have a great tone, but I don't have a song. I'd rather have a song.

There’s certain areas where I wish I would kind of explore more. For me I just do what works. It depends on how much time I have. If I'm at home, I'll spend more time dealing with the sound.

Guitar.com: I know a lot of software programs no matter what you’re looking at, it’s just like, "I could spend the rest of my life learning how to use all these features."

Lowery: Yeah, oh yeah man it’s like a...

Guitar.com: I’d rather just get down to playing music. Can't I just plug it in and set it on this or that and play?

Lowery: Some people have time to spend eight hours. I got kids man. I can’t do it. I gotta get in there and get out.

Guitar.com: Yeah, yeah. Actually, my son’s just turned fourteen and he is a musician. So part of my motivation in putting together my new studio is trying to help him too. So it’s kind of like I want to put together a little bit better studio, and know what I’m doing, and I know he’s going to end up helping me because he’s that generation. He grew up with just nothing but digital, you know.

Lowery: Sure. He'll be teachin' Dad.

Guitar.com: Yeah, I’ll teach him some stuff, he’ll teach me some stuff.

Lowery: Yeah.

Guitar.com: Yesterday, I was checking out this product called the jamstik. It works with an iPad and stuff. And it’s like a little guitar; it’s got real strings, real frets. It’s only got a few frets but it works wirelessly. And the demos I was watching, they were using it to control like moogs… I guess moog synthesizer has plug-ins and apps. And they were doing some really cool stuff on the guitar that was going through the synth. So it was like, “Wow, that's interesting." I think I’m going to check that out.

Lowery: Yeah, that’s pretty cool man.

Guitar.com: The world is definitely expanding for guitar players.

Lowery: Yeah, and it’s just going to get crazier and cooler. And kids just stay on top of it, so they don’t get too far behind. That’s my problem. There's been all these different upgrades and I'm still trying to understand five upgrades ago.

Guitar.com: Yeah, I hear you. I hear you. So if you were just sitting at home after your break and then you want to just play, do you plug it in electric or do you play acoustic or what?

Lowery: It’s both. I go back and forth. Mostly electric when I’m home. I’m not a good acoustic player. I mean I’ll do it if I’m working on an acoustic project, I’ll do it obviously. But I really love electric and that’s what I spend 80 percent of my time doing, when I do play.

Guitar.com: I was mentioning to John, just looking through some dates and history of the band, I noticed that 2014 is sort of, in a sense the 20th anniversary of when this band got started.

Lowery: Yeah. I was the last to join. I was more into '95 but yeah it was around then. It's crazy.

Guitar.com: Well, it’s been a long time hasn't it? Would you have ever expected to be playing in the same band all these years down the road?

Lowery: I never thought... I think every day we're in existence we’ve beaten the odds of what we expected. It’s been really cool to survive this long and still be pretty happy doing it.

Guitar.com: And having fan support, the way you funded the acoustic disc, and to see their involvement, and to know exactly what songs they want to hear, how involved they really are. That’s such a cool thing.

Lowery: Yeah man, absolutely.

Guitar.com: OK. Well, hey man, I will let you get on with your day. Thank you so much for talking with us Clint.

Lowery: Oh you got it man. I appreciate the time. Thanks for hittin' us up!

 

Related Links:

Guitar.com Interview with Sevendust’s John Connolly

Sevendust Official Website

Sevendust on Facebook

Sevendust on Twitter

Sevendust on YouTube

Clint Lowery Official Website

Clint Lowery on Facebook

Clint Lowery on Twitter

PRS Guitars Website

PRS on Facebook

PRS on Twitter

Clint Lowery Signature PRS

PRS Angelus Cutaway Acoustic

Apogee Duet 2

bx_rockrack

Plugin Alliance

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