Artist Interviews

Mendel bij de Leij

Guitarist Mendel bij de Leij has been playing with death metal band Aborted for the past 5 years. He's won multiple national awards, and raised the bar for the metal scene elite.

#1 – You have a lot of experience with amp sims and plugins, can you recall the first amp sim you ever played through? 

Hey! So here we go:

“ first “digital amp” in the computer was the LePou/Poulin LeCto Plugin”

If we’re talking about “ampsims” as in also counting the amp simulators out of the box; it was the Line 6 Guitarport back in 2003. These days i feel that the word “ampsim” means an amp simulator in the computer.

So my first ampsim “out of the box” was the Line 6 Guitarport as stated earlier, but my first “digital amp” in the computer was the LePou/Poulin Lecto Plugin.

#2 – Were you hooked after the first one or did it take some time to convince you that amp sims would be a big part of our future as guitarists? 

I never forget the moment i tried it, it floored me. By that time i was already a vivid user of the Line 6 PodXT, but that Lecto plugin convinced me instantly that the time has come that amp plugins would be the gamechanger next to Kemper and AxeFx.

#3 – Can you give us a small list of your favorite amp simsfrom over the years?

I loved the Line 6 PodXt and I love that LePoulin Lecto. Also Revalver from Peavey has a great JSX simulation. These days I really dig the NeuralDSP stuff, and Universal Audio has an amazing Savage 120 and Diezel plugin.

#4 – More currently, NeuralDSP has become a leading name in amp sims in a short time. As a NeuralDSP endorser, give us your thoughts on the Nameless, NTS and Darkglass plugins.

Both Nameless and NTS are phenomenal, I haven’t used it on a lot of rhythm tracks when mixing and mastering bands; but for leads and solo’s i dig it a lot. The Darkglass plugin is my fav, i can’t live without it anymore.

#5 – You are incredibly busy in the studio and on tour. Aborted released “Terrorvision” on Century Media in 2018 and you have your solo EP “The Blood, The Sin & The Djinn” that came out Jan 2019. Did you employ any amp sims or plugins on either effort or was it mostly the Kemper?

The rhythms on Terrorvision are all real amps, my solo tones on that album are from my Kemper.

The Blood, The Sin and The Djinn EP is all my Kemper using my own profiles from The Ultimate Profile Bundles.

#6 – Aborted has such a brutal yet seamlessly smooth overall guitar tone. In the studio, how do you and Ian Jekelis (Aborted – guitar) design your tones to work together as well as you do as guitarists?

On the album it’s Kohle who reamps our DI’s, and we can say if we like it or don’t. Live we’re both Mesa fanboys, so we use Mark V profiles from my bundle.

Besides all that, it starts with the playing. Not trying to sound like a egoboy here, but Ian and Me have an accurate and tight pick attack, which radiates into the tone.

#7 – Your leads and solos always cut the mix while carrying a really nice atmosphere and ambience to the tone. What sort of delays and verbs are you using to create those elements to the tone?

For my solo stuff my solo tone is “the vocal” of the song, so uppermids helps (1.2 khz slight boost). Delays and reverbs depends on the song, though sometimes i really enjoy Repeater from slate, that tape plugin from JST Tones and stock Cubase Ping Pong delay.

#8 – You switched to a Kemper for live use but which amps do you tend to gravitate towards when shopping for Kemper profiles? 

I don’t buy Kemper profiles anymore since i have my own bundles. But from that i really enjoy the Mark V and 5150 signuture (from bundle 1).

#9 – If you had to recreate your whole guitar tone with only plugins from guitar to post effects, how would you do it and which sims/processing would you reach for?

“(if I could make my own plugin it would be a) ..copy of the Mesa/Boogie Road King II, that’s the best amp on the planet..”

The chain would be:

LePoulin Lecto/The Nameless Suite or Diezel UAD -> UAD delay/Cubase Delay or SOAR from JST -> Pro-R Reverb

Before going into the Delay/Verb i’d eq some nasty freq’s out like 2-4 khz, and filter out the lows till 150 hz (talking about lead tone).

#10 – It already happens sparingly in the industry but do you think plugins will evolve quality wise to the point that guys will just tour with just a laptop an a FRFR monitor? 

Some guys are already doing it, and some guys never will: perfectly fine either way.

For me what’s most important is how it feels, and the Kemper delivers that feel: as does the AxeFx.

#11 – Say a company approached you to do a signature multi-amp type suite with pre and post gear. What sort of real life gear would you put in your suite?

It would be a single amp: the most perfect “real to ampsim” copy of the Mesa/Boogie Road King II, that’s the best amp on the planet besides the Mark V. Then a good screamer overdrive pedal with a mix knob for blending and then in post a good graphic eq, like Fabfilter and plus some good delays like Repeater and Pro-r verb.

Mendel endorses Carillion Guitars, SE Electronics, Elixir Strings, Winspear Picks, Steinberg/Cubase, ImpactStudios, NeuralDSP!

Mendel has been a favorite of ours for a long time here at HASR so we sincerely thank him for giving us the chance to talk tech and gear with him.

Check out Mendel’s jaw dropping solo shred projects or his incredible work with Aborted asap!! His new solo EP “The blood, the sin & the djinn” is incredible and you can get it right now on his bandcamp right HERE or follow the facebook, youtube and other links below!

Mendel Official Facebook
Aborted Facebook

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