Artist Interviews

Luke Gallagher

#1 – You have a considerable amount of content on your YouTube that showcases amp sims. Which was the first one you ever tried?

You have a considerable amount of content on your YouTube that showcases amp sims. Which was the first one you ever tried?

The first time I was exposed to modelling was at university when I was learning how to record using garage band for the first time. I found you could plug a guitar into an USB interface and just use a garage band amp with a plugin. I wasn’t that impressed with the tone but the idea was incredible and fascinating. I was never quite happy with owning just one amp as it limited me when working on multiples genres of music authentically…Plus I couldn’t afford having a large amount of amps.

Since then, what products have really grabbed you as far as amp sims and plugins go?

After my first experience with Garage Band amps and moving to Logic Pro amps, I discovered Native Instruments Guitar Rig 5 after reading about Phil Collen from Def Leppard using it to record at the time. I was instantly hooked with how much I could do with the plug in and how versatile it was. I used it regularly for a really long time even though it wasn’t perfect to my ears. I was willing to sacrifice that slight digital sound for versatility. Guitar Rig 5 Sounds great in a mix.

After Guitar Rig 5 I moved onto my first big step into the modelling world with the Fractal Audio Axe Fx2 which changed my life. Not only did I have the largest collection of amps and effects for my needs, but I had a complete sounding imitation of the things it replicates. It was by far a life changer for me and I realized why people I love like Metallica, Megadeth, Avenged Sevenfold, Keith Urban, Paul Sidoti, Vai, Satch, the Edge and so many more love it. I have since moved to the Fractal Audio AX8 for portability.

I also work with Mercurial Audio amps because after trying their products, I was so surprised that I could get a lifelike amp sound from a plug in and it would all be within my mac with no hardware. I was used to plug in’s having a certain mid range digital sound that you couldn’t escape until I heard mercurial amps. I am a huge fan of the U530 and SS-11X for the style of music I play.

There’s a feeling out there that amp sims and digital gear in general can’t pull off vintage or modern tones for country, blues, jazz etc. If you had to recommend one product to change their minds, which one would you throw out there?

I’d recommend Fractal Audio. I always see music gear as a tool in order to build something. I’ll bring up whatever plug/modeller I have and just mess with the settings until it gets close to what I envision in my mind. If I’m tweaking for too long and not finding the sound I’m after, I’ll move onto something else. It’s not that the plug in was bad, it just didn’t have a use for what I needed. I also never read the ‘suggested use’ labels. For example, the Mercurial Audio U530 isn’t necessarily a country amp but after playing around with all the settings I got the exact sound I was after. Nothing is a one size fits all when it comes to plugins. You have to craft it. Not even a real amp is a one size fits all situation unless you’re playing 1 genre.

What sort of processing plugins do you use during mixing and generally how do you set up your FX chain?

I use stock logic plug ins for mixing and throw a limiter on the end.

The majority of the guitar track is mix ready with plugins anyway so I don’t do anything in post besides limiting and panning.

Everyone has players that influence their own tone and style. Who are some of the players that have been an influence on you?

Some of my biggest influences haven’t only been mainly guitarist but musicians in general. Dave Mustaine, Mutt Lange, Brent Mason, Danny Elfman, Brad Paisley and Dann Huff.

Country is obviously a favorite of yours but what other bands or styles are you into? Is there anything that might surprise your fans ?

I love new Taylor Swift, Coldplay, Pantera, Megadeth, Bryan Adams, Def Leppard. Bit of a mix.

It seems every great country singer has been backed by a real good band of session players, who are some of the names in Nashville that you’d love to back up?

I’d love to play for a modern pop act like Taylor Swift, Smithfield, FGL, Lady A, Kelsea Ballerini etc. I love playing intricate studio parts. If I was to answer your question with Brad Paisley or Keith Urban, they kind of have the guitar side covered I think aha.

Your playing is always so relaxed and fluid in your videos, what advice can you give to players that struggle with nerves while making their own videos?

Thank you. Obviously you have to be confident enough with the song before recording a video otherwise you won’t be relaxed and it’ll show on camera. Whilst I see myself as a perfectionist, I try to just keep uploading stuff and to not be too precious about it. I’d tell struggling players to just have fun, know the song well and keep releasing videos. You learn what to do and what not to do with uploading experience. I’ve also never really been good at a lot of things in life besides music so I feel fairly confident at it. It’s all I do so its natural to me.

Do you play live a lot? What does your live gear setup entail?

Here in Western Australia I do about 3-4 gigs per week. The majority of the gigs are acoustic cover gigs or full band cover gigs. I use my Fractal Audio AX8, couple of tele’s and a super strat. A cover band guitarist has to cover a lot of content and styles quickly so modelling is really the only smart way if you’re addicted to replicating parts like me. It wouldn’t be satisfying for me to rock up to the gig with one amp for an entire cover set.

As a young guitarist, what are your aspirations for the future?

Moving to Nashville very soon to live and make a steady enough income playing music to support myself and any future commitments. Anything else is bonus.

It was a pleasure talking gear with this fella right here! He is as nice as they come and we couldn’t be happier! Luke is going to be a player we will be keeping an eye on. Nashville always has some incredible young players coming up the session player ranks and I expect Luke Gallagher is going turn a lot of heads in Music City USA!!

Hit up all of Luke’s links below to support him on his road to Nashville!! 

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