Artist Interviews Heavy Month

Interview – Jake Kiley

Strung Out’s Jake Kiley has been one of the best players in the skate punk world for a very long time. This guy right here has influenced me as a player and songwriter for a long time so this was a pleasure!

#1 – Strung Out’s trademark guitar tone is very present across all of your releases but one of my favorite guitar tones ever recorded is the tone on “Twisted by design” (FAT Wreck 1999). Can you recall the rigs used on that album?

Thank you very much! On that album we used a mix of an original Peavy 5150 and a marshal valvestate. Most likely used our Mesa boogie cabs, and we were using ESP guitars at that time. 

#2 – Speaking of that trademark tone, how have you and Rob (Ramos – Guitar) gone from EVH, Mesa Boogie to Marshall and other brands and managed to keep that unique Strung Out tone dialed in?

There’s definitely a big difference between all those amps, but it’s mostly all in the way you play. I generally set my mids pretty low, high and low at about 6 and gain anywhere between 4 on a EVH to 8 on a Marshall. 

#3 – I have been seeing a Kemper profiling amp on your side of the stage in recent live videos, is this for good or just something you are trying out? Also, on the same note, how are you powering the Mesa Boogie 412?

Yea been using the kemper live for about the last year, I love it! I’ve been using a Mesa preset that I’ve added a tube screamer and compression and stuff from the effects bank and it sounds huge! I just love the simplicity of it and it’s super low maintenance. I have the powerhead so I just plug right into a 4×12.

#4 – Having switched to the Kemper, I have to ask, have you had the chance to try out any of the incredible amp sim software out there today?

No I got the kemper as a gift and it’s been my only experience with that world of amps. 

#5 – It was announced that Strung Out was in the studio in January, did the writing process differ with new drummer RJ Shankle?

Yea just finished up the new album a few weeks ago, it’s was a really great experience! RJ brought in a whole new world of inspiration and we all pushed ourselves really hard, but had one of the most fun sessions too.

#6 – What can you tell us about the rigs used for the guitar tracking on the new record?

We had two EVH 5150s in there, an original and a stealth, a bogner, soldano and a diezel vh4. Pretty much went between them all depending on what the song called for. 

#7 – Metal and punk together hasn’t always been so common. What was it like trying to break into the California punk scene as a metal influenced band?

In the early 90s there was definitely a stigma towards anything that looked to be a carry over from the 80s metal scene, but we really didn’t care. I figured a good way to stand out from other bands like us at the time was to embrace the metal in our backgrounds and not to worry about sticking to any rules. These days no one cares what you mix up, so that’s a good thing.

#8 – That same metal influence from you guys, Propagandhi, Lagwagon and others paved the way for so many other punk rock bands to embrace their metal roots or just pursue a heavy style. Who are some of your personal favorite metal-influenced punk rock bands?  

RKL, Pennywise, Suicidal tendencies, Sick of it all, Excel.

#9 – 30 years is a long time for any band to keep rocking at all but you guys haven’t skipped a beat or lost a single step, how have you guys kept the band and material so strong for such a long time?

Thank you very much! I guess we just really enjoy playing and writing the music we do, it’s never felt forced or inauthentic, we just want to top the last album we’ve made. 

#10 – With the upcoming release of the new album, I would imagine Strung Out will be very busy, what are the plans for the near and not so distant future?

Absolutely! We’re looking at getting it out late summer and touring everywhere we can off it, we love getting to do this so much, thank you to everyone who has supported us and allowed us to do this for so long!!

Strung out have been dear to me for 25+ years and I can say they don’t even have one album that I am not a huge fan of. I have always gravitated towards the heavier, faster and more technical punk rock bands so Jake and Rob’s playing have always been a huge influence on me. Strung Out sounds like no other band and their guitar tone is equally unique. Check out everything they have to offer in the links!


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