|As they prepare to embark on OzzFest, the biggest tour of their very rapidly growing career, Chris Volz (vocals), Jason Daunt (guitar), and Lance Arny (guitar) of Flaw took time out to talk about their Kentucky roots and growing up on the road, among other things.
GC: You guys are from Louisville, Kentucky. What's the music scene like out there?
Chris: It's actually really good. There's really a misconception about Kentucky. Louisville is really not that small of a city. A lot of different styles of music are coming out of there like death metal, and of course, bluegrass to country to rock, even some good hip-hop acts. It's a larger city with a much slower paced vibe. So the people are a little friendlier and are not so rushed and hungry all the time. The one problem with Louisville right now is that since it is a big college town, a lot of the venues that showcase original music are shutting down because they're not drawing what they expect. Cover bands make good money, but there are only a few places left for original acts to actually play.
GC: Jason, what is it about the Ibanez that you like so much?
Jason: I've just always played Ibanez. The setup on the guitar that I use is just for me to do a lot of the scratching and the odd stuff. It's set-up perfectly, as far as being comfortable. Right now I'm using a Johnson Millennium for all my effects. I use some of the pods, the Line6 pods, I use for some little things on the album. A lot of DOD stompboxes.
Lance: Ibanez is great because of the seven-strings. Not a lot of companies make seven strings.
GC: Do you play acoustic?
Jason: Yeah, I do most of my writing and practicing on acoustics. A lot of the stuff on this album was written on acoustic guitar. I've been using Takamine's acoustics.
GC: You also play the keyboards?
Jason: Live, I don't use any type of keyboard. I sample everything that I'm going to use like that. In the studio, I used a Roland Loopbase. I've got one of the groove machine keyboards that I personally use when I'm working with ideas or coming up with little sequences. Acid loops. We try to keep keyboard to a very minimum. We use it just to enhance the little things.
GC: How do you guys decide who gets to play what part in what song?
Jason: We've never had a problem with fighting over parts. We're such radically different players that the parts will lend themselves to one style or the other.
GC: Your lyrics have grown from an observer of the world to extremely, extremely personal. What was it in particular that made you go that route?
Chris: I think it was a maturity thing. Over the years, as I learned more about myself, and I thought deeper about what I really wanted to do with music. It became clear to me that the only thing to do to give credibility to the metal world and the rock world was to be brutally honest. And not just for therapy for myself, but if it helps one or two other people out there realize that they're not alone and what they're feeling, then it's done its job. I remember how I felt when I watched "Purple Rain." I was really young, but I remember being so touched by the fact that his lyrics were personal. Music should be very spiritual, not on a religious standpoint, but because of the fact that it's a universal language. It doesn't matter what part of the country you're from or what culture you are or what language you speak, you cannot understand the lyrics and still feel music.
||GC: Do you have a preference for writing or singing?
Chris: No, there's really not a preference. I would like it if the lyrics and whole vision of the album stood out more than any one person. The whole way of dealing with confusion and dealing with loss as an adolescent and dealing with all the different crisis that kids go through growing up, most of them without good role models around them. If I can be remembered for anything, I'd like it to be for the words, for the lyrics. I think Flaw will be remembered for the most part as a unit. I don't think that people think of me when they think of Flaw. They don't think of Jay when they think of Flaw. They think of the music itself. If I could have it any way I would just like the music to stand for itself.
GC: Now that you guys are touring, do you guys have a home studio now just in case inspiration arrives?
Chris: We have a Roland DS1680. They discontinued that model. We have the CD burner. With the Roland we can do anything. We can input a guitar line and just record a guitar line. We can switch it up and put every piece together in there. We bring it on the road with us. And if anybody writes anything that we're afraid that we're going to forget, we put it into the 1680.
GC: What do you want in your dream studio?
Chris: Honestly, I'm happy with the 1680. I've never needed more than 16 tracks. And you've got like 100 virtual tracks after that.
GC: So moving from studio over to live, what are you using onstage?
Chris: I tried a Sennheiser wireless. I like Shure. I would probably say a wireless SM87 would probably be my pick of choice. But I'm waiting on an endorsement from them so I basically use whatever there is.
GC: Right now you guys are playing with Sevendust and have played with bands like Fear Factor. What have you learned as a band from these guys who have been around for a while?
Chris: You learn professionalism. We were used to being at the top of our local market. After getting signed and going on these big dates with Static X, and Mudvane, Cold and Dope and all that, it's really starting all over again because you have to build that base that you worked on locally, now nationally and worldwide. Seeing how they do it and how they cope with it and getting used to the everyday grind, doing a lot of press stuff and maybe having to rush on stage real quick and not getting a chance to eat lunch or something.
GC: Do you do anything to warm-up?
Jason: For me, the biggest warm up is that 30 seconds when I grab my guitar and I walk onto the stage, focusing myself, forgetting about everything else and allowing myself to just sort of do what comes natural. Hopefully that means putting on a good show and having a good performance every night.
GC: Do you or have you shopped at Guitar Center?
Jason: Yes. Guitar Center on Hollywood Boulevard is like heaven. That's the Mecca. I absolutely adore going there and hanging out. That's the best music shop I've ever been in in my life.
GC: We're always interested in hearing from a musician's perspective. Do we have the gear that you guys want?
Jason: Yes, that's the biggest thing. There's plenty of gear. There's a variety of gear. It's a music store that when you go in, they actually know what they're talking about and can help. If you go in looking for a particular sound, there will be someone in the store that can help you and point you in the right direction.
GC: What do you say to other guitar players or kids who are in their basements or in their garages?
Lance: I'd say just stick with it and stay dedicated and just keep doing what you like.