Over the course of their 14-year career, Silversun Pickups have slowly injected their fuzz-heavy alt-rock with a fortifying dose of electronica, but frontman Brian Aubert's vocal snarl and inventive, effect-loaded guitar textures have been the electrifying constant.
Fourth album Better Nature takes an altogether dreamier approach to proceedings, with big pop hooks aplenty and a UK tour in the offing. Before Brian packed up his flight cases, we quizzed him on lost loves and cult heroes…
1. What was your first guitar and when did you get it?
"I had a real cheap classical acoustic that had no name. Whatever brand name was once on it was wiped clean by the time my little hands got it. I was seven years old."
2. The building's burning down – what one guitar do you save?
"My '94 Epiphone Sheraton. My Firebird is going to be pissed about this!"
3. What's the one effects pedal you couldn't do without?
"My Boss DD-3. I use it like percussion..." [Carnavas's Checkered Floor being a fine example - FX Ed]
4. Is there a guitar, or piece of gear, that you regret letting go?
"The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame had my '98 Jaguar for a while. I missed it and now it's back..."
5. When did you last practise and what did you play?
"Our last practice was a soundcheck before a show. We played Tapedeck, Pins & Needles, Circadian Rhythm and Cradle."
6. Is there an aspect of guitar playing that you'd like to be better at?
"Honestly, all of it. The more I go on the more I realise I know nothing!"
7. If you could have a guitar lesson from one guitarist, dead or alive, who would it be?
"Nels Cline. I don't want him to tell me anything. I just want to watch him..."
8. What item of gear would you take with you to a desert island?
"Probably that cheap classical I mentioned earlier."
9. What's the worst thing that's ever happened to you onstage?
"I fell off of it!"
10. What advice would you give your younger self about playing the guitar?
Silversun Pickups tour the UK in November:
Sun 6 Nov - Leeds, Wardrobe
Mon 7 Nov - Birmingham, Institute 2
Tue 8 Nov - Manchester, Club Academy
Wed 9 Nov - London, Electric Ballroom
Thu 10 Nov - Bristol, Thekla