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The Vaccines guitarist Freddie Cowan is having a busy year.
Farida has launched his retro-fied signature model and, as he reveals here, the next Vaccines album is nearing completion and could take the London indie four-piece to a new level…
We recently caught up with Freddie via long-distance call to New York, where The Vaccines’ guitarist is writing for the band’s third album, due out later this year.
His Farida signature guitar has also recently launched and tthough he’s no tone hound nor gear snob, Freddie is a thoughtful user of guitars, amps and effects.
He knows his stuff, but you suspect any gear talk down the pub would steer clear of brain-numbing minutiae such as serial numbers.
Who were your early guitar influences?
“Initially, I was into the usual suspects. I liked a lot of blues, I liked a lot of John Lee Hooker, Lightning Hopkins, T-Bone Walker, then Wes Montgomery. But then, as I got older, I started to respect the people who played for the song rather than being their own soloist – people like Bernard Butler and bands like Bow Wow Wow and the B-52s, PIL, Joy Division andNew Order…”
You’re often associated with Strats…
“A Strat is a very personality-less guitar. It has its own distinctive sound, but you can really make it sound however you want it to sound. And the same thing with amps, man. Vox AC30s, old Fender Deluxes, just things that are very simple and don’t get in the way of the music – because it’s all secondary to the music, that stuff.”
How has your taste in guitar gear changed over the years?
“When I was younger, I was more into Orange amps and stuff that’s a bit heavier, but I realised that simplicity comes first, so I’m always trying to cut down. Now, when we go out on tour, I’m using about half the equipment I used to use.”