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Ume, 2014: (from left) Rachel Fuhrer, Lauren Larson and Eric Larson
There are keyboards on some of the new songs.
“Oh, yeah. I played a Fender Rhodes on a few things. I brought in a few textures, like an E-Bow – this is the first time I ever used one, so that was cool. There’s a little mandolin here and there. If it gets to a point where we can squeeze a couple other people in there, I’d love to add that live. And there’s a few guitar parts that I’d love to hear somebody else playing on stage. I hope we can get there. For the moment, we’re raw and bare bones.”
You played great on the first record, but it sounds as if you tried to up your game on the new one. The riffs and solos are more pronounced.
“I think we really just tried to capture what people get from us live. There’s always been a passion and an intensity that we bring to the show, so I wanted to make sure that was represented on record. I’m a very instinctual guitar player – I’m not trained; I don’t even know what I’m doing, really. [Laughs] I just wanted to make killer riffs and come up with stuff that was memorable.
“Also, working with Adam Kasper, he added a lot of clarity to the sound and the guitar parts. I’ve always been a very riffy player, but I think that’s been masked by a ton of reverb and other effects. Or my tone wasn’t as good as it should have been. With Adam, we just got the right tone from the amp. It was there from the get-go.”
Did Adam push you as a player? How did he challenge you?
“He wasn’t the type of guy who would ask me to change a riff or anything. With him, it was the opposite. I can be very obsessive about what I’m doing, and he’d be like, ‘No, you got it. It’s killer. Let’s step away from that.’ Vocals too – I’m the type who wants to do 50 takes, and he'd say, ‘Nope, we got it.’ His goal was to capture what was there and not change it and make it something it shouldn’t be.”
There are a lot of female guitarists, but there aren’t many players like you – girls who play mean, heavy riffs and leads. It’s still a predominantly male domain.
“You know, I’ve been playing guitar since I was 14 years old, and I've heard... It's hard sometimes. I've had people ask me if I'm the dancer in a band. They'd say, ‘Yeah, but girls don’t play guitar.’ I hope I can see the day when people aren’t surprised to see me with a guitar in my hands. It’s ridiculous to try to get into a club and hear somebody say, ‘The band already loaded in.’ It happens a lot still.
“I think things are changing, but there's still a lot of work to be done. There’s a lot of women out there playing guitar, but people have these preconceived notions about that. I’ll take the stage and hear snickers – ‘What’s this gonna sound like?’ They think it’s going to be a softer kind of thing – a folky band or a country band. But I like to shatter expectations. The goal is to get some jaws dropping in the first five seconds.”