Greater Manchester indie heroes The Lottery Winners have had a massive year and still have a November tour to round it off. So far 2023 has seen the four-piece with a No. 1 UK album with Anxiety Replacement Therapy, headline tours, a triumphant Glastonbury set and a support slot with Morrissey. Next year they'll make even more new fans as special guests on an arena tour with Rick Astley, but before they become too massive for the likes of us, we jumped onstage with singer/guitarist Thom Rylance and guitarist Rob Lally to talk pedalboards and PJD electric guitars.
Thom is a big Boss fan with the OD-3, SD-1 and CR-1 go-to choices on the former's 'board. "I got this from a pawn shop in America when I was about 16," says Thom of his Super Chorus. "I kept the price tag on it because I thought it was well cool – it said $29, but you can't even tell that anymore. That's quite cheap for a Boss Super Chorus… $29 what a bargain!"
"I used to have a Bad Monkey on here," he adds with a wink. "But I sold it for a grand." His primary role as the Lottery Winners' frontman means he needs to keep his pedalboard small and manageable. "I've got a big box full of them at home but I just don't use them," he reveals. "I tried using a G System for a while but it was this big heavy thing I didn't need."
Rob's got a Super Chorus too, plus a DD-3, and he's a huge fan of the E-HX Micro POG (he'll probably like the new Pico POG too then) and calls it, "One of the best pedal's that's ever been made – it sounds so beautiful, like a church." His drive stack is a classic combo of TS-9 Tube Screamer and ProCo Rat.
"I like my classic sounds," he tells us but is looking to change out the Rat for being "too squeaky". "I want to change it to something like a [Zvex] Fuzz Factory or a Big Muff," he says.
But his favourite pedal on the 'board provides his "wobbles", and is an obscurity of sorts; the Rowin Roto Engine. "That's really cool – it's like a vibe pedal," says Rob.
Things get really interesting when we see the duo's guitars – with some custom beauties from the UK's PJD Guitars.
Thom's St John was inspired by a blues legend. "Our album's got daisies on it and I wanted it to look like the Buddy Guy polka dot Strat – I wanted it to look like that but with daisies on it," he says. It works well. "They should make a line of them and sell them," adds Thom. "And I should get 30% of the profits for coming up with the idea."
Pickups are a pairing of Bare Knuckle humbucker and P-90 on a guitar that's clearly impressed Thom, despite it having plenty of competition. "I've got a lot of guitars, me," he admits. "It's bad – I've got that disease where I can't stop buying guitars. Vintage Les Pauls, vintage Fender – Custom Shop and everything like that. Nothing is more reliable than this PJD. I just love it, it's so nice.
"There's a lot of care and attention that goes into making these PJDs, I feel disrespectful to be showing off without even a D-string on it [it broke and needed a replacement before the band's Bristol show that night]. But who even needs a D-string when you've got five others?"
Rob's got a PJD St John too. "I get asked so much about this guitar, more than any guitar I've ever owned," he reveals. "It's a nice beautiful pink, it's really light and it sort of plays and feels like a Telecaster but looks like a thing on its own… it's a stunning piece of guitar, and I love it to bits and wouldn't change it for the world, ever. You can quote me on that."