GUITAR SHOWCASE 2022: Alcest guitarist, vocalist and founder Neige is a humble pioneer – boldly exploring out from a black metal-based sound into ethereal realms that would see his music hailed as one of the pioneering forces of blackgaze.
Not that Neige is concerned by such tags – as we discover when we meet him ahead of Alcest's set at the excellent Arctagent festival in the UK, his gear is far away from anything one would associate with 'metal'. And considering the huge soundscapes Alcest create within their music, it's a surprisingly compact rig. There's lessons to be learned from that, and every component is vital…
TC Electronic PolyTune 3
“I am using the PolyTune because I think it is more precise and I can see the screen from afar.”
Bogner Ecstasy Red Mini Distortion
“Then we have my main distortion – the only one I am using. I am not a pedal nerd but I can say that I am a distortion nerd. I went through many many different distortions. I used a Friedman BE-OD. I used a Fulltone OCD. Both are great pedals. But I felt that this one was way more dynamic, and I really like the Marshall type of tone, very midrange-y.
“It is quite distorted, so if you are into more soft overdrive, I guess it is not going to be for you, but if you want a really amp-like distortion this is, for me, the best one on the market. I didn’t try the full extensive Red version – this is just a mini – but I guess it is just as good. And what I am looking for in my distortion is a really amp-like feeling.
“I don’t like Metal Zones and those types of pedal that really crush your guitar sound. I really want to keep my tone as authentic and precise as possible, and I feel like this pedal really respects the guitar’s sound, and really sounds like an amp. I get many, many people asking me, ‘So, are you using the distortion channel of your amp or is it a pedal?’ And when I said it was a pedal they were really surprised.”
TC Electronic Hall Of Fame Reverb
“I would not say it is like the best reverb pedal on the market but it works for me. I am always on the MOD preset because it has a little bit of a detune chorus type of sound on top of the reverb, and I think this pedal, when you tweak the effects button, and the decay is too high, it’s tough and it starts to sound a little bit plastic.
“But if you keep it low like this, it is just perfect. I really like this pedal. It is very easy to find. If, for example, if it stops working, I can find a spare one very easily.”
MXR M300 Reverb
“I just recently added the MXR Reverb, because now, sometimes, when I want a really super-spacey sound, I am turning on both reverbs at the same time, and, believe me, it makes a huge difference. If you have a super-long preset on this reverb for example, it is not going to be as deep as using another reverb at the same time.
“If you are looking for a really oceanic, super-ethereal Slowdive type of sound, try to use two reverbs at the same time. It is really, really cool.”
Boss DD-3 Digital Delay
“And then for the Boss Digital Delay. Pfft! It’s just… I’ve tried analogue delays. I’ve tried many things. But this one just works good for me.
"You can hear the repetition very well. It doesn’t colour the sound too much. It just works fine for me. I am not keen on looking for something more fancy than this.”
Rolls PM55P Personal Monitor
“This is for my vocals. My singing goes from there and I can control the volume on the small volume thing on my guitar strap.”
CIOKS DC8 Pedalboard Power Supply
“I think this is a really good one on the market.”
- For more information visit Alcest.