Birmingham young hopefuls Peace are one of the few British indie bands currently signed to a major label, and their acclaimed 2nd LP 'Happy People' is set to hit the Top 10 UK Albums Chart this weekend.
Is 2015 the year when indie guitar music makes a comeback? With the current success of Peace, and a few other indie bands gaining some attention, it might as well be so! If that's the case, then great, after all, we all missed some guitars in the charts!
Singer/ guitarist Harry Koisser and lead guitarist Doug Castle have a wide range of influences, from Pete Townshend and Jimmy Page to Brian May. Their sound, however, is typically what we call "indie": bright, jangly and effectively simple, but with added sonic layers that help creating an interesting guitar sound.
Peace's Doug Castle Guitar Setup
Castle's weapon of choice is the Stratocaster. He's been seem using a few different ones, with either rosewood or maple necks, so he doesn't really seem fussed about which, unlike some guitarists:
His guitar heroes are two notorious Strat players - Hendrix and John Frusciante, so it's no surprise he prefers this model... nor the fact he also uses a Cry Baby Wah!
To help him creating more atmospheric sounds, he used the classic Boss DD-3 Digital Delay Pedal, and two other delays: the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man and Memory Boy analog delays. Each delay pedal has a different setting and different purpose on his setup.
His current pedalboard includes: MXR Micro Amp, Boss CH1 Super Chorus, Boss Blues Driver, Strymon Big Sky Reverb and a Strymon Timeline delay, which seems to have replaced the Electro-Harmonix Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai he previously used. He also uses a Boss RT-20 Rotary pedal, for phasing / Leslie-style sounds.
Other pedals he has used include what looks like a Coloursound Tonebender Fuzz, plus the popular TC Electronics mini Polytune tuner. His amp is a Vox AC30, but he's also been seen using a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe 112.
Peace's Harry Koisser Guitar Setup
He uses two amps: a Marshall Bluesbreaker and a Fender Excelsior. Pedals he uses/used include MXR Micro Amp, Z-Vex Fuzz factory, what looks like a Boss Feedback/Booster, Electro-Harmonix Micro POG, Mooer Chorus, DigiTech Hardwire Reverb and MXR Stereo Chorus. He also uses a Jam Pedal Retro Vibe (a Uni Vibe style pedal). Other pedals we've seen on pics look like: Boss VB-2 Vibrato, Boss Harmonist, Boss DS-1 Distortion, T-Rex Reverb, Vox Delaylab Delay and a couple of Eventide pedals (probably the Space and Modfactor ones).
How To Get The "Indie" Sound Today?
Well, like in any musical style, different players will use different gear, but looking at the setup of current indie bands making waves, such as Peace, Bombay Bicycle Club, Circa Waves (pic above) and The Vaccines, it seems there's ONE simple formula to get the "indie sound" in 2015: it's all about bright-sounding combo amps like Vox or Fender, and single coil guitars like Fender Strats, Telecasters, Jaguars and Mustangs.
For a bit of punch, add a little bit of classic overdrive from a pedal like the Boss Blues Driver or an Ibanez Tubescreamer.
And, finally, add some (or a lot!) of Reverb and Delays here and there on your songs. Most indie guitarists these days seem to have one or more of those fx pedals on their boards!