SueCity Talks Gear and Their New EP High Heels
SueCity may soon be one of Minnesota’s most conspicuous stage blazing bands, with a combustible live show that puts most firework displays to shame. In preparation for the release of their new EP (High Heels) this Saturday evening at the 400 Bar, we snagged a second to bounce several choice questions off SueCity guitarist Justin Peterson and singer Symon Polley.
Skelly: This is SueCity’s second EP release in the last year or so. Any plans on getting into the studio to produce an LP, or are EP’s where it’s at?
Symon Polley: Great question, we have no plans to do a full length anytime in the near future. With the rise in digital music it’s apparent that people no longer buy full albums. They are usually more likely to buy individual songs or even a small number of songs at one time. We found it easier to sell a few songs to someone who has never heard you for a few dollars than a whole album for more. We also like the idea of generating constant buzz. I certainly don’t like having to wait a year or more to hear the next album from a band I like, and sometimes I even forget about them until then. The idea is to keep content flowing (less songs more often) so we can keep fans interested and hopefully build up a local following. For now EP’s seem to be the way to go.
Skelly: One thing that I think sets SueCity apart from a lot of other bands in Minnesota are the monster sounding guitars in the band. What kinds of gear do you guys use to create this sound?
Justin Peterson: The guitar tone (both live and on the new record) comes from 15 watt Orange Tiny Terrors. I use a matching Orange 2×12 closed back cabinet with Celestion Vintage 30’s and an ESP/LTD EC-1000 with Seymour Duncan JB/59 pickups. Orange amps have a very unique sound to them. They’re a bit darker than a Marshall or something in that range, but I think that’s what really sets them apart. The beauty of the Tiny Terror is that I can still turn up at least halfway every live show without having to worry about the sound guy using the “suck button” because my amp is drowning out the rest of the band.
“High Heels” by: SueCity
Skelly: Do you have any parlor tricks that you incorporate when in the studio to help mimic your live sound? Are there other effects or equipment that you use that aren’t used during a live show?
JP: In the studio we use essentially the same gear as we do live. For this record we did end up using a Mesa Road King on the rhythm tracks in addition to the guitar tracks but it ended up being a 70/30 mix between the Mesa and Orange. As far as effects are concerned we are pretty minimal. All I use is an overdrive, Vox wah, and an Eddie Van Halen Phaser which is only used on one or two songs. When it comes to mixing it’s one guitar on the right, the other guitar on the left, and leads in the middle. We try to keep as close of a live feel to the recordings as possible.
Skelly: Symon, your vocals are pretty distinct, and your style reminds me of a lot of great rock singers like Axl Rose and Robert Plant. Have you spent a lot of time in formal vocal instruction, or has your voice always naturally swelled from within? (Symon)
SP: I never received vocal training but I grew up singing to my parents’ favorite bands from the 1970’s. For me melody and lyrics seem to write themselves. I came from a rock band in high school that did softer, more melodic and lyric based rock, so when I joined SueCity it was a bit of a learning process for me. I’ve been fortunate enough to have a group of guys who were patient enough to see me through my apprenticeship into a more fist-pumping, dirty bluesy vocal style.
I’ve always admired singers who have the finesse to control vibrato and range, yet the balls to add fire and belts to a song. I have great respect for vocalists with stage presence and singers who have a very unique sound. Guy’s like Ian Gillan, Steven Tyler, Robert Plant, Chris Cornell, Axl Rose, Ozzy and Brian Johnson have always been my main influences.
Skelly: I know from experience that SueCity is a band that loves the stage, and your live performances are always full of plenty of energy. Do you guys just improvise everything, or do you plan out the live show a little beforehand?
SP: We definitely love performing, and beyond planning out our set list, everything we do on stage is completely in the moment. I think that helps with the vibe of our show. People see us genuinely having a great time and can’t help but take part.
Skelly: Anything special you want people to know about the new record or the release show?
SP: The CD release show is going to be a great night! We’ve got 4 other excellent bands playing with us and the venue (The 400 Bar) is awesome as well. We hope to see you there!
SueCity will release High Heels on Saturday night, March 27, at the 400 Bar. They’ll be joined by other Borangutan favorites like Green Sweater Society and Machine 22. Doors open at 8PM, $5 admission for 21+, $8 for 18+.