Canadian Musician - May/June 2021 | Page 51

Tara McLeod
all came from that new sort of production style , starting with improvisation and seeing where that leads me as opposed to trying to control it the whole way . I just let it rip and then colour it in , and that ’ s been great , man .
CM : In your work , you often integrate elements from completely different music styles into the same projects , or even the same songs . During your writing process , do you ever worry about ending up with a lack of cohesiveness in the songs , and how do you work around that ?
Townsend : I worry about it , but not enough to do anything about it . The way that I have found myself writing over the past decade or so is just doing what I can in my daily life so I don ’ t second guess what I feel like doing . If what I feel compelled to do makes no sense , then I ’ m cool with that , you know ? I ’ ve made enough music in the past that makes sense that if right now where I ’ m drawn to is just chaos — that seems like where I ’ m at . There ’ s a certain degree of awareness of how other people are going to perceive it that I take into consideration at the end . For example , with this thing I just finished — yes , it ’ s chaos , but on Saturday I ’ m going to try to just sing a single vocal line overtop of it to just tie the room together in a weird way , with the full awareness that it might not work , so there ’ s that too . But I don ’ t think about it , buddy . If I make chaos , I just make it really chaotic .
CM : Is there a specific piece of gear you want to get next ?
Townsend : Hmm … There ’ s nothing I ’ m fetishizing right now , which is good . I ’ ve been through years of fetishizing gear . Like , “ If I ever get an ES-335 , my life will be complete .” I don ’ t feel that right now . So , a lot of the things I ’ m thinking about right now in terms of next gear are about creating solutions to jamming problems . By that I mean , I really like to just play and create sound without having to think . I started working on this station that includes a bunch of delays , loopers , a way to capture the ideas , a way for it to sync
up and be integrated into other things , and also try and keep it moderately small . I ’ ve got the Axe-FX and the Line 6 Helix Floor , and this company , Headrush , sent a looper board , and I ’ ve got a bunch of microphones attached , too , so I can capture things while I ’ m speaking or while I ’ m singing or while I ’ m playing . And the thing I ’ ve found that I would like for it is a way to take a MIDI from any number of these standalone units and have an elegant board so I could assign all the functions to something that is inconspicuous and quiet . If I wanted to do a loop or if I wanted to double it or add an echo , it doesn ’ t have a big metal button that in the middle of your quiet jam is like “ clunk !” It would be nice if they just had a piece of standalone gear that was MIDI- or USB-compliant that you could just assign anything to , so all that looping stuff could be hidden away and you could have this elegant thing . I love the idea of making something that is labour-intensive super lazy , so maybe that ’ s the piece of gear I ’ m looking for . I don ’ t know what it is yet , but I ’ m sure it will show up .

Tara McLeod

Beginning in 2005 , Tara McLeod was the lead guitarist for pioneering Canadian metal band Kittie . But being a very versatile artist , she has also backed up pop artists Shawn Desman and Fefe Dobson and is currently a member of Canadian country-rock favourites Nice Horse .
CM : Can you walk us through a breakdown of your usual live rig ?
McLeod : Okay , so it ’ s actually changed quite a bit . I ’ ve been playing a lot of Fenders and a lot of clean-friendly amps right now . So , my go-to is a Deluxe , and then my pedalboard … previously , if we ’ re after my metal rig , it was always a Mesa Dual Rectifier . From playing with Kittie for eight years , it was always my go-to . Of course , because my pedalboard is in constant motion , it ’ s hard to really nail down one setup , but I always had a Keeley Compressor , and my overdrives changed a lot but I always had a Tube Screamer on there , though . There ’ s an awesome delay I ’ ve really gotten into by Wampler and , man , I ’ ve really gotten into their stuff . If we ’ re talking country , I would not go anywhere without a Tumnus [ Overdrive from Wampler ] on my board these days . I ’ m getting a little fancier in my pedals in my older age . I got into the Strymon stuff , so the Blue Sky [ Reverb ] is probably going to be on my pedalboard forever now ; it ’ s such a killer pedal . I ’ m getting to be a bit of a Keeley fangirl too — I ’ ve got the Monterey [ Rotary Fuzz Vibe ], which is like the Hendrix pedal . It ’ s super diverse ; it ’ s got the octave , the vibe , the rotary , the wah , and a really cool fuzz in it . I sneak it into country music [ with Nice Horse ] because even though I ’ ve been playing country , I can ’ t get rid of the metal in my heart .