The latest “15 questions” feature is with guitarist Dan Henry. Dan fronts Dorset based rock band, “The Longest Day” who won the 2010 Dorset Music Awards and have been gigging endelessly across the length and breadth of the UK.
Their debut album “A State Of Indifference” has won huge acclaim from members of the music industry and 2011 looks set to be an exciting year for the band. Guitar catches up with Dan to ask him more about his band and his serious addiction to purchasing guitar related products…
…I use an Orange Rocker 30 with a 2×12 closed back cab – when I put my guitar through it, it sounds absolutely insane, like you’ve been kicked in the chest…
- Hi Dan, before we get into the details of your equipment and technique, can you give Guitar Jar readers an insight to why you first picked up the guitar and how long you’ve been playing?
I’ve always seen myself primarily as a songwriter. The only reason I got better at playing was because, when writing songs, I would try and do things that maybe I couldn’t do – challenging myself to play something that I found hard. I played Bass when I was younger, when I was about 12. I soon moved on to the six string though; seeing all my idols playing their hearts out on the guitar influenced me to play.
- Can you give a brief description of the style and sound of your band “The Longest Day”?
We are a rock band from Dorset with a fusion of many music genres; including classic rock, metal and a hint of electronica.
- What guitars do you currently use in a live set? Do you stick with one guitar for all songs or do you like to chop and change accordingly?
In my live set I normally switch between a PRS McCarty and my Ernie Ball Silhouette. Either using one or the other throughout the gig. The Silhouette is the new edition to my collection so I’ve been test driving that particular axe the most recently. If push comes to shove though, I think I would choose my PRS. It’s been good to me over the past year.
- Why did you opt for a high-end guitar in the PRS as opposed to a mid-priced alternative? Have you ever damaged the PRS whilst gigging?
They are well made guitars and they look, feel and sound amazing. It just fills that middle ground really well between the bass and the drums, plus it always stays in tune. I’ve knocked it about a bit, but that’s what guitars are for, to be played. My PRS is my workhorse weapon of choice. There was a time not too long ago that both Lee and I had a collision with our precious babies; we got carried away on stage and collided with each other. It’s best to say we were not very pleased and we were lucky that we didn’t do too much damage.
- Please tell Guitar Jar readers about your choice of amplifier and why you opted for that model?
I use an Orange Rocker 30 with a 2 x 12 closed back cab (for ease of transport). I find it complements my lead guitarist Mesa head. Orange were the first company to give me a really good deal on my cab and I’ve always been thankful for that because we never have any money at the best of times. When I put my guitar through it, it sounds absolutely insane, like you’ve been kicked in the chest – I love it.
- How do you ensure that your tone doesn’t clash with your lead guitarist, Lee Williams? Does Lee use a similar set up to you?
No, Lee uses a Mesa Roadster 100 watt head through another orange 2 x 12. Lee tends to keep his sound punchy and tight which keeps our sound separate.
- I’ve noticed that you also own a TC Electronic G-System switching unit. Please tell our readers more about your choice of effects and how the G System benefits you.
The TC Electronic G-system is my main controller for all my effects. I can basically program all my changes in each section of a song at a click of a button which saves me from tap dancing about live on stage. I’ve got other distortion pedals as well, a Vox Satchurator and a Fuzz Head that varies up my sound a bit. I also have an Xotic RC Booster to drive my clean sound a little. Every time I can afford a new pedal, I will get one and just add it on to my G-system to get different tones; I’m all about trying different gear out.
- You own some really nice kit, you must be loaded or seriously in debt! How often do you splash out on new equipment and do you consider yourself a gear junkie?
Yes I’m a gear Junkie. My kit has slowly built up over four years. I will always do a lot of research on a particular pedal I’m interested in before I commit to buying though, however I usually end up convincing myself into buying. My old pedalboardused to be massive, the other guys even gave it a nickname “Moby Dick”. It was that BIG. Hence that’s why I converted over to a rack system instead of a floor base unit.
…every time I can afford a new pedal, I’ll get one and add it on to my TC Electronic G-system; I’m all about trying different gear out…
- Can you tell our readers more about the recording process behind your Album “A State Of Indifference”? Did you record and mix the album yourselves?
Over the course of a year we’d been recording our new album, “A State of Indifference”. We went to Squid Studios in Bournemouth to record the songs, then we got it mixed by Romesh Dodangoda. His CV includes the likes of Funeral for a Friend, Kids in glass Houses, Attack Attack, MotorHead and countless others; he was the right man for the job.We wanted to marry the rawness and the energy of the guitars with the polished sound of the drums to create something we were really proud of. When money got tight, I went to a friend at Boom Boom Studios in Poole to get some of my final vocals down. It was a lot of hard work – there were some points in the process when we thought we couldn’t find enough cash to finish it and tt was a very strenuous time.I’d work 9 till 6 every day then travel over to the studio to lay down parts till the early hours of the morning. I thought I was gonna collapse of exhaustion at some points but I think I can speak for the other guys and say we are very proud of this album.
- The artwork for the album is fantastic. Can you tell Guitar Jar readers more about the concept and the artist?
Well both Ross and I are huge comic book readers. So when we had the opportunity to have Boo Cook to do our cover, we jumped at the chance – his artwork is amazing. We wanted an album cover that you could just stare at for ages, just like the Iron Maiden LPs; Boo did just this.
- Your vocals are really strong both live and on recordings. Did you always want to be a singer or would you be happy to take a step back and lay down riffs all night?
I never thought that I would be a singer in a band, I just enjoy singing. So it’s great that I’m able to shout my ass off on stage. Singing is my primary weapon in The Longest Day, Guitar is second as Lee is the Guitar wizard out of the both of us.
- Your house is burning down. What is the one guitar item you would save?
Aside from my comic book collection? It would have to be my PRS. In fact, I think my house would have caught on fire because of my comic collection. Paper is highly flammable you see?
- Have you had any nightmare experiences whilst gigging?
We did a show for someone’s birthday once and I said the wrong name when I shouted out birthday wishes on stage. This was in front of about a hundred or so people… Let’s just say that I don’t do many birthdays now.
- If you could form a super group using famous musicians past or present, who would you have on drums and why?
It would have to be John Bonham. The guy is a legend.
- Lager or Cider?
Definitely a Cider man.
For more information about The Longest Day please visit:
Photos courtesy of Tim Churchill & Robert Whetton