with Mark Wol of Alpha Couple & Kram Ran
Name: Mark Wol
Bands: Alpha Couple, Kram Ran
Websites: http://alphacouple.tumblr.com, http://kramran.tumblr.com, https://soundcloud.com/kram-ran/the-myths-of-ariadne-1
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Mark – An acoustic guitar I bought from a friend that I’ve never known the name of & still use today.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Mark – Squire Strat to loop pedal to Peavey mixer reverb.
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Mark – It all begins with the guitar, but the guitar on its own is nothing but tradition.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Mark – I do not use an amplifier.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Mark – Olive green & pink.
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Mark – The Peggy pedal, it would make things sound absolutely alone.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Mark – Two.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Mark – I’m moving too much to store anything, each guitar has a soft case.
QRD – Do you upgrade & customize your guitars or just stick with what you get?
Mark – I stick with what I get. Rarely do I purchase any musical instrument (or anything) with my own money. Discards, gifts, or the rare purchase.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Mark – Whenever I can... almost.
QRD – Are you after one particular guitar tone & locking into it, or do you like to change your tone around a lot?
Mark – I’m always looking for different tones, & rarely find what I thought I was looking for.
QRD – What are some guitars, amps, & pedals you particularly lust after?
Mark – Anything Vincent Gallo has used.
QRD – What do you think are some important features to be on a person’s first guitar that aren’t always there?
Mark – Strings, instead of buttons.
QRD – What are some effect, amp, & guitar brands you particularly like or dis-like & why?
Mark – I have never been remotely interested in guitar brands, even though it could make a big difference to me.
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Mark – 22 years old.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Mark – It’s more like, which days.
QRD – Why do you think a guitar fits you more so than other instruments?
Mark – It probably doesn’t & it wasn’t my first instrument, but I play it the most. I am probably most comfortable with guitar because I know how it should sound & I know how to make that sound easier with it than with other instruments. Of course that is not necessarily a good thing, as I don’t want to make the sounds that are already expected.
QRD – Do you think guitar should be people’s first instrument as often as it is?
Mark – Too many guitars, too many bros.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Mark – It’s an ally that I fight.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Mark – Christian Fennesz, Phil Elverum, & Vincent Gallo.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Mark – Not very much damage, just blood from strumming without picks, as I hate picks.
QRD – What do you do to practice other than simply playing?
Mark – Think about playing or stretch my fingers along the neck.
QRD – How many hours a week do you play guitar & how many hours would you like to?
Mark – It completely depends on the week & month.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Mark – My “strumming” hand always leads, which could effect the style to emphasize timing & placement over notes & chords, although that is completely relative.
QRD – Do you prefer tablature, sheet music, or some other notation system for writing down your own ideas?
Mark – I don’t think I’ve ever written down my music for guitar, or know how to.
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Mark – Much more complex finger picking & all that jazz.
QRD – Did you ever take guitar lessons & if so, what did you learn from them?
Mark – No, although I always wanted to, but never had a guitar until I was 22. At that point I had no interest whatsoever in lessons, & taught myself.
QRD – What’s something someone would have to do to emulate your style?
Mark – Lose tempo.
QRD – If a band has good guitar work, can you ignore the rest of the band not being good?
Mark – No, but I sure would like to ignore all those awful bands.