with Antony Milton
Name: Antony Milton
Bands: ‘A.M’, The Stumps, The Nether Dawn, Paintings of Windows, Superbugger, The Nether Dawn, Claypipe, Sunken, Glory Fckn Sun, Mrtyu
Websites: www.pseudoarcana.com, www.pseudoarcana.bandcamp.com,
QRD – What was your first guitar & what happened to it?
Antony – A hard to play crappy actioned Ibanez acoustic that was a birthday present from my Dad for my 16th or 17th birthday; this was swapped a year or so later for my first electric, which was a black Samick Les Paul that I own to this day.
QRD – What’s your typical set-up from guitar to effects to amplifier?
Antony – Guitar to Crybaby Wah to an old Roland ME5 multieffect that I’ve used for years because I’ve never found a reverb elsewhere that I like as much. The distortion & compressor on this are frequently used as well. For the last couple of years I’ve been taking a left & right channel line out of the ME5 & running each line into a separate loop pedal. One of these loop pedals then goes through a Korg Monotron synth to amp (or as often as not direct to PA), the other line goes from the separate looper to a double oscillator pedal (Artlabs Cyber Psychic).
QRD – What’s the most important part of your rig - guitar, amplifier, or effects?
Antony – Guitar, but effects are biting at its tail & amps demanding attention as well.
QRD – What’s your main amplifier & why?
Antony – I’m mostly playing through a Holden (New Zealand brand from the 1970s) 100 watt valve amp currently that runs into a monster homemade bin, basically an 8x12. It belongs to my bandmate James Kirks in The Stumps & Superbugger & it is my main amp because it is resident in our awesome practice space, which also happens to be within wheeling distance of a lot of the main local venues.
QRD – What’s your main guitar & what are the features that make it such?
Antony – I’ve got a 1970 Gibson SG that I love because it’s so incredibly light whilst also being unbelievably loud. It’s got a beautiful action despite having a repaired neck.
QRD – If you had a signature guitar, what would it look like & what would some of its features be?
Antony – For years I had a Gibson ES355 that somebody gave me, this is perhaps still my signature guitar because it was in such bad condition, it seldom had a full complement of strings & it was very battered & scratched up. I was constantly being told off by concerned guitarists from the audience for abusing such a special guitar. All the metal parts were corroded. I guess for myself I view guitars as tools, as means to an end. If they work as well as a fine guitar will, that’s a bonus; but despite my better instincts the value of a guitar will seldom stop me from getting carried away & hitting it with things if that’s what the moment calls for. (This guitar was eventually given to a very concerned friend who has done an amazing job of restoring it.)
QRD – If you had a signature pedal, what would it be & what would some of its features be?
Antony – The Roland ME5 multieffect. This, like the 335, was a hand-me-down; someone just gave it to me out of the blue 14 years ago. The hall reverb on it is one of my signature sounds.
QRD – How many guitars do you own?
Antony – 6 currently, acoustic 6 & 12 strings, the Samick, the Gibson, & a lapsteel.
QRD – How & where do you store your guitars?
Antony – In their cases in my office/studio & in one corner of my lounge.
QRD – What do you wish guitar cases had that they usually don’t?
Antony – Effective airplane proof latches.
QRD – What features do you look for when buying a guitar?
Antony – It’s a mysterious business, sometimes a guitar will almost play itself when I pick it up, other times it won’t. I’m totally prone to being seduced by eccentricity -- I really loved the cheap old plastic Japanese guitars I saw when in the States last -- the ones with all the buttons & switches -- & would have bought some if I had a way of getting them home. I’ll bring home broken guitars I find about the place & get what I can out of them before disposing of them.
QRD – How much do you think a good guitar should cost?
Antony – A fair & reasonable price.
QRD – How thoroughly do you research or test a piece of equipment before buying it?
Antony – I seldom buy equipment, but if I do then I will do a lot of online research & try before I buy where possible. Generally though I’m a bit of a magpie & find or buy cheap old junk & keep it if it works for me & give it away if it doesn’t.
QRD – Do you change your rig around often?
Antony – Not really, I tend to use one set up for quite a while until it is disrupted by a new toy & then I will rearrange everything & that will be the next phase in my “development”.
QRD – What’s the first thing you play when you pick up a guitar?
Antony – Some kind of fingerpicking thing, just to get a feel for its action & the resonant character of its body.
QRD – How old were you when you started playing guitar?
Antony – 16.
QRD – At what age do you think you leveled up to your best guitar playing?
Antony – 27 or 28.
QRD – Do you see your guitar as your ally or adversary in making music?
Antony – I see it as a tool -- it’s a means of expression, almost singing (I have a terrible singing voice). Some tools are better than others, some guitars friends, some seemingly foes.
QRD – Who are the guitarists that most influenced your playing & sound?
Antony – Neil Young, Roy Montgomery, Michael Morley, Lee Ranaldo, Takashi Mizutani.
QRD – What’s the most physical damage you’ve done to a guitar & how did you do it?
Antony – Luckily I’ve never done worse than badly scratch my guitars, usually by swirling them around on the floor or rubbing up against the amp.
QRD – What type of pick do you use & why?
Antony – Heavy pick because I like to dig into the strings sometimes.
QRD – What gauge strings do you use & why?
Antony – Heavy gauge because sometimes I want an almost acoustic tone & timbre from my strumming.
QRD – How often do you change strings?
Antony – When they break.
QRD – How often do you break strings?
Antony – Fairly frequently, sometimes I get carried away.
QRD – Which do you feel is more proficient, your strumming hand or fretting hand & how does that effect your style?
Antony – Fretting hand probably wins these days, I used to be pretty good at fast intricate finger picking, but haven’t kept up with that.
QRD – Do you set-up your guitar yourself or send it to a guitar tech (or not set it up at all) & why?
Antony – Very rarely I will get guitars set up by a pro, simply because I’m not remotely technical. I’m not very fussy, however, so this has only ever happened 2 or 3 times in the last 25 years.
QRD – What tunings do you use & why?
Antony – I tend to play downtuned a step. I use heavy strings, but still like to do epic string bends.
QRD – What’s a bad habit in your playing you wish you could break?
Antony – Forgetting to tune up before the gig starts.
QRD – What’s a type of guitar playing you wish you could do that you can’t?
Antony – I reckon it would be cool to occasionally be able to pull out some convincing grind-core chugging. I fluke this in Mrtyu sometimes, but I don’t really know the technique.
QRD – What’s a guitar goal you’ve never accomplished?
Antony – Smashing a guitar to smithereens in a fit of genuine ecstasy (not faked).
QRD – What’s the last guitar trick you learned?
Antony – Been getting some great feedback interaction with my wah & my oscillator pedal.
QRD – What’s your favorite guitar gadget (Ebow, capo, slide, string cutter, etc)?
Antony – Drumstick, for bowing & percussion.
QRD – Where can people hear your best guitar work?
Antony – On my records. Ha! It’s hard to say which one -- the Rag Red Reverie CD covers a lot of bases of my playing & is pretty much all guitar (whereas the others have lots of synths or field recordings etc). My two latest solo records Streaming Black (PseudoArcana) & There Are Other Possibilities (End Of The Alphabet) have tons of what I’m up to currently.