Capstan – ‘Analog amps aren’t as necessary these days’

Capstan’s new record Separate is out today, July 23rd, and the band is ready to get back at it!

The record is a treat for fans of the band as they evolve their sound along with adding some guest spots to the album, including Shane Told of Silverstein on “Alone” and Saxl Rose on “Blurred Around The Edges”.

We caught up with guitarist Joseph Mabry to talk about the new record, his take on digital amps, and the band’s upcoming live stream event.


Your new record Separate is out July 23rd – do you see the album as a continuation of what the band did with Restless Heart, Keep Running?

I actually view Separate as quite the opposite of a continuation.

This record marks a stylistic shift for Capstan, as well as a shift in the writing process itself.

Shane Told of Silverstein guests on the new record, how did that come about?

Shane has been a supporter of Capstan for a couple of years now. We first met on Warped Tour 2018, and then we were offered an opening slot on Silverstein’s 15 year anniversary tour for “When Broken is Easily Fixed”, which took place later that year.

Shane has always been so kind and welcoming to us, and we were beyond stoked when he kindly agreed to do a feature for us.

How did the band deal with the lockdowns in 2020/2021? Did you guys end up spending more time on the record than you might otherwise have?

Quarantine definitely held some silver linings for us.

We had been touring nearly full time up until the onset of the pandemic, and all of the newfound free time allowed us to give our undivided attention to the writing process in a way that we had been unable to for several years.

This started with reevaluating our goals and objectives for the record, and culminated into what is, we think, our most accessible and well polished piece of work yet.

Capstan – blurred around the edges [Feat. Saxl Rose] (Official Music Video)

So guitars! What did you guys use on the new record in terms of guitars/amps/pedals?

Schechter guitars have been kind enough to endorse Capstan, and provide us with some sweet axes for our live shows and recording.

I wrote a good amount of this record on a 7-string C1 multiscale, and that’s the primary guitar with which we tracked. We also used a 6-string C1 SLS for the songs that I had written still using a 6-string, tuned to Drop C.

As far as amps, we used more than I can even recall, primarily profiled through a Kemper. Machine, our producer/mixing engineer that we worked with on SEPARATE, uses many different amps and tones, each one tweaked precisely for each part.

He uses different tones for every verse, chorus, heavy riff, or breakdown, and I honestly love the result of that diligence.

Did you have any reference records going into the studio in terms of how you wanted the finished product to sound?

We didn’t have any reference records in terms of “we want the music to sound like this”, because we have been, and always will be, a band that writes songs in many different genre styles.

We did have some records that we used for examples of overall production cohesion- records that have a distinct feel to them by means of production. A perfect example record of this, for me, was “In Love And Death” by The Used.

Are you a gear head at all? Any pieces of gear you’ve played recently that were a pleasant surprise? Anything you got to play that was disappointing?

I wouldn’t really call myself a gear head. My area of nerdy musical expertise is definitely theory.

I also haven’t bought much new gear at all since 2018 when I purchased my Kemper. One thing I do really like though, and have started using lately for demoing at home, are the Neural DSP guitar simulator plug-ins. Their archetypes series have some really great tones for good price points.

Capstan – alone [Feat. Shane Told] (Official Music Video)

Is there any one piece of gear that you couldn’t do without? Anything that’s integral to your sound?

It is definitely the Kemper profiler, hands down. I love being able to use the exact tones from a record, in addition to the simplicity the Kemper brings to live rig management, set-up and tear down.

I even got really into running all of my tone changes off of MIDI commands when we play live, so I only ever even use my footswitch remote to tune.

A lot of guitarists are embracing modelling and profiling amps these days, especially due to making fly in gigs much easier. What’s your take on digital amps and effects?

Capstan has a little saying that I coined, “DI ’til I die”. Everyone in the band absolutely embraces that technology as the way of the future! Analog amps simply aren’t as practical or necessary these days.

For someone who’s just discovering your band and wants to hear more music that sounds like you, what bands would you suggest they start with?

This is a bit of a tough question, because like I said earlier, we do tend to write songs in many different styles, but I think some safe bets are probably bands like Silverstein, I Prevail, Senses Fail, Pierce the Veil.

If someone maybe wasn’t familiar with you guys but wanted to learn to play one of your songs, where would you suggest they start? Any riffs/licks/passages in particular that are fun to play, or maybe challenging but rewarding for more advanced players?

I think that an easier, yet fun part to play would be the intro/break in our acoustic track, “Reprieve”, especially if you have a friend to play with. As far as some challenging licks for advanced players, I would welcome them to take a shot at the riffs in our new track “alone”.

Capstan - take my breath away // noose (Guitar Playthrough)

What bands should people look out for from Orlando? Any broken up O-town bands that never got their due that people should go back and check out?

Definitely check out my friends in Holodeck, and singer-songwriter Charlene Joan

You have a livestream planned for July 27th, what can you tell me about that?

It’s going to be a full production inside the Studio A live room at Starke Lake Studios, where our other guitarist, Harry, works as an engineer.

We’re pulling out all the stops for this one, with a full lighting rig, live sound crew, and multiple camera operators! You’ll definitely want to check it out!

How ready are you to be back on the road this year? Looks like you guys have a ton of stuff planned?

What can I say that the hair-metal band Cinderella hasn’t already said? “You don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone” I’ll never take touring, and it’s slight moments of tiredness or uncomfortability, for granted ever again. We’ve got a whole lot planned already, and Capstan will be touring until our legs and wheels collectively fall off.

Brian Kelleher

I'm the main guy at KillerGuitarRigs.com and I want to tell you all about guitars. I've been playing music since 1986 when my older brother taught me to play "Gigantic" by The Pixies on a bass with two strings. Since then, I've owned dozens of instruments from guitars to e-drums, and spent more time than I'd like to admit sitting in vans waiting for venues to open across Europe and the US.

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