Polyphia Guitarist Explains What Metal Albums Lack Compared to Rap Today, Reveals One Unconventional Decision for Band’s Last Album

Recently, Polyphia’s Tim Henson sat down with Rick Beato to discuss his band’s work, particularly their 2022 album “Remember That You Will Die.” While chatting with Rick, Henson reflected on the album’s production and mixing process and some of the things that they had in mind while making the record. He explained (transcript via Ultimate Guitar):

“This was like a big thing for the mix of this record… The idea was, let’s say, your friend gets a new car and he’s got like a great sound system in it. And he starts like bumping rap music. And you stand outside of the car and you can clearly hear what’s happening.

“Because there’s really not a lot happening in rap music other than like… The main three elements are the drums, the melodic parts, and the vocals. So drums and bass, melodic parts, and vocals, and they all have their place in the mix.”

“So you can really, really hear those things. Versus, if you were to play like a metal band on the sub [speaker], like the double bass would go.

“And I swear, they just don’t really put a lot of bass in metal records.”

The issue of thinner-sounding bass drums in metal music isn’t new. And, as Rick Beato noted, this comes down to the very genre, naming Metallica as one of the examples. But for the guys in Polyphia, they feel like a bottom-end-heavier bass drum works better for their music. After Rick mentioned this, Henson replied:

“Yeah. And it’s awesome. It sounds great. But to kind of try and make a hybrid of the two was the goal. And the idea was if you play this record in the car and stand outside of it, like, would it bump? Or would it sound like noise?

“And that was the whole thing. [On the new Polyphia album] all the kicks are replaced with an electronic kick. And then, like I said, the low of that you’re hearing is an 808. And then you’re only hearing the top end of that.”

The band’s new record came out in late October last year and it also featured a few interesting guest appearances. These also included Chino Moreno of Deftones as well as Steve Vai on one of the songs.

Polyphia - Playing God (Official Music Video)

In another recent interview published last December, Tim Henson reflected on another unique aspect of Polyphia’s recent works — the use of electro-acoustic nylon-string guitars. According to Tim, it all started when he found an obscure short-lived Ibanez model from the 1990s. He said:

“I was in Europe, in 2019, in a pawn shop and saw an Ibanez nylon electric guitar and I picked it up. I thought, What the fuck is this thing? I texted Ibanez and they told me it was a discontinued, commercially unsuccessful model from 1998. I bought it from the pawn shop and took it home.”

Tim Henson Signature Guitar TOD10N | Playing God Playthrough | Ibanez

“And the inspiration was… A lot of times in rap, they’ll sample old classical guitar. This way I can make my own samples and use them in beats or send them to producers. I started making loops with it and was just like, ‘This is insane.'”

“So, I called Ibanez and said, ‘Hey, I want a signature of this.’ And they’re like, ‘Well, you know, it really didn’t do well in 1998…’ I was just like, ‘What the fuck!’ So, we made ‘Playing God’ and I sent it to them, and told them, ‘If you don’t make this guitar, some other brand will — and you’re going to lose out on a lot of fucking money.’  Then they were like, ‘Oh shit, yeah let’s do it.'”

Photo: Delusion23 (Polyphia – Manchester, UK – 6 February 2019)

  • David Slavkovic

    David always planned for music to be nothing more than a hobby. However, after a short career as an agricultural engineer he ended up news editor at KillerGuitarRigs, senior editor at Ultimate-Guitar.com, as well as a freelance contributor to online magazines such as GuitaristNextdoor and brands like Sam Ash.