Whether they’re a gear nerd or a gear noob, the type of gear an artist uses has a huge impact on their signature sound. In this regular series called My Gear, Noisegate picks the brains of exciting and diverse artists for a behind-the-scenes scoop on their musical setup.
Anyone remotely familiar with the vibrant Melbourne scene will light up at the mention of Pickpocket with their groove-based instrumental music with a focus on tight, funky rhythms and soaring, singable melodies. Melding musical styles such as Funk, RnB, Jazz and Fusion, this 8-piece act change musical gears with ease, resulting in a compelling live performance that celebrates the groove and embraces improvisation.
We chat “My Gear” following the release of their latest single “How ‘Bout It?
What do you attribute the sound of PICKPOCKET? How has it evolved?
Our sound has definitely evolved over the years, and I’d say the main factor is the unique mix of the musicians involved. The current lineup is the longest in the bands’ history and as such we have grown really tight but also able to explore more open improvisations during our live sets. Most of the compositional ideas come from Craig but once it reaches the rehearsal room things always evolve into something unique to this blend of musicians.
What pieces of gear are essential to the How ‘Bout It? – your new single sound?
We recorded the rhythm section live via a vintage MCI console at Big Sky Audio in Hoppers Crossing (which was allegedly used by a certain bass player on a Weather Report album…) which really helped glue the bed of the track together. The horns were tracked in a beautiful big live room at Oakland Productions in Nunawading with some big old ribbon mics and it really gives some dimension to the sound.
How does the bands live rig differ from your what you use in the studio?
Studio wise we might experiment more with different instruments depending on the track, e.g Craig might track a song with a P bass, Matty might choose some different cymbals or snare drum, and Andy might try some vintage synths. Live we are often restricted by time and space and but of Neil our guitarist will swap guitars depending on the tune and the horns all double another instrument during the set. So I guess in the studio there is usually a bit more layering going on with extra synths, percussion etc; but live we try and keep it relatively simple.
Who would be one artist/producer you haven’t worked with (alive or dead) that you’d love to work with and why?
It would be a blast to work with someone like Rick Ruben, Nile Rogers or Quincy Jones, producers that span all genres and are masters at getting the most out of the artist. Having someone like that push us in directions that we would never consider or pull different aspects of a song to the forefront to make it unique would be challenging but so rewarding.
What are you doing creatively to keep sane during these crazy COVID/lockdown times?
We’ve been keeping busy promoting the new single How ‘Bout It? we even did a live stream to Facebook with all 8 members of the band to celebrate the launch of the music video for the track. Earlier on in lockdown, we recorded an Isojam called Discofybrosis that we are planning to release in early October and then the next step will be single number 2 from the album before we launch that at the end of the year.
Drums – Matthias Edwards
Bass – Craig Strain
Guitar – Neil Boland
Keys – Andrew Boyle
Trumpet/Flugel – Miles Izzo
Tenor/Bari Sax – Brett Evans
Trumpet/Sax – Alex Howroyd
Percussion – Phil Binotto