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.
Nathan Mesiti is the bass player for Melbourne metal band Orpheus Omega. As the band soon embarks on a national tour with tech death legends Psycroptic, we thought we’d pick Nathan’s brain on his rig and other projects.
What is your current live rig? Does it differ from your studio setup?
When playing live I prefer reliability, simplicity and portability. To that end, I have a Line 6 Helix in a rack paired with their fantastic G50 wireless system that I’ve had for 6 or 7 years and use a custom built T4AF cable for transparent low end response. Like the rest of the band, I don’t have any stage volume so all my monitoring is done on a JTS in ear system and Japanese special edition Shure 535 IEMs.
When it comes to strings I tend to float around a bit, though I end up hovering around Elixr and D’addario Pro Steels (.130) for live use. Often times I alternate between using picks or not, honestly I like both approaches. When using picks though I like firm nylons that have a bit of give in them, they act like a natural compressor in a way. Keeping everything safe is a SKB rack case for the backline and the dual instrument case from Enki.
In the studio things are very different. I’ll typically use a blend of all sorts of stuff to get my recorded tone; a Countryman DI, Warm Audio Tone Beast preamplifier, a mixture between Darkglass B7K, Sansamp PSA and the venerable Empirical Labs Distressor. Again I’ll typically use D’addario Pro Steels most of the time however for tunings lower than standard 5 string I switch to Kalium Hybrids (.142 multiscale set).
What piece of gear is absolutely integral to your sound and you can’t live without?
You may have noticed I didn’t touch on instruments in the above, I need a reliable, versatile instrument that covers a wide gamut of tones and is geared to play as good as it looks. I’ve been playing guitar and bass for a very long time and have tried many, MANY instruments, going as far to completely customise my previous live bass to a point of unrecognition and it was still limited in tonal palette and build quality.
ESP Guitars Australia introduced me to their ESP LTD B1005MS and since the day I first played it I was a little sad as my search for MY instrument had ended. The thing is an absolute beast! It’s only excelled by the EII BTL5-MS that the guys were able to get in from Japan and, damn. This bass gives me all the things I didn’t know I wanted! So the thing that is essential to me is my relationship with ESP Australia, they know my tastes better than I do apparently!
Does gear influence or inspire your songwriting & playing?
Yes, definitely! If I don’t have to fight the instrument to employ my technique then I’m inspired to write without compromise. In turn, what I end up with informs the tones I might require and the instrument should be able to provide those tones without too much screwing around. The two basses I have are equipped with different electronics, however they are both uniform in their ergonomics and have the ability to serve up variations of each other’s tones which means I can simply focus on enjoying the songwriting and tracking experience.
Is there a piece of gear that you’d never part ways with?
I’d be repeating myself if I went with what I’ve inferred thus far as far as my instrument selection is concerned, so I’ll go with a different interpretation of the question. I’d never part ways with my lust for playing bass. At heart I’m a guitarist, but there’s something primal about bass. You might not always consciously hear it but you’ll always feel it. I don’t care if anyone hears what I play, I want to make them feel and make their bodies vibrate evocatively. That is the appeal and essence of modern guitar based music and I love playing the Pied Piper, so to speak.
Is there a piece of gear that you’ve regretted selling?
Nope, if I did then I wouldn’t have learned something or wouldn’t have progressed in some way. If I get rid of something and I find that it was in error, I’ll do something about it. Otherwise it’s gone for a reason.
What’s next ?
A lot of hard work! In addition to my participation in Orpheus Omega, I’m currently composing a solo project called Pirouette, writing a web series on music theory and studio practices which I hope to start filming within the next year. Lastly, I’m also filming a bunch of play-throughs and covers of songs reimagined in different keys and styles as an exploration of music. There are tons of other things in the works but if I think about them too hard I’ll likely self-combust. TLDR: have a heck ton of fun!
Follow Nathan & Orpheus Omega on Facebook