Whether they are 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.
Jess Ribeiro is an award winner singer/songwriter based in Melbourne. She writes through a lens of intimacy and self-revelation, and has been compared to the likes of Karen Dalton and Cat Power. Her most recent album Kill It Yourself was shortlisted for the Australian Music Prize, and she has played alongside luminaries such as Nick Cave, Steve Earle and Tim Rogers. Fresh off a stint at this year’s SXSW in Austin and gearing up for the release of her third album entitled LOVE HATE, Jess ran the My Gear gauntlet to interrogate her creative process and relationship to gear.
Can you describe your current live set-up? What instruments do you have in your band and what gear do you use?
Bass, electric guitar x 2, synth and drums. My guitarist Marc Reguirro always uses a Vox guitar amp, he’s very particular on the type of amp he’ll use. He likes to keep it clean and modify his sound with his guitar pedals. I use a Fender twin reverb guitar amp, mostly because I prefer to not use many or any pedals. I prefer the simplicity of having inbuilt reverb and distortion options. Marc and I are opposite. Thommy on bass uses a Big Muff pedal which I always love the sound of. I use a Shure SM57 beta mic for my vocals. feel comfortable with this mic but am exploring other options.
How does your live setup differ to your recorded music?
For Starters, the people who play live with me are not the same people I recorded with. Playing live is more experimental than the recorded version of my songs. It changes depending on our moods and if we feel like improvising in the moment. It’s more uninhibited than the record. On my new (currently unreleased) record there are also extra overdubs that I don’t recreate live.
Is your gear integral to your sound?
Yes and no. No because I’m good at adapting to different environments and using whatever is available. With my new record it does have a certain sound that I aspire to deliver live, especially with the synths, which is something I’ve not done before. But if it falls apart, I can play the songs solo.
What was the first piece of musical equipment that you ever bought (or came into contact with)?
Resin for a violin and an old school music tuner. One of the fork ones where you hit it then rest it on a table to listen for the note. I chipped my bottom tooth on it because I liked to lick it while it was buzzing.
What is a dream piece of gear to you would love to own?
A high quality microphone. One that’s strong and empowering that I can swing around and feel confident with. Not sure what brand that is but if you know, please let me know!
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