Brody Uttley Rivers of Nihil Playthrough

[vc_row][vc_column][vc_custom_heading text=”Rivers Of Nihil-” font_container=”tag:h2|text_align:left” google_fonts=”font_family:Permanent%20Marker%3Aregular|font_style:400%20regular%3A400%3Anormal”][vc_column_text]We’ve worked with Pennsylvania’s Rivers of Nihil for going on 2 years now; mutual friend, Keith Merrow, made the intro and we’re glad he did.

When Brody Uttley started sending us demos of the new material he was recording for the upcoming album- Monarchy– all tracked through the Attack Overdrive, it floored me. It was simply leaps and bounds beyond their 1st release, but never losing touch with where they came from.

That said- we are extremely pleased to have had the opportunity to sit down with Brody and grab some playthrough video footage and answer some questions.

In this 1st play through Brody is using the Attack Overdrive on the rhythm tracks and the Jeff Loomis Signature Overdrive on the solos:[/vc_column_text][vc_video title=”Monarchy Playthrough” link=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=juBcOTC5jVM”][vc_toggle style=”default” color=”Default” size=”md” open=”false” title=”Read our exclusive interview with Brody Uttley:”]

What is your process for writing riffs/songs

-Generally I will start with a single riff or melody and then build the rest of the song around that. I record these preliminary ideas into Cubase and then experiment with different song structures and riffs that I feel will leave a memorable impression on listeners. Song structure is really important to me because let’s face it, most listeners aren’t musicians and they won’t care how many sixteenth notes at four hundred beats per minute you are playing. After I lay down rhythm tracks and program drums I will go back and add atmospheric overdubs, clean passages, and guitar solos as I see fit. Then I send this out to the rest of the guys in the band to get their input.

Having a home recording setup has made my life SO much easier. On our first album we wrote mostly just by jamming together. It was much more difficult back then to remember how stuff went in between practices. Now I can record all of my ideas right away and remember them forever. Technology!

You have a new record coming out in August. What can we expect?
-This album is a big step for us. We have switched two members since the last album and both new guys have brought a lot to the table. Our new drummer Alan absolutely crushed his parts on this album. He came up with some of the coolest sounding drum arrangements that I could have ever wanted for this band.
We also really wanted to focus on the bass on this album. Our bass player Adam and I spent a lot of time together at my home studio tweaking his bass lines. They really tell a story of their own when you listen to the new record. Also, I have always been a fan of records that have the bass mixed forward in the mix. I couldn’t be any happier with how his bass lines pop out on this record.
Since I wrote 95% of the music on this album it is naturally a much more guitar driven album than our last one. I have always been a fan of instrumental music so I really wanted to create a super orchestral feel to the songs. I wanted all of the songs to have good build ups, climaxes, peaks, valleys, etc. to put the listener on a journey of emotions. I also really focused on the lead guitar for this album. On our last album the lead and atmospheric guitar lines were afterthoughts so I really wanted to devote a lot of attention to those parts this time around.
New guitarist Jon Topore came into the band at a very late time in the writing process, so he didn’t really have a chance to make too many contributions to the album. He did however write one of my favorites pieces on the album called “Reign of Dreams.” Even though he only contributed one song to the album I think that it may be one of the most difficult to play songs that we have ever had as a band. His style is awesome and it meshes very well with the Rivers of Nihil sound. He is a monstrous rhythm player and he really has some killer ideas floating around in his head. I have a feeling that he and I will be splitting the writing duties much more evenly on the next record.
Tell us about the guitars & amps you used- p’ups, strings, cables, tubes etc… because GEAR NERDS
-On this album I used my Carvin DC7x seven stringed guitars loaded with the new Kiesel Lithium pickups. They are a really nice pickup that has the saturation of say… a Seymour Duncan Nazgul, with the clarity of a Lundgren M7. They are a great fit for my style and for our tuning (dropped F#).
As far as amps go we used a Kemper Profiling Amp to re-amp all of the guitars. Me and Carson Slovak (recording engineer) made all of the profiles from scratch with the amps that he had at his studio. For all of the rhythm guitars we used a Bogner Uberschall with a Pro Tone Attack Overdrive in front. All of the leads, cleans, and lower gain sounds came from an EVH 5150 III with the Attack overdrive in front for most of those sections. We used a Mesa 4×12 cabinet mic’d up with a Neumann Km184 for all of the guitars on the album.
We use D’Addario strings and In Tune picks.
Knowing that you offer Skype guitar lessons- How does teaching others benefit your own playing?

-Teaching people is a great way to go back and examine things that you may have let slip through the cracks. Whether I am teaching someone how to play Iron Man or going through the modes of the major scale there is always something that I can take away and use to make myself a better player. Being able to go back and dissect simple things allows you to find flaws in your technique that you might have never noticed. Also, I am always finding new ways to approach old ideas through teaching. It is a very rewarding feeling.

There are a million horror stories out there about life on the road… Tell us about your favorite memory from your last tour.
-Hmmmm… My favorite good memory from the last tour was probably being able to take a tour of the Carvin guitars factory out in San Diego. I’ve always been a big fan of factory walkthrough videos on YouTube so being able to actually see instruments being built in person was a pretty cool experience for me. While I was out there I also got to see Jason Becker’s original numbers guitar in person which was absolutely unreal. Jason was one of the guys that made me want to play heavy music so being able to see his guitar was a super humbling experience.

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