"It's a mix of British dance sounds, from rave crossover to current garage and grime, and rock guitar," states Hadouken! six-stringer Pilau Rice. Among the bands that encouraged Pilau to take up guitar were the ’90s indie hardcore merchants At The Drive-In. "They played intricate, intelligent guitar parts with the abandon of someone who just picked up the guitar and were bashing the hell out of it.”
The guitar in the 'Leap Of Faith' video is a Fender Aerodyne Telecaster, an "old meets new" variation on the classic that has a streamlined body. It’s Pilau’s main guitar, fitted with a P90 pickup at the neck. His amp is a Marshall JCM 800, whilst his pedals include a ProCo Rat distortion as well as Line 6 Delay and Filter Modellers. "The sound of 'Leap Of Faith' was largely down to the Lovetone Meatball," explains Pilau. The Meatball is an envelope follower/triggered filter pedal – i.e., something that can muck with, loop, and/or sex up any kind of sound you want at the twist of a knob.
In The Studio
Whilst the singles were done in actual studios, a lot of the early Hadouken! stuff was true home recording, with the guitar going into a laptop boasting the Fruity Loops digital audio workstation. Working on their debut album, Pilau reveals that the band want to "go back to the bedroom. Everything is going to be demoed on the laptop, and we’re only going to record the additional things that we really need. With guitars, we're going to chop things up and loop it so that's there less of a 'human' element to it."
On The Stage
"When we started, we only had a drum kit, a guitar and a synth, so we had to recreate the songs live on that," recalls Pilau. Although they now could do it all from laptops, Hadouken! choose not go down that route in order to keep things exciting. "I do plan on getting a Roland GK-3 MIDI pickup soon, though, to be able to trigger and mess with a lot more sounds,” says the guitarist.
If you’re planning to play guitar alongside electronic sounds, get your timing spot-on by practising with a metronome. Also, don’t get hung up on traditional parts. “A lot of what I play in Hadouken! doesn’t sound right on its own, only in the context of the track. You can play a simple G minor chord or powerchord riff and then just do anything to it,” he declares. “My favourite is to set up the right delays and repeats on a nice loop and then run it through Comet Trails on the Filter Modeller so that you get a massive swathe of looping sounds.”
"Just have a go at trying to sound like someone you really like – and fail. How you get it wrong will be the making of your sound."