The Sub-Gents may currently hail from Scarborough, North Yorkshire, but the band’s founder and frontman, Fletcher Stewart is a Tennessee native at heart. Spending his formative music years playing in the hardcore scene in Knoxville, Stewart eventually toured the US with the surf-psych-punk band The Cheat for several years before picking up and moving to the UK in 2011. Not long after that, Stewart met and began writing songs with bassist Noel Taylor and drummer Shaun Thomas and the Sub-Gents (or Subterranean Gentlemen in fancy company) was born.
The band’s new album, Soulstitute – Inhuman Condition, made its digital debut this month and in keeping with band’s previous releases, it is a mesmerizing collection of sonic textures and crunchy grooves. Recorded at Nathan Bailey’s Toolmakers Studio in Sheffield, Soulstitute explores a myriad of complex rhythms and cool synth sounds punctuated by the gritty riffs from Stewart’s aluminum guitar.
When Stewart reached out to us recently to share the Strymon combination he used to craft the sounds heard on Soulstitute we couldn’t have been more excited. Stewart explains his setup and favorite settings below.
I picked up an El Cap at Vintage and Rare on Denmark Street [in London] in 2011 and I have used it on everything that requires echo ever since. I used to lug Echoplexes, RE-201s, and Copicats around because no pedal would do the tape idiosyncratic magic thing, or so I thought. Being a long-time touring musician and music journalist I had tasted the real thing and wanted to have it without the headaches and breakdowns. The El Cap still provides just that all these years later.
I abused the swell feature for crescendos and tension builders all over the new Sub-Gents tracks. I fed the tape echoes into DIG, which I love set to 24-bit Fibonacci cyclic repeats with a heavy dose of modulation to warp El Cap’s Wow and Flutter further. This through the effects loop of my Victory Kraken sounds unreal. The Strymon echo duo is more interesting to the ear than most dedicated reverbs and does a similar thing, only more textural, polymorphic and audible in live scenarios.
I also had a chance to add some modular Magneto echo textures in Soulstitute with an Arturia Minibrute 2S, which was a whole lotta fun. Looking forward to splitting my signal with a DECO next for a stereo scheme I have in mind.
Listen to samples from Soulstitute plus more of Sub-Gents music on SoundCloud and be sure to check out The Sub-Gents on Instagram and Facebook.