Madi Diaz is charismatic, fun, and a very talented songwriter/musician. Her new album Phantom is available now. If she is touring in your area, we highly recommend paying her a visit! We recently talked with Madi, and she gives us the rundown on our her pedalboard and more.
What kind of board do you have and what is your signal chain?
I have a Thon pedal board that I travel with that keeps the kids safe. I play a 1959 Harmony Meteor through a Carr Rambler amp to a FullTone Full Drive 2, to the BigSky, to a DD-6 by Boss, to the PolyTune. Simple, yet crunchy and effective I think.
Recently when I saw you live at the Troubadour you used the BigSky Chorale machine as well as the Freeze feature on “Ghost Rider.” Could you share a bit about your use of these?
When I was recording Phantom, Nick Ruth (the producer of the majority of the songs) and I were really careful not to put any limitations on the recording process. Long lush delays and verbs support the foundation of the record. So when I was trying to wrap my head around how the heck I was going to pull it off live, Lester Mendez (producer of the track “Ghost Rider”) showed me the BigSky as well as your delay pedals, and I was sold. It’s basically been the answer to everything I couldn’t normally pull off with just a guitar and delay pedal. On songs like “Other Side” and “Ghost Rider,” I’m able to build two worlds at once, and really fill out song space. The freeze setting has been HUGE for that sort of thing. I’m pretty sure it’s been the greatest investment of my chain so far.
You don’t just use your pedals for guitar, how else do you use your pedals for your vocals?
I use two vocal mics in my live set, one is a Bullet mic that goes through a Holy Grail pedal and into the house… I’ve messed around a little bit with running it through the BigSky, but my guitar sound missed it too much….one day…I’ll have TWO. Yeah. TWO BigSkys. So metal. I’ve definitely ran it through keys before too, and that’s just a whole other level that I’m going to have to explore. Massive.
Your Instagram feed is very fun—I wondered if you had a favorite tip for new artists on using social media?
Aw THANK YOU! Just be ya fine self, I think! And everyone loves a puppy or a kitten every once in awhile…
When you tour, is every crowd’s energy different no matter what, or does the audience’s energy usually reflect your energy onstage?
Every single room, every single crowd, every single city, every single moment is absolutely, completely different. It has to be! Or else I would definitely be way over touring by now. It’s one of the great things about touring, you get to give and take something different almost every night.
Do you have a preference between acoustic and electric? And what currently is your favorite guitar?
You know, I wish i didn’t. I want to think I love them all equally, but I totally do have a preference. I love my Harmony Meteor more than anything on the planet right now (sorry mom/dad jkjkjk:). It’s just perfect for everything, always. It has so much ground that it covers….so warm and gentle but cuts through and really carries songs. My baby. For real.
Your new album Phantom has been described as “…the most danceable breakup record ever” by LA Weekly. Did the album’s direction change over time, or is this exactly what you had in mind when you began writing?
I’m pretty sure I’ve never been able to predict the final outcome of any one of my records. I think I always just sort of know when they’re finished and when I’ve said all that there is to say. I definitely meant for Phantom to turn a page for me so that I can begin the next chapter, and so far it absolutely has done just that.