Nashville based guitarist Scott Mills spends a lot of his time on stage these days. As guitarist for Colony House, he has played nearly 300 shows since summer 2014. In his time off the road, recently he’s been in the studio recording tracks for a new Colony House album due for release in January. We caught up with Scott to find out what’s in the pedalboard he takes to all those shows, and also learned some of this thoughts about touring with Colony House and about his approach to dialing in his guitar sounds for the new album.
What kind of pedalboard is this, and what is your signal path?
I’m a really big fan of the Pedaltrain stuff. It has always been sturdy and reliable for me. Currently using the PT-3 (I think they’ve renamed it by now). My band, Colony House, has played nearly 300 shows since summer of 2014 and I’ve had it the whole time.
Signal can change semi-regularly – whose doesn’t? 🙂 – but this is what I’m working with now.
Over to the right I’m going straight into the Caroline Effects Wave Cannon MkII and then to a JHS Superbolt on the little side board. And yes – sometimes there’s a Mini Foot Fuzz there as well. I use the Wave Cannon for wild noises and a really surfy fuzz sound (see guitar solo on our song “You Know It”) and the Superbolt as an EQ for my darker voiced 60’s Silvertone 1482 that I have out on the road.
From there I go straight into my tuner >VP JR > Walrus Audio Luminary > Julia > Boss VB-2. I use Chorus and Vibrato a lot so I have designated pedals for each (though the Julia does both) to keep from having to bend down as much at shows :).
> 385 (unique prototype that my bros at Walrus Audio sent me) > JHS Superbolt > Katana Clear Boost > Bellwether Analog Delay > El Capistan.
The El Cap is such a mainstay for me. I use it in place of a lot of reverb for really landscape-y ambient sounds. With the repeats around 3 o’clock and the mix at noon I still get so much clarity from my guitar as well as a giant bed of tapey goodness for it to lie on. I could go on for days. I also dial a beautiful mod slapback on it often as well.
> Flint (!!!!!) > Boss RV-5 > Radial Tonebone.
The video for “You and I” has a wonderful tongue-in-cheek delightfulness about it. The video plays off of Caleb Stevenson and Will Franklin Chapman being brothers, but you all started playing music together in 2009. How has the band grown together through the years?
Haha yeah that video is wild! Glad you enjoyed it. Through the years I feel like we’ve all come into our own as players and writers. Touring as much as we have brings you face to face with the people you are making music for. You find out what they respond to, what they sing and dance to, what they don’t like, etc. That experience has helped us sharpen ourselves into the band we are now.
Is there one important tip you would give a band just starting out and getting to know each other musically?
Keep playing together. Listen to the same music. Challenge each other and be willing to listen. Sometimes your bandmates can hear you better than you can.
Can you tell us what is your favorite guitar and why?
My favorite guitar is a 1978 Gibson 335 and YES I take it on the road (no fly dates though). I feel like my amps come alive behind this guitar and I feel so comfortable and inspired with it in my hands.
Colony House is releasing a new album Only The Lonely on January 13, 2017. Can you tell us a bit about how you all are recording the album and how Flint and El Capistan was used?
Can’t wait for you all to hear the new record! I’m so proud of it. I discovered the the “high repeats, low mix” approach on the El Cap while tracking this record. The recording process looked a lot like “live band tracks in a room” and the El Cap was very useful for making my one guitar appear bigger than just my one guitar.
As far as the Flint goes… I literally brought a Tyler Amps “Fender Style” spring reverb tank to the studio and never once used it. Catch my drift? The Spring on that pedal is gorgeous. I also used the 80s infinite repeat setting on a few overdubs. Lastly, the tube tremolo (middle position on toggle) is perfect for our new song “Lonely.” Caleb and I play the same riff but I use this pretty intense tremolo to set myself apart and give the part more depth.
You have mentioned that you enjoy some old time Rock n’ Roll, like Elvis and Roy Orbison. Can you share what musically you enjoy most of that style?
The guitar playing, duh! I love the blown up sounding 8″ speaker amps, slapback and spring on everything, and beautiful melodies sung to these lonely songs. We even named the record after the Roy Orbison song “Only the Lonely” to pay tribute.