Sarah Register Interview

Sarah Register on guitar and Andrya Ambro on drums

Talk Normal

Brooklyn duo Talk Normal is doing some of the most interesting music in the indie scene right now.  Described by Tiny Mix Tapes as “tribal noise rock,”  their sound is pounding and dense.  And Sarah Register’s guitar work is brave —  experimental, clamoring, rhythmic — it gets inside you.  Keep reading and see how Sarah gets her ferocious guitar sound.

When did you begin playing and why?

I took a few guitar lessons in high school.  Probably because I wanted to perform, and thought that playing + singing would be a good combo.  It was a very unfocused desire, and while I loved music I hadn’t heard anything that made me gravitate to guitar, or made me want to imitate it.  Then mostly I’d play oldies vocal lines (on guitar).  Or pick the strings up at the headstock, I was in love with the sounds they made.  My real introduction/interest in guitar came later in my 20’s as I finally discovered there was a use for the type of sounds that I inherently created, and I met/saw a few folks who were making guitars sing in a way that excited me beyond my previous casual interest.

What was your first guitar, and how did you get it?

My parents bought me an acoustic as a teenager, which I still have and am fond of.  The first guitar I bought myself is a 60’s Silvertone.  I was 18 and bought it for $75 at a used guitar store in Oklahoma.  That may have been the most expensive thing I’d ever bought at that point.  The guy didn’t see any use for it and was fine to let it go, I thought it was the most beautiful thing I’d seen.

What equipment do you prefer now?  Which guitar?  What amps, cables, pedals?  Why?

That Silvertone is the main instrument I use in Talk Normal.  Also I have an old Vox bass and a Fender Mustang, & I feel very tenderly toward them all.  And I covet my friend Jorge’s red Jaguar which I got to play in a previous band… that specific family of Fender guitars appeals to me very much.  I started out with just a distortion pedal, wanting to keep it simple, but recently it’s grown to 3 distortions (Rat + Boss + Fender), 1 delay (Boss) & a loop pedal.  I’m vacillating on whether to minimize or find a better way to keep them tidy.  Cables I’m always shocked at how expensive they are & I have to go cheap.  Amps, for a long time I’ve used a Musicman 112 combo and an Ashdown head + 1×15 cabinet.

What are you working on right now?

New Talk Normal record…  coming 2011, with a little more hard work & luck…

Name one or two (or more!) artists (musicians, writers, visual artists) you find inspiring.  Why?

There are many!  Here’s a few.

* Andrya my bandmate is inspirational, no jokes.

* Pterodactyl — love the music these dudes make

* Jorge Henry DoCouto — innovator & instigator

* Lilah Freedland — poet & a scholar

* E.M.A. — speaks for itself


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