Over the past few years, Young the Giant has been dominating the airwaves with uniquely titled songs like, My Body, Appartment, and most recently Cough Syrup. With engaging lyrics, addicting hooks, and the self-proclaimed “Orange County sound”, these indie-rockers are a leading force in modern-alternative rock music.
We caught up with G&L enthusiast Payam Doostzadeh, bassist for Young the Giant, and had a great time discussing the band, touring, and of course our favorite topic, guitars by George and Leo.
Which bass is your favorite?
”I’d have to say my baby blue JB, and it plays even better than it looks. I love the maple neck, the pickups and that fat G&L saddle lock bridge.”
How long have you been playing G&L for?
“I've been playing G&L basses almost exclusively for about 10 years. It started with my purchase of a custom JB-2 at Jim’s Music in Irvine, CA. I had been a customer of Jim's ever since I was renting violins for orchestra. As I started playing in bands in my early teens I was continually stopping in to see what they had. One day Rob Joly, one of the owners, came up to me and said, "Hey man, you gotta check out these basses, they’re not gonna stay for long." He went to the back and pulled out a Fender custom 5 string and a G&L custom JB-2, both had been acquired from a collector. Up until that time I was playing on one of those Squier p-bass starter packs. I tried them both and immediately fell in love with the G&L. I wanted it so bad, but I told Rob I couldn't just make the upgrade from a Pinto to a Ferrari without any middle transition. Rob convinced me I should, and I’m glad I did. Today that JB-2 still remains one of my favorite basses.”
Awesome story Payam. So, how does Young the Giant go about the songwriting process?
”Strangely, we’re completely democratic in everything we do, including the songwriting process. We have been living together in various houses around SoCal for the past 5 years in between tours, which has really expedited the songwriting process. Sometimes we write songs just from a group jam, or one person will have a riff that they like and will bring it to practice and we will all expand on it. Sometimes we build songs from separate tracking in our home studio. Other times one of us will have a complete idea on piano/acoustic guitar and the rest of us will help arrange, add parts, and work on lyrics. So, I guess it just depends. There really isn’t a set pattern.”
What is coming up for the band?
”We finished a 3 year touring cycle in the fall of 2012 and are now all living together in a house in Palos Verdes. We've spent the last couple months writing songs and kind of decompressing from touring 10 months out of the year for several years. We are about ready to get into the studio and record LP2! We have some upcoming summer festival dates and are currently having conversations about late summer/fall tours... So, keep an eye out!”
What kind of rig are you using in the studio?
”For the last record I used my G&L JB-2 through a SVT-VR + SVT-810AV. Our producer at the time, Joe Chiccarelli, was always raving about how good the JB-2 sounded through the DI.”
Any special tips or tricks you use with your G&L’s?
”I string all my basses with flat-wounds. Sometimes I like to throw nylon tape wounds on my basses too, although I prefer the tape wounds on my fretless.”
How would you describe your tone?
”Considering my use of flat-wounds, I would say my tone is more of a deeper soul sound than aggressive rock. I also don't really use any pedals except for a fuzz and a bass micro synth for octaver and filter sweep effects (which I use very sparingly). I usually favor both pickups on my jazz basses but sometimes only use the neck pickup for that classic p-bass sound. It’s crazy how much you can get the JB-2 to sound like a vintage Fender p-bass by just using that neck pickup.”
What is your recommendation to a new player who is just getting started
”I think that every bass player should own a G&L at some point. I picked up the JB-2 after only a year of playing. The difference the G&L made to my playing over the Squier I learned on was paramount. You learn to respect the instrument much more as it opens the doors to tonality and playability. A great instrument really goes a long way in helping you improve as a player.”
Young the Giant tour dates.