ET Anderson hail from Columbia, SC. Led by guitarist/vocalist Tyler Morris, their music has many personalities, fusing garage rock, psychedelic, and r&b grooves into a maddening whole. Pedal Fuzz caught up with them during the 2016 Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, NC.
Pedal Fuzz: Do pedals/effects play an important role in your songwriting?
ET Anderson: Pedals definitely play an important role in the writing of about half the songs. I tend to write parts by creating loops. I'll have a variety of instruments set up because I tend to write alone. I like to maximize & minimize the highest highs and lowest lows and see how far you can go with a single part, or at least see how it feels. Because I'm alone, pedals allow me to do that, and then I'll hop on drums and feel it out. It's the give & take of trying to write band oriented songs by yourself. I work best alone, but it can limit me at times.
PF: Can you cite a specific example, a song that developed around a sound?
ET: "Legs" is prime example. There's no bass in the recording. Just drums, vocals, and two guitars running through a Pog 2 Octave Pedal. That pedal has played a pivotal role in our sound while trying to create an identity for ET Anderson. It also has been the biggest influence live. Alex McCollum (other guitar player) uses it even more live than I do. The album "Et Tu, _____?" was pretty synth heavy (on record) but in the most moderate way possible. We're able to mimic a lot of those parts and sounds live because of the Pog 2.
PF: Conversely, can you give me an example of a song that started very minimally, but then transformed via experimentation with different sounds?
ET: "It's Not The Same" is another song on the album with zero bass guitar. It revolves around 2 droning synths & the chorus/bridge are intensified by two guitars that are ran through a Caroline Olympia Fuzz pedal & you guessed it, the Pog 2. Don't know if people interpret it this way, but sometimes with leads I try to mimic a strings section of an orchestra, whereas with synths I'll try to mimic horns.
PF: Are there any pedals you absolutely can’t live without?
ET: ALL OF MY PEDALS! Ha! I don't have much, but what I do have is essential to me. Maybe even just psychologically...Electro-Harmonix Pog 2 / Caroline Olympia / BOSS blues driver / Line 6 DL4 / and a BOSS dd-5 delay for my vocals that I use a lot live.
PF: What order are you running these pedals in?
ET: BOSS tuner -> BOSS blues driver -> Caroline Olympia -> Electro-Harmonix Pog 2 -> Line 6 DL-4 to Hot Rod Fender Deluxe amp.
PF: What is your most recent pedal/amp/guitar acquisition?
ET: My Fender Jazzmaster almost 3 years ago. I've been exceptionally broke since then & can't afford anything more, though I'm thankful for what I have & feel like I haven't even reached some of these pedals' full potential. That guitar changed my life because I've always made poor guitar choices in my life until I bought this one at the age of 24.
PF: Are there any pedals that you use rarely, for a *special* moment?
ET: I'm most selective with the Caroline Olympia because Alex tends to play the more thicker leads/atmospheric stuff and I try to hold back but I use it live in a few of the nastier lead parts and more noisy riffs that need some attitude.
Examples of Caroline Olympia in use:
End of live version of "Legs"
Leads on "Going Deaf"
Live version of "Exile, Again"
PF: How does your live rig differ from your studio recording setup?
ET: I use the same set-up but I tend to record cleaner sounds than what folks are more accustomed to hearing at an ET Live Show. When we play live, we're a rock n' roll band, but when I write & record, I try to approach the sounds & end result more universally. I like the separation of the two, recording vs. live
PF: When did you start playing guitar?
ET: I played bass first from when I was 14 to 20 years old. I got tired of being on other people's schedules so I began writing & fronting my own music in a band called Calculator.
PF: What was your first guitar?
ET: A Japanese Fender Telecaster I bought for $50 from a friend who was trying to find money to buy weed - that I ended up smoking with him.
PF: What was your first pedal?
ET: Line 6 DL-4
PF: Do you operate as a band usually, or is this more of a solo project that gets fleshed out into a band live?
ET: It started off completely solo & has still kept that way in pieces of the songwriting with the live band fleshing parts out separately. But with time, jamming ideas with the band has come into play with writing. I'll go back & find moments from a 15 minutes jam & see if & how I can work that into a song. Happy accidents always make the best parts & that happens more commonly when you jam with people.
PF: Is there a song that defines the ET Anderson sound?
ET: It Don't Even and Acid Earlier.
PF: What is the scene like in South Carolina, and where do you see ET Anderson in it?
ET: South Carolina's kinda like a cheeseburger and we like to think of ourselves as the cheese. Sure you've got a burger either way, but it's way fucking better with cheese.
PF: Have you attended or played Hopscotch before?
ET: No, but I lived in Raleigh for two years. But I always missed it because I worked 6 nights a week serving. I was writing every night from midnight to 7 am, and was playing in a band with great friends, Octopus Jones. I honestly didn't do much while I was there, but I'm lucky to have met & hung out with the select people that I did. They greatly influenced me in ways that they couldn't imagine.
PF: Who are you looking forward to seeing at the festival?
ET: Erykah Badu, who I look up to so much. Her music does something to me that I can't explain. She's an icon. Palm is one of my favorite bands I've seen in the past few years. Stoked to see & play with Red Sea again. Big Freedia. I could go on for days.
PF: What upcoming show plans do you have post-Hopscotch?
ET: We are playing a few select dates regionally, but trying to chill out & commit to writing. We've not had a chance to write without practice & show commitments for 2 years & I think it's time we put full focus & energy into making the best album we can make, no matter how much time it takes.
PF: Do you have any sense of what direction the new music might take?
ET: We do have some concepts, ideas, & a title for the new record, but it's not even close to done. The album is called " Ascension 2." It's our follow-up to John Coltrane's legendary album.
You can follow ET Anderson on Facebook / Instagram / Tumblr / Soundcloud / Spotify
ET Anderson's album "Et Tu, ______?" was released by Hearts & Plugs