With the release of 2005’s Themata, Karnivool made it known that they had arrived to shake up the Australian metal scene. The record was a roaring wolf’s cry powerful enough to play on the world stage but quintessentially Australian.

Ten years on, the record is still seen as a flashpoint in the Australian metal canon and Karnivool will soon honour the legacy of the album with their Themata Decade Tour, which kicks off later this month (see details below).

To find out more about what fans can expect from the band’s upcoming tour and how it feels to go back to play an album ten years after it was first released, we caught up with guitarist Andrew Goddard to find out about the guitar gear Karnivool couldn’t live without.

Stripping It Down

If I could only tour with the essentials, I think a guitar would be a necessary item. The way we’re heading with the new stuff, it’s featuring a lot of baritone as well, so I would need those two and an amp and I could probably make do. If I could have a fourth item, it would be a delay pedal, and then I’d be sweet. I could play a gig and make a party with that.

I’ve got way too many brands, I couldn’t really pick, but if I had to it would probably be the Memory Man, I reckon, just the character of it. I’m using a lot of Axe these days, as well. Not the way a lot of people are using it, a lot of people in heavy bands are using it as the actual amp.

You can just go straight out of the back of it, it’s got cab emulators built in and you can plug in your power in there and it sounds amazing, but I think it sounds better and more real the way I do it, so I just run it as part of a chain. I just love having my kneecaps broken from behind.

Starting Out

I kind of stumbled on a couple of gems without really knowing anything, maybe there was some sort of gut feeling there. My first guitar was this Epiphone Les Paul copy that was a massive pile of shit, but it’s how I learnt to play and make my way around a fretboard.

It’s how I began to feel comfortable standing beside Kenny, our singer, who showed me my first couple riffs on guitar, because he was my brother’s best mate. I still remember him pulling the strap around my body and going, “That goes around your right shoulder, bro.”

Then I stumbled on this PRS, which was going second-hand at this music shop and I remember looking at it and not knowing what a PRS was, but just thinking it looked so good, with the finish on it and everything.

I happened to have some inheritance from my grandmother that week. I wasn’t sure what she’d think of that, but hopefully she’s alright with it now, because it’s the guitar I’m still playing. It’s my best buddy.

The 5150 is the other thing that I’m still using. I’m messing around with so many variables, but I think it’s just one of those things where if I need some constants in my setup and just in life in general, those have kind of been my stalwarts – the 5150 and the PRS. So I feel like I’ve moulded my playing around those two.

Evolution

It’s a constant change and evolution, it’s a process of refining. We’ve done a bunch of tours both in Australia and overseas now and we’ve spent money in places we shouldn’t have. It’s been a slow process of narrowing down and these days I’m just about making my setup as logical, intuitive, and simple as possible.

I realise there’s certain things I need, like certain pedals that I’ve put into the records, but the pedal board is valuable real estate and there’s certain things you put in there that maybe don’t have to be the same. So I’m constantly experimenting with it. The songs continue evolve as well, you know?

I still like to bend over and mess with the dials on the delay and fuck with the Z.Vex pedal. So basically my DD-20 is a double Boss delay, which has a modulation setting that I’ve tried to emulate with the Axe, but it’s got a particular character, and a wah delay HOG2 pedal, with about six presets on there.

Themata And Beyond

The thing about Themata is I listen to the tone on that record and it’s good, it is what it is and it sounds good, I’m proud of it, but I’d never do anything like that anymore. The essence of what I’m doing now is still there, it’s still the PRS and a lot of 5150.

Even though there was no 5150 on Asymmetry, but there was just butt loads of really cheap-sounding, shit chorus on Themata. But I realised that that’s a big part of that record, the chorus from my old GT3 multi-effects pedal, which I’ve brought back out again.

But I’m almost considering just doing the 2015 version of it, still play them the same, but with my current setup.

Triggers

It’s a fine line, the gear influencing the song and the song just coming no matter what. Sometimes I get caught up in the micro details as opposed to the macro and that’s how it works, but sometimes I just need to pull my head out and go, ‘Okay, well that’s the sound, let’s get at least half a song out of it.’

So many songs have been developed out of just getting a new item and it’s new and fresh and exciting and it’ll trigger something, because you can get a different vibe.

Developing A Style

At the end of the day, it’s all just tools to use so you can best express yourself, essentially. We’ve all figured it out over the years. John’s a prime example, he’s been quite inspiring to me, just watching his development.

Going from this dude who was playing on this $150 bass, but then it got stolen out of a van in a car park and we sort of rejoiced and he got this Ibanez grey thing and it’s now at the point where he’s got the scariest, most terrifying bass sound I’ve ever heard.

But there’s having strings to your bow as well, so sometimes I’m like, “Can you just turn the distortion off, be a bass player for a bit and stop riff-blocking me!”

Guitar Porn

We’ve been very lucky and blessed to be the recipient of some great gear made by awesome people who’ve wanted to get in on what’s going on in our little circle. It’s amazing, like Axe and PRS, the Electric Factory over here have been good mates and they’re always emailing us with guitar porn.

Karnivool Themata Decade Tour

Thursday April 30
University, WOLLONGONG

Friday May 1
Panthers, NEWCASTLE

Saturday May 2
Metro, SYDNEY – SOLD OUT

Sunday May 3
Metro, SYDNEY

Thursday May 7
The Northern, BYRON BAY

Friday May 8
The Coolangatta Hotel, COOLANGATTA

Saturday May 9
The Triffid, BRISBANE – SOLD OUT

Sunday May 10
The Triffid, BRISBANE

Tuesday May 12
The Corner Hotel, MELBOURNE – SOLD OUT

Wednesday May 13
The Corner Hotel, MELBOURNE – SOLD OUT

Thursday May 14
The Corner Hotel, MELBOURNE – SOLD OUT

Friday May 15
Kay Street, TRARALGON

Saturday May 16
Wool Exchange, GEELONG – SOLD OUT

Monday May 18
The Gov, ADELAIDE

Tuesday May 19
The Gov, ADELAIDE – SOLD OUT

Thursday May 21
Discovery, DARWIN

Friday May 22
Metro City, PERTH

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