Speakerboxx/The Tone Below
Where do you start when reviewing the recent success of Atlanta hip-hop duo Outkast? Let’s see: Speakerboxxx/The Love Below was one of the best selling albums of the year (Heck, even your Grandma knows the words to “Hey Ya”), they’ve received nominations (so far) for 4 Billboard Awards and 4 Teen Choice Awards, won 2 trophies at the BET Awards, made countless television appearances from major sporting events to awards ceremonies, and the list goes on. When playing live in Outkast’s unique live shows, guitarists David Whild and Donny Mathis rely on Line 6 in a big way. Between the two of them, they are currently using (take a deep breath): Variax 500, Variax 700, Variax Acoustic 700, 2 HD 147s, Vetta II HD, and 3 412 Cabs. Whew! Outkast won big at the MTV Video Music Awards on August 29th, bringing home 4 MoonMen for the “Hey Ya” video (Video of the Year, Best Hip-Hop Video, Best Special Effects, and Best Art Direction). They also performed on stage with 2 Vetta II Combos! Read below for an exclusive interview with David and Donny, and find out why they chose Line 6 as their only gear for such a demanding gig.
Line 6: Where did you first hear about Line 6?
David: A guitar player friend said I should check out the Pod and I went and got the Pod. I did lots of sessions in small studios that didn’t have room for amps, so I used the Pod and it worked out great!
Donny: I chose my current Line 6 set up because David was using the Pod and I wanted to try new gear for the Grammy’s, so I decided to try the Line guitars and amps. I was so satisfied with the gear that I am exclusive Line 6 now.
Line 6: What Line 6 gear are you using and how are you using it?
David: Of course, the Pod but now I also use the Vetta 2 (half stack) and Variax 700. I use the gear for all my live shows and recording. I have my own band outside of Outkast called WHILD PEACH and I have been using all my Line 6 gear for recording our new record and our live shows. It is my main rig. I take the Line 6 gear everywhere. If I do a fly date I will use my Line 6 even if different gear is offered by the backline company. If I cannot bring my amp set up then I use my Pod and my Variax.
Donny: I use the HD 147 (half stack), the Variax 500 and the Acoustic Variax. I fell in love with the Variax guitar. I used a Fender telecaster since I was 16 but now I can get that sound and so many others too. The Line 6 gear is my main rig.
Line 6: How have our products changed the way you work?
David: Line 6 makes everything easier and I like the Vetta for the stereo sound – 2 amps at once capability. I can switch to different guitar sounds in the middle of a set or a song. I do need to play acoustic guitar for some songs and now I only have to take one guitar with me to get what I need. My overall sound is so much better. The sound guys always compliment my guitar tone. My sound is loud & clear for all the right reasons. The gear definitely makes our band sound better. Line 6 is a big part of our sound now.
Donny: With the HD 147 I can get such a rich tone now. I can have versatility and go from Mesa Boogie to Fender Twin Reverb. I can get a very clean sound. I love the effects on the amp – nice delay and flanger. It is a well-balanced amp, which is hard to find. The action of the Variax 500 surprised me. It’s very good. I can move my fingers fast. I can move around real freely. The notes are very clean. The Line 6 gear makes my job a lot easier.
Line 6: What are your favorite settings on the gear you use and why?
David: On the Vetta 2 I use a lot of the pre-sets then manipulate them to create my own sound. I like all the different sounds. Most of my settings are clean but for the live version of the song “The Way You Move” I use the Freaky Whapster – It works perfect. On the Variax 700 I use mostly the T-model – all the Fender models and I use the different acoustic settings. I like the Sitar too. As I mess around more & more on the gear I incorporate more settings. It depends on the song.
Donny: All the sounds on the Acoustic Variax are really good. I like the Banjo & Sitar. The action is real nice. I am very impressed with it. On the HD 147 I use mostly the clean settings. On the Variax 500 I use the Fender settings, the telecaster/T-model is my standard sound.
Line 6: Any final comments?
David: The Vetta & Variax to me are the future of guitar rigs. I am trying to create new and different kinds of sounds. I like experimenting. The Line 6 gear helps me do this when I write & record. I don’t need to have the same gear that everyone else has. When I get called into a session they expect me to do something different – not do the norm. I can be different with the Vetta & Variax because I have access to all those great sounds, especially when I am playing for Outkast.
Donny: I am spoiled with the Line 6 gear. If I travel and get other backline gear then I am not happy because I am spoiled.
For more information on Outkast, including news, tour dates, discography, bio, videos, and more, visit www.outkast.com.