(5 questions we ask artists – the same 5, every time)
Today’s entry for the Pedals and Effects 5 spotlights bass player Stu Brooks! Stu Brooks is a Grammy nominated bass player who is the founder of the experimental dub act Dub Trio. In addition to his duties in Dub Trio, Brooks is an avid studio bassist, having worked with such artists as Lady Gaga, 50 Cent, Dr. John, Mary J Blige, Mobb Deep, Pretty Lights, Mike Patton and even going so far as to record bass on a posthumously released Tupac record! Currently, Stu Brooks acts as the musical director and bassist for reggae rapper Matisyahu. Leading into 2016, Brooks is currently working on upcoming releases from Dub Trio and Matisyahu.
1. What is your number one/go-to pedal on your pedalboard and why?
Lately, I’ve been loving the Pearl OC-7 octave pedal. It has the option of one and/or two octaves below and also one octave above. Each are controlled independently so you can dial in a wide range of tones. It gives a nice furry vintage synth kind of tone to the bass that tracks beautifully.
2. What is your favorite combination of pedals? It can be a combination of 2 pedals or multiple pedals!
I’ve been combining the Pearl OC-07 with the Aguilar Fuzzistor (or alternatively the Aguilar Agro) and the Iron Ether Franta Bit. Crushing, aggressive, electronic music style bass. Sometimes adding reverb (with either the) Earthquaker Devices Ghost Echo or Iron Ether’s Nimbus.
3. When did you realize a pedal(s) could evolve your playing/sound and what pedal(s) was it?
Back when the Moogerfooger MF-101 came out. (When) Used as a low pass filter, it helped me mimic some tones I heard from Aston “Family Man” Barrett. I had done a tour opening for The Wailers in 2003 and came back a new person after watching and listening closely to him. The MF-101 helped gain a heavy dub tone. And with expression on the low pass, I could do some moves that mimic Scientist (Hopeton Brown) or King Tubby making filter sweeps on a Dub mix. I also realized I could jump from a distorted punk/metal tone to a dub/synthy-electronic in an instant. Which then became a sort of schizophrenic characteristic of my project Dub Trio.
4. In the future, what would you like to see pedal builders create (from scratch) or modify on an existing standard?
I think I’d like to see some more expression pedal options with delay pedals. Hands-free dubbing.
5. What advice can you give to musicians who are trying to expand their musical horizons with pedals and effects?
Spend time experimenting and try to think outside of the box a little. Perhaps trying to simulate a sound that isn’t generated by a bass guitar will help you create something original or unusual.
Keep it simple. In a recording session, try to deliver the cleanest tone to tape as possible.