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MATTHEW BURROWS (ZENITH MOON) – GUITAR

Melbourne rock trio Zenith Moon have recently released their ripping debut single Inhibition, an inspiring track about overcoming a negative experience and coming out the other side a stronger person. The group have also dropped a clever clip to accompany the track, showcasing the fun, high-energy nature of a Zenith Moon performance. To celebrate, the three-piece will be hitting the stage at The Grace Darling on June 28. Ahead of the gig, guitarist Matthew Burrows answered a few guitar-related questions for us.

What was your first guitar?
My story is pretty similar to everyone else, I started out on an old no name nylon string guitar at the age of 8, but my first proper guitar was an Epiphone Les Paul which I played everyday until it was almost destroyed!! That was really the guitar I cut my teeth on.

What’s your main guitar now?
My main axe now is Vera, my red Frakenstrat, which has only recently come back to being my number one at the start of this year. It’s a USA Fender body, a Warmoth neck with a couple of Seymour Duncan Humbuckers, – what’s not to love? It never fails to sound awesome no matter what it’s plugged into. Playing it is like coming home to an old friend.

Through what amp and why?
So this is where I get a bit cheeky. I have recently started using the Line 6 Helix through a Seymour Duncan Power Stage 170 and into a 1×12 cab loaded with a Celestian V30. The main tone comes from the Placater Dirty model in the Helix, which I believe is based off of a Friedman BE100 and it sounds immense. The reason I love this set up so much is it’s so reliable, I don’t have to worry about replacing tubes or warming it up before I play, it’s beautiful piece of mind.

What pedals are your standards?
Once again, all the sounds come out of the Helix but the pedals I use within it are of course a tuner, the most important of all! For my main driven tone, I’m hitting the front of the amp model with an EQ and just pushing some of those mid frequencies. I’ve always loved that mid pushed kind of tone, it just sounds angry and will cut through anything. Similarly, for the solos, I just bump up the level on the EQ to around 6 to hit the amps front end into a bit more saturation. Most of the time I’ll put a bit of delay in there as well, a little slower than a slap back and only just audible. Other than that when it comes to cleans, there’s either a little reverb or I’m drowning in it! The Helix has some amazing reverbs that can transport you to different dimensions if you so desire and I’ll use those for some of the more ambient songs.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
So the latest recording is with the band Zenith Moon and its debut single ‘Inhibition’ which we recently released. The next time in studio will be Zenith Moon related and hopefully will be either another single or album.

What gigs have you been playing lately?
I’ve mainly been on the Zenith Moon band wagon just playing local venues around Melbourne like The Phoenix, The Vineyard and Whole Lotta Love Bar. I’ll occasionally go out as a solo or duet, which is much more folk and blues orientated, I played at the Cobargo Folk Festival earlier this year.

Most memorable gig?
Not really a gig, but it is definitely the most memorable thing to happen at one. It happened at The Great Southern Blues Festival in Narooma in 2013, it was my first time going along to the festival, my folks and I went to check out this guy called Charlie A’Court who’s a Canadian blues machine. He was killing it with some insane guitar work and a massive voice to top it off. I was just standing there floored. I hadn’t really seen much of this style of music in the flesh at that time and honestly still haven’t! Then Charlie walked off stage and was just weaving through the audience and he came up to me and asked if I played guitar. Of course I said yes and he asked if I wanted to play a bit, which I was terrified to do but knew I wasn’t going to give up the opportunity. So I said yes. It was insane how time just stopped and all the people around me just kind of disappeared. I received a call from Charlie’s manager the following week, Charlie invited me to the Sydney Blues Festival to get up on stage with him. We crossed paths at the Thredbo Blues Festival a couple of years later and he invited me up on stage again. I’ll never forget those experiences and I’ll always be grateful to Charlie for the support he’s shown me, he’s an awesome bloke.

Worst stage nightmare?
It was probably back when I was playing in a Latin-American guitar ensemble, we were playing at the Peak Festival in Perisher over the June long weekend. We were in front of this big glass window and it was like being inside an oven, all I remember was nearly passing out about half way through our set and sweating profusely!! It was brutal, hard to believe that outside was covered in snow.

Album that changed your life?
Hands down Pulse by Pink Floyd, I’d never heard anything like it and still haven’t!! Gilmour is by far the biggest influence on my playing and from the age of 12 to about 15 Pink Floyd were pretty much the only band I listened to. That album and DVD made me want to be a guitar player. I actually played my first copy so many times that the DVD broke and I had to buy another!

What gigs are coming up for you in the next few months?
Zenith Moon have a big one on the 28th of June, we will be releasing our debut single at The Grace Darling in Collingwood. After that we have plans to play a fair few shows around regional VIC. Nothings locked in yet but if you follow us on Facebook you can stay up date.

A guitar tip for the kids?
Just keep practicing and never lose sight of why you first picked up the guitar. It’s the friend that will always be there.

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