Dylan,hi-fi,15.2.13faIt would take a dead man not to be moved by Dylan Hartas’ rollicking, hell-fire, bar room style, slide guitar. Along with his band, The Blues Martyrs, they cook up a gritty but hearty brand of electric blues. Dylan’s 2013 album ‘Devil’s Groove’ gained him plenty of well-deserved kudos both here and overseas and he continues to rack up thousands of gig miles a year. Hartas is savvy enough to know when to blow off musical steam and when to bring it down a notch. In his hands, a slide guitar and his heartfelt songs can leave tears in your beers as much as rock your socks off. Dylan sat down for a quick Q&A with Australian Musician to chat about his music making.

What was your first guitar?
A Maton JB-6, 24 frets, humbuckers and a custom red to black sunburst paint job courtesy of my dad. Someone pinched it though. It’s still out there somewhere, I’m sure. I miss that guitar.

What’s your main guitar now?
I have a go at acoustic and electric in my band.
Donmo single cone steel resonator hand made in Adelaide. It’s amazing sound inspires me everyday.
Gretsch – Bo Diddley model.  The cricket bat with strings. It’s so ugly and so red.


Through what amp and why?
I recently got an AMPEG GVT15-112. It’s so versatile – really dynamic EQ, all valve, a mighty 15watts so you can crank it right up and plenty of clearly labelled speaker cabinet outputs. And best of all you can pick up all of this with one hand.

Which pedals are your standards?
Tuner, Ibanez tube screamer, Holy Grail Nano reverb (backline amps always have a broken reverb tank)

Your guitar heroes?
Chris Whitley, Steve Stevens, Jimi Hendrix, Malcolm and Angus Young (they really are inseparable.) Derek Trucks, oh man the list goes on and on, I love anyone who wears their heart on their sleeve and finds their own sound.

What’s your latest recording and when will you be back in the studio?
Dylan Hartas – ‘Devil’s Groove’ is currently out and available from my website and all good digital tune providers.
I’m looking to get back into the studio over summer in January; I have a bunch of new tunes that I’m itching to record.

What gigs have you been playing lately?
My local bar Lazybones Lounge in Marrickville. Heaps of people, friends and family from all over came out to support me there recently, it really meant a lot. We filmed the night, so a new live clip is on the way. It’s a great venue, live music 7 nights a week, just what Sydney needs.

Most memorable gig?
That would have to be a recent support slot we had for David “The Hoff” Hasselhoff. Leather suits, Bay Watch babes, diamond encrusted cowboy hats. I’d never seen anything quite like it. An interesting guy actually, really easy going, but he’ll always be Michael Knight to me.

Dylan_Hartas-4a[1]a.jpgeditWorst stage nightmare?
Looking across stage and seeing a fellow guitarist, being electrocuted by a microphone. Luckily the singer had the reaction time of a Ninja and pulled on the cable to rip the mic from his chest. Burning flesh, singed hair, the guitar strings lit up like fuse wire and exploded. It was a frightening scene, a really close call. Everyone survived and in true Rock’n’Roll fashion he refused to go to hospital in the ambulance; instead grabbing a bottle of whiskey jumping in the van and said “let’s get home for a drink.”

Album that changed your life?
John Lee Hooker doing Crawling King Snake on an old vinyl LP, that was it, hooked for life.

What gigs are coming up in the next few months?
September 26th at the Stag and Hunter in Newcastle NSW. Dates will be finalised and on website soon for an east coast tour being for December.

What are you most proud of with your music career?
Being able to make my love of music a full time obsession and manage to pay the bills and raise my family whilst at it. Whether I’m playing in front of 30,000 people with the Prime Minister in the front row or to one blues lover in a beer garden in the rain, I’m a fan of music… I give it my all and trust that somewhere along the line someone is getting out of it what I’ve put into it.

A guitar tip for the kids?
Remember that the notes you don’t play are just as musical as the ones you do play. Never pass up an opportunity to watch or play with other musicians. So much is learned on a subconscious level by watching and jamming with other people.