We take a look at the gear used by some of this year’s Mercury Music Awards finalists
Viewed by most as the music industry’s ‘credible’ prize, certainly more so than the Brits, for example, the Mercury Music Awards have long provided the springboard for artists to propel themselves into the public eye.
As with any award, the eventual winners aren’t always the first choice for everyone, but what these prizes do is recognise musicians with actual, bona fide musical talent. To be in with any shout of picking up the title, a band or artist needs to know their way round their instruments.
And so it figures – where there are skilled musicians, there are quality instruments. Here, in the first of the series, we look at the choice of gear used to create Bombay Bicycle Club’s ever-evolving sound.
Earlier albums displayed a tendency to favour acoustic guitars, and it is this route the band chose when selecting their signature Farida guitars. Two largely similar guitars were created with direct input from the band, differing only in the choice of woods used in the body. Both guitar are minimal in terms of design and flamboyance, with one interesting facet used on the Jack Steadman signature… If you look closely on the guitar’s neck, you’ll see there are no fretmarkers anywhere, even down the side of the fretboard. The theory here is that it can help a player develop a more inherent sense of positioning and technique, without relying on visual clues.
These guitars were produced in small quantities (25 of each) and were phenomenally popular. Take away the artist’s links, and what you had were two exceptionally built acoustic guitars which just begged to be played.
For electric tones, the band largely favour Fenders, usually American Stratocasters. They can be seen using various iterations of Strat, notably US Standards.
In order to add colour to their sound, the band makes use of gear at the more modern end of the spectrum, notably the Akai MPC Renaissance drum machine/sampler/controller. The MPC has long been favoured by musicians on account of its build and sound quality, reliability and ease of use.
Finally, as you can see in the above video, the band go straight to the top in terms of quality by employing the legendary Nord Stage 2 piano. Sitting at (or at least near) the top of the tree for professional-grade keyboards, the Nord Stage 2 combines world-class organ, piano and synth sounds to deliver amazing sound quality and performance whatever the application.