“I was always drawn to Telecasters” - Beau Holland

“I was always drawn to Telecasters” - Beau Holland

Beau Holland is a guitarist and musical director currently touring with Keane’s Tom Chaplin. He’s got quite a CV and has worked with acts as diverse as Lauren Aquilina, to Foxes to The Selector! He’s also toured relentlessly throughout his career and shared stages with the likes of Bastille, Weezer and Foster the People. We caught up with him as he geared up for rehearsals for the upcoming tour with Tom...

MPS
You are working with Tom Chaplin at the moment, can you tell us a little about what you're working on?

BH
At the moment we're rehearsing and preparing for the UK and European appearances throughout September and October. We're doing a lot of Radio shows throughout September and then in October we'll be going on Tour throughout the UK. It's an exciting time as this is Tom's first tour with his solo project, so I'm really looking forward to what’s ahead!

MPS
You have worked with quite a number of artists from a wide variety of musical backgrounds, do any of these collaborations stand out for you?

BH
Touring with Lauren Aquilina was really enjoyable as some her latest tracks were quite guitar driven. I had a lot of freedom to create some of my own parts, and push the different sounds we used even further for the live shows which was a lot of fun. Working with Wolf Gang will always stand out for me though as it opened up so many opportunities at quite a young age for me to play for artists like Foxes, Martin Luke Brown, Daniel Wilson, Vanessa White, and now Tom Chaplin.

MPS
What kind of work do you get the most satisfaction out of?

BH
I really enjoy the creative process of writing and recording in the studio, and I like the pressure of performing live on TV, but at the moment I'm really enjoying touring and playing live shows more than anything else - I don't think you can beat it!

MPS
Who do you count among your musical influences?

BH
It’s so hard to name a few, but as a guitarist and a performer I think Prince is one of my idols. The things he was capable of playing whilst singing and moving around a stage were incredible. He's also a big part of why I was always drawn to playing Telecasters.

MPS
If you could go back to any musical era what would It be?

BH
Purely from a musical perspective, it'd be the late 50's/early 60's every time. That period was such a transitional point for music. I'd have liked to have been around during the height of Chess Records with artists like Muddy Waters, Etta James, The Rolling Stones and Chuck

Berry doing things that have made music what it is now.

MPS
What was your first guitar?

BH
My first guitar was a second hand Crafter acoustic, but my first electric was a Telecaster. I always wanted an American Fender Tele in a sunburst finish with a white pick guard, and I saved for so long to be able to get one when I was a lot younger! It's still one of the guitars I'll pick up to use first, and it has been a part of so many great shows and memories.

MPS
What guitars are you playing at the moment?

BH
At the moment I'm mostly playing a Fender Telecaster 72 Deluxe. It suits the music I’m playing with Tom perfectly, and it's such a versatile guitar that I can still use it to achieve lots of different sounds.

MPS
Tell us about your BlueSky & Timeline; what made you chose them?

BH
Having a reverb and delay pedal that sounded as good as the Strymon pedals do was a big part of why I chose them. I'd heard so many people talking about them, and when I used them for myself I totally understood why they're so popular with guitarists. The possibilities with them really are endless. I'm still discovering incredible sounds and effects with them even after using them pretty extensively.

In some tracks, I also need to be able to switch between 3 or 4 different reverbs and a few different delays very quickly. Not many pedals can do this, and it often takes a lot of fiddling, so being able to switch between the banks of my saved settings at the touch of a button is great.

MPS
What else do you have on your pedalboard?

BH
I have quite a modest board compared to some players, but I really don't like to over complicate things. I run the usual tuner and volume pedal into a 6-way loop switcher as the base of my board, which controls 2 overdrive pedals: clean boost, a tremolo, a chorus and a tape -echo. This all than runs into a Tech 21 Blonde amp and a cab simulator, and then into the Timeline followed by the Big Sky. I run my Strymon effects after all of these because the sound is then totally uncompressed, the clarity of the reverb and delay really shines, and the stereo effect of the reverb and delay sound so much bigger too.

There is also a couple of extra tuners on there for bass and acoustic guitar, as well as an Aguilar ToneHammer pedal for bass.

MPS
Is there any you have parted with that you really miss?

BH
Not really - although I had an old Epiphone Sheraton that I wished I hadn't sold when I was younger. I definitely didn't realise how cool it was back then.

MPS
Can you think of anything that really changed things for you?

BH
Using loop switchers on my pedalboard really made it much easier to switch pedals during a song. The Big Sky and Timeline have made a huge impact on me as a player though, as they make it possible to achieve any reverbs or delays that I could ever need. Artists that I play for sometimes will ask me to create quite obscure and specific sounds - and since using the Strymon pedals, I've always been able to create what they've been after; something that wasn't always possible before.

MPS
Is there any advice you can offer for people starting out on their musical journeys?

BH
I think the most important thing you can do as a musician is to practice hard, never underestimate a small opportunity, and always be nice. The third one is the most important because nearly every opportunity I’ve had in music has come through a friend, a friend of a friend, or another musician.

Find out more about what Beau’s working on at: beauholland.co.uk

 

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