A Place to Bury Strangers on the Pedals They Built for Trent Reznor
A Place To Bury Strangers
Photo by Dusdin Condren
Death via noise may be Oliver Ackermann's end goal, but A Place To Bury Stranger's frontman says he doesn't have tinnitus yet. "Maybe things are a little bit quieter," the guitarist tells us. "But I still feel like I can hear the full spectrum of sound. I guess I'm pretty lucky."
Nonetheless, Ackermann still wants to crank the volume to the limit, crafting crushing ramparts of industrial noise akin to more sinister versions of Ride or The Warlocks. But New York's APTBS were never content with the options available to them, so they've meticulously built their own gear, everything from the amps to the pedals to the guitars.
"I got into every aspect of making music, from recording to building the instrument," Ackermann explains. "It grew out of necessity for the artwork that we were doing."
Thus, Death By Audio was formed, Ackermann's effects pedal company that produces deadly devices such as the Supersonic Fuzz Gun, the Wave Destroyer, and a five-channel distortion box simply called Apocalypse. But these aren't some hacked together things - Ty Segall, Jet, and Trent Reznor have all ordered custom gear through Death By Audio, which if it doesn't legitimize their quality is still pretty dope.
"I'm just a such a fan of [Nine Inch Nails] and their work," Ackermann says. "To be appreciated in something you do is a pretty wild feeling."
More and more, that appreciation has grown among fans and other artists as well. Chances are, APTBS have toured with your favorite band. Their list of shared stages include Brian Jonestown Massacre, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Jesus and Mary Chain, MGMT and Nine Inch Nails.
"It's a weird thing being a kid and listening to this music and then getting these opportunities to these things," Ackermann says. "I don't get it, but I'm not complaining."
Ackermann sounds thrilled to be able to talk about the gear he makes, especially something he calls the Ghost Delay, which is assembled with three delay circuits.
"I didn't think it was gonna sound that cool, they were just three delays running into each other," Ackermann explains. "But then the way those circuits like kinda starve each other for power does these bendy sounds, just kinda weird backwards notes and all these weird things that was like a really cool surprise to happen upon."
The results show on APTBS's most recent record, Worship, which was more spacious than their previous two releases - more brooding, more pensive, such as on the titular track, but still caustic and barbed on "Revenge" and "Leaving Tomorrow."
The band's growth since their 2007 self-titled debut and the fact that APTBS almost broke up in 2013, makes the upcoming Transfixiation all the more intriguing. Ackermann, who has famously said he hates doing the same thing twice, took a far more experimental, live approach to the band's fourth LP.
"In the past, I would slave over a very particular sound it seems," Ackermann says. "This record was more slaving over and finding that moment when everyone was really feeling it. It kind of became a more physical thing where we're just capturing moments in time rather than capturing stuff off the guitar sound or something. So it was kind of a whole different sort of approach of recording, which I really liked, which it was at least very different for me. I think other people maybe need these things. You get some sort of awe or wonder when you in some crazy studio somewhere and so since we were sort of doing it ourselves we sort of had to create that awe and wonder in whatever was going on."
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