0151 448 2080
Order by phone - Mon-Fri: 9:00AM-6:00PM

Select CurrencyYour Basket 0 items | £ 0.00 Checkout

Can't wait to try? why not visit one of our 10 PMT House of Rock sister stores

PORTISHEAD’S ADRIAN “ORANGE ADE” UTLEY TALKS

Published: Tue August 19, 2008  News Feed

“I’ve always been a huge fan of vintage amps,” Adrian explains, “but I haven’t been so happy with an amp as I have with my AD30 which I’ve used for everything ever since I first got it about four years ago. There’s something about that amp… I can mess with it and really change the sound and the gain structure of it – but I can do so really simply."

Adrian Utley (right) and his Portishead band mates

"In my extensive collection of about fifteen amps I’ve got a 1950s and a 1960s Fender Twin; an Ampeg Reverb; a 1950s Fender Tweed and some old AC30s. But the AD30 can produce all of those vintage sounds partly because I can drive it without going incredibly loud.”

Portishead have recently released their first album for ten years – Third - and are now promoting it having recently played concerts in America (the Coachella festival in Indio, California) Berlin, Barcelona and on British national radio and television.

Adrian Utley at the BBC's Maida Vale studios

One track from Third – ‘The Rip’ - neatly illustrates Adrian’s open-minded approach and attitude to recording the guitar: “I have lots of acoustics and electrics. One of my main stage electrics is a 1964 Fender Jazzmaster and for acoustic I use a Brook homemade guitar [see photo left] by a company from Dartmoor.

But when we recorded The Rip I used a beautiful little kid’s guitar that I bought in a junk shop for four quid. It had just the kind of different tone I’d been after for a quite a while. It cost another thirty pounds to have the frets sorted out and then I used it in the studio…recorded with a three-and-a-half grand mic ! [laughs] My first perception of acoustic guitars was from records – and on records they never sound like they do when you’re in the room… they sound more spacious and have much more frequency.

So for me to play a kid’s guitar means it’s got limited frequency range already when recording; so it gives space for loads of other stuff.”

Citing Jimi Hendrix and Jimmy Page as key influences, Adrian is very much into experimenting with sound: “I studied jazz for more than ten years but I’ve always been interested in further sounds you can get from guitars either by using pedals or by alternative ways of playing. For instance, playing rhythms behind the bridge with a paint brush and using effects on that sound. Or bowing the strings with a pair of long-nose pliers. In these kinds of ways you can make the guitar go into other worlds which wouldn’t happen playing in the conventional way.

And my pedals are pretty extreme: I have an American Real McCoy wah pedal – I used to use a Cry Baby. With the RMC I can get pure wah sound – which I love - or extreme filter sweeping and volume change. I’ve got fuzz boxes that were custom-made for me that give out a really extreme germanium kind of fuzz. And I’ve got a Hot Cake distortion pedal from New Zealand. I’ve got a lot of different echo pedals set up on my board including a Line 6, an old Boss analogue and newish Boss digital echo. And a tremolo that can go from extreme to really subtle. The thing with all of this is that I’m looking for texture or extremity.”

Another thing that’s quite extreme and unmissable about Portishead’s backline is Adrian’s customised Orange 2x12” cab: “I wanted to have a loud speaker cab – that’s two separate words [laughs] – and so I asked Jim Barr who plays bass with us, to spray-paint a design on the speaker grille. I really like what he came up with and in a weird kind of way it fits in with the pictures you get on old Orange amps – the mountains for the echo and stuff.”

Jim Barr explains more about his artwork: “I did it with masking tape and a can of spray paint and I used my imagination a little bit and wanted something to look like a picture of loudness. I could waffle on about all kinds of arty stuff like German expressionism – bit I won’t [laughs] ! We sprayed the whole grille black, then put on the masking tape and sprayed over with matt white car primer. It took about twenty minutes all in all.”

At the Coachella festival – held in April in California - Adrian hired an Orange rig
and for the first time ever used a 4x12 speaker cab: ”I’ve never used a 4x12 before in my life and what I found was that I could make it feed back in a more controlled way which was really good.”

Lastly, how did Adrian first hear about Orange?: “I remember Orange from the 1970s when I was beginning – quite a few friends had them. But those old 120-watt ones were way too loud for me. Then a few years ago I was doing a session for Marianne Faithfull which Polly Harvey was producing and she had an AD30 with a 2x12 cab and I used hers in the studio. It was so totally brilliant – and not just for guitar… we played bass through it for certain things and that also sounded great.”



Orange AD30/AD30TC and customised 2x12 cab onstage in Barcelona 29.5.08

Watch: a Portishead classic, "Sour Times" (Live):

To hear tracks from the Third album visit www.portishead.co.uk

Related Products

Orange PPC112 1x12” 60 Watt Guitar Speaker Cabinet

There are many guitarists who are quite happy to plug their head into any cabinet they can lay their hands on. It's a pity as you only need use your ears to realize the difference the right cabinet can make to your amplifier's sound. The Right Speakers Too many manufacturers compromise their cabinets by using inexpensive speakers.…

Web Price:

229.00

Availability:

in stock
More Info

Orange PPC412 Guitar Speaker Enclosure

There are many guitarists who are quite happy to plug their head into any cabinet they can lay their hands on. It's a pity as you only need use your ears to realize the difference the right cabinet can make to your amplifier's sound. Too many manufacturers compromise their cabinets by using inexpensive speakers. This foolhardy decision can be disastrous!…

Web Price:

739.00

Availability:

in stock
More Info

Orange AD30 30 Watt 2 Channel Amplifier Head

Each AD Twin Channel amplifier has two preamps with completely separate signal paths to maintain the purity of your tone. Separate gain, master and EQ controls allow you complete control of your sound. Whatever your musical style, the Orange AD twin channel amplifiers give you the flexibly you need to define your sound without compromise! Orange AD30 Guitar Amplifier…

Web Price:

1049.00

Availability:

in stock
More Info

Orange AD 30 TC 2 Channel Amp Combo

Can you imagine owning two AD Series amps... One for clean, one for crunch - One for rhythm, one for lead - One that keeps it's clarity as you roll up the gain, one that gives you that authentic British crunch! With the Orange AD twin channel amps you can have exactly that without breaking the bank! Each AD Twin…

Web Price:

1379.00

Availability:

in stock
More Info

Orange PPC412AD Angled Speaker Cabinet

Orange Angled 4x12" Solid Marine Birch 18 Ply Wood 240 Watt Guitar Speaker Enclosure Orange PPC412 Andy Dunlop Signature Cabinet 4x12" angledcabinet, Celestion Vintage 30 Speaker,Size 53x78x38cm,Gross weight 45kg

Web Price:

769.00

Availability:

Call 0844 815 0888
More Info

Orange PPC212 2x12” 120 Watt Guitar Speaker Cabinet

There are many guitarists who are quite happy to plug their head into any cabinet they can lay their hands on. It's a pity as you only need use your ears to realize the difference the right cabinet can make to your amplifier's sound. Too many manufacturers compromise their cabinets by using inexpensive speakers. This foolhardy decision can be disastrous!…

Web Price:

549.00

Availability:

Call 0844 815 0888
More Info
 
 
Please select your country/region

Choose the region you are shopping from to view products in your currency.

We have temporarily suspended processing of EUR payments, all orders will be charged in GBP.

Please select your country/region

Choose the region you are shopping from to view products in your currency.