“Terra Solus”: Mark Sayer and Sergeant Thunderhoof’s Third Dose of Psychedelic Tinged Heavy Grooves

Some of the best rock and fuzz is being laid down by incredible bands all over the globe. Sergeant Thunderhoof is at the fore front of this movement, leading out in this effort of moving fuzz forward as they eye the release of their third studio album, “Terra Solus”.

As they are in the midst of this effort, we were able to catch up with Planet Tone artist Mark Sayer, guitarist for Sergeant Thunderhoof and pick his brain about the bands up coming release, the future and his tone.

Mark Sayer in action pumping out some serious fuzz riffs! Photo courtesy of Simon Kallas, www.simonkallas.com.

1. Sgt. Thunderhoof’s last release was an incredible live offering, what is your approach to playing live and tell us how you manage to hold down that big sound with just one axe?

Well first off I’m surrounded by awesome musicians in Jim (Bass) & Daz (Drums), they know how to balance the dynamics, drive the voids and let me breath. I’ve played in bands as the sole guitarist for about 20yrs now, though jam sessions and side projects I’ve jelled with other 6 string brethren. This has driven me to develop what I hope is a big sound and the ability know my fretboard enough hold the wall of sound, whilst locking into the dynamics of music. It can be daunting with that weight on only you but liberating too, as it’s your balls on the line. 2nd of all its trusting in the gear I use, see question 4 for a long rundown…

Jim Camp laying down The Hoof thunder! Photo courtesy of Simon Kallas, www.simonkallas.com.

 

Daz Ashman powerfully commanding the drums. Photo courtesy of Simon Kallas, www.simonkallas.com.

2. We understand that Sgt. Thunderhoof is working on their third release, what can we expect after having two tasty studio albums?

I don’t want to use buzz words such as “more ambience”, “more fuzz”, “bluesy”, etc because they never add up to the picture that the individual builds in their head when hearing it… what we do is, We jam. We use a digital recorder to capture. Then we refine & grow what we’ve got, Dan & Daz are fantastic at arrangements. Pretty much 99% of Hoof tunes are born from been in a room together, inspiration just hits one us and we all lock in. On the new tunes I’ve discovered the neck pickup, that has had a massive effect on the feel of the music and the way I approach playing them. We’ve currently tracked 3 out of a possible 8 drum tracks and as I’m writing this we are tracking the Bass for those, hopefully I’ll make a start on guitar today too. We have also completed our track for the forthcoming Magnetic Eye Records, Pink Floyds “The Wall” Redux. We had “Happiest days of our lives” chosen for us, it’s a trippy short coda before “another brick in the wall II”, I’m really pleased what we’ve done with it. But you’ll have to wait until spring ’18 to hear it. Spookily we are releasing our album around then too…

3. Their is a lot imagery in some of your lyrics. Tell us about these concepts and will their be similar on the third release?

I’ve no idea, That’s Dan’s area.

Dan Flitcroft captivates and shines both lyrically and vocally. Photo courtesy of Simon Kallas, www.simonkallas.com.

4. How has your playing style developed and evolved over the years? Tell us about how you create your awesome fuzz tone.

Sound wise, I have the heart which is my Cort MGM-1, ’04 model. It wasn’t an expensive guitar but it felt and sounded the best out of all that I tried and was the most versatile. The others were Gibson LPs standard, Custom, and Studio models, they sounded great but I had issues with upper neck/heel access. I tried Gibson SGs, PRS SE Series, loads but it came back to the Cort each time. Since the addition of the Planet Tone legacy pickups you kindly wound for me, it’s just jumped up multiple levels in sonic capability. No words really, other than they are the DUDES. The lungs are my modified Marshall JCM2000 TSL100 and custom Stage 2 4×12 Cab. I picked up the head 2nd hand in the awesome Manson’s guitar shop in Exeter, I’d been looking for a new head for a while as my last two Peavy’s just didn’t quite cut the mustard with the clean head room. I like a really loud clean channel with the power stage tubes really earning their money at the edge of break up, seems like a waste of a multichannel amp but it did what I wanted. I noticed after a few months that something was a miss volume wise, a quick check & one of the power stage valves had gone. I found a guy in Birmingham, UK that sold matched tubes and had a good chat about my needs, he recommended Electro Harmonix for the power stage & Groove Tubes for Preamp. A local technician fitted them for me & made a few secret mods inside too. The cab is very special. It has no square edges inside or screws & runs at 4ohms and just sounds out of this world with its full vocabulary of frequency and volume. Controversially I use a Boss GT-8 multi FX for the bulk of my drive with a tube screamer clone & Way Huge Fat Sandwich in the loop for added colour. I don’t use any of the COSM settings for drive, just the near as damn it DS-1 & OD-1 circuits inside. The delays & oscillation are the digital side though. I use the GT-8 because I’ve found great sounds & I hate tap dancing between pedals like used too, if I win the lottery I’ll buy a decent switcher/loop pedal and a shit tonne of boutique pedals though… in fact a friend of 25yrs who works for Wampler Pedals says I’ve no right to get such a good tone through that unit… but F**k You hey Jason 😜

Mark in action. Photo courtesy of Simon Kallas, www.simonkallas.com.

5. What can fans of The Hoof expect for the rest of 2017 and 2018?

There’s a lot going on in Camp Hoof this year outside of the band but we are concentrating on nailing the album and our 2 remains gigs in October. Next year, who knows what’s gonna happen?!? Let’s just hope there’s music involved…

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If you are not familiar with Sergeant Thunderhoof, you can catch their powerfully raw and moving force at Bandcamp. You can also learn more and be a part of “Terra Solus” at Kick Starter.

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