Video: Polyphia Talks Guitar Stacks, Production Hacks & More

Since they first went viral on YouTube over a decade ago, the guitarists of Texas progressive powerhouse Polyphia have constantly one-upped their approach to technique and production with each album. Now with four albums and a pair of best-selling Ibanez signature guitars (and Fishman pickups!) under their belt, including last year's Remember That You Will Die, Tim Henson and Scott LePage have continued their uphill climb and show no signs of slowing down.

In the above video, we invite Henson and LePage to the Reverb headquarters to ask plenty of questions about how they've achieved their groundbreaking productions and a huge, ever-rising career. Lucky for us, they had answers.

When it comes to sculpting their singular guitar tones, Tim and Scott take different approaches. While Tim sidechains his guitar tracks to synths and continues to get plenty of mileage from his own Neural DSP Archetype plugin—which packs in 3 amplifiers and a variety of effects—Scott often spends more time experimenting with comparing and contrasting tones. "The big takeaway is that you have to make sure you're recording everything dry," LePage admits. "That way, you can just throw it on a plug-in that you know will sound good if it doesn't. Otherwise you're screwed and you have a wet tone."

Between the two, the strategy regarding guitar harmony also differs. To thicken up his lines, Tim often relies on the technology he's developed with Neural DSP, particularly the Multivoicer algorithm on the Archetype plugin—a tool which allows users to add 4 pitch shifted voices on top of their signal. When writing for two guitars, Scott usually starts with his main part before working in a harmony that occasionally interweaves with the original.

Among the highlights of Remember That You Will Die is the album closer "Ego Death", a collaboration with the legendary Steve Vai, who met the band at the 2020 edition of NAMM. "Steve changed the way that I carry myself," Tim said of the three-time Grammy winner. "When he talks to you, he talks to you like you're the only person in the room."

When Vai sent his part for "Ego Death", Tim went through the meticulous motions of chopping it up and changing a bunch of parts. When Steve got it back, he was initially taken aback by the results. The band and Steve sent emails back and forth over how to handle writing credits, and it wasn't until they shared a stage that he offered his blessing for a feature. "We played with him in Dallas," Henson explained, "and he said that every choice that was made to that solo was exactly what it needed."

The above video also has Tim and Scott bond over their longtime love of amp modeling, learning "thumping" from Tosin Abasi, collaborating with R&B production legend Rodney "Darkchild" Jerkins on "Genesis", and a few key influences that may surprise longtime fans. Follow Polyphia and keep up to date with the band at their website.

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