Henrik Linder: Hair-Raising Tone
Article by Michael French
When you watch one of the Dirty Loops’ viral videos, you appreciate the decision to limit the visuals to black-and-white. There is too much happening sonically to devote any brain processing to the interpretation of color. It’s all about the sound and the sound put out by the three Stockholm-based lads (bass, drums, keyboards/vocals) immediately grabs you with the sheer musicianship and creativity of the arrangements. It grabbed the attention of producer David Foster who signed them and placed them on the bill for his tour through Asia in 2012 where they played to huge crowds and met any music legends along the way.
The young phenom holding down the bottom for the Dirty Loops is Henrik Linder, who displays a variety of bass styles while taking listeners through their busy jazz-jam arrangements. Their music is a bass-lover’s treat as there’s no guitar competing for space in the mix. To help fill out all of this sonic space, Henrik has recently worked the Axe-Fx II into the Dirty Loops’ live shows.
The Dirty Loops first exploded on YouTube. Was it divine marketing strategy to introduce the band to the public by blowing them away with cover material?
It was pure accident actually. The reason we started doing covers was it was the fastest way to play together - to pick a tune that everyone knew. It was a hobby for us. We put out a video on YouTube just to have a booking reference to try to get gigs. Then the cover video went viral all by itself. There was no promotion - just a lot of luck!
And perhaps the monster playing and arrangements! Why did you decide to make the Axe-Fx II a part of your live rig?
I needed a multi-effect processor that I could use to easily switch up my sounds while we’re playing live. The Axe-Fx II is the most powerful unit out there with the least limitations. I talked to a lot of people and tried other products. The Axe-Fx II was the best sound processor I found and it was a very easy decision to go with the Fractal. I also needed something with quad-delays so I could have eight delays going at the same time and the Axe-Fx was the only thing I could find that does that along with everything else. I had great feedback from my friends that use the Fractal in terms of its ruggedness and reliability. I’ve just been using it for about three months in my live rig and look forward to using it the next time we’re in the studio.
So the Axe-Fx II is not only for guitars?
Ha - definitely not! It’s sounding great with my basses and other gear.
How has the Fractal platform enhanced the presentation of your music and tone?
It was really a hassle getting my sound with pedals. I used to have three EQ pedals to get what I needed and I used several delay pedals also. It’s a huge difference and so much easier. I have way more sounds available to me than I did before. All of the “weird” sounds I get now I couldn’t get from pedals because it’s easier to create sounds with the Axe-Fx that you can’t get through pedals. There’s a common approach to working with the effects that you just don’t get when working with separate pedals.
I can’t wait to dig deep into things this month as we prepare for our upcoming tour. We will MIDI-sync our tracks for the live show so I’ll be able to make use of the features of the Axe-Fx even more to bring out the details of our music. I will be able to program preset changes to happen for a single note, or use different EQ and delays for different passages.
What does your live signal chain look like?
I run a W/D/W (wet/dry/wet) rig with three amps and six cabinets. I keep a clean tone in the middle and run stereo effects to the left and right “wet” cabinets. The Axe-Fx II is handling the effects now, and I use the Fractal MFC-101 pedal to switch patches.
What types of effects are you using in your patches?
First, I’ve always used a lot of different EQs to sculpt my tone and there are many EQ options available in the Fractal. I use a lot of different techniques in my bass playing, so EQing for a general tone as well as popping/slapping, leads, harmonics, etc. is essential to me. I use the stereo chorus a lot. One of my big things is to use a quad delay for a swelling effect. With my W/D/W setup, I have the clean tone in the middle and then run 4 delays on one side and 4 delays on the other side. The delays are modulated as well so it creates a big swell. I stole this idea from Allan Holdsworth - it gives you those layers to create swell chords. I use that effect quite a lot.
I also use other modulation effects like the rotary which is great for harmonics. I use the distortion on some patches also. I use the plex shift delay to create those crystal echoes. I like the harmonizer - it’s amazing because it tracks really fast. I also use some of the synths. I use the reverbs as well. I don’t use compression at all.
What great music are you listening to now?
I like this duo out of LA called Knower. Also a lot of Allan Holdsworth and Brad Mehldau.
Check out the Dirty Loops at www.dirty-loops.com and their latest release Loopified. Get out to see them and check out the Axe-Fx II on tour with Henrik this fall through the US, Japan, and Europe.