Interview with Carbon 9 guitarist Darwin DeVitis

The Los Angeles, CA-based quintet, Carbon 9 – which includes Stacey Quineatly (vocals and sequencing), Danny Cistone (backing vocals), Darwin DeVitis (guitars and vocals), Omar D. Brancato (bass and vocals), and Matty Milani (drums) – are set to issue their latest release, ‘The Bull,’ via World Sound Music on February 24th. Mixed by Frank Gryner (Rob Zombie, Perfect Circle, Tommy Lee, etc.) ‘The Bull’ manages to balance electro rock sounds with strong pop melodies and anthemic choruses – resulting in a sound that sounds custom-made for crossover success. Darwin recently took time out to talk guitar with

Darwin DeVitis

How and when did you start playing guitar?

I began playing the guitar at the age of 11. A friend of mine had a guitar and wanted us to form a band. So I bought a guitar at a flea market for $25 and began learning songs so we could rock the world.

Who were your early influences?

My Mom, Elvis, Van Halen (Dave and Eddie), George Lynch, Vito Bratta, Neal Schon, Zakk Wylde, Dime and way too many to list! I really appreciate when the guitar solo fits the song and isn't just “there to be there.” When a guitar solo comes up and you can hum along just as with the lyrics, those are the ones I appreciate the most.

How about some background info about Carbon 9.

I joined Carbon 9 in 2003. Stacey and the guys all knew each other through working at Universal Studios in Hollywood, CA. I happened to get a call one day to come out and jam with the guys, so I learned some tunes and we got together at a studio in L.A. That night sounded awesome like we where playing together for years. They called me up soon after and asked if I would like to be part of C9. Stacey and I went right to work writing the “C.O.T.M” CD and we've been together since. My favorite album will always be the next one, just because we are always growing as a band, musicians and writers and I am excited to see where it takes us next. If I have to choose a fav song from the new CD “The Bull,” I'd say “My Friend” and “Lonely in Love.”

Some info about ‘The Bull.’

Our new CD “The Bull” was recorded and practically wrote on the spot. We just plugged in and went for it. We wanted to capture the excitement of the first take. Most often somethings tend to lose out with preproduction, etc., and we wanted to capture the creativity you get when the song is just being born. Stacey did a great job of getting that out of all of us in the studio. Through some networking, our music was introduced to Frank Gryner (Rob Zombie, Perfect Circle, etc..) and he really liked our style, so we had him mix the CD, add his magic, and we where blown away! It's like Frank was in our band and new exactly what we wanted to achieve with this CD.

Please describe your guitar set-up.

My guitar rig is fairly simple but complex…lol. My amp is an original Rivera Knucklehead 100 head (no reverb). Basically I just need a BBE Sonic Maximizer, Boss Overdrive SD-1 and a Dunlop 95Q wah for my sound. My rack also holds a Rocktron Expression (effects), Korg DTR2000 (tuner), Rocktron Patchmate (Original Bradshaw for switching midi) and a Troy Barry Scream Regulator (lead boost)
The Rocktron Expression effects I use just for slight reverb or delay for lead when needed. I have a pedal board that consists of a Rocktron AllAccess Midi Pedal, Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor, Boss SD-1 Super Overdrive, Boss CS-3 Compression Sustainer, Crybaby 95Q Wah and a Digitech Whammy Pedal. The Whammy was used on “The Bull” in the 2nd half of the solo on “I'm Not Broken” and outro solo on “I'm on My Own.” Most often my tone is just myself and the basics I mentioned to start. My 6 string guitars are all custom built “Wayne Guitars” built by Michael and Wayne Charvel. I also play Schecter A-7 seven strings and Ovation acoustics. As long as I have been playing I have used nothing but GHS boomers to string my guitars. My string gauges vary depending on tuning.

Do you follow a practice routine?

I practice every day! 2-3 hours a day. My guitar and music is my addiction! I run through everything from chops, to song writing and even studying styles I never thought I'd want to play. I'm just one of those guys that feel I can always get better at what I want to do and the only way to achieve that is through hard work and practicing.

What do you think of modern day rock guitar, and who are some of your fav guitarists?

I really enjoy today's style of rock guitar playing. Today's guitar playing helped me to take my playing and writing style to another level. I have always been more of a fan of “the song” than just the guitar player. I enjoy bands like Sevendust, Disturbed, and Godsmack, and guitar players like Nick Perri, John 5, and Zakk Wylde.

What advice would you give to other guitarists (to both newcomer and already established players)?

Play the style of music that inspires you to be creative and want to play/practice. Set goals, always find time to practice, grow as a musician and have fun! Don't be afraid to think outside the box. Keep it creative and stay true!

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