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Artist Spotlight :: AJ Mele

Bio

AJ Mele

AJ is the lead guitarist of From Ashes (thrash/post Hardcore). Fun and playing shows are keywords for the quintet from Orlando.

AJ is from the Northeast, born in Wilmington, DE, growing up there and Gloversville, NY. Currently residing in Orlando.

Fan of all music. Identifying most with Hardcore Metal Punk!

He was introduced to the guitar as a kid. He studied with great guitar teachers, his last teacher Vinny (RIP) of Vishnu Music, Johnstown, NY.

Playing style has been described as right on the beat, taken off guard by how Hardcore it is, thrash influenced with some industrial ideas, and having something in solos.

What/Who inspired you to pick up your instrument?

Randy Rhoads

What piece of musical advice would you give yourself if you could go back in time to the beginning of your musical journey?

Be you, don't beat yourself up about being completely original. Just have fun making your favorite music! You don't need any theory, scales, or anything else. They NEED you!

What keeps you excited about playing?

Right now, it's all about people. People sacrifice their time for your practice. It feels like with being in bands and teaching that you're beyond yourself. The cats out of the bag and there's no putting it back. People sacrifice their time for your practice. People go to shows, listen to music and spend their valuable time with you in some way.

Desert Island 3 pedal pedalboard (not including tuner)

Electro-Harmonics Nano Metal Muff - it sounds good and has the flexibility of a variable noise gate that can really tighten things up or let the feedback fly!

FLAMMA FS21 Drum Machine - don't actually have this pedal but I would love to try it! The ear says a different drum beat on the same riff can change everything!

Electro-Harmonix Grand Canyon delay there's so many sounds you can get out it. Harmonies, delays, shimmer, it's all there. Plus, it's a looper.

When you find yourself in a musical rut, what techniques do you do to break out of it?

Here's one to try. Take something your always playing; what you're in the rut with works too. Make more of it, higher and lower in pitch. With that, as your idea makes more stuff that gets along with it in that soundscape, derivatives of the first idea are fine.

Make as many long strings of licks and riffs as you'd like. Stay focused only on what lives in that soundscape.

Continue to play it here and there when the idea fits how you're feeling or just as a regular practice. Then break pieces off of it to put in songs. The possibilities are endless; run wild with it!

Who is your favorite artist/band today? And who was your favorite artist/band ten years ago?

Change is the only constant. Let's dive in; the waters fine.

Ok, so, Not many changes in the music. Still into the same stuff as ten years ago. A lifelong fan of Hardcore Metal Punk! Then and now!

Lot's of stuff from around NY, NJ, Mass, Conn, PA - NYHC ! and stuff based around Troy/Albany NY - Troycore!

Let's get deep, the changes!

Got into 2x4, our band From Ashes came together because of them - if we could do something half as brutal as 2x4 - Disbanded now, some of the musicians in that band went on to form Frost Koffin .

As far as actually listening to music, streaming services are a game-changer.

The gears turning when listening has changed instead of just listening because of the love of it, all the time. There's listening for specific ideas like technique, tone, drum beats, its mix, you name it you can listen for it!

What's driving the listening has changed too, with a driving force behind the wheel on a lot of journeys. Stuff like checking out Harms Way, Municipal Waste, and Type-O before a show. Or stuff like checking out musicians, becoming more of fan the players in the bands that keep this engine running.

It starts with one band, and over time there's a legacy of all this music they are part of. There's a long road of slammin' stuff between these bands with a web between them: Stigmata, Burning Human, Overcast, Shadows Fall, Killswitch Engage, Death Ray Vision, Overkill, and more!

Through this idea, you can really see how musicians come together to help each other, and here's this sound we make!

And then there's all this overseas stuff, Celtic Frost, then Discharge and GBH via checking out NYHC's Sheer Terror.
Napalm Death via learning about drum programming.
Bullet For My Valentine and Asking Alexandria though friends.
Children of Bodom, Nevermore then Arch Enemy via Rockhouse guitar DVD's
Vader via listening to Slayer on Spotify.
Jinger and Rise Of The North Star via Hard Core World Wide on YouTube.

Last 10 bands of songs liked on Spotify: (in no order)
Crowbar, Shadows Fall, Cro Mags, Ozzy, Leeway, Killing Time, Carcass, Hard Response (Wilmington DE), Comeback Kid, Darkside NYC,

When you find yourself in a music store - what is your go-to riff when test drive gear?

It's hard to find left-handed stuff in stock, plus it's hard to find a good music store to hang in. Have been in more of a habit of going to Sam Ash in Orlando. It's gotten way better there over the years.

Dropped tunings helps because of playing upside down on right-handed guitars, and any single string idea works great. Mostly what happens is flipping what's played upside, like power chords are minor 3rd shapes and stuff.

You can come up with some different sounds that way, too.

What is your most prized/cherished piece of gear? And why?

My guitars, one was a gift from my Mom and the other was a gift from my wife.

What is the next big musical purchase you're hoping to save for?

There are a few, another practice amp to keep with the pedalboard and a backup guitar, bonus points if it's the same as the main guitar.

Gear Breakdown

AJ Mele Gear

Main guitar:
Custom Jackson DK2L Dinky with a Dimebucker. Huge shout out to LRC Guitars in Longwood, FL for their amazing craftsmanship from good people who have your back!

Teaching guitar:
Series 10, I think a DiMarzio is in the bridge.

Signal path:
Guitar> Rockboard Mod 1 patch bay in> Boss TU-3>Electro Harmonix Wah Maxon Compressor>Electro Harmonix Nano Metal Muff> MXR six band EQ> Electro Harmonix Grand Canyon delay>Ernie Ball Volume pedal>Rockboard Mod 1 patchbay out> Randall Century 170 II input> Fender 2x12's> 4 JCM Raptor 100 speakers. Powered by a MXR iso-brick and a single power adaptor.

The Rockboard makes it look cleaner with cables going to a single unit.. The Boss TU-3 is easy to see and reliable. The wailer wah is cheap and good, before the distortion like the way it sounds there.

The Maxon compressor next to bring up the signal, get more harmonics, plus looking for a more consistent sound with legato/tapping. It's on all the time and before the Metal Muff.

The Metal Muff wanted to try something fuzz to try and give some fullness to a thin sound that just didn't sit right. That was before the Dimebucker, though. It's also a noise gate. Set around 40% distortion or less, mids 60%, treble and bass around 40%

The MXR EQ for lead boost. The Grand Canyon next, used in just one song (Hideaway) right now for its shimmer and by total accident live too!

The Volume pedal is last cause it cuts all sound there. It's actually the most used pedal. I like to do stuff like raise the volume on sound where it would normally decay. What's happening live on the song Nothings any better is a good example of that.

Using copper Rattlesnake 10' cables with snake head at the guitar. You never need to think about cables. They just always work. They make set up and break down a breeze, with them being easy to identify and wrap.

On the pedal board, there's a mix of Pro, Flex patch, and homemade.

Connecting the head to the cabs are copper Rattlesnake speaker cables.

All this is sitting on a cheap board from the hardware store. Got the idea from the guys in the band using dresser doors. How cool is that!



Bands / Projects

Current
From Ashes - for fans of Thrash, post-Hardcore
For booking: fromashescontact@gmail.com

Former
Sour Clown - for fans of Troycore, Hardcore, Rapcore, Deathcore
>https://open.spotify.com/artist/08CQxMrHUQhkHDhbFwM8jt?si=hBJGc460T4GYXRTQ7peSEg
https://pandora.app.link/YkhEjYGnEqb
https://youtube.com/playlist?list=OLAK5uy_kUU4IOi4O-uYU_ya2m3R5Qt0WtXCUkWaU



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Matthew Grayson
Matthew Grayson
9/7/2020
Rattlesnake Cable Company is a premiere example of excellence in product quality and business. If you were to ask me what brands best represent the audio industry from here in Montana, Rattlesnake Cable Company would be one of the first to mind. Rattlesnake Cables define cable quality. Prior to... Read
Aaron Bartz
Aaron Bartz
3/26/2021
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Trenton James Brendel
Trenton James Brendel
11/19/2020
Rattlesnake makes the best instrument cables I have ever used, and their service is EXCEPTIONAL. If you're looking to upgrade from simple Live Wires or Neutrik's to truly superb quality, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ordering some Rattlesnake Cables. My personal favorite is the Rattlesnake Weave, but all of... Read
Trenton James Brendel
Matthew Grayson
9/7/2020
Rattlesnake Cable Company is a premiere example of excellence in product quality and business. If you were to ask me what brands best represent the audio industry from here in Montana, Rattlesnake Cable Company would be one of the first to mind. Rattlesnake Cables define cable quality. Prior to using them, the difference between "any old cable" and a "nice" cable was negligible to me, but now I cannot go back to just "any old cable." Rattlesnake cables will hold their own in audio quality, durability, AND asthetic when compared side by side with any high end cable on the market.
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Trenton James Brendel
Aaron Bartz
3/26/2021
Frustrated with low quality cables, I was suggested Rattlesnake by my brother, and wow, this is a great cable. Before I even plugged it in, the quality was apparent. The weaving is awesome, and I'm not at all concerned the plug will start to separate from the cable (probably my main issue with other cables). Plus, with the Snake Head, I have total peace of mind that my guitar's finish is safe from any possible, what I call, "cable rash" abrasion. Top notch customer service from my first visit to the website, through the unboxing of my new cable. I was able to chat on the website to instantly learn more and decide which cable was right for me. The founder, Hank, sent a personal "thank you" video, which was greatly appreciated, and the free swag items in the package were a cool touch.
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Trenton James Brendel
Trenton James Brendel
11/19/2020
Rattlesnake makes the best instrument cables I have ever used, and their service is EXCEPTIONAL. If you're looking to upgrade from simple Live Wires or Neutrik's to truly superb quality, I HIGHLY RECOMMEND ordering some Rattlesnake Cables. My personal favorite is the Rattlesnake Weave, but all of their cables are great. Thanks, Rattlesnake Cable Company!
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