Slash has recently made his mark in the App store with two fantastic new apps. IK Multimedia’s Amplitube Slash lets you plug your axe into your iPad for virtual guitar effects pedal presets and amp simulations that sound just like our moppy-haired hero. Slash 360 lets fans spend some time in the studio while Apocalyptic Love was being recorded. We managed to steal a few minutes of time from the legendary guitarist for a phone interview. Read the interview to see what Slash thinks of the iPad and how he likes to write songs.
How did the concept for a companion app for Apocalyptic Love come about?
My friend showed me a video on YouTube by this company, Mativision. They had this song from a band at a concert where they had filmed it with Mativision, which had that whole, interactive 360 experience. I was just like, “Oh, this is amazing,” and I thought it would be interesting to have the recording process filmed that way. The viewer could personally access different viewpoints of the studio and the control room and so on. So we contacted Mativision. They liked the idea and we decided to go ahead with it. This was before we had started recording for Apocalyptic Love.
It looks like the whole thing was recorded in one long take, but I’m guessing it didn’t work out that way.
What we did was, we recorded all of the songs in the studio and then, after the album was finished, we went back and recreated it. We played all of the songs live in the studio and filmed it. It was actually very similar to how we recorded the album. We did all play in the same room, but we had the amps off somewhere else. Like, I had the amps behind me for the filming, but while we were recording I had them in this little room. If you look carefully you can see where it says, “ The Slash Box.”
What level of input did you have when collaborating with Mativision on the development of Slash 360?
It is a very simple process. It is complex technologically, but the idea is very simple. You basically just record what is there on these 360 cameras that are all linked up. So, they deal with the dynamics of how that was done. Basically, the artist, or the subject just has to do what they do and there is not much interference. Really, the hard part is when the technicians have to set up the cameras and get things lined up properly.
How do you feel about the finished product?
I’m very proud to be able to be a part of something that is a little bit new and a little bit different than what we normally do. To be able to have something interesting to come out with the album is, to me, very exciting.
You’re basically a pioneer when it comes to the creation of interactive albums for your fans.
Well, I hadn’t thought of it like that. Pioneer is a heavy word. But, it’s a very new concept as far as albums are concerned. I would like to do it again. Maybe take it up to another level. I think people are fascinated by what goes on behind the scenes. It is sort of like giving access to people to see what the recording process is all about. It fills a void that was created when we stopped having the fold-out LP package.
You could even have a “Slash on Tour” 360 app.
Well, with anything that’s new, as far as the technology it takes to create this, it is still very expensive to do. To do it more often, like “Oh, I’m going to use 360 technology for this and that,” it is easier said than done.
Is there a particular reason you went with iOS over Android?
When we first started discussing this idea, we never even talked about any other device besides the iPad tablet. I’m not even that familiar with Android, but as far as I know there are certain limitations that Android has and Mativision’s technology wouldn’t work on it. Does Android even have a tablet?
Do you have an iPad?
Do you bring it with you on the road?
I have an iPhone and an iPad. I am somebody who uses this kind of technology only for stuff that I need. I’m not a tech person. I’m not a gadget guy. I had the iPad for a long time and the only thing I could do with it before was play “Angry Birds.” Lately, I’ve been able to use Amplitube and other instrument-related apps. It’s actually become indispensible at this point.
Can you talk to me a little bit about the Amplitube Slash app?
It is a very simple set up. It is not a hard process. I sometimes record stuff into my iPhone, just using the voice memo. I don’t like to mess around with setup. I need to be as spontaneous as possible. Because you can record with the Amplitube, its like the next step up.
I also travel a lot and when I’m in my hotel room or my dressing room and even when I’m at home in my living room, to be able to plug in, put on headphones and play so no one else can hear what I’m doing is great. I don’t like anyone to hear what I’m doing. I’m very self-conscious, like when I’m working on a song or whatever. So, to be able to plug right into the iPad with some headphones and a cable and be able to, very privately, do what it is that I do is a huge boon for me.
Our time is up. Thanks for taking some time to talk to us. Have a great time on the rest of your tour.
We’d like to take a moment to thank Slash for making time during his touring schedule to talk to us. Download the new Slash 360 app ($4.99) to watch the entire Apocalyptic Love album played live. Download Amplitube Slash ($9.00) to shred like one of rock ‘n’ roll’s greatest guitarists. You may need to start practicing you “Sweet Child O’ Mine” solos.
Stay tuned to PadGadget to find out some of Slash’s favorite iPad apps in our upcoming “What’s on Your iPad” series.