FAQs

These frequently asked questions are compiled from interviews, 
questions via the internet and personally.

What different guitar effects were used on the MANY FACES songs and which guitars did you record with ?
I can't always remember exactly what I used on every track because some stuff is used during tracking
that I don't always use on the final Mix. --- but all the Reverb is a Neunaber WET pedal and all
the Delay was a Maxon AD999 as usual.
There is a couple of songs were I used  a  Chorus pedal and it was either a 
Way Huge Blue Hippo MKII or a Jam Pedals Waterfall.
The Wah Wah pedal was an Xotic XW1.

The "Overdrive", "Distortion" or "Boost" pedals I used in various places were ----- 
Vemuram Jan Ray, Lovepedal COT50, Hermida Dover Drive, 
Lovepedal Lil China, Maxon SD9, Lovepedal Eternity Burst, Vemuram Shanks 3K,
Way Huge Geisha Drive and a Klon Centaur.
There is one track were I used a Bogner Lyndhurst Compressor, and one
track features a Suhr Jack Rabbit Tremelo.
 I used a Roger Mayer Voodoo Vibe in some places but only the Vibrato or
the Tremelo options (not the Vibe).
There is also a tiny bit of Hammond Leslie G pedal and all the Octave Divider
bits were done with a Foxrox Octron 3.
It sounds and looks like a lot of gear but it's all used sparingly in different parts
and it's also all loaded into the front end of the Amp (no FX Loops)
---- and the Overdrives etc. are Never Stacked, only ever used one at a time.
(i.e. -- only One Overdrive into  (and / or Modulation) into Delay  and/or Reverb, then Amp / Cab.
(minimum Delay / Reverb in a big room LOUD)

The only guitars I used this time were 3 different Stratocasters,
all with the same "upgraded" pick-ups & electronics etc.

What amplifiers and speaker cabs were used on the MANY FACES (2018) album
 and how / what microphones did you use ?
Most of the tracks were recorded with the Suhr ML100 amp and a 412 cab,
- although for a couple of solo's I used a Suhr SL67 amp with a 212 cab.
I also used the SL67 and 212 on it's own for some other tracks.
The microphones were a Shure SM57 as a close mic, and most prominently either the
Neumann U89 or U47 for the distance mic, which is "head high" about 3 metres in front.
The ambience mic. was a Coles Ribbon Mic. which was placed high up 
in the ceiling of the big room .... most stuff was recorded Loud.
I also bias the mics. for volume adjustment -- I.E. 
more or less of one or another depending on volume level or tone requirements etc.
I usually record guitars with 3 mic's simultaneously.
The Vocals were all recorded with the Neumann U89 or U47.
The mixing desk also has NEVE pre-amp input capability.
The vocals were recorded 

What guitar effects were used on the new CHOONS CD ?

All the FX were recorded into the front end of the amp, and were tracked "direct to tape"
I can't remember exactly what FX I used on each track as I changed things around quite a bit
during recording, but the individual pedals I used were ---
(for overdrive/distortion) a Jan Ray, 2 different COT50's, a Klon, an SD9 an Octron and a Berkos Fuzz.
(for reverb & delay)  a Neunaber WET and a Maxon AD999.
(for flange & chorus)  a Paradox TZF and a Jam Pedals Waterfall.
the Wah Wah I used was an Xotic XW1.
(all the FX details can be found on the equipment page)
(all the ((

What amps and microphones did you use on the 2017 Mark Barratt Trio Album ?
On the 'CHOONS' Cd I used my Suhr ML 100 on all the tracks except  "Jina" & "Cool Curve"which were done with my Suhr SL67. 
With the ML100 I used my Mesa Boogie 412 with  (upgraded) Celestion speakers, and when I used my SL67 I used my Mesa Boogie
212 with (upgraded) Celestion speakers.  -- The Amp and Cabinet details are on the equipment page.

The cabinets were mic'ed with a Shure SM57 close mic, a Neumann U89 or a U47 distance mic', and
a Coles ribbon mic' which was on a high pole up towards the ceiling, for ambience.
And the amps were Loud !! -- in a big room.
Some mics. are louder than others in the mix depending on what's needed track by track.
e.g. quite often the U89 ( 2 plus metres distance ) is louder than the SM57 (close mic)
Neve Pre-amp inputs are on the mixing desk too.
I usually record with 3 different mic's simultaneously.


Which guitar was used for the CHOONS album ?
The whole CD was recorded with Stratocasters, 
4 different ones - but all with the same pickups/wiring etc.

Any update on the next CD or some Live gigs ?
As of September 2015 I am still trying to find a suitable Bass Player and Drummer to work with
who are not committed elsewhere and have the necessary free time to collaborate.
It's quite difficult to find the "right" people as many are only into playing covers and although I don't
mind playing the odd suitable cover, I really only want to play original material whether it's written
by me, or other band members, or jointly.
The total covers "scene" here drives me crazy as most bands always play the same "done to death" material
and I also have to consider a compatible age and experience group who are willing to work on creative
original music.
Hopefully, I will link up with some "like minded" musicians and be able to proceed with the next
new project as soon as possible.


Are you only using Suhr amplifiers now ?
Yes - mostly, I still have my old JMP Marshall's but have now sold the Mesa Boogie 
Blue Angel which I was hardly using.  The Blue Angel is a good amp but the combo version 
I had was a 410 and the 10" speakers weren't right for me as I really prefer 12" speakers
which give me a lot more sonic depth. 
I'm mostly using the Suhr ML 100 or the Suhr SL67, the Suhr Badger 30 not so much.
I'm also using the Mesa Boogie 212 cabinet a lot, but I am not totally happy with the speakers
so I might experiment with some different ones soon.
The Mesa Boogie 412 I have used since 1990 still sounds fantastic with the top half open back.

What modifications were made to your Marshall amps ?
Both of my Marshall's are JMP 100 watt master volume models made in 1978.
They both have the same mod's with the Treble caps snipped off and also I have had a UPF or
MPF cap added to warm up the drive a bit earlier in the circuit. 
They are both fairly standard 2203 circuit amplifiers and sound "almost identical" although one 
sounds a tiny bit better than the other to me.
I only ever use the "Low" input as it's a lot warmer and less harsh sounding and I set the pre-amp
control to around 6 and the master volume control to between 4-6 so it's sort of a less gain type of
sound with more clean headroom and I use an overdrive pedal to add a bit extra.
The Presence control is usually set to zero and the Bass, Middle and treble controls are anywhere
between 4 and 7 depending on what I need.

I am constantly riding/changing the volume and tone controls and pick up selector on my guitars
when playing and all this with the "right" sounding amp and pedals work fine for me.

Is another Native Son CD planned  ?
No -- I have no plans to do another CD under that name.
I feel it is time to move on with either a new group name or as an outright solo release.
I have been working on some new original material (songs & instrumental ideas) and when the
time is right I will be recording a new CD. 
I hope to be recording again in the fullness of time...
I have been enjoying playing with new musicians in recent times but my intention is to return to
the concept of an original band.....with maybe a handful of select suitable covers.


Are there plans to record any other cover songs ? 
Maybe --- There are loads of good songs to choose from that haven't been done to death, but it depends on what really suits the bands style as it were.
Native Son has always been primarily an originals group and there is a planned break from active playing during 2012 so during that time maybe some new original material can be written for another album in the future.


How was the Live Sessions CD recorded and what gear was used this time ?
We set the band up as we would normally do in a rehearsal situation and strategically placed a couple of room mic's along with close mic's on the amps and around the drums. We used some screens for sound isolation, did a quick sound check and basically just played the songs as in a Live situation -- without any overdubs.
The big room at Angel Studios gives a fair bit of natural reverb so we tried to keep the sonics as dry as possible.
The mic's were the usual assortment of Neumann, AKG's  SM 57's etc. -- but I think a Beyer was used on the guitar.
The drums were a Premier kit with the bass drum front skin left on and for Bass it was a Fender Jazz bass going into a booster and an SWR 400 watt amp with a heavy duty SWR cabinet with 10 inch speakers.
As for guitars I used 4 Stratocasters through a pedalboard comprising a Real McCoy RMC3 Wah Wah, an Octron 2, a TIM overdrive pedal and very slight delay from an Analogman ARDX20 into a Mesa Boogie Blue Angel 410 amp.


All in all the whole Live Sessions project was very enjoyable and could point Native Son towards a 6th album which the band may start recording sometime in the future.

When is the Live Sessions CD being released ?
The next Native Son  release is a "Live in the studio" CD that was recorded during a 2 day session at the beginning of May 2011.   The band was in pre-production at Angel Recording Studios and decided to set up some microphones to capture the new 3 piece line-up in a Live Sessions rehearsal environment. 
Various songs were selected for inclusion on the  "LIVE SESSIONS'" album which is expected to be released mid June.
Native Son could maybe return to the studios again during 2012  to begin recording the bands 6th CD for a "sometime in the future" release.
The band is also currently planning  some Live filming at some stage in the future.
Various songs were selected for inclusion


What Guitars, Amplifiers and Effects were used on the Calling Time CD ?
I used 3 Stratocasters - all wired with Wagner WCR SR pick-ups and a Les Paul with Wagner WCR "Darkburst" pick-ups. 

The amplifier was a 1970's modified Marshall JMP MV 100 into an old Mesa Boogie quad box.

As far as effects goes, I used an Octron 2 ( mostly octave down ) - and for overdrive I used either a Mosferatu, a Timmy, a Zendrive or an Expandora distortion, -- For the "swirly" stuff I used either an Aquavibe or a Mini Dejavibe and on a few parts I also used a Red Witch Pentavocal Tremelo or a Hartman Flanger.   There were 2 Wah Wah pedals used which were either a Teese RMC 3 or a Crybaby 535Q.     All of the Delay was a Maxon AD999.  

All the effects went into the front end of the amplifier ( as usual ) : - but not all hooked up at once -:
I don't remember exactly on which tracks I used each combination though, but I recorded the guitars very loud in a big room with an SM57 close mic. and an AKG 414 distance mic.
I quite often "layer" guitars when I record but I tend to "track up" in such a way as to make the Lead and Rhythm parts comfortable to recreate if I choose to do the songs Live as I also have to consider that at the same time I am doing Vocals too.

The vocals were recorded using a Neumann U47 mic.

Why is the Native Son project of new recordings taking so long ?
Native Son has been on hold these past few years for several reasons, mainly due to the relocation
of my family from the UK to Australia and also because of my desire to find like-minded musicians with which to form a viable partnership.  It's been a lifetime journey from NZ to England and now Australia always searching for suitable people to play music with.
I have also had to deal with an ongoing hand injury which has at times restricted my work.
However the time has been spent working on new material and searching for a suitable Bass player
and Drummer.   I am a great believer in having the right chemistry in a band and the various
combinations of musicians I have tried out have not always had the collective vibe for a project.
 Native Son will continue when the time is right.
Some of the side projects I have been involved in these past few years where I have just been a
member of another band have also been really enjoyable.
e has been spent

Is the inspiration behind the song lyrics deeply personal ?

Yes -- Some of them are. "Crying In The Night"  I wrote 25 years ago about a girl called Jemma Lucy Bridge. The second recorded version off the "No Man's Land" album is my favourite. "Heaven Song" was written about my mother after she passed away.  Other songs such as "Spiritland" and "River Of  Life" have a more philosophical theme. 

What guitar sound effect was used on the solo section of "That's How I Am "  from the Heepsteria album?

Mark:  I used an Octavider pedal set with an octave down and an octave up then into  a Bixonic Expandora (original model) for overdrive into my Marshall 100/Mesa Boogie 4x12.   G-Force delay was added at the desk.  The track was done with the Musicman Luke guitar and an Ovation Acoustic in the background. 

What shape/form is your next album UTOPIAN SKY?

Mark:  Utopian Sky will now probably be a solo album sometime in the future.
The next Native Son album will have a different title and will be a "sort of"  follow on from 'Leap of Faith'. Although I mostly do what I want with Native Son as it is my band project I may in the future do a solo type thing with several different musicians helping out in a variety of styles.
It sometimes becomes very difficult now days keeping a solid band together with a shared creative vision.

Where do your lyric ideas come from?

Mark:  People, places and situations, books, movies, phrases, dreams etc.  All the usual life stuff and topics that stick out in conversation.


Do you ever want to do other types of music other than Native Son type stuff?
Mark:  yes, sometimes.  Maybe one day an all instrumental album with keyboards and percussion. 
I am a huge fan of all the Jeff Beck music and other early/mid70s jazz  rock fusion like Return to Forever, Mahavishnu Orchestra,  Stanley Clarke, Billy Cobham, Weather Report, Colosseum II , early Al Di Meola and also the music Carlos Santana was doing in his early/mid 70s jazzier period.
Tribal Tech kept the flame burning with a whole series of fine albums that left an impression and many of the projects that Terry Bozzio has been involved with I like too. 
The type of spacey ambient jazz music that seemed to develop during the 1960's is something I have always regarded highly.

Where did the band's name come from?
Mark: I came up with Native Son after seeing it as a headline above an article in the 1980s - I can't remember what the article was about, I just thought it looked like a good name for a band.  A name that didn't associate with any one sort of music. I have seen over recent years other bands using the name in various territories but I began using it in the late 1980's. After the first album came out I later discovered a then defunct band had used it some years earlier but I just carried on using it.
It's very difficult to come up with a "good" band name at any time and not run the risk of someone else stealing it or of it having been previously used.

Have you ever planned to add other instruments ie keyboards to the band's sound?
Mark:  Maybe on a future album.   There are keyboards on River of Life  and Moving Target (Solidground) and Home (No Man's Land).

Any plans to do the Heepsteria songs live?

No.

Any plans for any other cover songs?

Yes, but they are a secret, for now.   With so many good songs out there to cover,  there a loads to choose from.  I  have a few up my sleeve that  haven't yet been done to death, but I mostly only do original music.  I think with Native Son being very much an unknown band it kind of makes sense to play some suitable cover material during a Live set at times so that people can find something familiar to grab onto, even if the song is slightly re-arranged.

Which guitar have you used mostly on the albums?

Mark:  Mostly I've used a '73 Fender Stratocaster on the first three albums and occasionally  a '73 Gibson Les Paul Custom.  I used a MusicMan Luke 2 on the Heepsteria tracks.   

What singers do you like / listen to?
Mark:   I like all the usual  type of great rock singers with voices like Free's Paul Rodgers and I also like Glenn Hughes too, ( mostly the funky soulful  older stuff like Trapeze and his early Deep Purple work -- not his solo metal stuff though ), also I am a huge fan of  James Dewar the vocalist/bass player from the Robin Trower Band.
Whenever I listen back to that great era during the 60's & 70's those great vocalists like Terry Reid, Steve Marriott, Steve Winwood, Jack Bruce, Boz Scaggs  etc. still do it for me.
A lot of the "soul'" & proper R&B singers I've always been a fan of and also
a lot of the more "Pop" singers from the 60's & 70's were very influential too.

A lot of the guitar players I like also have expressive distinctive voices too and although some of them are not classed among the "greatest" singers ever, the way their vocals are tied in with their instrumental work makes for the human element that works for me.
There have been  many great vocalists but I usually go for the distinctive type as a rule.

I was recently asked about the NZ and Australian rock vocalists who I liked from over the years and Trevor Tombleson  from Ticket  along with Corben Simpson were a couple of favourites as well as Reggie Ruka the singer from a band called Itambu who I saw twice but don't believe they ever recorded, and Phil Key who was with the La De Da's and Band Of Light.
There were also some vocalists from my home town who left an impression, one was Barry Leef who was originally with The Simple Image in the '60's who I saw a couple of times and he later progressed through the Australian scene, and also Greg Christensen who was with The Creation who were later based in Wellington but had their origins in Blenheim.
The Christchurch scene had some good vocalists in Dick Whatson who was originally with The Chapta and later on with Streak, and Dave Kennedy who was also with The Chapta and then Link.

NZ has had many fine musicians and singers over the years but the most fertile time for me was during the great creative years during the 60's & 70's.



What other musical influences?
I believe it is quite hard not to be influenced by other bands if you listen to as much music as I do.  But I look for inspiration in others' music rather than outright stealing.  I have always felt it is better if you have different band members who like different things because it's easier to mix up styles and hopefully create a less obvious sound.  It makes the music much more organic.   I hope any of  the music I make doesn't bear too much resemblance to the bands/styles that I like and listen to. 
My taste in music has always been rock based but with elements of jazz, blues, funk and psychedelic styles. The whole era from the mid '60s till the mid '70s was a very fertile period.
Powerful creative drummers and bass players are a huge influence on me too.

The early Todd Rundgren period (including Utopia) is typical of the type of thing I still find an inspiration and I still listen to all the great music that radio stations used to play when I was growing up from that mid 60's to early 70's period, fabulous bands like The Who, Yardbirds, Small Faces, The Move, The Beatles, Pink Floyd -- the list is pretty long....  I'm also still constantly amazed at the musical brilliance of  Frank Zappa.

Also during that period there were many artists that only released a few classic singles and were not classed as great albums bands.

Who are Mark's favourite guitar players?
The guitarists I feel most inspired by, well, the list is pretty long but mostly by guys who started out a long time ago:  Jeff Beck, Michael Landau,  Eric Johnson, Steve Morse, Scott Henderson, Jimi Hendrix, Joe Walsh, Tommy Bolin, David Gilmour and  Snuffy Walden from Stray Dog, who I always thought was one of the great "unknown" rock guitarists.            
        Also, during the 1960's and 1970's when I was growing up in New Zealand I thought players like Harvey Mann  (The Underdogs / Space Farm / Living Force),  Eddie Hansen (Ticket / Living Force),  Kevin Borich (The -"3 piece"- La De Das),  Billy T K (Human Instinct) and  Kevin Bayley (Rockinghorse / Taylor etc.) were great and accessible from a local point of view, and the music those guys made still stands up alongside international stuff today.
The early 1970's period of NZ music ( Ticket and Space Farm etc. ) has remained a constant inspirational thing for me for nearly 40 years and still sounds as fresh as ever.
One NZ guitarist who I don't recall hearing back in the day was Doug Jerebine who recorded a "great lost album" in London in the late 60's under the name Jesse Harper.                                       I finally heard his album in 2001 and could hear how he was rightly regarded as a pioneer of that whole unique NZ guitar style.
In fact most of the 60s/70s guitarists like Alvin Lee, Robin Trower, Terry Kath,  Peter Frampton,  Steve Miller,  Billy Gibbons, Gary Moore, Bill Nelson and Paul Kossoff  I found an inspiration.      And of course Peter Green, Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton too.           I can also add to the endless list of great guitarists -  all playing in different styles  -  Pat Thrall, Pat Martino, Steve Hillage,  Frank Marino, Buddy Guy, T Bone Walker, Charlie Christian, Frank Zappa.
 

From a jazz rock viewpoint I have always liked Michael Landau and Scott Henderson and also some Allan Holdsworth stuff  -- guys who seem to be able to play just about any style they want -- all fabulous musicians...    There are so many great guitar players out there and  these are just some of my favourites and because they have their own distinctive style and tone and are also players I still listen to a lot. Some of the "newer" guitarists I like a lot are Ty Tabor (Kings X) , Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule) and Joe Bonamassa.

I should also add that I admire guitarists like these as much for the music they make as well as guitar ability. I go for players with character and a distinctive tone and feel. 
A lot of the newer guitarists (80's onwards)  I've not been too fond of because although they are very good players in their own right, their "sound" is usually not very good in my opinion.


Are there any plans to release a live album?
Mark:  Yes, there is every chance in the future.   There are unofficial live recordings but these are poor quality sound-wise and not endorsed by the band.  Anyone who finds these should hand them in to their nearest police station!  

Why a three piece band?
Mark:  I have always been a big fan of  power trios, mostly the less well known like Stray Dog,  Tempest (with Ollie Halsall), Hot Tuna,  the 3 piece version of Spirit featuring Randy California,  plus the New Zealand groups Space Farm, The Underdogs, The Human Instinct, and Ticket (although Ticket had a lead singer as well), along with the Australian based 3 piece version of  The La De Das, international trios  Beck Bogert & Appice, Trapeze, Rush,  Robin Trower Band, Paris (with Robert Welch),  Rory Gallagher (Taste and solo stuff) and ZZ TOP.........Native Son was formed with this in mind but only as an inspirational thing.  Cream and the Jimi Hendrix Experience started the whole power trio thing off  for me. All of the Hendrix albums, the Experience  or the Band Of Gypsys still do it for me. Eric and Davide  (original  Native Son line-up) were also big Police fans (another great three piece) but I always stress that the music has to come out sounding different, which I believe it does.

Do you like any of the "newer" bands?
Gov't Mule and early Kings X are the only sort of current "newer" bands that I really like but with their sound and style, they could have existed any time in the last thirty odd years. Other newer bands or rather side projects like Oysterhead, Jing Chi (with Robben Ford), The Jelly Jam, The Mermen who play great surf instrumentals, Abraxas Pool and some of the Hardware album with Stevie Salas, Bootsy Collins and Buddy Miles are all very interesting, along with the music Shawn Lane was making with Jonas Hellborg and Jeff Sipe. I  like some parts of  the Ty Tabor solo albums and also the "jam band" scene in the USA which has been growing in momentum in recent years too.
I really like the band projects that Michael Landau had going awhile ago with Burning Water and The Raging Honkies as well as his superb solo albums -- all great stuff.
The Scott Henderson trio albums, either the Blues or the fusion of Jazz and Rock  I also find very inspirational.                

Why did you choose Stealin' and That's How I Am for the Heepsteria tracks?
Heepsteria was really a bit of a side step for me as I am not really a fan of tribute albums or indeed cover bands in general but I kind of got talked into doing this project.  Stealin' was a song that got a lot of airplay in New Zealand when I was growing up, so I always remembered it.  I also had a chance to do a previously unreleased song called "That's How I Am"  which just seemed to suit us.  Uriah Heep had a New Zealand bassist, Gary Thain, and he was big news at the time coming from a small country, going overseas and doing well in a big band. 

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