Panic! At the Disco is an American rock duo consisting of Brendon Urie (lead vocals, guitar, piano) and Spencer Smith (drums) that has craftily evolved through elements of punk, alternative rock, and pop music. The guys formed and recorded their first demos while they were still in high school and soon afterwards, were propelled to mainstream success with 2005’s A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out. Led by the Top Ten single “I Write Sins Not Tragedies”, the album was certified double platinum. The group then released its second record to critical acclaim, 2008’s Pretty. Odd. It conveyed different styles than their debut, and many considered their new sound more mature. Their latest album Vices & Virtues shows off the band’s continued development and delivers a load of unique tones and tasty hooks.
We recently caught up with Brendon to talk a bit about how he gets some of those tones and what’s up with him in general:
VOX: So how did you start on your musical path?
Brendon Urie: Music has always been a big part of my life, possibly the biggest. Since I could wrap my hands around a guitar, my main interest has been music. I always had access to a piano in our home when I was a kid, but I really loved jumping from instrument to instrument.
VOX: You guys were out on the road supporting Vices and Virtues and you hit the UK around the start of 2012. Any memorable stories from the tour to share?
BU: We had a really fun time with some amazing bands like Fun., Patrick Stump, and Foxy Shazam. In the fall, our second tour with Foxy Shazam, we were all hanging out on our bus…having some drinks and listening to music. Almost out of nowhere, it was suggested that Eric (lead singer of Foxy) should pierce his ear using a blowdart gun. After a few minutes of deliberation, Eric actually went through with it. We even have the video to prove it.
VOX: Awesome. Is there any particular song off of Vices that is most special for you? Why?
BU: The way we recorded Vices was a bit different than how we’ve done it in the past. For that reason, all of the songs are special. I love a lot of the guitar tones and drum sounds we got on this record. “Let’s Kill Tonight” and “Ready To Go” are a couple of my favorites.
VOX: Ok, let’s talk gear- You’ve been using the VOX Night Train lately…what drew you to that amp? Any favorite features?
BU: I had been using a ‘74 AC30 a lot, which I was very pleased with, but the Night Train just sounded different. The mid-tone quality especially impressed me. The fact that it can hold a substantial amount of gain without compromising the integrity of each note in the chord is an exciting trait.
VOX: Do you have any recording tips or preferences that you can share?
BU: I’ve learned a lot of amazing techniques from working with a lot of great producers in the past. Butch Walker shared a lot of mic’ing tips with me that I still experiment with regularly. I’ve really loved trying to get a big room sound while still keeping each strum dry enough on the attack. Even messing with one Neumann acting as a room mic and a couple of 57s on each side of the amp gives a very unique and interesting room sound.
VOX: Very cool. Are you using any other VOX products?
BU: Spencer keeps his VOX Jaguar at our practice space. So any time we’re there, it’s almost inevitable that one of us will start playing the beginning of The Doors’ “Touch Me.”
VOX: Anything else you’d like to mention?
BU: I’m very happy with all of my VOX gear. From my AC30 to my Night Train, there’s never a dull moment!
VOX: Thanks, Brendon!