Ernie Ball String Theory is a web series that explores the sonic origins of some of music’s most innovative guitar players. In this episode, sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell of Larkin Poe discuss their earliest introduction to bluegrass, musical inspirations, touring will Elvis Costello, and more. Find out the top six things we learned…
1. Sometimes technicality should be ditched. (1:37)
RL: “Leaping deeper and deeper into roots and American music as a general rule… you sort of have to break the technical ability that you’ve learned over the years in order to create more soulful sounds that you would hear on like a Son House or Robert Johnson record…”
2. GarageBand sparked their interest in producing. (3:00)
RL: “I got hooked up with a sound library and that just blew my mind. I then had access to a car door slam and I could integrate that to be our kick sound or our snare sound… or you can have a stomp and the shaker and create these sonic realms to build songs.”
3. Elvis Costello pushed them out of their comfort zone. (5:52)
ML: “We toured with Elvis Costello for many years. Being with just him and the two of us and that’s all who was performing on stage… really uncomfortable. But also some of the most rewarding moments that I can remember.”
4. Jeff Buckley influenced Rebecca as a songwriter. (6:46)
RL: “He’s so pure and beautiful but not afraid of the polar opposite of that grungy, ugly guitar tone. So that really captured my imagination as an artist. That was the first time when I listened to someone and thought, ‘I want their career… I want their musical catalogue… I wish I had written those songs.’”
5. By using thicker strings, they are able to achieve a fuller, deeper tone. (8:43)
RL: “Right now I’ve been playing the titanium coated strings, but I’ll typically cross-tune my guitar to achieve something different. Sometimes during a show I’ll take my guitar and tune it all the way down to a B or a C… so for those I’ll typically use the Skinny Top Heavy Bottoms just to try to give it a little more resonance.”
6. Music should be a pressure-free experience. (11:00)
RL: “At some point it literally comes down to sitting in a room with a guitar. If you want to or you don’t, then don’t. If you want to get on stage, then do. If you want to practice, sometimes it’s going to be hard. Music is about a feeling and it’s about having fun, and the rest of the pressure can just kiss my ass.”
Larkin Poe plays Ernie Ball Regular Slinky Coated Titanium RPS, Paradigm Skinny Top Heavy Bottom, and Regular Slinky electric guitar strings.
Check out similar String Theory films from Ernie Ball featuring artists such as Mac Demarco, Robin Finck of Nine Inch Nails, Jim Adkins of Jimmy Eat World, Dave Navarro of Jane’s Addiction, Daron Malakian of System of a Down, and Kurt Vile.