INTERVIEW: SETH WELTY (SUNLESS WINTER, LOVEBOXX)

Seth is an incredibly versatile bassist, having mastered a variety of different style bass guitars and bass playing techniques. His collection of basses is one of the most impressive I’ve seen and he always brings a unique flavor to his bands. Most recently, Seth has joined the ranks of local progressive doom metal machines, Sunless Winter. Here’s what Seth had to say about his newest project, and the journey that brought him here:

1. How long have you been with Sunless Winter and how did you first come to join the band?

I’ve been with jamming with these guys for just under a year now. Having worked with Jimi Voelker in the past he had reached out in need of a bassist and things just sort of worked out schedule and timing wise to make it happen.

2. How did you get your start playing bass and what made you gravitate toward bass over other instruments?

I started playing trombone in 5th grade and always enjoyed it but I was looking for a less strict and more casual musical outlet at the time. I grew up around music; my grandfather and great uncle were in a jazz band together, my stepfather did the cover band circuit my whole life and both my brothers play instruments. I just sort of gravitated to bass, we already had two guitarists and a drummer in the house so it was gently suggested I pick up the bass and when I did it just felt natural.

3. Talk about the first bass you ever owned, along with your first amp, even if it was just a little practice amp or something.

The first bass I ever owned (and still do) was a Squier P bass made in Japan and somebody had done the Orange cap tone pot mod on it. That bass has a fantastic neck on it and very comfortable to play, I got really lucky with that. My first amp was a Crate practice combo but that was very soon replaced with a Crate 15inch combo.

4. Talk about the gear you love, specific brands, makes, models, etc.

I’m a gear nerd through and through and I have a problem. I currently have 20 electric basses, 2 electric guitars, two upright basses, a banjo, handpan/hangdrum, bass uke, guqin, and a baby grand piano. As for effects I’ve been sticking with Darkglass for the foundation of my tone, currently the x ultra into a Genz Benz Shuttle 9.0 feeding a 212 I through together with some custom Eminences I had around. I have a Helix LT for a cover-all if I want to vary any from my current “normal” setup. As far as preferences, I’m really digging my Ibanez EHB1506ms bass currently from all aspects but previously to that I used a Spector NS-2000 as my main workhorse. The Genz Benz has never failed me and always been more than enough at 900watts, the bonus is that it weighs 4 Lbs so it’s super portable. No real preferences in regards to cabs but the current hodgepodge one I put together seems to be doing the trick. One thing I would like to mention specifically is the Backbeat; its a unit that attaches to your strap and puts out vibration appropriate to the frequencies you’re playing as well as an In-ear out so that no matter what difficulties happen on stage with sound you can always hear yourself and feel like you have a substantial rig behind you which greatly helps with feel.

5. Discuss the ways your bass setup for live gigs has evolved over the years.

In the beginning my rig was essentially whatever I could throw together to make a sound from a crate combo to a super heavy old Peavey combo. I eventually made the jump to a rack with a Hartke 410 that has been through EVERYTHING you could throw at it and its always been great. We had a space in a basement while I was in Final Decline that the toilet would back up and flood the floor, that Hartke rode on the roof of a van one night to a gig still dripping and never even hesitated. I through an Ampeg 15 from the TALAS 97 reunion underneath the Hartke to get more volume and that still wasn’t enough. I picked up a Peavey 215 and used that for about a year but then I blew the speakers out of that for an outdoor show we played. I eventually snagged an Ashdown 810 and head for like $300 off Craigslist and that 810 was my go to until I picked up my Helix LT.

In The Last Reign, the first year or so I used the Helix LT direct, sometimes bringing cabs for on stage volume and appearance other times not. I had already grabbed the Backbeat mentioned above so any direct stage volume wasn’t a necessity anymore. My current setup is an Ibanez EHB1506MS into my Backbeat then a line 6 Relay G50. From there it goes into my rack to the Darkglass X ultra, a no name noise gate off amazon and then into the Genz Benz Shuttle 9.0. DI line from the Genz Benz to the FOH post the tube pre but prior to the eq. I then use the tube eq to, as best as possible, mimic the DI sound with my cab for onstage volume. There’s of course a tuner out thrown in there too from the back of the Genz.

6. List off every active band (has played at least one live show at an established venue) you’ve ever been a part of in chronological order.

Elastic Endeavor (2005)

Final Decline (2007ish – 2018)

The Jane Evil Band (2011)

Blueshift (not a member but a notable fill-in to be mentioned later)

The Last Reign (2019-2020)

Sunless Winter (2021-Current)

7. Discuss the most memorable local shows of your career. When thinking back, which local gigs stick out the most and why?

Two local shows stand out the most to me. The first being one of the years of Jabbapalooza, it was just packed full, Doug Griffith Jr. was on sound and we were just on. This was prior to it being moved to Solidays and there was no stage, just face to face with the crowd and they were into it. The second that comes to mind is the first show I played with The Last Reign, it was a sold out Mohawk place, great lineup of bands with us headlining and beyond it just being a great night it was my welcome back to playing out with a band after leaving Final Decline and taking a break. Performing live is something that I greatly miss if I step away for a bit too long.

8. Discuss your most memorable out-of-town experiences performing with any band you’ve been a part of. What made these road experiences so unique, or noteworthy?

There’s been so many quirky out of town shows that have something memorable attached just from weird shenanigans that happened but by far the one that stands out to me was when I was asked to fill in with local Prog rock band Blueshift for Warped Tour down in Cincinnati, Ohio. That whole experience itself was special to me. We were on early, it was hot, sound was so-so, the set was rushed and the crowd was skeptical but it was still some kind of special to be able to go and share that experience with some friends I had known for quite a while along with some new friends as well.

9. List off, or promote any and all upcoming shows you have in the works that you’re allowed to talk about.

We (Sunless Winter, best self described as progressive doom) have a Black Sabbath tribute show were on at Nietzsche’s 11/12/22 and Ed Browns Sinners and Saints show at the Rockin’ Buffalo 2/11/2023. With that being said, we are currently looking to book more shows. We have a solid half hour to forty five currently, we bring the heavy heavy, and we aren’t picky get at us.

10. Looking back at your career, talk about the drummers you’ve jammed with going back to your very beginnings as a musician. Discuss the drummers that you feel pushed you to enhance your playing, or who just had a great dynamic with you in a band setting.

I’ll try to keep this on the briefer side but there’s a lot. Growing up I had my brother to jam with on the drums (Joey Galligan; The Bunny the Bear, The Creator the Architect, Kings and Kingdoms, Misery!). We spent a bunch of time just jamming or running through songs building a foundation together, he was also the drummer in Elastic Endeavor. Neil Stoll, we worked on a few projects together that never panned out but he always pushed me to explore and improve with less common time signatures and atypical rhythms as well as his perfection tendencies that pushed me to be better. Colin Marmion and I immediately locked in together playing in The Last Reign. It was the type of chemistry that can’t be forced it was just there and made everything that much easier and enjoyable. No matter how serious and grumpy the mood in the room was we were still having a good time. Lastly, playing with Vince Mayer on drums just spoiled me forever. He’s always on, you never second guess it and hes always bringing some kind of flavor. Beyond the actual playing aspect his work ethic to improve all aspects from tone, lights, gear, lots and lots of gear, promotion strategies, photography, you name it. Hes thought of it and has accurate and helpful input with a positive approach and if not he will research it and get back to you.

11. Who are your favorite bassists of all-time and why?

This is another tough one, I enjoy a wide range of music, styles of bass players and the nuances they bring.

Billy Sheehan – he was a huge inspiration when I first started playing, as well as always nice and personable and willing to help out if you have questions.

Victor Wooten – I don’t think any explanation is needed on this one.

John Ferrrara (Consider the Source, Solo) – a fantastic technical player and just overall an unobtainable bar to set for myself.

Jim Wynne – Banana fingered local legend as humble as they come willing to teach you anything and everything if you have an ear to listen.

Gus Brand – He’s just a fantastic player and it is such a treat to see him perform. It’ll be real interesting to see how much he grows and develops in the future as there seems to be no limit to what he can achieve.

We are really privileged in the quality of musicians we have available locally and the fact that most are super awesome and approachable people. I want to thank you Mike and Wretched Magazine for the interview as well as all the things you do for the local scene and beyond.

One last thing, I just wanted to give a shout out to my daughter Madeline Raye, I love you and you help inspire me daily in everything I do.

Thanks for reading! To purchase a physical copy of this interview in our September ’22 ALL-RHYTHM edition, click here.

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