Yamaha artist Jeff Schroeder is a guitarist with The Smashing Pumpkins. We spoke to him about the band’s most recent tour, his new project Night Dreamer, and his experience with the new THR30II Wireless amplifier.
Hi Jeff! Thanks for taking the time to chat with us.
The Smashing Pumpkins have just finished a huge tour with Noel Gallagher’s High-Flying Birds and AFI. Great line up! How was it?
It was easily one of the best tours we’ve ever done in the 13 years I’ve been in the band. We had a wonderful time both on and offstage. Personally, I love to tour the US in the summer and play outdoor amphitheaters.
Any notable highlights?
While every night was a pleasure, a day that sticks out in my head was the show at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Maryland. Not only is it a historic venue, it also has one of the best backstage areas I’ve ever seen, which included a very nice swimming pool. Everyone had a great time hanging out and becoming closer friends.
You’re using the new THR30II Wireless amp, can you tell us how you are finding it?
I’ve been a huge fan of the THR since I first tried one five or six years ago. The new one takes an already great product and brings it to a whole new level. First and foremost, it sounds and feels better than ever. Besides all the extra features, it’s just a great sounding and versatile amp. That being said, the addition of Bluetooth is a very nice added feature since I use the THR as my main practice amp, and I practice a lot!
Are there any new features which stand out for you?
I love the expanded wattage. It makes the clean sounds even better, deeper, and more vibrant. And I do love the fact that it can run off of the rechargeable batteries.
How does it fit into your setup, and into your routine?
I have my iPad hooked up to it at all times. I run my metronome and backing tracks off of it. I use it on tour and at home every single day.
You’ve recently released new music with a brand new project – Night Dreamer. Can you tell us the story behind this?
Yes, Night Dreamer is a collaborative project between me and Mindy Song, a vocalist/multi-instrumentalist from Los Angeles. We just released our first single, “Another Life,” on September 19th and our first EP, Treasure, will be available October 11th on all streaming platforms and as physical product.
How did this come about?
I already knew Mindy through mutual friends in Los Angeles, and always loved her voice and songwriting capabilities. At the beginning of this year, I spent the winter in Los Angeles and started writing songs for what would become Night Dreamer. Since I’m not a singer-songwriter, I needed someone who could write melodies and lyrics over the music I was composing. Mindy was the first and only person I thought of and we’ve never looked back.
Where did the name come from?
The name is a nod to the great jazz saxophonist and composer, Wayne Shorter.
How does this differ from the music you create with The Smashing Pumpkins?
Well, first and foremost, Night Dreamer is essentially an electronic band with guitar. In that way, there are some parallels with some Smashing Pumpkins material. That being said, the way we write songs and build tracks is a much different process than SP.
Also, Mindy brings a very different musical sensibility to the table than me. She is much more in tune with contemporary music than me. She has just as much to do with shaping the sonics of the band as me.
Could you run us through what gear you used on the new EP?
I only used a handful of guitars on the EP. My main guitar was one of my Yamaha touring guitars. Although there is little traditional bass on the EP, when it was called for, I used a BB434, which is just a fantastic sounding bass. But the biggest part of the sound on the EP is the Line 6 Helix. Every single note of the EP was played through either the HX Stomp, floor unit, or the plug-in. This is both for guitar and bass. When we play live, all I use is the Helix floor unit.
What can we expect next from Night Dreamer?
Later this month, we’ll play our first live shows opening for Peter Hook and the Light. We’re also releasing our next single and video for a song called “The Taste” on October 11th. We’ve also already started on our next EP, which we’re very excited about. Hopefully in 2020, we’ll spend most of the year on the road touring the world.
Discover the new THRII range: Yamaha.com/thr
Check out Night Dreamer: http://nightdreamermusic.com