While She Sleeps Guitarist Sean Long Plays His Favorite Riffs
While She Sleeps guitarist Sean Long recently dropped by Loudwire's studios and during our talk with the musician, he also took some time to reflect on the riffs that helped shape him in this edition of Gear Factor.
“The first riff I ever learned was ‘Dammit’ by Blink-182. That’s a terrible riff,” sheepishly laughs Long while revisiting a bit of the song. He then recalled the trouble he had initially picking up the guitar, recalling a common problem. “I know the things that troubled me the most when I started playing were like, the callouses on your hands, cause they’re so soft and you’ve never been rubbing them against strings and hard metal, they get so fucking shredded to bits. After a while they get hard and you get used to it.”
The more he got into music, Long tells us that it was the riffs that initially attracted him. “I remember when I was younger I was attracted to music with riffs because I never listened to the screaming when I was younger. I kind of bypassed it, so I got attracted to riffs that sort of sang in themselves, because they’ve got so much dynamics in the riff, and that’s what I really enjoyed about the metal. Bands like As I Lay Dying, I probably couldn’t sing you a song, but I know every single riff," said the guitarist before rocking a little As I Lay Dying for the viewing audience.
Long also spoke of how his technique differs from some guitar players, explaining, “A normal person would play that with upstrokes, but for some reason as time developed I got really into doing those strums but down picked, because I realized if you can do it that quick, it sounds a thousand times tighter.”
As for a current influences, Long states, “Darkest Hour definitely defines the way I play guitar these days. Even to this day I think they’re still kind of underground and an underrated band. Some of the riffs they’ve produced, if you haven’t heard that band it’s crazy. There are so many bands that produce such good music and they just don’t get what they deserve. But in a sense, those riffs lived in me and gave me inspiration when I was younger."
"Darkest Hour and As I Lay Dying were the first bands I heard where the root note would change underneath the top end of the riff. I think that substituted for me not listening to vocals because it created a melody as well, so I fell in love with those kind of riffs.”
Getting to his own music, Long laughingly shares a bit of the first While She Sleeps riff he ever wrote, later explaining, "That's nowhere online. That was so early it was like a demo." From there, he revisits a bit of "Seven Hills," adding, “There’s no shredding involved, but it’s gotten to the point where people now sing the lead. That means more to me."
He cites "Guilty Party" as having the guitar part he's most proud of on their latest album, adding, "That's an example of how much I love to do the straight picking."
Finishing out this edition of Gear Factor, Long then delivers a bit of the intro to their song "Anti-Social." Check out the full Gear Factor episode in the player above, and be sure to pick up While She Sleeps' So What album here.
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