Quick Questions With Altostratus

Quick Questions With Altostratus

UK progressive metal band Altostratus recently released their debut album, Complete the Connection. I caught up with drew and Alex from the band to ask them the Guitar Noodle Quick Questions.


Quick Questions

1. Who inspired you to start playing?

Drew (Bass): When I was very young I was really into Queen through my parents and before I had any idea what a bass was, my favourite member was their bass player, Jon Deacon, just always thought he was the coolest. A few years later my older sister got a bass for her birthday, she only played it for about a month then stopped. Some of my friends from school were starting a band and they knew that there was a bass in my house so they just said to me one day “right, we’re starting a band and you’re playing bass” and I was like “okay.” We learnt every single Green Day song there was at the time but I got more into the technical stuff when I got deep into Muse shortly after. Their bass player really pushes the instrument to new areas which was very exciting for me to digest when I was so new to it. They definitely inspired me to keep going deeper and deeper into music.

Alex (Guitar): I took guitar, recorder, and piano lessons when I was really young at around the age of 7, but I always hated playing guitar with a passion. It wasn’t until my Dad and some school friends started playing guitar when I was 12 that I took an interest and started learning on my Dad’s friends’ electric guitar. While being very competitive, I was inspired to keep playing in order to become better than my friends and father, this was enough to get me going! I was really into the Arctic Monkeys and Fratellis to begin with and also found much inspiration from songs I found on the video game Guitar Hero. As time went on and after being introduced to much rock and metal music over the years from my school pals, I developed a taste for guitar based music that led me to take the instrument seriously at the age of 15. I definitely owe my inspiration to my Dad, Ronnie Hek, and to my good friend and guitar buddy Stephen McLaughlin.

2. Which piece of equipment couldn’t you live without?

Drew: A couple of years ago I got my Dingwall NG3 5 String Bass, I hadn’t even tried one in person, just saw a load of reviews for it and on paper it was ideal for what I need. Very lightweight, very long scale length, very versatile and aggressive sounding pickups and pre-amp. I wouldn’t recommend trying without buying but I got lucky this time. A few months later a friend of mine was selling his NG2 5 String and I snapped it up in a second, now I have two Dingwalls! One to go with the guys’ 6 string guitars (tuned to Dropped C (with a low A)) and the other to match the guys’ 7 string guitars (tune to Dropped Ab). The design and sound is so modern and forward-thinking, I can’t imagine switching to anything else now.

Alex: I’ve never been too precious about my guitars and have always sold, swapped, and tried new ones over the years. However, I’m really in love with my new Jackson Dinky 6-string and I couldn’t imagine playing another brand now, I don’t know if it’s the compound radius necks but they just feel amazing to me. Apart from that, I couldn’t live without my Shure GLXD16 wireless rig as it’s so liberating at gigs – I can’t imagine going back to wired!

3. What’s your favourite album of the year so far?

Drew: The new Grimes album, “Miss Anthropocene”. Really nice, emotional, well produced electronic music, dipping into all of it sub genres. That and “I Disagree” by Poppy. That’s like the Grimes album but more angsty and with some nuts heavy riff time adventures. Really looking forward to new Intronaut, Polyphia and Archspire records this year!

Alex: I’ve not really had much time to digest many albums this year but I’m really digging the new Loathe album – “I Let It in and It Took Everything”. It’s got a great raw sound with some heavy heavy riffs and a really nice chill Deftones vibe. I’m really looking forward to the new Tom Misch and Yussef Dayes album as well as the upcoming Igorrr record.

4. If you could have a lesson from anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?

Drew: A few years I actually did get a Skype lesson with Evan Brewer. Evan has been in a load of cool bands over the years (Animosity, The Faceless, Entheos) and also has some really tasty solo records that feature the bass as the main instrument (every sound on his first album was actually produced by a bass). I would highly recommend his stuff to any bass players out there! The lesson was really inspiring and I learnt a lot, not only from a technical standpoint, but we talked about the industry and a lot of theory. Would love to do another one with him some day.

Alex: I’d love to have a lesson with Julian Lage sometime. I’m a big theory buff and wannabe jazz guitarist so I would love to pick his brains about his approach to the guitar. The way he blends jazz and classical tropes is really interesting and something I’d love to experiment with more.

5. What is your number one tip for any new player?

Drew: Get in a band ASAP. It’s a lot more inspiring and fun when you’re all grinding together, encouraging each other, and having fun with your friends along the way. It’s easy to compare yourself to and be discouraged by all the countless YouTube and Instagram players who are at the top of their game, but that’s not what music is about. Music is about getting out into the world and making connections with people. Being in a band with your friends and getting out and performing live (even if you don’t think you’re good enough) is the best way to get immersed in it, just dive in head first and go for it.

Alex: Listen to as much music as possible, there’s something you can take away from every genre and finding unique combinations of sounds is what will help you stand out from the pack. Go to as many shows as you can for inspiration. Play as much as you can, learn as much as you can, and perform as much as you can. Also, remember that there’s always going to be people out there who know more than you, so take every opportunity you can to play with and learn from other musicians.


We’ve just recently released our debut album “Complete the Connection” and it’s available to stream here: https://ampl.ink/nDGb1. We also have CD’s and merch bundles available from our website – www.altostratusband.com/shop. We spent the best part of 4 years crafting this and it’s our most epic piece of music to date.

We’re also on tour in the UK this April and will be hitting up Edinburgh, Berwick, Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Birmingham, and London. We’ll be joined by some excellent Tech-Metal bands, such as Pravitas, The Mechanist, Chiasmata, and The Infected Dead. Tickets are available from our website too – https://altostratusband.com/home#tour-dates

More from Altostratus: 

Site: https://altostratusband.com 

Store: https://altostratusband.com/shop 

Spotify: https://altostratusband.com/spotify 

Facebook: https://facebook.com/altostratusband 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/altostratusband 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/altostratusuk