Interview with Ingo Hampf – Guitar Player of Subway to Sally
You’re watching a video interview of Ingo Hampf, Palmer endorser and guitarist of the german metal band Subway to Sally.
Ingo plays over a Palmer PGA 04 since 1995 whether live or in studio. We met him on the occasion of their album release “Schwarz in schwarz”, 11th album of the band Subway to Sally, in Neu-Isenburg on october 20, 2011.
Baptiste: Good evening, dear friends! And welcome to Palmer, Facebook, YouTube Video et cetera. I’m Baptiste, your host. And our guest tonight is Ingo Hampf of Subway To Sally.
Ingo: Hello, good evening.
Baptiste: Good evening from Subway To Sally’s Ingo Hampf, dear ladies and gentlemen. And this is Subway To Sally’s new record: ”Schwarz in Schwarz”. Just listened to it in my car while driving to the concert. The record is fantastic. Highly recommended. Great album. Ingo, how many records have you made so far?
Ingo:Oh, that’s a difficult question. No, I’m only joking! Well, it’s the eleventh studio album we’ve recorded.
Baptiste: The eleventh?
Ingo: The eleventh studio album.
Baptiste: How long have Subway To Sally been around?
Ingo: Well, next year will be the 20th anniversary of the band.
Baptiste: The 20th anniversary?! Is it still fun after 20 years?
Ingo: Yeah, absolutely, or else you wouldn’t do it. But having a good time is one of those things… I associate that with eating ice cream, or riding the carousel with my son or something like that, or going on vacation. Well, I’d rather call it passion, when you put all your heart and soul into what you’re doing . Now and then it’s fun, and there are times when it’s no fun at all. Sometimes it’s hard, and sometimes it’s sad, and sometimes it’s stressful. But altogether, yeah, it’s still fun!
Baptiste: Record number eleven. How did it all start? Have you always been in the band, or…?
Ingo: Yeah. Well, you can work it out because we’re having our 20th anniversary next year… it started in 1992. I’ve been with the band from the start. And to recap it all, how it all started and why we’re making this music now and all that, that’s what every interviewer’s been asking for 20 years. Now that’s, well… but no, that’s going too far…
Baptiste: I’m pretty much a standard interviewer! I ask the standard questions first. And then we’ll get to the essential bits.
Ingo: It’ll go beyond the scope of this program if, let’s put it this way, if I was recounting 20 years of… well, all that.
Baptiste: 20 years of Subway To Sally. Well, I’ve listened to the record, and I felt this record… it’s… well, a lot of the songs are about fight. What are Subway To Sally fighting?
Ingo: That’s an interesting observation. Are they about fight? Well, that’s… that impression is probably due to the lyrics because they’re really dedicated, and above all our singer Eric … to the way he’s interpreting them, with a lot of dedication. Um.
Baptiste: Mm. Well, it’s…
Ingo: Well, it’s not… We could talk politics now, and so on and so forth, because there are enough lyrics on the album like ”2012” which is actually about an assassin who’s making this date his own to prove the world is coming to an end now because that’s what I want. Not because the Maya had it figured out this way in their calendar. Or like in ”Ich sperr’ dich ein” which is another difficult subject, where someone is taking somebody’s freedom locking the person up in the cellar, so to speak. I don’t mean to say, that’s what we’re fighting. That would be stupid, that’s more than you can do with a rock group. But at least we’re adressing the issue in our own way.
Baptiste: You sent us an e-mail today around 4 o’clock saying, hey, fancy coming to the gig? Thank you, very cool! We’re glad to be here. How did you hit upon Palmer products? Who was your contact? And how did you hit upon that? How long have you been using it?
Ingo: I can go back a long time on that. It started in 1994. When we were making our very first record, actually. We recorded it in a small studio in Holland. I don’t really remember what the dump was called… doesn’t matter anyhow. And anyway, they had been prepared for a folk band.]
Baptiste: A …?
Ingo: Folk band. A folk band. Like, with mandolin and fiddle. They thought a folk band were coming. And then I unpacked my 4×12 and did a sound check in the recording room. And then literally… you had the feeling the walls were falling apart left and right. Like… the place was rattling, clattering, the windows were buzzing! They were really shocked… that’s not folk! That’s heavy metal! Well… and the end of the story was that, because of the noise, you really couldn’t get a decent guitar signal onto tape with the microphone. Really, you could hear it: wrrrr, wrrrrr! Some kind of resonance. And somehow I remembered back then, man, there’s that Speaker Simulator by Palmer. That’s the mono one, the standard one. Can we get hold of that somehow? And somehow they went to a neighborhood town, and they went to a music shop and got this thing. And that’s what I recorded the first album with. And it was good! And since then I’ve been aware of Palmer, and I’ve been aware of this Speaker Simulator, and throughout the years I’ve used these Speaker Simulators live as well, in addition to the microphone signal from the cab. It’s not to keep the volume down on stage, on the contrary, I’m quite loud. The cab’s also connected to the Speaker Simulator, but it provides this DI signal which is, above all, a very good signal for the sound engineer, he can work well with that. It has a frequency response he can cope with. And of course there’s no bleeding from the microphone, from the drums, and so on and so forth. So it’s not just a compromise solution like it might’ve been back then. It really is an alternative to the microphone.
Baptiste: So the sound engineer is really pleased?
Ingo: He’s really pleased, yeah. He prefers it to the microphone signal.
Ingo: Well, I’ve got more to say about that. There are some other funny little helpers by Palmer that I’m using,. These… I love these things. Like, when you’ve got a rack with different pieces of equipment, and it’s wired up, you’ve always got trouble with hum, and so on and so forth. And there are these cute little isolation boxes, DI boxes. Is that really a DI box? Not quite actually, it’s an isolation box. Is that what it’s called? Which you can connect in between, and usually the problem’s solved. And that’s wonderful! Well, it’s true, ha! These are the little things that… you always see those big things on stage, and they’re what everybody’s talking about. But actually it’s the little things that cause failure. And these little helpers are available from Palmer. And among them there’s a switcher I’ve used in the studio. It’s the Triton. Is that what it’s called? Or something like that?
Baptiste: Er… Triage?
Ingo: Yeah! That’s it. Triage? But that’s a…
Baptiste: Switcher for…?
Ingo: It’s for three…
Baptiste: The switcher for… different amps.
Ingo: Different amps, to send different signals, where I always did the splitting, like, into my amp and into the SansAmp to switch back and forth for tracking without reconnecting cables, and so on and so forth. It did a good job, and it was great with the tuner plugged in as well and all that… now these are the little things that make life easier. Amazing.
Baptiste: You’ve got a song that’s called… I think the title is… because it comes up so often in the song … that’s it, it’s called ”Nichts ist für immer”. Is there… now, I think there are some things that are forever, right?
Ingo: Well, not in that song. You know, it says… well, the message is that no matter how good something turns out or how bad it turns out, well, it doesn’t last, does it? Anyway… something that’s everlasting, that is… yeah, what is everlasting? Even diamonds aren’t! Even diamonds burn up…
Baptiste: Wouldn’t you say that your Palmer Speaker Simulator is forever? Because it’s built so solidly?
Ingo: Now, the… oh, I see, now we’re… got it!
Baptiste: No, no…
Ingo: Well, of course it’s built very solidly! No, to come back to this ”forever”: of course it’ll get broken if you chuck it from the fifth floor or something, or if someone pours his beer into it, or something like that. But it’s built real solid, that stuff. I agree, yeah. And I’ll certainly… ’cause I’m rather new… I’ve hardly got, I must say, any endorsements, or something like that. Well, I’ve got a few guitar builders I like to work with, who give me a good deal, but they can’t give ’em away, and so on and so forth. And everything else… the amp is custom made, and I’ve put the cones into the cabs myself, and somehow I’ve always… it wasn’t ’cause I’m nuts somehow or something, it was always gear that didn’t work for me straight out of the box. I’ve tried it all, it’s not like that. Or had to use it sometimes, I don’t want to mention the names of amps or something… now, when you’re on the road abroad you can’t take your gear along, they put something up for you, some kind of junk, and that was a catastrophe mostly. Neither I could cope nor the tech down there, and if he goes, ”errr…” it can’t be right, can it? And that’s why… somehow we’re… what was the question?
Baptiste: I’ve got no idea!
Ingo: Anyway. Oh, yeah… ’cause I don’t have anything like endorsements otherwise. And Palmer, that’s new. I wouldn’t have thought… man, I dig that stuff. I think the workmanship, the quality, especially the value for money and what they’re producing and all that is great. And so I checked with them. And then I said, hey, I need some more equipment, especially for recording the album ’cause I’ve DI’d the signal again.
Baptiste: All of your guitars on the record have been DI’d?
Ingo: Both, DI’d and mic’d. Well, I’ve used various things. Two amps, two different ones… no, I’ve used mine only. Mic’d up, and the DI from the Palmer Speaker Simulator, and into the SansAmp and so on. Well, that’s another company. But so what.
Baptiste: Yes, we’ve seen something. I don’t know if Robin… because Robin is the Product Manager… Product Manager of Palmer, Germany. And I don’t know if he knows, but you’ve made a wonderful contribution here. I don’t know if you can see it? Here, can you see it? In the booklet of the album there’s not just the Palmer logo, it also says thanks to Robin Henlich. I can only say a great many thanks to you, Ingo. We’ve brought you the Palmer Drei. It’s down in the catering room, and we just wanted… well, it’s sold already… but we thought we’d bring it along so you can try it. Then you can tell us what you think.
Ingo: Is that the tube amp with three power amps, this… like, low power and so on and so forth?
Baptiste: That’s a triple single-ended amp.
Ingo: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Baptiste: Well, triple single-ended. And yeah, it’s down in the catering room. We’ll let you try this amp in a minute. […] And now we’re ready. We’re in the catering room with Ingo and, unbelievable but true, there is the Drei.
Ingo: Let’s see…visually I’d say Russian radio, right? But Russian in a positive way. Like, it’ll survive a drop or something. Well, this is from the last war. No, really impressive at first… I’ve already read some about it. I haven’t tried it yet, of course, but this concept of three power amps… that’s awesome! ”Sättigung”… now that’s a nice word for ”gain”, right? ”Endstufen“, yeah… ”Bereit” and ”Aus”, power… that’s here, and it’s got a lamp as well, see. ”Eingang”. Yeah, terrific. Who… well, I keep asking myself, who had the idea for this concept? Now, that’s really great, that’s … can you unscrew this, and then you’re able to flip it open? Now that’s incredible… but I can’t get it unscrewed!
Baptiste: That’s for strong men only! Yes, and actually that’s how you can… well, for servicing you can put it upside down to unscrew the base, and then you’ve got everything right there to deal with.
Ingo: I see. And all I was asking was, who had the idea for this concept ? Well, I mean, that’s very… let’s say it’s quite unusual, right? To design something like that…
Baptiste: Yes, unusual concept, unusual guy. He’s a Finn. And we’ve got the pleasure of having Mister Markus at the start for Palmer / Adam Hall, it’s been three years now. And he’s developing products for Palmer in particular. And that’s a concept he’s had in his head for years. And now they’ve just realized it. Yes, they’ve given birth to this thing, this baby. And he’s proud like a dad.
Ingo: I see. Let’s put it this way, you got me hooked, I’d like to try it. I’ll do that soon, for sure. Right? I’ll certainly comment on it, you’ll be able to look it up on the web page. Well, I think it’s… visually it’s great… I don’t know, I don’t think it’s the kind of thing I’d put on top of the cab to go on stage. But for the studio maybe, or I don’t know. Well… we’ll see.
Baptiste: Great! You’re really welcome. Whenever you want you can send us an e-mail at four o’clock.
Ingo: And then I’ll drop by!
Baptiste: Exactly! No problem. And then you can try everything. We’ve got everything in the showroom. And yes, come anytime! […] Anyway, Ingo, a great many thanks for having us. Thank you for the interview.
Ingo: If you enjoyed it…
Baptiste: For sure! Great concert! I advise you all to listen to the record: Subway To Sally, Schwarz in Schwarz. Terrific, teriffic record. Well, thanks. Ingo, perhaps you’ve got a word for the Palmer fans?
Ingo: Yeah, Baptiste did a nice job telling it all. Well, I’d say dito! And see you. Ciao!
Ingo: I wear black only, as a rule. But that’s within the limits of… that’s for a happy day, so to speak.
Yves Cameraman: When the sun is shining …
Ingo: Dead right. Sunshiny grey.
Subway to Sally Website:
More info about the Palmer PGA04: http://www.palmer-germany.com/mi/en/PGA-04-Speaker-Simulator-with-Loadbox-8-Ohms-PGA04.htm
Many many thanks to Ingo for his time and kindness.
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