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What makes a guitar riff heavy – The Reed Effect

Canadian rockers talk shop on crafting heavy guitar riffs.

Dissecting what makes the best riffs. New album now available. 

THE REED EFFECT released their EP “A Strange Curiosity”, this Friday, Nov 10th. With all the hype around the new record  (Can we still say ‘record’? Fuck it. I’m sticking with record.) we were immediately drawn to the nasty, soulful guitar riffs on the record.  The Toronto based trio sends your head on round-the-ring headshot like a left cross from Georges St-Pierre.  This album doesn’t apologize for being a rock band.  Big drums and open hi-hats.  Simple vocal harmonies in just the right dose.  And… lots of B.F.G’s.  If you think that means ‘Big Friendly Giant’, your ear-pussy is about to get smashed.

We caught up with The Reed Effect’s drummer and resident music video director, Bryan Fontez, to penetrate deeper into the subject of BIG FUCKING GUITARS.


Slickster Magazine  – What is the secret to making a guitar riff ‘HEAVY’?

Bryan Fontez (drummer) – There are different types of ‘Heavy’ riffs. There’s Heavy metal riffs, speed metal, thrash etc. For us, the heaviness comes from a bluesy groove in a riff, lots of good old fashioned tube distortion, and a kick ass, hard hitting rhythm section. We’re known for our heavy riffs and a good portion of our songs are based around a riff. When a heavy riff is done proper, the listener can’t help but move and groove to it.

Kirk Reed of The Reed Effect
Kirk Reed, of The Reed Effect, rocking on stage.

The first released single from your new album is ‘No Way Out of Here’.  It has some great vocal harmonies over top of loud drums and raunchy guitars.  What were you thinking about when you wrote the lyrics?  What did you feel was trapping you?  Was it something deep and metaphysical or you simply were stuck in gridlock traffic and couldn’t get the fuck out of here?

‘No way outta here’ is basically about exploring the  existential dilemma of being somewhat trapped in this world. However, it’s not really a dark song. It’s about acceptance of certain things, embracing life with a sense of humor, and living an honest and genuine life with all it’s challenges.
But I can definitely relate it to gridlock traffic too as I drive a lot in the greater Toronto area and the traffic drives me completely batty.


Finish this sentence, “Canada is the new _______”
….Walmart!  It’s challenging to finish this sentence. lol Canada is a beautiful country and we love it. Although  It’s not without it’s challenges for a rock band like ours especially in Toronto. Pop and the dj is still king, and it’s a struggle sometimes to be in a rock band as the market is a bit over saturated with lots of bands and not a huge amount of rock fans here in Canada. Having said that, our home base is in Toronto Canada and we’re not going to change that.


Check out The Reed Effect here.


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