Joe Satriani – Creating the Engine
Most people think of Joe Satriani as a resulting in the perfect marriage of two
shredder, but in fact he released an album genres typically thought to be incompat-
back in 2000 entitled Engines of Creation, ible. The tune, “The Powder Cosmic 2000,
which blended electronica with rock guitar Pt. 2” aptly demonstrates Joe’s sense of
elements without losing that characteristic guitar work over funky loops and features
Satriani sound. Combining such disparate a synth tone reminiscent of Jan Hammer’s
influences as Jeff Beck’s Who Else and You ‘70s fusion work. The chill track, “Slow and
Had It Coming with ‘90s electronica art- Easy” infuses many textural layers of sitar
ists such as Apollo 440 and the Chemical and soundscape synth as Joe’s melodic
Brothers, Joe was able to inject live rock gui- playing rides sweetly on top. All in all, this
tar elements into electronic music. album exemplifies how guitar can inter-
twine perfectly within elements of electron-
ica and still appeal to the guitar enthusiast.
heads, then into a Palmer speaker simulator.
Then I used a few different mic pres – Neves,
V72s, etc. Sometimes we would aim for traditional sounds, other times not. Sometimes
a plug-in would do the trick and other times
it’s just all the pedals we found on the floor
plugged in and turned up!
On Engines, Joe takes some great jungle
grooves, like the opening track, “Devil’s
Slide,” and blends them with synths and
overdriven guitars to create a melee of contoured, driving tones. What Joe brings to the
table is his great sense of melody and acrobatic finger stunts.
What pedals did you use on this project?
We had much success with the
Moogerfooger pedals, the Fulltone Ultimate
Octave, a Digi Tech Whammy pedal and a
preamp called a Hafler Triple Giant.
Joe was gracious enough to take some time
out of his busy schedule and answer a few
questions about the album.
What inspired you to make an album of
this style? Were there any particular artists
or songs at the time that influenced you?
I enjoy making stylistic left turns with each
recording project; Engines was the most radical of turns. I was getting into Boom Boom
Satellites, The Prodigy
and Crystal Method at the
time and was dying to
work my guitar
On the cut
Were there any in particular that really
gave you that electronica feel?
The Hafler Triple Giant had the most robotic
distortion, totally devoid of warmth and feeling. But, in the context of a song like “Borg
Sex,” it was perfect!
What mics did you use to record the
No mics, no speakers! We thought it was a
cool thing at the time to make a record completely “in the box.”
into that kind
of production style.
Do you have a favorite can’t-live-without-
it guitar processor that you used on this
It was most likely the SansAmp plug-in. I
still enjoy using the SansAmp designs, both
their plug-ins and rackmount preamps. Eric
and I would use it here and there to spice
guitar sounds up a bit. Sometimes, as in the
song “Until We Say Goodbye,” it was the
Did you use your home
studio for this project or
did you enlist an outside
studio to track and mix?
Eric Caudieux and I recorded
the record in his living
room in Studio City. It was all
Pro Tools and Logic Audio. There
may have been a few stray guitar
tracks from my home studio, but all the
real creative work – recording and mixing
– was done at Eric’s.
You can also check out Joe’s incredible guitar work
on the funk track, “Hair” with Stanley Clarke on the
compilation, Guitar Masters, Vol. 1.
Did you use digital or analog to record and
what was your setup?
I would plug my Ibanez JS1000 guitar into
various pedals and into a variety of amp
Emmy Award winning guitarist Brian Tarquin scored a
Top 20 hit in the 90’s with “The Best of Acid Jazz, vol.
2” on Instinct Records and enjoyed several top 10 hits
on the R&R charts. Founder of the rock/electronica band,
Asphalt Jungle and has scored TV music for such shows
as CSI, Smallville, MTV, Alias, 24, All My Children and