When you’re a Grammy-winning legend firmly ensconced in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, people tend to cut you a break — IE, they might hope and pray that you’ll release new tunes, but most of the time they’re happy to just listen to your records on repeat, remembering the glory days in a fond haze. Guns N’ Roses guitarist Slash is certainly not among the aforementioned laurels-resters, however — not only did he recently drop his second solo record, Apocalyptic Love featuring Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators, he’s also leapt into the digital age with two iOS apps that enhance both the music-listening and music-making experiences.
Although Slash has officially entered the “artists who have apps” realm (which includes pretty much every artist at this point — even Luddites like M. Ward), he admits that he’s not really that into technology.
“I never got into computers for computers’ sake,” Slash says. “I probably didn’t even get my first laptop until 2004. I’m very old-school and I do things the way that I’ve always done them. Then I find little things here and there that actually function that I can use and I add them to my old-school philosophies.”
One of those little things was AmpliTube from IK Multimedia, a suite of tone creation software and apps for guitar and bass. Slash started using the products in 2010, around the time he was making his first solo record, Slash. The company approached him about doing his own personal app using his signature pedals and amplifiers at the time and Slash agreed. The creation process took a few years, and the finished product — AmpliTube Slash edition — dropped in June. Now, any Guns ‘N Roses fan — or curious musician — can play and record with Slash’s pedals, guitar tone settings, and amps on the iPhone, iPod touch, iPad and Mac/PC. The whole deal costs around $15, unless you spring for AmpliTube Custom Shop, which will cost you around $79.99.
“When I picked up the guitar, the only tools that were anything close to this were mostly books,” Slash says. “Books and those cassette decks that had the internal mic. I never thought about what we were going to be doing 20 years down the line.”
While Slash’s AmpliTube app was conceptualized before the release of his sophomore album, Slash 360 for iOS was created in concert with Apocalyptic Love. The app gives users a 360-degree view of the recording process, taking them into the studio with Slash and Myles Kennedy and The Conspirators. The idea for the app came after Slash saw a 360-degree music video courtesy of MATIvision, a multi-camera 360-degree interactive video system. “I was just like, ‘This is amazing.’ That very personal, interactive experience of watching a concert,” he says. “I thought it would be great if we did something like that with an album, where you could record the recording process.”
So the band brought in MATIvision to do just that, filming Slash and Co. in the studio to create an app that allows users to navigate the landscape while jamming to the recording process. It’s kind of reminiscent of BEP360, the Black Eyed Peas’ 360-degree music video app. Listen to the whole album with the $4.99 version of the app, or, if you’re feeling skint, shell out $0.99 to for the light version, featuring the single “You’re A Lie.”
“Each time you watch it it’s a different experience, because you can do whatever you want, Slash says. “It’s very much in the moment and a very personal interactivity.”
Although Slash isn’t really into many other apps — beyond those he uses for music-making — he does admit that he’s a fan of the Angry Birds game series. “I think that game is genius actually,” he says. “I’m a big fan of animation.”
That love of animation, it seems, will soon bleed over into Slash’s techie franchise: He tells us that there’s a Slash game in the works. Unlike the bevy of band Facebook games out there, Slash’s game will likely live on mobile. “I’m not very much of a Facebook guy,” he says. “I’ve never really been one to use it personally, so I only think of stuff in terms of mobile.”
A mobile-first mindset, Slash? We think you’re more modern than you previously supposed.