Nashville Garage: PUJOL

Videos by American Songwriter

Daniel Pujol isn’t the sort of guy to fix something when it breaks. That would mean pausing, or even worse, stopping whatever project he’s working on. No, the very busy front man and creative force behind the band PUJOL would rather just keep on writing and recording new stuff.

For instance, take when his guitar’s high E-string snapped.

“I broke it, and then I wrote three of four songs I really liked, and I decided I wasn’t going to use it anymore. It breaks all the time anyway.”

Or when the paint on his guitar chipped off.

“I think it’s been painted three or four times. Each time the paint gets chipped off, there’s another color underneath. It’s black and then under the black is red, and under the red is this purple blue sunburst.”

From recording with a Mac laptop’s built-in microphone to the fact that he doesn’t use any guitar pedals, it’s safe to say Pujol, whose debut full length album United States Of Being came out last month, isn’t a gear head.

“It’s probably been the biggest thing for my music. I just take what I’ve been given or can buy and adapt,” he says. “I don’t want all the dials. I just want to play. “

Pujol’s multi-colored guitar is a Mexican Fender Telecaster with a mirror pickguard that he got as part of a trade-in at a pawnshop. And it was unique like only a pawnshop guitar can be.

“There were KISS volume knobs. They had Gene Simmons’ face on all of them,” Pujol says.

Later on, Pujol found out those likenesses of the Long-Tongued One were actually just stickers a previous owner had put on the guitar. But by then Pujol was hooked; the Telecaster “felt good and sounded good.”

Pujol also got his amp from a pawnshop: an Ampeg head with no face that the rocker estimates must have come from the 1980s. That head is now hooked up to a Peavey Classic 112.

“I really like the sound of small amps. That’s why I run a guitar head through a 12-inch speaker. It sounds really heavy without being really loud.”

Pujol’s quest for that quiet heaviness goes back to his days playing basement shows at his house in Tennessee. In fact, it goes back to a time when the real struggle was trying to be loud enough.

“I never had an amp that was loud enough until I bought that Ampeg head two years ago. I’d be playing a lot of shows where the amp would be in front of me so people could hear it.”

But even after Pujol suddenly could crank it up, he decided not to. He was still playing in basements, and he wanted try something different from the other shows he’d been seeing.

“If you’re trapped in a tiny room, it doesn’t need to be so loud. There’s an alienating affect. It creates a sensory barrier. They can’t watch what you’re doing,” he says. “There’s a safe anonymity in high volume that’s not very intimate.”

And take it from the guy who named his latest band after himself: Anonymity just isn’t cool anymore. You know what’s cool in Pujol’s opinion? Letting people be able to talk to their neighbors during your shows; you know, creating a sense of community through music. Oh, and having Gene Simmons’ face on your volume knobs. He thinks that’s pretty cool, too.



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