I am more than excited to announce that the first Mercy Seat Effects endorsed artist is Chris Wrate. Chris is the musical chris wrate 2director/guitarist for Ariana Grande. He’s also involved in {l.a.}god Music, a conglomeration of L.A. based studio and touring musicians and writers from the secular industry all uniting for a new worship project. We were able to steal a few moments from Chris’s busy day to ask him a few questions about his life, gear and his outlook on pointy guitars. Check out the interview below!

MSE: “First things first, how many points on a guitar is too many?”

Chris: “Haha… no more than 2.”

MSE: “Fair enough. I know I liked you for a reason. I’d ask if that includes the headstock, but that would be quite the digression. Tell us a little bit about how you got to where you are today.”

Chris: “I moved from Wisconsin to Los Angeles in 2008 to attend a school called Musicians Institute. The school is unique in that it brings a lot of opportunity to the students to find work whether through auditions for touring acts, song placements or other opportunities that most schools don’t present. While attending MI I met someone who works in musician referrals, assembling auditions for artists who are looking to put together a band for touring. He held an audition at the school for the Offspring that I tried out for and that led to me getting called for other auditions that would eventually lead to some of my first gigs after graduating.”

MSE: “Cool! I remember listening to the Offspring as a 12 year old in my first ever limo ride. We did what any other 12 year olds would do… went through the McDonald’s drive thru. Anyway, so that must be how you got your current gig? Tell us a little bit about that.”

Chris: “My main gig right now is serving as the Musical Director/Guitarist for Ariana Grande. When I’m not out on the road I would say the typical day for me would consist of morning coffee, devotionals, a few hours on the guitar, spicy food and a glass of Jack Daniels to cap off the day. As long as those few things happen everything else is an added bonus.”

MSE: “Coffee, devotionals, guitar, spicy food and Jack Daniels. I think you just summed up exactly what it is to be a man. So how long have you been with Ariana?”

Chris: “6 months.”

MSE: “Great! Sounds like it’s going well. And are you involved with writing with her at all?”

Chris: “I am not. She has a specific group of writers and producers that she’s been working with long before the band was brought in so…”

MSE: “Gotcha. Switching gears here, I’m sure you get asked about your gear all the time but I’m less interested in what you currently play. (that info can be seen here) I love to know where people have come from. What was the first guitar you owned?”

Chris: “Some jacked up, entry level, used Ibanez I found at a local shop for 70 bucks. I covered it with Jimi, Phish and Blink 182 stickers. I’m not sure why.”

MSE: “Maybe to cover up the points? Haha, just kidding. We’ve all been guilty of the Spencer’s Gifts mass sticker purchase. At least you didn’t put them on your car. So that may be a piece of gear you don’t mind forgetting about, but what is the one piece of gear you no longer own and you are now kicking yourself for getting rid of?”

Chris: “I had a 65 Twin Reverb I sold for a delay pedal. Kind of wishing I didn’t do that.”

MSE: “Wow! That must have been some kind of delay pedal!”

Chris: “Haha yes. It was the Eventide TimeFactor. This was pre Stymon TimeLine era so for me it was the must have delay at the time. I think I also bought a chorus pedal too with the money but still a regrettable decision nonetheless.”

MSE: “Believe me, we’ve all been there. I sold a ’73 Walnut Telecaster Deluxe about 6 years ago. I’ll never forgive myself. BUT! Gear does not make us a better player, so there’s that. Speaking of becoming a better player, what types of things do you do to keep progressing?”

chris wrateChris: “Listen. There’s so much to draw from out there. I think the worst thing a guitar player or musician can do is segregate certain styles of artists from what they have deemed respectable or likable. You don’t have to be a fan of every artist/musician out there but you can respect what it is about a particular person that has made them successful. In doing so you might find areas that another person is stronger in than you and it can develop a desire in you to cultivate those skills and make you a better all around player.”

MSE: “Great advice! So do you ever feel as though you are plateauing?”

Chris: “I’ve never felt close to peaking. I have always found the guitar to be infinite. There’s always some area you can develop or the “perfect tone” that we’re always trying to achieve.”

MSE: “Ahh yes. The “perfect tone.” Infamous, mysterious and oh-so just barely out of reach. Ok, last question. What is the one thing you can’t live without on the road?”

Chris: “My Bible.”

MSE: “Thank you so much for your time Chris and welcome to the Mercy Seat Effects family! We’re excited to have you and honored to work together.”

Chris: “Thank you!”

Be sure to follow @chriswrate on Instagram and Twitter! And if you’re extra adventurous, be one of the 12 Million+ followers of @ArianaGrande.

Check out @LAGodMusic and their new upcoming EP slated for release 2/12/14



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