Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Man Behind Noisemaker Effects

Today we have an interview with Matt of Noisemaker Effects! He builds a wide range of affordable fuzz, overdrive and boost pedals and even has plans for a new mini-amp! Read on past the break to hear more about the man behind Noisemaker and... rainbow defecating unicorns?? 

Tell us a little bit about yourself, we’d like to get to know the man behind these awesome fuzz and overdrive devices.

Well, my name is Matt, I'm 21, and live off-grid in the mountains of beautiful western Montana.
I'm a multi-instrumentalist and play guitar, bass, piano, and drums. I also love writing and painting. Generally anything artsy appeals to me.
As far as music goes, I'm a huge fan of indie, post-rock, and ambient bands. For movies, anything on the quirkier side. I'm not into horror or drama, so I usually go for the oddball comedy. I'm also a big fan of reading, and love dystopian novels.
I'm a terrible chef, love coffee, and I have a penchant for brighly colored sunglasses and red converse.

What was your inspiration for starting Noisemaker?

Noisemaker Effects started as a hobby. I started playing around with some DIY stuff, and began making a few designs. I showed my designs to a few friends, and the wanted me to build the pedals and amp (an early version of the Li'l Bastard) for them. From them word spread a bit and I got more requests for orders, and I decided to make it into an actual company, rather than just sending out fairly plain enclosures under no name. 
When I started Noisemaker Effects, I knew I wanted to keep my prices low, and build quality high. There are a lot of people that think "Boutique" translates to "Expensive," and I wanted to make sure that my pedals were affordable for everyone. 

How did you learn to build effects pedals?

I spent a lot of time on DIY boards, as well as learning about the components and circuits. I've always been a bit of a tech nerd, so I had some indirect experience with it. I think any builder will tell you that it's an ongoing process. Even though you get to the point that you know what you're doing and can turn the sound you're picturing into a reality, you still find new things, which can often lead to new designs. 

The Bit-Crushing Noise Invaders

What inspires you to create new models or maybe revise circuits of your many effects?

A lot of the time I look for what I'd like to use myself. There have been quite a few times where I'll be playing and think "I could really use this kind of sound." from there I'll usually start working on schematics and prototypes until that sound I imagined becomes a reality. The Noise Invaders actually happened that way. I was messing around with the Super Mario Bros. Theme, and thought it would be a lot more fun to play it through a bit crushed fuzz. 

I like the names of your effects, especially the Dead Hipster, where do these names come from?

The names actually come from a lot of different things. The Dead Hipster actually sat unnamed for a short while, until I saw this guy at a coffee shop, wearing lens-less glasses, a scarf, and the tightest jeans I've ever seen, talking about this new band that he just "discovered" called "Arcadia Fire." I thought to myself about how I wished that the whole hipster trend would just die off like moon boots or Beanie Babies. The name popped into my head right there, and I had the labels printed up within a couple days. 
A lot of my pedals' names come from people watching like that, or from things that inspired their sound.  Good examples of that would be the Noise Invaders, which was inspired by 8-bit video games, and the Soviet and Mother Russia, which were both inspired by the gritty sound of Russian Big Muff pedals.

The Dead Hipster Overdrive

Which pedal is your favorite that you’ve made so far?

The Dual-Circuit Injector
This changes pretty often depending on what I'm playing and the sounds I'm using in my own music projects. Right now I'm really digging the Injector, as it's sort of the end result of a lot of prototypes and designs. I'll also say that I always have a Propaganda Overload and Dead Hipster on my board.

What are your goals for the future of Noisemaker, what does the future hold?

I'd love to begin expanding to dealers. Selling direct is great, but I know a lot of people like to go into their favorite gear store and try out pedals before buying. I'm hoping to make that possible in the next year. 
I also have some new designs planned - both permanent additions to the Noisemaker Effects lineup, as well as some awesome limited edition pedals. Some will be coming in the next few months, others towards the end of summer/early fall. 

What’s one pedal you really want to do but haven’t yet?

I'd love to do a tremolo. I really like the effect, and it undeniably sounds amazing with fuzz. 

The Propaganda Overload
Who is one artist you’d love to see using one of your pedals on stage or in the studio?

Well, I got into effects through a lot of post-rock bands like Explosions in the Sky, and fuzz in particular through bands like My Bloody Valentine. Because of that, I'd really like to see them using my pedals. However, being a huge music nerd, I'd also love to see my pedals on the boards of indie bands. 

Do you have any new upcoming work you might like to tell us about?

I'm finishing up the new version of the Infinity Loop, which will now work as a feedback looper, and a normal looper. It's also got a better layout now, so it will be far more pedalboard friendly.
I'll also be releasing a new amp in the near future with more versatility than the Li'l Bastard - its predecessor. It doesn't have a name yet, but it's a design I'm really excited about!
I'm adding controllable volume, better gain options  for some more clean headroom, and I'll be keeping it all in the same tiny enclosure. It should be available in the next couple months. 

The Original Noisemaker Lil Bastard.

Do you have other builders whose work you admire?

Of course! I really admire and respect all the other builders who have come before me. It's great that there are so many options out there for boutique pedals.

What’s your least favorite pedal you’ve ever made if there is one?

It was actually an early prototype for the Mother Russia. I had worked out a circuit that in theory should have been perfect, but in actuality sounded nothing like what I wanted. I couldn't get it disconnected fast enough.

What’s your favorite breakfast cereal?

I'm not much of a breakfast person, but I'll occasionally get a craving for a bowl of Rice Krispies.

In your opinion, what is the next big trend in effects pedals going to be?

I'm not a big fan of digital effects, but I think we'll end up seeing a lot of things like the M9 and M13. They have their uses, and it's definitely nice to have an all in one type solution, but I'm definitely more into sticking with analog circuits. 

Any advice you would offer to up and coming builders?

Take your time, and have fun with it. I really enjoy building pedals, and I keep doing it because of that. Even if Noisemaker Effects wouldn't have come to be, I'd likely still be sitting at my workbench with a soldering iron coming up with new designs for my own use.

Have you got any weird custom images requested to be put on any of your pedals?

Actually, I have. I was once told that my artwork was ugly, and the person wanted a vomit green label with the font in lower case arial. 
The oddest request, however, was for a label with a unicorn defacating rainbows. 
I have a lot of experience with graphic design, so I'm generally game for anything. After all, everyone has their own vision for what they want their pedalboard to look like. I'm happy to be able to offer the option for them to get the kind of artwork they want.

Well there you have it, now go check out Noisemaker's Website and take a look at all of the affordable fuzz and overdrive! Be on the look-out for his new amp too, I know I'm excited for it!

Note: All photos of Noisemaker pedals are courtesy of Matt and everything else is courtesy of Google Images.

1 comment:

  1. Great job guys. I LOVE my Dead Hipster and will be buying more soon. ILF, and Noisemaker Effects for ever.