Friday, May 13, 2011

Dr. Scientist Interview

I figured those more interested in Dr. Scientist after my review of the Frazz Dazzler might want to get to know the duo (yes it's all done by two people) behind all of these great effects pedals. I present to you, an interview with Mr. and Mrs. Scientist: Ryan and Tanya!

Where did the name Dr. Scientist come from?

Ryan: I think the name is very heavily inspired by Dr. Girlfriend on the Venture Bros, my manly voiced muse! (Before I met Tanya, of course) Maybe Dr. Weird though too... I was watching a lot of Adult Swim in those days...

What’s your favorite effect you have made so far?

 Ryan: My favourite Dr. Scientist pedal is definitely the Frazz Dazzler. And the Elements. Plus the new Ultimate Tremolessence. And the upcoming Ultimate Cosmichorus. Those are my 4 favourite Dr. Sci pedals for sure... you wanted 4, right?

What inspires you to create new effects or revise your old ones, how do concoct these delicious circuits?

Ryan: When I was first getting into electronics back in 2003 I was really inspired by working with the components and devices and learning the ropes of circuits. There's a core of classic effect sounds that I've always really liked, like distortion, tremolo, reverb, chorus, and I got completely caught up in bread boards and op amps and just hooking up circuits.

Lately I've been really inspired to make really powerful effects, pedals that give users a ton of options for controlling the sounds.

In the future, I'll be very inspired by micro programming. That's the distant future probably, that stuff is hard!

Where do you draw your inspiration from for the graphics on the pedals?

Tanya: I draw inspiration for the pedals from all sorts of stuff. Nature, colors, animals, Ryan always has a lot of great input for the more spacey ones.

What’s your favorite finish to do? Which design is your favorite?

Tanya: It's so hard to pick a favorite finish... I guess if I had to choose I would pick the picket fence flower day delay. It would have to be my favorite to make as well, I just love all those little flowers!

Is there a certain finish you haven’t done yet but hope to do in the future?

Tanya: I have always wanted to make a finish that is just over the top girlie. Purple and pink, lots of flowers, sparkle and prettiness!

What’s the weirdest custom finish request you have done for a pedal?

Tanya: I have had some pretty crazy requests, but I guess the weirdest was the purple glitter and shiny gold brontosaurus finish. I would have never thought of doing that finish, but it worked!

What’s the coolest part about your jobs?

Ryan: Building guitar pedals at home in a basement shop with your wife who is also your best friend is a dream come true. That whole sentence is the coolest thing about my job! I'm kind of a work rogue too.. I don't love alarm clocks and schedules and management so having the luxury of working in a way that works for me means a lot to me. I love to work hard but on my own terms!

Tanya: I have got to agree with Ryan, working with the one you love is the best! I also love that I can pretty much do what I want creatively for a living!

What are your favorite songs from the 90’s?

Ryan: Early 90s:

Maestro Fresh Wes, Let your backbone slide
Naughty By Nature, OPP
All Def Leppard songs

Mid 90s:

All GWAR songs, all Slayer songs, all Ice Cube, NWA, Dr. Dre songs

Late 90s:

All Deadsy songs, all Morbid Angel songs, still all GWAR songs

Tanya: My favorite music that came out of the 90s is Live Through This by Hole, Blink 182 and Everclear.

What does the future hold for Dr. Scientist?

Ryan: I hope the future for Dr. Scientist holds much more of the same. Cool looking and sounding guitar pedals for the next two or three hundred years. The near future will see us over hauling a couple more pedals to the ultimate versions like the Cosmichorus and the RRR and maybe the SDD too, and then the more distant future will see some new stuff, digital stuff.

Do you think demand for your pedals will increase enough to one day hire more employees (me)?

Ryan: I think we're already at a stage where I could use some help building pedals and we have a close friend in mind to help us with it, but we're just taking it slowly and focusing on making the pedals perfect. Most of the decisions that Tanya and I make for Dr. Scientist are aimed towards keeping it a small operation... we like being really hands on and really small scale, so we're more about making the business fit that idea. I could see having a couple or more builders helping us one day but we'll probably try to do it all ourselves as long as possible. Sorry, buddy!

We've already seen a small preview of The Elements on the ILF forums, what can we expect from it and when can we expect it?

The Elements
Ryan: The Elements is a highly tweak-able booster/overdrive/distortion pedal. It covers a ton of gain ranges, 3 band active eq, clean blend, clipping options, bass cut options, mid frequency options, 9-18VDC power supply options, expression control for the clean blend, luxurious soft touch relay switching... geeez it's cool. *smile*

It will be available in a month or so... I know I say that a lot but we're really just waiting on the first round of drilled and finished enclosures. I'm really confident we'll be making them by the middle of June!

What do you like to do outside of Dr. Scientist?

Ryan: I don't really exist outside of Dr. Scientist. Or at least, the stuff I like to do outside of work is basically the same as work... guitar pedals, electronics, and entertainment like horror/sci-fi/fantasy/comedy shows. My life revolves around Tanya, my mom, our dog, and Dr. Scientist. And ILF. *high-fives*

Tanya: Outside of making pedals, I really like crafting, mixed media artwork, gardening and cooking.

You recently told me about a revision coming to the Cosmichorus for 2012, what improvements can we expect to see from this revision?

The current Cosmichorus
Ryan: I've begun the new Cosmichorus already and I want to have it ready for this year.. it's going to get the same kind of overhaul as the Tremolessence recently received. Stereo in and out, soft touch relay switching, 9-18VDC operation, hold mode, expression controls.. it's the same chorus pedal just decked out with extra features. And yeah, the first batch of finishes will be zombies!

Any ideas on graphics for the new Elements pedal? If so can we get a sneak peak?

Tanya: All I can say about the new Elements finish is that it will be badass! Think black on black with black knobs and lots of alchemy symbols.

What can we expect from the upcoming Tremolessence?
Ultimate Tremolessence Teaser

Ryan: The new Tremolessence is my take on the ultimate analog tremolo. It's got every possible analog trick up its sleeve like stereo in and out, expression control, the hold feature, high power handling, sync/pan... I'm really happy with it and they're going to be ready right away, like tonight!

Finally do either of you have any advice for those hoping to start a business building or painting/designing pedals?

Ryan: My advice for entrepreneurs is to definitely follow your dream and just make sure you do it very well... if it means a lot to you and you put real blood, sweat, and tears into it it will go your way!

Tanya: The only advice I can give to someone thinking about painting or finishing pedals is, find a technique you really love to do because it takes a lot of time.

Be sure to check out all the cool stuff Ryan and Tanya are creating on the Dr. Scientist homepage and discuss all things Scientist in the Dr. Scientist Forum. Thanks again Ryan and Tanya!