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INSIDE: OLD BLOOD NOISE ENDEAVORS
In every Old Blood Noise effect there’s a story. Take their Dweller Phase Repeater: “What if a phaser could remember itself? Dweller remembers. It remembers far too much.” The product write-up reads like the poster for a movie, and that’s because it is.
Threads of the silver screen are woven into the identity of each and every Old Blood Noise pedal, because for them it’s just as much about the visual the pedal evokes as the actual sound it creates. Old Blood Noise seeks to align every one of these sounds with a picture–an actual motion picture, or the picture of a moment, an experience, a feeling, an emotion–and challenge the user to engage with each one, just like in life. You are presenting with situations that force you to react. A character encounters an obstacle. What happens next better be worth the price of admission. Brady Smith tells us why, with Old Blood Noise, it always is.
What is Old Blood Noise?
Old Blood Noise is mainly a guitar pedal company, but in some ways the all encompassing label for creative projects from Seth McCarroll and Brady Smith
Who is Old Blood Noise?
It started with Brady Smith and Seth McCarroll. It has grown over the years and added brains to the collaborative mix. Dan Pechacek and Isaac Nelson now comprise the R&D department, while Kilyn Massey (our first pedal builder) assists Seth with multimedia stuff. We have a solid crew of pedal builders, all with additional talents and skills comprised of Connor Schmigle, Sean Barker and Matt Howard. Blake Studdard from Atria Creative is a frequent collaborator and supporter.
How did you get started building effects?
I started with a couple of BYOC kits in an effort to have soldering skills to apply for and hopefully land a pedal building position at Keeley Electronics. From there I watched how things were made and how other people tinkered with modifying effects and building effects from scratch.
When and how did Old Blood Noise begin?
The seed of Old Blood probably came about early in 2014 through long, late night discussions and gaming sessions to explore how we would run our own pedal business. It came to actual fruition in August of 2014 when we released our first pedal, the Black Fountain.
What inspired you to begin and what inspires you continue?
I think we were inspired by the excitement we felt for guitar pedals, the general business of pedals and the idea that we could do it differently, not necessarily better, but in a way that was more satisfying for us.
How would you describe an Old Blood Noise effect to someone new to the brand?
“The [any Old Blood Noise pedal] is probably weirder than you want in some ways, but satisfying-weird in other ways. Oh, and it can do that basic stuff too.”
How is an Old Blood Noise effect constructed from start to finish?
We drill the enclosure for the pedal and then send the enclosure to an outside powder-coater. Once we get the powdered enclosure back, we screen print the artwork on the case. The cases are then handed off to our build room, which prepares the circuit boards to be dropped into the enclosure. Once everything is soldered in and tightened up, the pedal is tested. If everything is working correctly, the pedal gets a backplate and knobs and is placed in its final packaging.
What components, designs, techniques etc. make Old Blood Noise effects unique?
I think OBNE pedals have a physical feel about them as well as a sonic feel. Every pedal is useful in a musical way, but always exploratory and challenging at its extremes. Almost daring you to find a use for this sound, this harsh warble or difficult-to-transpose pitch. The physical construction is something that is consistently solid and uniform in some ways, but also feels unique because some of the processes are done by hand.
How long does it take to make an Old Blood Noise effect start to finish?
It varies from pedal to pedal. Some are easier and quicker to assemble, while others take some time owed to a larger parts count.
What inspires your creative process?
We often search for a sonic idea, for example “a reverb that sounds like this ____”, and as the sound is coming together we’ll try and tap into where that sound takes us in a visual way. Does it sound like a certain movie soundtrack or evoke a sense of happiness or despair or anxiety and how does that play into day-to-day life. That’s actually presenting it as a much more structured and thought-out process than it is in reality. Mostly we try and line up the sound with what it evokes visually.
What is the spirit of Old Blood Noise?
No master. Go faster.
What is Old Blood Noise’s mission?
I think the mission evolves the longer we go. When it was just two people in a garage shed, the mission was to create some pedals and a company that we could be proud of and that made unique effects that we wanted to use in our own art. Now with close to 10 people working on OBNE at any given moment, the mission is similar but the processes are different. Structure has become essential, so the general operation is less haphazard and spontaneous. Short answer: Make art, make noise, make our jobs enjoyable, sustainable and ever growing
Where does Old Blood Noise go from here?
We’ve got some designs in the queue for the year, a strong R&D team coming up with new stuff, and shaping OBNE to be a better and more inventive company. Our beginnings were very focused on visual presentation through videos which has become standard for a lot of pedal/musical instrument companies. Expanding on that, expanding on musical production and artistic creation in general. I guess we should make a movie.
Is there anything else you’d like for our customers to know about Old Blood Noise?
Find the time to make more creative music.
Challenges are at the heart of what makes Old Blood Noise Endeavors so interesting and exciting, so it’s only fitting they leave us with one. Shop our collection of Old Blood Noise Endeavors pedals and effects to fade in on your next story.