Perhaps you have heard of the Warped Vinyl or the Gravitas pedal? Though the names of these effects are not typical, they are fast becoming part of pedal nerds conversations. I actually first heard of Chase Bliss Audio from a fan of Pedals And Effects, and he asked me to do a shoot out with the Boss VB-2 and the Warped Vinyl. I thought, what the hell is a Warped Vinyl? It sounded like it could be sick!
Fast forward to an email correspondence, and I virtually meet Joel Korte from Chase Bliss Audio. Initially I was blown away with how nice and generous he is, but then you get to talking gear and you realize he is an electronics genius.
Hailing from Minneapolis, Joel grinded out some time at ZVEX before starting Chase Bliss Audio on his own. I am pretty sure the Warped Vinyl was his first creation and his fan base grew exponentially from there. He has based his pedals off being analog, but with the brains coming from the digital world. What you get are huge analog sounds with digital functionality. In their words "Digital Brain, Analog Heart"
1. What is your number one/go-to pedal on your pedalboard and why?
Probably a ZVEX Fuzz Factory. I’ve just always have had one on my board and have really relied on it when I need to cut through the mix with some particularly biting and aggressive. I know it well and still find new sounds out of it when I experiment.
2. What is your favorite combination of pedals? It can be a combination of 2 pedals or multiple pedals!
Dang, I’m getting repetitive here. I really enjoy the gnarliness (I’m not sure if that is a word) of a Fuzz Factory through one of my Spectre flangers to chew on, followed by my new Tonal Recall delay. That’s a thing I’ve been doing lately though. Preferences for combinations of pedals seem to change a lot for me.
3. When did you realize a pedal(s) could evolve your playing/sound and what pedal(s) was it?
ZVEX really did serve as an introduction, in many ways, for effects for me. One of my friends had a Wooly Mammoth that he let me borrow and I *really* liked the “gated” sounds from it and how that interacted with my playing. I remember very distinctly how I started to adjust my playing to work with the pedal in those contexts – especially with the gating. Years later I got an Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander and had a somewhat similar experience, but I found with the EQD device it changed even more, which I loved.
4. In the future, what would you like to see pedal builders create (from scratch) or modify on an existing standard?
I don’t think anyone creates anything from scratch when it comes to pedals. Just like how nobody creates automobiles from scratch, you are always building off existing ideas and concepts whether you realize it or not. That said, I think there is a *ton* of room for innovation. There are way too many similar pedals out there, especially with overdrives. I’ve found that, because the market is so saturated with similar offerings, that consumers are getting more and more savvy and will often reward builders that step outside the box. Now, more than ever, I think players are hungry for something new.
5. What advice can you give to musicians who are trying to expand their musical horizons with pedals and effects?
Remember you don’t “need” anything, but effects can help you create your own unique sound and voice. Take some risks, and understand that they aren’t a magical silver bullet. It’s rock and roll (or whatever), it’s pedals, let’s make some noise and have some fun.