Pedals And Effects 5: Brad Smith of Old Blood Noise Endeavors

The Pedals And Effects 5, the builders series, continues with Brady Smith of Old Blood Noise Endeavors! I met Brady when he was working at Walrus Audio and he and Seth McCarroll decided to break out and start their own "niche based" pedal company. Their stuff is unique with a lot of features you may not find on other effects. These dudes build pedals that they wanted to use in their own musical endeavors (no pun intended).

The Old Blood Noise Endeavor crew also run the famous "Coffee And Riffs" YouTube series where they get musicians to make noise with randomly picked pedals, to see what kind of freak out they can come up with. I have filmed an episode, Nick Reinhart did one too (his is one of the best) and Jonathan Hischke came through with a minimalist style that was quite effective. But without further ado, here is Brady Smith on the grind for Pedals And Effects!

 

   1. What is your number one/go-to pedal on your pedalboard and why?

I have a pretty consistent starting point for a pedal setup.  And whatever amp I’m using will play into that.  It’s usually going to be a Marshall JMP or JCM800, so I’ll always use a Walrus Audio Voyager Overdrive as my second gain stage with an amp like that.  Haven’t found anything that can replace it for me.

   2. What is your favorite combination of pedals? It can be a combination of 2 pedals or multiple pedals!

I like running a reverb early in my chain so that it feeds into my overdrives.  Then I’ll usually have another reverb after the drives.  Can create some cavern-like guitar tones.  For example my usual setup :  Guitar > Boss RV5 > Walrus Audio Voyager > Caroline Guitar Co Wave Cannon 2 (or higher gain distortion) > Strymon Blue Sky.  That’s kind of my meat and potatoes setup.  No matter what, I can work with those.  It’ll be more dependent on playing well and making the simplicity interesting instead of creating weird sounds, which can be a fun challenge.  To get weird, I like the Earthquaker Devices Organizer and a chorus of somekind.

Photo by Nathan Poppe

Photo by Nathan Poppe

   3. When did you realize a pedal(s) could evolve your playing/sound and what pedal(s) was it?

The first “whoa, this is a weird sound and I don’t understand it but i like it” moment was probably when I was 17 and a bandmate had gotten a Boss Phase Shifter.  Turn the rate up really fast on the step mode.  That was the beginning of a dangerous rabbit hole.

   4. In the future, what would you like to see pedal builders create (from scratch) or modify on an existing standard?

Innovation on existing stuff is cool.  Seems like that’s what we are all doing.  Building on the ideas or sounds that we’ve heard or discovered or have been led to by others.  Most effects that make a guitar not sound like a guitar are interesting to me.  Then you can combine that sound with other effects and really create something unique.

   5. What advice can you give to musicians who are trying to expand their musical horizons with pedals and effects?

I’d suggest acquiring one pedal at a time and really put in the playing time with that pedal so its a usable tool in your tool belt.  Its easy to dive in and get a lot of effects and then never fully explore what those pedals are capable of.