The Pedals And Effects 5 is swinging hard with the notorious Jack Deville from Mr. Black pedals. Jack and I became friends during an Earthquaker Devices bowling party they throw every year at winter NAMM. He and I hit it off big time. Jack is super cool, very smart and is obsessed with pedals. I love his builds and I love his ideas. So much so that Pedals And Effects did a promotion with him a few months ago with his amazing envelope filter the Fwonk Beta!
Without further ado is Jack answering the Pedals And Effect 5. Great insight from a great pedal designer. Also note...Jack can be very mysterious, hence we couldn't find a picture of him. He is on Instagram though!
1. What is your number one/go-to pedal on your pedalboard and why?
Man. Try as I might, I ALWAYS come back to the Maxon AD-999 pro. I cannot explain it, but that pedal just moves me. It feels great, sounds stupid and just has this thing I can’t wrap my hands or mind around but it is ALWAYS on any pedalboard I build for myself.
2. What is your favorite combination of pedals? It can be a combination of 2 pedals or multiple pedals!
This is a tricky one, because there are SO many good combos out there. I am an absolute sucker for time-based stuff. Almost doesn’t matter as long as its fucking with the time domain. I just love it.
It does seem like I’m continually running an overdrive of some sort (admittedly, it’s the Black LTD. Overdriver 99.9999999.2% of the time—yup. Double decimal points), and either a delay or a flanger/chorus thing. That combo seems to give me the motion I need. Time-based stuff changes constantly depending on mood tho. If it’s a delay, its almost always that AD-999, but I do like to get even more fluid, and fuck with the Shepard’s End flanger we did last year. That thing. Wow.
3. When did you realize a pedal(s) could evolve your playing/sound and what pedal(s) was it?
It was the (BOSS) DS-1. My first pedal ever. I still have it, and I still hate it.
Back then, I was REALLY into Metallica. And turning that thing on got me closer to the tones they were copping than whatever little shitty amp I had could. That was a real turning point for me.
The second time was with an MXR Micro Amp. I would run that in the loop of this 900 I had and it just SLAMMED the power-amp and made me sound way better (at least to me; in all honesty, I was probably just louder).
4. In the future, what would you like to see pedal builders create (from scratch) or modify on an existing standard?
Shit man. I’d tell you, but I’d have to kill you (because I haven’t been able to execute this just yet, and I want to be the first). Then again, What’s the worst that could happen? Someone does something rad?
I think applying the basic FFT concept to an input signal and using the results to synthesize/replicate the signal as another radically different tone would be truly fucking amazing. E.G. guitar input signal, trumpet output signal. Maybe that’s what EHX is doing with their new stuff? I dunno. I’ve got my own method I’d like to apply, but jeez man. Its actually kinda complex. I’ll do it.
5. What advice can you give to musicians who are trying to expand their musical horizons with pedals and effects?
Get WEIRD and don’t be afraid to. Most pedals will do some things that sound “bad” but that’s half of what makes them sound good. Go ahead. Turn all the knobs up. Make it sound shitty. Plug it in backwards. Run unconventional sequences and do parallel blends. Worst case, it sounds really un-listenable and you turn it off. Best case: HOLY GOD.