We’re always looking to keep folks informed of new boutique pedal manufacturers as we hear of good new projects catching a bit of positive buzz. The latest stompbox company we would like to highlight is Old Blood Noise Endeavors, which participated in our latest Summer NAMM Stompbox Exhibit and was started by old friends Brady Smith (whom we met when he was at Walrus Audio) and Seth McCarroll.
We chatted with Brady via email to help everyone get to know a bit more about his company.
Brady and Seth met back in college around 2004: “I had seen him play in a few different bands growing up and we had a film class together. We would meet at the local Mexican restaurant to hang out and eventually formed a band with some buddies of ours.
Eventually they joined forces and formed a band together in 2009 called Gentle Ghost, which is still active today and based in Oklahoma City.
The early beginnings of the stompbox experimentation began when Brady broke on of his pedals. “I remember having a Line 6 Distortion Modeler in high school, the yellow one… At one point, I broke one or two of the switches. I took it to a local guy in Oklahoma City to get it fixed, and it took about 9 months to get it back. By then I had moved on to some other overdrive/distortion pedals to fill the gap and found that I liked them more than the Line 6. The point being that I was pretty annoyed by the time frame on that repair.”
So five years later, Brady tried his first DIY project, which was a Big Muff variant. “It was a mess,” he explains, “but I was attempting to get a job at the local guitar pedal company, Keeley Electronics, so I needed to learn how to solder. I don’t think I got that pedal working until a few weeks after I started at Keeley and learned some basics.”
The name Old Blood Noise came as a brainstorm between Brady, Seth and sometime collaborator Blake Studdard. “I think we were sitting at a local Irish pub brainstorming about the future and what we wanted this company to be. We liked the idea of the sounds being kind of messy, so “Noise” felt good. I think we wanted to communicate that we’ve done this before, that we aren’t some random guys trying out pedals. All three of us have worked for different pedal companies and had different roles in those companies. “Old Blood” felt right in capturing the idea that we’ve done “that” and now we are going to try something a little bit different. Kind of what we’ve been going for all along.”
As Brady explains, the guys tend to share similar music tastes, “We typically agree on guitar rock: Weezer, Criteria, Desaparecidos, stuff like that as well as moody heavy stuff like Young Widows, Pallbearer, Mogwai. We also listen to some lighter moody stuff like Owls, Sun Kil Moon, Grouper, David Bazan.”
Currently, Old Blood has three going on four pedals in their line. So, what can we expect coming in the future? “Our next pedal is a chorus noisemaker called the Reflector. It has some weird Pitch Shift and Flanger variables that make it a fun pedal, as well as some lush, simple chorus sounds. Then who knows?”
Finally, since the Old Blood team tends to share their love for good beers, we asked what they thought the best states for beer are in their opinion. In Brady’s words, “Oklahoma has some great breweries like Coop, Prairie, Anthem, Marshall, Roughtail. California has Noble which we enjoy. Colorado. New York, I like Ommegang a lot. It’s hard to say after that. Need to try more beer.”
Keep an eye on Old Blood Noise as the business grows. The latest pedal, the Reflector, is available now (demo below). – Ryan Dembinsky
P.S. Besides Gentle Ghost, Seth is also in a noise making duo called Repioneers. The third member of the team is Kilyn Massey, who does most of the actual building; is also in a handful of bands such as Power Pyramid, Tonne and Cherry Death.