Are you a pedal lover looking for new sounds? Do you have an adventurous drive for new sonic territory? Effector 13 might have the right pedal for you! Devi Ever, of Effector 13, spends some time discussing her rather unique effect pedals. Devi also gives us a little insight into her background, how she got into the boutique pedal business, and Devi even sheds light on how her unique company name was conceived.
Hear the Devi Ever Disaster Fuzz
SSS: Where did the name Effector 13 derive from?
D. Ever: About four or five years ago I had a website called the Guitar Pedal Archive, which at the time was the only database of stomp boxes on the net. While compiling the database, I began to come across a lot of Japanese boutique stomp boxes and slowly fell in love with their quirky names and interesting designs. One in particular comes to mind, the Boot-Leg “Rock and Roll Party” which was an overdrive or distortion of some sort that had an American Flag painted on the front of it. So anyhow, when I decided to get in the pedal business, I was determined to someday get my pedals into the Japanese market, and thus the “Effector” in Effector 13, as that appears to be the Japanese word for guitar effects. Why the 13? Because while 13 generally gets a bad wrap as unlucky, I find it to be a highly likable number. :’)
SSS: Your pedal line is not very typical. Many other builders focus on classic designs, yet your pedals seem to all be unique. What led you down this path?
D. Ever: I’ve never done anything in my life in a typical fashion, so it came naturally to me that I tend to shy away from normalcy. Anyhow, most of the musicians who have inspired me the never stuck with average gear to make music. Jimi Hendrix, Radiohead, Pink Floyd, and the Mars Volta; all fine examples of where the need to push the sonic envelope has opened up a plethora of wonderful textural landscapes through the use of odd ball gear.
SSS: You focus on feedback loops in a lot of your designs. For those of us less familiar with feedback loops, can you give us a brief explanation as to how this type of circuitry effects the sound and tone?
D. Ever: Actually… only three of the thirteen pedals I make involve feed back loops. I mainly focus on Fuzz right now. Feed back loops are essentially effects loops with the send routed into the return, thus causing whatever effects are in the loop to have their outputs routed back into their inputs. For distortion devices, this can create wild theremin-like tones. For modulation effects, this can increase the resonance of the modulation, cascading all the way into siren noises. For delay effects, it’s like being able to turn the feedback knob to the highest extreme, where the echo’s continue infinitely into a wall of noise.
SSS: Is the Feed Back Loop pedal a good way for guitarists to introduce themselves to the uses of feedback loops?
D. Ever: Absolutely. There are a lot of feedback loop pedals on the market right now, but the fun and uniqueness of the E13 Feed Back Loops are the photo eyes. The newer FBL’s include a photo sensitive eye, that when switched on will control the feedback loop intensity depending on how much light or shadow is entering into the sensor. This means under the right conditions you can use your foot or hand to control the texture of the feedback loop.
SSS: The Loop Matrix T4 sees to be quite a versatile feedback loop pedal. What are some of the more useful applications you had in mind when designing this pedal?
D. Ever: Well… The LMT4 was designed with Table Top noise enthusiasts in mind. I think the current name going around for the noise fiends is “noisician.” Noise enthusiasts are experimental to the extreme. Some don’t even use guitars, rather they just set up a table filled with effects, noise generators, circuit bent toys, keyboards, and whatever else they can get their hands on, and create these ridiculously insane sonic landscapes. Some prefer subtle droning tones, others “ratchet” industrial sounds, while some actually find ways of creating full songs and symphonies using nothing but the chaos of noise and effects. That is what I had in mind with the LMT4.
SSS: The Truly Beautiful Disaster is one of your top pedals. Can you give us some insight as to what kind of tonal textures can be created with this pedal?
D. Ever: The TBD is one part oscillating fuzz, one part feedback loop. By “oscillating” fuzz, I mean that there is a feedback tone generated by the TBD that interacts with your guitar to create long sustaining sweetness, or discombobulated madness. Although the TBD’s fuzz does have a very specific flavor to it (reminiscent of older lo-fi sounding silicon fuzz’s), with the use of it’s myriad of controls, a lot of textures are available. Using the blend control, you are able to dial in your original signal with the TBD’s fuzz. This is particularly useful if you are into cascading distortions, as the TBD will act to color the tone of your signal rather than overwhelm it. With the Fuzz control, you can dial out the oscillation, and dial in some lovely “dieing battery” fuzz sounds. With the Oscillation control, you can increase the depth and intensity of the tone generator, to create wildly “spasmatic” lower octave note fluctuations (my favorite).
SSS: Your pedal line contains a lot of fuzz/drive/distortion designs. Was your intention to create a dirt box for every need?
D. Ever: It’s funny, because all of the designs that I have had floating around my head to “intentionally” build are still in the development stages. The plethora of fuzz and distortion that E13 has become known for is actually the result of my desire to design effects from a completely experimental stand point. I wanted to throw out all the rules of design and build from a completely blank canvas. Like evolution, my circuits have grown and developed at their own pace. I know that might sound silly, but every E13 effect is an offspring or mutation of a previous effect. Krackle Fuzz led to Tri-Fuzz which led to Beautiful Disaster which led to Truly Beautiful Disaster which led to the new Krackle Fuzz and Disaster Fuzz. The new Vintage Fuzz Makers and Nofis were spawns of the Silver Crank.
SSS: Can you give us a break down of your fuzz pedals?
D. Ever: Oh man. Where to begin? I guess the beginning is a good place to start. At this point the Truly Beautiful Disaster is my oldest fuzz circuit. As stated before, it’s a pretty low fi sounding fuzz with enough “tweakability” to give you a nice plethora of tones. Then there’s the Krackle Fuzz, bastard child of the TBD, containing the same basic fuzz sound, but more lo-fi and with out the oscillation. The Disaster Fuzz is the fuzz circuit from the TBD, but with only the single Oscillation knob to control the oscillation intensity. The Disaster Fuzz is useful for interesting leads, or discombobulated madness. The Silver Crank is my first step into a truly high gain fuzz device. It does a mean Muff sound, but with an interestingly gated decay. The Vintage Fuzz Maker smooth and harsh take the high gain fuzz sound further. These are my two second favorite effects, and I have a feeling these will be replacing a lot of people’s Scramblers and Blenders. The greatest thing about the VFM’s, besides their insane amount of gain, is the texture knobs can bring them from fairly standard high gain silicon territory to full on dis-harmonic chaos. The VFM harsh can even achieve some mean octavia tones. The Nofi hiss takes the high gain fuzz of the VFM smooth and maximizes the background noise level to create a great lo-fi tone. The Nofi chaos on the other hand takes whatever is fed into it, tears it apart, and vomits it back out the other side.
SSS: What about your overdrive/distortion pedals?
D. Ever: Well… the Torn’s Peaker, Neverdrive, and Improbability Drive move pretty smoothly between overdrive/distortion and fuzz. My favorite effect right now would definitely have to be the Torn’s Peaker. It’s so hard for me to really convey how amazing this pedal is. It’s like if you were able to play through a classic fuzz into a vintage tube amp that was being recorded through an old mixer channel with the pre-gain set too high so you were actually getting a combination of sweet distortion cascading from the fuzz to the amp to the board. A truly marvelous effect that goes from biting overdrive to singing leads. The Neverdrive on the other hand is nothing traditional sounding what-so-ever. Somewhere between synth and treble boosted fuzz, the Neverdrive can achieve biting octavia sounds or gated sitar fuzz. Finally, the Improbability Drive, the most wretched and cursed effect I currently offer. Three control knobs, two switches, and a pre-gain knob make this my most “tweakable” and challenging effect to date. I love that… the fact that an effect can be “challenging”. Once you really get a feel for the ID, you’ll be able to go from mild overdrive, to lower octave fuzz oscillation… from intense envelope driven fuzz to chunky clean boost.
SSS: Your Nofi pedals seem to be rather avant-garde in the pedal world. What are the applications you had in mind when designing these effects?
D. Ever: I don’t too often design with specific applications in mind, but I definitely have been in a very wild mood recently when it comes to new effects. As a matter of fact, the Torn’s Peaker and Neverdrive spawned off from a pedal I decided not to release called the Doomsday Device. A truly ridiculous noise maker that I think most guitarists wouldn’t be able to handle.
SSS: Do you have plans to make any sort of typical modulation or time effects in the future? Or, more likely, unique modulation designs?
D. Ever: Oh yes yes yes. That is to say… I’m not just gonna stick with fuzz’s the rest of my pedal making days, but when I branch out, it will be nothing “typical”. I hate the fact that I haven’t had the time and resources to really lay into my modulation, delay, and tremolo/ring mod ideas, but I know given time, things will turn around to where I can once again focus more on design than production.
SSS: What is your relation with other pedal builders? Do you collaborate with any of them? Do you have any favorite designs from other builders?
D. Ever: I’m a big fan of anyone who is really pushing the envelope in terms of new designs, or inexpensive, quality alternatives to overly-hyped, overly-priced boutique effects. That being said, I’m a big supporter of other up-and-coming effects makers. Caitlinbread, Lovepedal, Skreddy Pedals, FX Doctor, and Dragonfly FX come to mind. It’s great that so many people are jumping into the game. I think my favorite designs out there right now would have to be the Skreddy Pedals’ “Zero” and Dragonfly’s “Fuzz Saw 2”. Catalinbread is coming out with a tremolo I’m really interested in checking out, and Lovepedal just finished designing this great mxr-sized vibe unit.
SSS: Who are some of your clients and what effects do they use? Can we access any recorded music performed with your effects units?
D. Ever: I have a good friend, guitarist and singer of the band “The Misteriosos” who has been a big inspiration to me. He uses one of the original Improbability Drive proto-types, and recently began using the Noise Floor (both VFM’s and Nofi’s in one pedal). There latest demo’s were recorded using the Improbability Drive, but I have yet to get a chance to upload them to the website. You can find some early demo samples on the Improbability Drive page at www.effector13.com, or possibly the newer demos at their site www.themisteriosos.com. They are an amazing band who throw back heavily to the late 60’s and early 70’s, but with a slightly modern feel. Truly a time in history that could have used the E13 magik. :’)
Unfortunately, that’s all I have to offer for now in terms of who uses my effects. Ever since business has really picked up, it’s been non-stop production for me, so I haven’t had a lot of time to really follow up on who is using my effects for what, thought it’s something I can’t wait to get involved with once I finally am able to hire help (happening in about a month!). Effector 13 is one of those success-thanks-to-the-internet-and-word-of-mouth stories. I spend about 95% of my communication with other people in regards to E13 via email, and the rare 5% I’ve spoken with people in the “real world” I never get a chance to really follow through. The past year has been nothing but non-stop production with the occasional serendipitous bit of exposure. That is to say, I’ve been so busy I haven’t even had time to really get out there like I want to, but once again, all of this is about to change. Seriously, things are going to change a great deal with E13 and how it is presented to the world over the course of 2005. I’m planning for a serious invasion of local retail stores, guitar shows, and recording studios… so… um… be scared. :’)
SSS: Thank you for your time Devi, and best of luck.
D. Ever: Thank you. Back to work!