The Fault Overdrive / Distortion. Why is it?

So, the cat is out of the proverbial bag.  We released our first drive-ish pedal.  Announced it on Cinco de Mayo, 2017.  Started shipping back on Wednesday May 17th.  But the Fault origins started awhile back and sort of centers around my personal preference for overdriven and distorted guitar sounds.  See, I tend to prefer an amp that has some drive to it and is already dynamic before ever putting a pedal in front of it.  So that's where we went.

I've been somewhat surprised by the response to an Old Blood overdrive.  A couple of common questions have included "What made Old Blood want to make an overdrive?" often said with a scrunched face and upward inflection.  Well, honestly, over time we had a hodge podge overdrive circuit with EQ and Gain functionality that we personally enjoyed.  And the MO of Old Blood from day one has been to put out pedals that we enjoy and find musical, even though others may not. "Will it fit in with your lineup since it isn't that weird?"  It is true.  The Fault isn't that weird.  And I'm not sure how functional a "weird" overdrive would be.  Just don't have the vision for that I guess.  What it lacks in weirdness, I suppose, was made up for by the ability to cover a lot of sonic territory.  The Fault can be used in a wide range of setups, clean and dirty amps alike, with a lot of EQ tweakability to make unique and musical sounds.  

Also, I'd like to extend thanks to the musical and engineering brains who offered up some feedback on the Fault.  We sent out around 10 "Proto" units to be verbally and physically abused in order to refine the circuit as best we could.  And this Fault.  This pedal.  This is where we landed.  For us, it does the trick.  So we'll probably get back to the niche and the weird.

Johnny Dang from o'Brother with Proto #2.

Johnny Dang from o'Brother with Proto #2.

August Graybosch of Otis Amps with Proto #8.

August Graybosch of Otis Amps with Proto #8.

Amp builder Çaleb Barton of Bridge City Sound with Proto #6.

Amp builder Çaleb Barton of Bridge City Sound with Proto #6.

Cathy from Datachoir with Proto #10.

Cathy from Datachoir with Proto #10.

Freaking Pete Jonas with Proto #9.

Freaking Pete Jonas with Proto #9.

Phillippe from Caroline Guitar Co. with Proto #7 and a Sovtek to kill for.

Phillippe from Caroline Guitar Co. with Proto #7 and a Sovtek to kill for.

Joe Cannetti threw Proto #5 into the studio with Crime in Stereo.

Joe Cannetti threw Proto #5 into the studio with Crime in Stereo.

Proto #5 on the road with Movielife.

Proto #5 on the road with Movielife.

This Is Why I Like You - Brent and Black Fountain

Brent Hodge is a full time builder and visual generalist at Old Blood Noise Endeavors, as well as a very active percussionist. Here you The musical piece he constructed and  also video element to complement the piece. Make it loud. 

"To me, the black fountain is a portal to a vast and ethereal paradise.  
A place of warmth, light, bliss, and tranquility.

Instrument and recording setup: Casio CTK-471 and Rickenbacker guitar ran into the black fountain all directly recorded into an mbox-2 interface using protools 8."


This Is Why I Like You - Connor and Procession

I find myself overusing reverb in most situations, whether playing a show or tracking. It seems that reverb is a standard effect most people use: if it's not coming from your amp, it's coming from a pedal. The Procession does not act like a reverb. Its three modes—Flange, Filter, and Trem—allow you to add motion to the reverb, giving control of the speed and depth of each mode. I've always enjoyed movement in any effect like chorus, vibrato, etc.


This track began with a pulsing sub kick from a Vermona and a pad synth from a Dave Smith run through a DD-20. The Procession was then used on a microphone to track the sound of my foot stomping. I treated this as if it were the snare, then used the same mic and settings to run into an amp. From there I recorded a vocal progression not consisting of any words. That helped solidify a simple structure. The rest was tracked with the synth playing melodies through the Procession (usually on the Trem or Filter modes with the Reverb at a higher setting). Now and then I'd throw a Delay Champ or Black Fountain in the chain.  

I use and appreciate this pedal because when switched on you're also committing to the mode selected. Typically a reverb replicates the sound of distance. The Procession does that, but also gives you options to create unique textures with its modulation. Also I'm just a sucker for anything with a wet/dry knob.

 

Connor Schmigle builds pedals and is our field audio technician at Old Blood. Connor is a full time studio engineer and works out of his own studio as well. Below you'll find the visual accompaniment Connor produced with Josh Peck and Taylor Hale (featured) with post production help from Seth McCarroll. 

March - The Month We Start Living Again

It is Sunday in mid March.  SXSW stuff is next week.  Some of the guys are going down to man a board at the Pedalboard Expo thing.  We went to some shows lately.  That was cool.  And we're quietly stirring the pot on something here and something there, eventually to see the light.  

We also did a limited run of inverted color schemes of the Utility Line.  OBNE Headphone Amp, OBNE 3 Band EQ / Buffer and AB/Y Switcher.  We made 20 of each.  Already going until they're gone.

 

This Is Why I Like You - Brady and the Dark Star

It might be important to note why this "Why I Like You" series needs to exist.  It probably seems like it doesn't need to—Why would we need to start a discussion about why we like our own pedals?  Well, after you've tested over 1,000 of the same pedal, using the same notes, turning the same knobs and only listening for correct functionality, it becomes easy to forget what that pedal can actually do or how it feels to create something with the sounds it can produce.  That's why.  Because we forget.  

So, this week, Seth tasked me with re-exploring the Dark Star.  This gloriously noisey yet soft spoken reverb, cable of fully washing out the instrument to create seamless notes.  We champion it as a "pad-like" reverb, meaning it is easy to create swells and transition from different notes with little to no attack.  Something that I've always wanted in guitar pedals, often resulting in stacking multiple reverbs and delays to fully wash away the attack of a note. In my mind, it is the sound of the opening track on Turn On The Bright Lights, Interpol's first record.  Soft melodies buried in a wash of reverb, stacked on one another.  So, that's how I use this pedal.  To create a wall of washed out sounds, mostly from one, unassuming pedal.  This is Why I Like You.

This Is Why I Like You - Pancakes and Mondegreen

Mondegreen. When we first met last summer, I thought I knew who you were.  You’re a delay pedal, right? So I say “bing,” and you say “bing” a little bit later?  But I said “bing,” and you responded softly: b’ing. You made me think about perception, about time, about the little differences. The octaves were pretty, yes. The chorus I understood. But the tremolo. To put a tremolo on a delay trail seems like such a simple idea, but to really hear it is a different thing entirely. Two different rhythms playing with each other and with the player. Trying to do something in time, but not being sure whether to listen to the attack or to the rise and fall. So I kicked on a fuzz and gave into the idea that we can listen without counting. It’s a pleasure, Mondegreen, to learn something new from you.

Dan is the purchasing manager and screenprinting technician at Old Blood Noise Endeavors. Below you'll find the video component he produced show his process in real time.

OBNEAC Hits

About a year ago when we started doing OBNEAC and decided to do the Tape Club series, I thought it would be fun to couple a video element with each release. As the releases trickle out every few months, so do their videos. Each band comes by OBNEAC HQ and we capture a live audio / visual performance of both the A and B sides of their tapes. I really enjoy it, it's really fun to hear the different personalities that each song possesses and how that manifests in a studio or live atmosphere and vice versa. So here they are, look forward to many more. 

Break the silence with a #boardofpower giveaway.

UPDATE 10/21/16
We chose a winner and the giveaway is done.  Phew.  All of that info is on the Instragram.  Although stuff like this is fun, it can be a bit taxing to promote.  So, we're done with this for awhile.  Thanks to all of the rad companies that contributed.  Back to normal programming.

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Ooops.  Did it again.  Haven't posted in awhile.  Rule #1 of a blog: Don't sputter out.  Always post.  So.  Sorry about that.  But here's a good reason to start talking again.  

To celebrate the release of the OBNE Mondegreen Delay, we partnered with other rad companies to compile a powerful pedalboard.  All the weird you would need.  And now we are going to give it away.  

Introducing the PEDALBOARD of POWER giveaway.  Because great power requires great responsibility.  

Here's what we've got:  A Temple Audio Trio 21, fully wired by Disaster Area Plugs and Powered by two Strymon Ojai supplies, featuring A Mantic Flex Pro, Caroline Guitar Co. Haymaker, Smallsound/Bigsound Team Awesome Fuzz Machine, Chase Bliss Audio Spectre, OId Blood Noise Endeavors Mondegreen, Alexander Pedals Space Xpander, Dwarfcraft Happiness and a TC Electronics Polytune Mini and Ditto Looper.

Here are the rules: 

On your Instagram, repost and tag the companies and #boardofpower.  That's it.  That's what let's more people know about it.  That's the point.  To tell more people about these pedals. And someone gets them all along the way. 

Winner drawn on 10/21.  That's a Friday.  Because Friday's are great so it will be someone's ultimate Friday.  

Contest is open to the nations of the world.  Worldwide.  Everyone. In. The. World.

No freaking purchase necessary, of course.  Just report and use that hashtag.  Winner will be randomly selected from the hashtag #boardofpower.

The people to tag:
@smallsoundbigsound
@carolinegco
@oldbloodnoise
@templeboards
@dwarfcraft
@alexanderpedals
@strymonengineering
@disasterareadesigns
@chaseblissaudio
@manticconcepts
@tcelectronic

It's a lot right?  But is it that much work if you're getting the chance to freely win NINE weird & sweet pedals, two power supplies and a fully wired pedal board?  No, its not too much.  Its not enough, probably.  

Some Gimme Sixty videos to highlight what each of these noisemakers might be capable of:

[RECOMMEND PLAYING THEM ALL AT ONCE]

We've been quiet for too long.

It happens sometimes.  We get busy.  Bogged down by the day in and day out of Old Blood, building pedals, answering emails, thinking about what's next, worrying about overhead and how to make everything work.  Shooting videos, trying to play music, having families, growing old, all that jazz.  And one thing that will always suffer when that happens is this blog.  Or any blog. Because who knows who really reads this thing.  Its more of an informative emotional dump that probably benefits us more than anyone else.  So.  Here's an update.

Norman Music Festival happened.  All of the dudes played in one way or another.  They did great.  Weak Knees, Cherry Death, Tonne, Plain Speak, Student Film.  

We've got some stuff in the pipeline.  Some new pedals.  It's been the longest break between releases that we've had since we started.  Which is fine.  I think we thrive in the crunch of a product release probably more than the day to day grind of building and selling, but we'll learn how to do this better too.  Hopefully by Summer NAMM we'll be showing them off in one way or another.  Oh, we're going to Summer NAMM and we'll have a booth.  Even if its an empty booth with our pedals sitting in the middle of it, we'll be there.  

OBNEAC (the psuedo tape release label thing comprised of Old Blood, Atria Creative and friends) has more releases in the queue.  Just waiting on tapes to show up.  Then we'll push them out the door.  Should be finishing up recording session for Tape Release 004 tonight. And then scheduling the next recording sessions after that.

Summer will be busy.  I'll be in and out of the office and the dudes will be running the place. Summer NAMM in late June and everybody will go out.  

Some videos in the pipeline to put out.  Some art collaborations in the works.  We need to order new coffee mugs in a different color.  Will probably do some different shirts in a couple of months.  

That feels like the bulk of it.  Watched Interstellar again and its been messing with me.  I should have gone to flight school.

Old Blood Noise + the Art of WolfeSun

I'm not sure how I came across Sophie's work other than on the internet, but it was a great experience, i'm so glad she agreed to do a custom design for us. Below is a quick little interview, Check out WolfeSun on social media: @wolfesun See more of her work here: wolfesun.bigcartel.com

 Hello Sophie. We really don't know much about you other than we thoroughly enjoy your art, so let's learn a little bit about you and the good work you do. 
Firstly, where are you?
I am based in England, UK and I live in a little city called Hereford on the border of Wales.
 
How do you approach your craft?
I get an idea in my head, and then I just draw it...
 
What are some of the origins of the things you draw inspiration from?
All my inspiration comes from nature and mythology.
 
What's lead you to where you are now?
I’ve always enjoyed drawing, it keeps me content.

 

Old Blood Noise + Ross Adams

I've known Ross for a long time. It's fun that we finally got to do a project together (check out the custom shirt he did for us here). Ross is very involved and invested in the Oklahoma City punk contingency, curating several shows, art openings and even a music festival throughout the year in Oklahoma City. Keep an eye out for Ross' various musical and artistic endeavors, it's always fun to see what he cooks up. 

"Ross. It's been a treat to finally get to work with you on a project. You helped Old Blood out a lot at the first of this year by graciously letting us into your art studio Tall Hill Creative when we were shooting our Procession video, that was a lot of fun. I've known you since I was 16 years old and you've been producing art, photography and music this entire time I've known you. Where would you say you draw the majority of your inspiration from?

I would say the root of my inspiration in visual art stems from my interest and involvement in the diy punk movement. I’ve been staring at album covers and fliers for a little over two decades. I was obsessed with artists like Pushead and Ray Pettibon when I was younger among many other people in the realm of punk. Lately my inspirations come from working with other artist and trying to learn from their techniques. Also, I’m drawn to street art and really just anything that strikes me as subversive in an overly commercialized culture.

You seem to travel quite a bit doing music, do you think that that informs your artistic process when doing illustrations?

Absolutely, just getting to see other parts of the country constantly and even other countries I get to absorb whats happening in those places with visual artists and graffiti. I’m always looking out of the van window for interesting things and when I’m on the street or at a show I’m constantly searching for something that will capture my attention.

What's a medium you absolutely loathe working in?

lately it’s digital media or computers or whatever fancy term I don’t know. I have a strong background in photography and I have spent so much time using photoshop and other editing programs. I’ve been trying to learn illustrator lately, but it just pains me to be stuck looking at a screen and not being able to physically touch whatever it is that I am working on. I have those primitive urges when it comes to creating and they are really taking over right now.

Conversely, what's the medium you're most excited about working with currently?

Pens, it’s always pens. I love drawing. It’s my total escape from reality. When I’m drawing I feel like I’m in another world, my world."

all images in the above blog used as per the permission of the artist.

Old Blood Noise + The Art of Derek Nobbs

We had the pleasure of working with Derek on the art for our Reflector Chorus. Derek has been fun to work with. He is always up for a challenge and has some very impressive chops. He also does not seem afraid of the weird. Which is good, because we're a little weird.  He was kind enough to come back and collaborate with us again and produced an excellent custom shirt design for us. Below you'll find more of a brief interview and photos of Derek's work, his daily realm, and his fantastic cat. 

Seth: You live in the Pacific North West. Do you think your environment informs your work? If it does, then what's the origin of that inspiration?  Do you think your environment informs your work?

Derek: My work is certainly inspired by the Pacific Northwest. As far as fine art goes I paint a lot of nautical themed work which is in part inspired by the Salish Sea which surrounds us all out here in Western Washington and the history behind the region. Reaching just a little further, out to the Washington's coast is the Graveyard Of The Pacific, which includes the coast from down into Oregon up into to the top of Vancouver Island. Very treacherous waters, more than 2,000 vessels have been lost in the area. Actually this kind of shipwreck theme has also spilled over into my design work, most notably Squalor Harbor Co, a clothing and accessories project a friend and I embarked on. I was responsible for all the branding and design.  I've also painted some pieces that are more focused on the forest and the mountains that surround me out here. Nature as well as history are huge inspirations for me. 

Seth: What's the medium you currently like to work with most?

Derek: I was trained in oils and enjoyed them for a while but ultimately got tired of the smell and headache that came with it. Now my fine art and illustration I work mostly with watercolor and gouache. On occasion I throw in some ink or gold leaf if the piece calls for it. As for my design I try to do as much work outside of the computer as possible, I guess you could call it "analog." For that I use pencil, pen, ink, and sometimes watercolor or gouache.  

Seth: What do you think the longest you gone without talking to another human being is?

Derek: That's hard to say. I live inside my head so much I often forget if I've said something out loud to a person, just rehearsed it in my head, or just said it to one of the cats.  If I had to guess I would say three to four days. Someday I would like to go on some long trips into nature and see how long I can go without human communication.  It probably won't end well. 

dereknobbs.bigcartel.com

all images in the above blog used as per the permission of the artist.