The DIY/boutique pedal scene continues to grow with the internet opening up opportunities for local builders to enter into the market. They ride a healthy trend of attention from local and global buyers on facebook groups and pages and Melbourne based ‘Kink Guitar effects’ is turning some heads! Meet Mark..he makes fuzz pedals. Really good ones.
MIA: So..which came first for you…electronics or music?
Mark: Music came first. I have been a self confessed pedal whore for quite a long time. It was a natural transition into electronics. That way I could get my hands on more effects.
MIA: What got you into making pedals? Was it kits, mods, repairs..or something else?
Mark: I started with mods and kits. After some time, I decided to design and manufacture my own. That’s how the Charlie Fuzz came about.
MIA: And so are you just doing this all from home on your own or have you got other people who work with you on all this?
Mark: I am the one who does the majority of the work. I do outsource some of the manufacturing to help speed up the process and increase the quality. Each pedal is assembled by me in my music room/workspace
MIA: Kink’ pedals seem to be centered around great fuzz effects. What’s been your favorite pedal so far?
Mark: My favourite pedal so far is the new High Horse Fuzz/Octave. It is quite versatile for a Fuzz. It does low gain well, along with crazy high gain madness.
MIA: What draws you to fuzz in particular for your sound? Got any influences which inspire you in that regard?
Mark: I love Fuzz. I have been into stoner/doom and sludge for many years. There is just something about playing at 30BPM, with crazy amounts of Fuzz that draws me in.
I love the primitive simplicity of Fuzz as an effect. It really is amazing the sound that you can get from just a few components.
MIA: What’s the process like for coming up with a build and getting it ‘just right’? (do you veroboard ideas, roadtest em at home, use mock-up programs?? Get mates to try em out?)
Mark: When doing a prototype I will use a few methods to play around with the sound. I usually breadboard ideas until I am happy and then design the PCB from the schematic. I usually play around with the construction of the PCB if I still feel it is not quite there.
The Defender Of The Hate Fuzz had many iterations before I was happy with it.
MIA: How did these newest pedals come about?
Mark: The Absolution came about from playing with the effect while on the breadboard. I was blown away by the sustain I was getting.
I had always wanted to do my own take on the Big Muff circuit. That’s how the ‘Defender’ came about. I made some changes to transistors until I got the doomy sound I was after.
With the High Horse, I had been toying with the idea of an Octave Fuzz for a while. I had tried a few and they were not really for me. I ended up building the high horse around a modified Foxx Tone Machine because I really enjoyed the sound.
MIA: One of the most striking things is the art work. Do you design your own or have you worked with artists to come up with the look of the pedals?
Mark: I have been collecting pedals for a long time and noticed that most big name manufactures had very simple artwork. I believed it was a bit of a waste of real-estate. After all, a lot of guitarists are attracted to a guitar due to aesthetics. Why can’t pedals be the same? I reached out through the internet to find artists who would be able to capture what I had in my head.
I ended up getting put onto Pat Fox, who does some amazing art. I put forward a brief and he nailed what I was after. That’s how the artwork for the Absolution Fuzz came about.
The High Horse artwork came about after meeting with local artist Pascal D’Bras. Again, I put forward the idea of a high horse and Pascal ran with that idea. The resulting artwork is fantastic.
The ‘Defender of the Hate’ artwork came about after finding some awesome work on Etsy by Lindsay Sweeney from the UK. Lindsay went out of her way to make the art Digital for me to use.
I plan to continue fostering relationships with local artists and work together to create artwork that stands out and engages people.
MIA: I first came across ‘Kink Pedals’ on facebook and kept seeing it in peoples threads, groups and pages. It wasn’t long before I began to notice units in some of the local stores around Melbourne’s east as well. Is the online presence better than product placement in shops?
Mark: I have been more successful selling online. Largely because of the volumes I have been selling internationally. I have sold pedals I quite a few parts of the US, Canada, Ireland, UK. I have now got my pedals in Pony Music, Hallam and Upwey Music. The local retailers have been very willing to support local manufacturers. I am in talks with other retailers.
MIA: Last one..also a fun question to ask..what advice would you offer to anyone looking to get into making their own pedals?
Mark: Just do it! There are great support networks out there if you get stuck.