Here's FXDB's interview with Justin Patry of Freakshow Effects:
How did Freakshow Effects start?
I started by building kits I bought online... One day I stopped by Musictoyz (because it's near me) and Teddy, the owner, was like "Dude! You gotta make me some of these!!!" and oillla... Freakshow Effects was born. This was about 5 years ago now... Wow has it been that long???
I got very little help from the DIY community, I asked many questions and got very little response back. Everything I have learned, I have learned on my own by either reading, or trial and error. I took electronics in High School but I have to be honest with you... I didn't learn a heck of a lot of technical stuff. I tend to help out people that send me questions a lot... I don't want them to get too discouraged like I did at some points.
Where do the name and logo come from?
In college my nickname was "the Freakshow" so it was only natural to go with that name!
We have had many logo's over the years... I can't settle on one and my main concern is building quality pedals... not gimmicky logos.
What sets Freakshow Effects apart from other builders?
We're a tiny company... 3 guys working on stuff in their spare time.
Our pedals are quality inside and out. Our stuff is made to last a lifetime. All pedals are unique in color and art on the handpainted versions. We literally make pedals one at a time folks!
We have tons of clients... some people are art nuts, some are looking for something custom, some just like buying from the little guy. Some even like the tone of our pedals... whoah!
How do you start on a new pedal?
Designing a pedal is a daunting task. I usually do a very small test run of PCB's if I like them and they work 100% as planned we do a real run of PCB's. This process probably takes 3 months from start to finish for me.Can you tell us something about the production process?
We build all pedals here... not there. There are basically 3 of us building (when busy), I have two main artists, one does silkscreen art, the other handpaints the "tattoo" models.
The circuits are PCB's that are hand stuffed and assembled with love.
The enclosures for the hand painted pedals are raw before painting, the silkscreen pedals are powdercoated first to be extremely durable.
How important is the look of your pedals?
Well most people identify us with the original handpainted pedals we started off making. I see them pop up on ebay now and then and think... "wow I remember that one!"
As we parted ways with our original artist I decided to have another artist friend of Maine make some art to silkscreen pedals instead. The process still retains the originality of the art but makes the pedal much more durable. We periodically change artwork on pedals to keep the originality factor going. Also we make the knob colors different on each pedal as well as the "on" LED color... it's totally random which color "on" LED you get with our pedals. We still do handpainted pedals about once a year. I have a good friend of mine that is a tattoo artist who paints a run of pedals each year in his own unique style.
Is parts selection important?
I am a firm believer that in some of our pedals certain brands/spec components will give the pedal its "sound". In some pedals it's not as important but generally I try to keep to the same components depending on availability.
Which of your pedals makes you most proud?
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
The toughest pedal we build is the Digilog Delay. They're a pain from beginning to end really. The most time consuming and most prone to errors because of all the components we hand solder on the boards.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
We make pedals for everyone from the average joe to world famous musicians. Everyone gets the same attention to detail.Our most famous user is Jeff Tweedy from Wilco for sure... well that I know of anyways???
What does the future of Freakshow Effects look like?
In the short term we want to sell more pedals... make people enjoy playing guitar!
Our focus is mainly on making top quality stuff at the lowest possible price. I hate overpriced pedals man... not cool. All our stuff is 100% hand assembled here in Maine. We do not have cheap components and we do not mass produce stuff. To me this means the world! I don't care about selling a million pedals... I don't want to mass produce. I want to cater to the guy/gal that wants something "special" that you can't buy in a big box music store.
Are you working on any new products?