Here's FXDB's interview with Noah Krieg of Hotone Audio.
Hotone Audio is based in China and Hong Kong.
How did Hotone Audio start?
President Guo Runbo was a guitarist doing gigs with a band, and when he couldn’t find the pedals he needed, he started making his own in 1996.
After being involved with other companies first, in 2012, Runbo’s vision could no longer be contained, and he distinguished his new creations under the Hotone brand.
The company is still inspired by working musicians, everyone in the company has real music experience.
It's pronounced "Hot Tone"...hot!
The Skyline Series pedals inspired the logo shape, a kind of streamlined rectangular figure. Thus, the Hotone "H" logo bears resemblance to the stompbox.
What sets Hotone Audio apart from other builders?
We hold to a higher standard than most companies, and we're not just trying to make a buck.
One look at our pedals and you know how they're visibly different from the other guys. Plug it in and you'll find out how they're audibly outstanding.
Often, pedals that are different are seen as a gimmick or novelty. Not Hotone. We make a serious product for serious musicians. One listen and you'll know.
How do you start on a new pedal?
It all starts with the wicked brain storm that takes place in the depths of the secret Hotone R&D labs... A technician stands up and shakes his fist at the Challenge of Design. The team is inspired and rises up to overthrow the tyrant Challenge who has kept the People from having the pedal they have always needed. And through trial and much travail, a new pedal is born.
Some are pretty self explanatory.
I like "WHIP", which is our metal distortion. Like the whip in the Lone Ranger.
Can you tell us something about the production process?
Everything is done in-house with by a team of diligent and loving technicians.
Everything starts with R&D, and we have some of the brightest minds in innovation and problem solving in the biz.
Production is an intimate, hand-made process.
How important is the look of your pedals?
The look is central. Pedals have to look good.
Is parts selection important?
We have a high standard for parts and components. Quality is most important.
The world has not seen pedals like those in the Skyline Series. We hold our heads high.
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
We beat our heads against the wall to make Verb so good.
Lots of blood and sweat.
Which of your pedals is the most popular?
People loves the Skyline Series' Blues pedal. Me too.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
Our pedals are for musicians of all kinds. Except, like, Justin Bieber and Brittney Spears.
You can check our website and Artist roster for famous users.
What does the future of Hotone Audio look like?
The company’s strategic direction is based on its core values of thought, design, and tone. As ideas become designs, the Hotone team buckles down to create products the music world has always wanted but never before imagined possible, including tools musicians never knew they wanted. Expect from Hotone products for professional and amateur musicians alike: rugged, portable devices that don’t compromise on tone.
Are you working on any new products?
Yes, we're working on new products... always working...
But the secrets must not be revealed until the proper time...