[interview] Malekko Heavy Industry: Paul Barker

Here's FXDB's interview with Paul Barker of Malekko Heavy Industry:

How did Malekko Heavy Industry start?

We were young, physically fit, and deft of hands, and we thought we could repair the intermittent power problem in our nameless Japanese fuzz-wah. We couldn't help noticing the 12 giant parts inside which we had a nagging suspicion were responsible for the effect. Turns out it was the battery strap, so we proceeded to do preventative maintenance on all of our other pedals' battery straps. Thinking we had a good thing going, we soon realized that our "battery strap repair for crummy pedals" Groupon discount was too futuristic a concept for the general public, so we sold it.

Josh Holley is the effects department. And the modules department.

Uh, like music, we know what we like and what we don't like, so we try to make things we like and stay away from things we don't like.

We like Devi Ever.

Tiny Tim inspires us.

Where do the name and logo come from?

Josh and I played in a band before the existence of our pedal company. That band was called many different names, depending on who was in the room that day or if anyone needed to know. We originally wanted a "punny" name (like any sane person in that situation), but somehow, "Beatles" had, unbeknownst to us, already been used. "Malekko", near-posthumously settled upon, is derived from the name of the main character in a mythical saga written by a deranged killer. It's meaning comes from the French. Dip.

"Heavy Industry" refers to multi-faceted companies that build on a large scale, seemingly usually incorporating vast quantities of steel. Shipbuilding, bridge-building, nuclear reactors, steel mills, automotive, etc. 

And we are incorporated, so, "Corporation".

Our logo is a reduction of All That Is, in text. We were hoping no one could read it. Or pronounce it. We have no logo.

What sets Malekko Heavy Industry apart from other builders?

They are made by Malekko Heavy Industry Corporation.

How do you start on a new pedal?

We start at the oceanside, lying in the sand, looking at the clouds, wondering what they look like. And then we say, "Let's build the best fucking effect pedal we can!" Then, sometime later, a new product appears. Sometimes a module.

How do you name your pedals?

Not a one.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

Partially in-house, partially by contractors. We don't have many builders on staff.

The circuits are on PCBs with SMT and hand-wired final assembly. The enclosures are custom painted cast aluminum boxes, Lexan or screen printed. And then there are Special Editions.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Second only to their sound...

Is parts selection important?

Yes, of course. We're very picky. In fact, are you going to eat that?

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

Always look to the future, bro, always look to the future.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

ECHO 600. It's a hand-built analog delay! I mean really hand-built. In a small enclosure.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

EKKO 616. Sounds pretty good, looks pretty good, feels pretty good. Possibly tastes pretty good.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

We make pedals for klezmorim. You know, musicians who play klezmer.
We do that because it's a wide open field, baby! Are you kidding? Look, there's a wedding now!

Famous users?

No. Why? Did someone say something?
No. Why? Did someone say something?

What does the future of Malekko Heavy Industry look like?

We have more designs than sense.

Are you working on any new products?

Yes, but I can't tell you what or when.

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