Here's FXDB's interview with Michael Thorpe of Mode Machines:
How did Mode Machines start?
We started doing this mid 2010 after we had been working on many analog projects. We co-designed the Moogerfoogers with Bob Moog many years back, when he was working for some weeks at our store "Touched by Sound", but we have also been working and co-designing products for various other brands, such as:
- MAM Music and More
- TBS Touched by Sound
- HDB Audio
- Stanton Magnetics
- FAT Freeform Analogue Technologies
Our team and engineers were mostly responsible for all the MAM (Music and More) products and during the year 2009 we got together again and decided to make our own products with a brand new name.Our work has been a big cooperation between us and Jürgen Haible (famous Synth DIY'er) who unfortunately passed away end of 2011. RIP.
A few Bavarian beers and some brainstorming let us come up with this name. Also our musical inspiration is Depeche Mode. We just thought the name sounded good....
We thought it had to look technical, so we used the wheel and then added the marking to simulate a pot
What sets Mode Machines apart from other builders?
I think we have the ability to make products nobody else makes in a niche market.
How do you start on a new pedal?
We have a couple of ideas, start making some drawings and then build some prototypes.
How do you name your pedals?
Old designs inspired by the genres or bands that used them.
Can you tell us something about the production process?
We make them in-house and are only 3 people.
We use PCB´s and hand-soldering. The enclosures are made of sturdy metal with screen printing and wooden side-panels.
They have to look robust and stand out amongst other pedals.
Is parts selection important?
We are known for sourcing NOS so there will be many classic designs coming out using obsolete and unique parts.
Which of your pedals makes you most proud?
The KRP-1 Krautrock Phaser is so unique and difficult to produce. As it is the only opto-phaser in the market, we think it is
We make pedals to our own taste and when we see a gap in the market.
We don't make custom pedals but we do have some very famous users.
What does the future of Mode Machines look like?
Many new products will be released and worldwide distribution is increased.
Are you working on any new products?
We are working on reissues of the Mu-Tron pedals and also some new filter type stuff. They should be released in 2013.