Here's FXDB's interview with Ivan Marchetti of My Dad Is Iggy.
My Dad Is Iggy is run by Ivan Marchetti and his girlfriend Gini. They were based in London for a few years, now located in Milan, Italy.
How did My Dad Is Iggy start?
I've always been very good fixing stuff and once one of my friends asked if I could try to fix one of his pedals.It was an old fuzz box, I managed to make it work.It was quite an exciting experience to be able to see the circuits etc... I really wanted to get some pedals but I couldn't afford it, so I started to build a distortion for myself then later a few clones and original models. (I was also fixing pedals and amps for friends which helped a lot to gain knowledge...) Friends and people at concerts started to ask about them and thats how I started selling some pedals.
Once I got into building them, I read everything I could find about pedals(not much at the time unfortunately).. and really got inspired by Robert Keeley, R.G. Keen, Analog Man, Pete Cornish, Electro-Harmonix, etc... and now smaller brands that make great products... EffectsDatabase is a great source of inspiration as well!!
My dad is a bit of a Iggy Pop look alike. It started up as a joke and we've grown to like the name so we kept it.
I wanted something original with a retro twist and orange. Gini designed it.
What sets My Dad Is Iggy apart from other builders?
Probably our custom pedals, the customers get something that was build specifically for them... to suit their own gear.
How do you start on a new pedal?
From an idea or a sound or from a request... or even happy accidents...
Then, depending on the ideas or how fast the customer needs the pedal, the time of production varies.
How do you name your pedals?
There are plenty , the names can come from movies to old bands and of course from jokes... They all got their own stories.
It's great fun to choose names, lately we are having a bit of a geeky phase so be ready for robots with moustaches and old 50's aliens movies themed pedals...
We had great fun while making the Profondo Rosso (compressor), it was just before Halloween and we named that pedal after an old 70s Dario Argento movie. We made a short film to introduce it (check the link), it's a parody of the famous shower scene in "psycho"... We had a good laugh making it!
Can you tell us something about the production process?
It's basically only Gini and I, we got a DIY room in the basement. I'm doing all the projecting and circuits and she does most of the design and paint. We are etching our own PCBs, soldering, drilling the holes on the boxes, spray painting (for the designs, we use a combination of different papers, depending on the colors and the effect we want to achieve.) etc. Everything is build in-house.
I'm first projecting, designing and drawing the circuit then I start to build it on a prototype board. From there it's trial and error. I sometimes get other ideas along the way then leave one project aside and eventually go back to it. Gini and I have a little chat about the design, we share ideas and then she starts designing. If it's a custom pedal, we ask the customer if there is any colors, design, name, knobs they would like to get on their pedals. We work with them to make a product that will sound and look like they want.
How important is the look of your pedals?
Quite important. We like to make them look special, it's always exciting to get a new pedal and it's even better if you like the look of it too. If it's a custom one we always try to work with people to make something they will like…
Is parts selection important?
yes, I always test the quality and durability of the components and look around for new suppliers and brands if I think it could be improved...
Which of your pedals makes you most proud?
A compressor named Profondo Rosso, because it sounds transparent and original.
I had a lot of compliments on that one, people that bought it really love it and it's a permanent one on their pedalboards.
Which of your pedals was your toughest build?
An octaver (up and down) because it was not easy to create a natural sound out of an analog octaver.
The Texas Blues overdrive, I guess that would be because guitar players are a bit of overdrive freaks haha... Well, I think it's quite popular because it has good dynamics, retention of guitar character and doesn't color your guitar's signal.
Who uses your pedals and for which genres?
We try to be really diverse and make different types of pedals.It's always interesting to research different genres, recently we had an order for a flanger for a brutal death metal guitarist. I had asked him for a few band names and songs where I could hear what sound he was after and I worked from there, it was not the easiest as I don't normally listen to that type of music but I like that, keep on discovering new things it makes it interesting. We try not to limit ourselves to what we like. (otherwise all my pedals would sound like some 70's funky music haha...)
We have some famous users:
- Diego Arrigoni from the band Moda (they are a number one Italian pop rock band)
- Mina Duo
- Eric Rupert (Dizzy Gillespie, Dolly Parton,...)
- Walter Donaltello (Italian free jazz guitarist)
What does the future of My Dad Is Iggy look like?
We are always trying to find ways to improve our pedals' sounds and designs, better components, paints etc… It's a passion of mine to build and develop them and create new sounds… In the last two years we got a lot of returning customers, it's great to see pedalboards that include more than one of our pedals. So the plans for the future would be carry on developing new pedals and try my hand at building amplifiers...
Our main focus is to make a really good durable original product that is still affordable for anyone.
Are you working on any new products?
We are working on a few new models.There will be one inspired by the band Grand Funk Railroad"...
And since a while I've also been working on trying to reduce background noise from different amps and pedals.