[interview] NoiseKICK FX: Matt Z.

Here's FXDB's interview with Matt Z. of NoiseKICK FX.

noiseKICK FX is a small pedal startup ran by Matt Z. out of Baltimore, Maryland, USA. They strive to support the local music community by providing custom handmade effects to hardworking musicians.

How did noiseKICK FX start?

I've always loved effects and guitar. I feel that the more I know how the sound is made the better player I can become. During college I started doing some research and realized there's a whole spectrum of sounds yet to be discovered. I started building pedals mainly for myself. After a bit, a few friends were intrigued about the tone I was achieving and wanted me to build them a pedal. Them my buddy Michael suggested I make these pedals available to the public. Michael was a big factor in getting noiseKICK off the ground. He's not a builder but he did come up with name noiseKICK.

The great thing about this business is that there's always something new coming out. With the help of social media ideas can be shared in an instant. Forums are a great resource to find out what players want, what isn't out there yet and how to get the needs to of players to them.

NoiseKICK FXWhere do the name and logo come from?

Sorta like you're 'kicking' on the noise when you stomp on an effect

A friend made it for us. It's very seamless as the words share boarders.

What sets noiseKICK FX apart from other builders?

I believe our custom pedal service is seldom found. Some players spend their whole career switching up their pedal-board to find the unique tone they're after. I try to simplify the process by taking the effects and having a simple pedal that the user can be proud of. When a customer orders a custom pedal they are not constrained by the normal layout of a pedal if they were to buy one in a store. For example, the customer can customize almost any aspect of the pedal, from the actual effect down to the LED color and jack placement. I try to give the customer as much freedom as possible when building their custom pedal.

How do you name your pedals?

There is significance in the names of a few of my pedals. For example, the "B'mo 1904 Distortion" The artwork on the pedal depicts the aftermath of the great Baltimore fire of 1904. I feel the destruction seen in the picture accurately portrays the "destructive power" of this distortion pedal.

For the "Splatter" series, the names come from the paint job. I sometimes use references to Frank Zappa as well. As in my "Grand Wah-zoo" custom pedal and the "Ms. Pinky" one-off boost.NoiseKICK FX Fuzz vs Boost

Can you tell us something about the production process?

It's a one man show at noiseKICK FX.

I try to make each aspect of the pedal as "handmade" as possible. Each component is hand soldered. Each enclosure is hand sanded painted (both spray and acrylic). I also use decals.

How important is the look of your pedals?

For custom pedals, the customer calls the shots when it comes to aesthetics. I give them as many options as I can. We will usually brainstorm over email for a week or so (sometimes up to a 2 months!) and then come up with a final decision.

For some pedals, the paint job is intentionally scuffed up to give the pedal a 'worn' feel.

NoiseKICK FX Guanoloco!Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

I can say that for a couple of my custom builds I really did not want to give them up after they were completed. Haha. One that really stood out in my mind was the "GuanoLoco!" a 3-in-1 effect with an octave fuzz, square wave tremolo, and delay with modulation. I couldn't stop playing the thing! Although I had to send it to the customer eventually.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

While custom pedals is my main focus, the most popular 'line' has to be the "B'mo" series. This is a series of dirt boxes (fuzz, distortion, etc) with classic images of the City of Baltimore on the face of the pedal.

I believe this really connects with the home crowd, which I love.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

I have quite a few local Baltimore bands using my pedals at the moments. The most 'notable' artists to use a noiseKICK pedal would be Rusted Root.

What does the future of NoiseKICK FX look like?

Here at noisekICK FX, we try to make the most unique pedals are the market by never doing that same thing twice. We support the local music community of Baltimore. Baltimore pedals for Baltimore Bands.

We have also provided pedals to musicians in other countries; including the United Kingdom and Australia.

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