[interview] North Effects: Nigel Currie

Here's FXDB's interview with Nigel Currie of North Effects:

North Effects The ScramblerHow did North Effects start?

I discovered Craig Anderton's EPFM during a period of convalescence and was hooked soon. Then a very common thing happened - I started to get the odd build request from friends who were willing to pay actual money for pedals.

There's a dizzying amount of info out there on the net. Tonepad and GGG were very handy early on with their complete projects. Then there are freestompboxes.org and diystompboxes.com, which are ever indispensable.

Where do the name and logo come from?

It's a shortening of the parent company name, Northwind Trading.

North Effects 22/7 Violet RamWhat sets North Effects apart from other builders?

We don't do paint and graphics, which makes it easier to sell handmade pedals at an affordable price. That's not to say that looks aren't important, but some well chosen knobs can go a long way to adding visual appeal.

How do you start on a new pedal?

Often R&D for a new pedal happens as part of a custom build for a customer. Building to order also tends to add focus to the process and things are usually worked out over a couple of weeks.

How do you name your pedals?

Naming is very literal and obvious. I hate wacky names. And there are far too many genitalia related pedal names out there - ENOUGH WITH THE DICK JOKES!

Can you tell us something about the production process?

All the pedals are completed by my own fair hands.

Circuits are all assembled on good old stripboard, and wired by hand. Enclosures are prepared in-house and are left in their naked state.

How important is the look of your pedals?

Looks are important inside and out. We don't do paint or graphics, which is pretty popular with our customers who appreciate the stealth aspect of having an unmarked pedal on your board. It's especially important to select the right knobs - we'd rather the budget went on some nice Dakaware than decals.

Is parts selection important?

North Effects The GriskinWe use a fair amount of NOS stuff across the range. Obviously with germanium fuzzes you pretty much have to, and occasionally NOS silicon will make the 1% difference.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The Griskin was easily the most challenging. Real "Time Team" shit... It's based on a Popular Electronics project from the mid 70s by Roy Gwinn. The OG circuit has some design flaws (by Roy's own admission!) and these were difficult to iron out whilst keeping the crotchety essence of the original.

The Violet Ram is the most popular, probably because of its obvious appeal to Gilmour fans, as well as sounding pretty great.

My favorite has to be The Primitive as it's the garage fuzz I always wanted.

North Effects The PrimitiveWho uses your pedals and for which genres?

I tend to make stuff that I like. I'm quite into garage rock, so things tend towards the primitive, fuzzy end of the spectrum.

At least one big name band has bought our stuff, but I'm not going to namedrop them without their permission. These things tend to come to light long after the event - the "names" tend to be fairly circumspect.

What does the future of North Effects look like?

More distribution deals would be good, but apart from that we plan to keep on doing what we're doing for as long as possible.

Are you working on any new products?

Bass players often get short shrift in the fuzz world, so we intend to shift the balance a little in their favor.

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