[interview] Rhythm & Detonation: Mike McAloon

Here's FXDB's interview with Mike McAloon of Rhythm & Detonation:

How did Rhythm & Detonation start?

My friend Tony Hall (Dr. Balls) was building pedals out of his apartment and I was having a hard time finding a fuzz that worked will with my p90 pickup Les Paul Jr. I asked him to build me a fuzz and he was going to build me a fuzz face. The wait time was a few months so while I was waiting I started poking around websites and thought about maybe building a kit.

I was at my dad's house and he is a retired electrical engineer and I borrowed a bunch of tools and parts from him and started building some effects from scratch the hard way. I build a simple boost pedal on a bread board the first afternoon and it worked. I was thrilled and it went from there.

I received help from Tony (Dr. Balls), Dan (Beavis Audio), Brian (Mad Bean Pedals), Small Bear, Pedal Parts Plus, Mammoth Supply.

Where do the name and logo come from?

It was an idea for a band that I never put together. Originally it was supposed to be a band that sounded like the Clash song "Spanish bombs". It is actually a really bad name because people can't spell rhythm or detonation very well so some people call it R&D pedals or others call it rad pedals.

There are two inspirations for my logo. The overall layout is an homage to 80's skate company Vision Street Wear. The font I use for my logo is a font that my old band's record label Youngblood records used on their record sleeves.

What sets Rhythm & Detonation apart from other builders?

I am really small and everything is custom so I can accommodate any requests within reason.

I am also not a full-time company so depending on my band schedule I may or may not be taking orders.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

Everything is done in-house, I am the only person doing everything.

Circuits are usually made on dual layer PCB's. I hand wire the internals using Alpha pots, Davies knobs, EHX 3PDT switches, generic 1/4 jacks. I use metal xicon resistors, poly capacitors, xicon miniature electrolytic caps, etc.

My enclosures are Hammond, they are given a baked enamel finish, then decals are applied with water slide decals (similar to the way Fender puts their name on a headstock) and then the pedal is clear coated in a water based acrylic poly finish.

Is parts selection important?

It honestly doesn't matter much in terms of sound for the stuff I build but I like box capacitors because they are easy to use and neat. People say metal film resistors sound cleaner but I can't hear the difference. I just use them because it is easy enough to order them and they aren't that much more expensive $4 for 100 resistors isn't a big deal.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The three Gristleizers I built for DWID were really cool. I also built him three feedbacking pedals a fuzz, a rat, and an overdrive and they are really cool. The timeline for the build was really challenging because he needed them for an upcoming show and I think I built all three in one day and got them shipped out on time.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

Not necessarily one specific genre most of my local customers are country/Americana musicians and most of my internet business is hardcore, punk rock, and metal musicians. Go figure.

What does the future of Rhythm & Detonation look like?

I don't really have any goals to grow the business or change what I am doing. Right now I have been touring a lot with my band and I fit in pedal production when I can. Sometimes that means I don't build at all but that just means I am out on the road which is a good thing for me. At this point I basically just do builds for my friends and some of my repeat customers who have become friends.

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