[interview] Screeching Owl Effects: Travis Westeiner

Here's FXDB's interview with Travis Westeiner of Screeching Owl Effects.

Screeching Owl Effects is run by Travis Westeiner, who designs and builds everything on his own. Travis lives and works in Portland, Oregon, USA.

Screeching Owl Effects Great Horned OwlHow did Screeching Owl Effects start?

I have a degree in electronics and I've worked in the electronics industry for a number of years. I've built a few pedals for myself from kits and always tinkered with ideas for pedals on breadboards but it didn't really go anywhere for a while. I suddenly found myself unemployed in January 2010, so I decided to try my hand at making and selling pedals.

I've been inspired by the great DIY scene that flourishes here in Portland. I receive a great deal of support and inspiration from my wife, Haley (who plays in the awesome band Eight Bells by the way). A lot of my friends are great musicians and I like to give them prototypes to try out. I've been selling them locally at a great music shop in Portland called Trade Up Music. The people there are really great. The people there are really into my pedals and recommend them to their customers.

Screeching Owl EffectsWhere do the name and logo come from?

Most of my pedals are on the noisy end of the spectrum and I wanted a name that would kind of reflect that. Owls are cool.

The logo is a picture of the demon Andras, who has the head of an owl, and rides a black wolf. From wikipedia: "Andras was a Grand Marquis of Hell, appearing with a winged angel's body and the head of an owl or raven, riding upon a strong black wolf and wielding a sharp and bright sword. He was also responsible for sowing discord, and commanded 30 infernal legions. He is the 63rd of the 72 spirits of Solomon."

What sets Screeching Owl Effects apart from other builders?

I think the sound and the look of my pedals set them apart from other builders. I don't think the world needs another $300 tubescreamer clone. I try to keep costs low so more people can enjoy them.

How do you start on a new pedal?Screeching Owl Effects Demon Attack

It's different every time. I try not to do the same thing twice.

Can you tell us something about the production process?

I do everything myself.

I breadboard prototype my ideas and then design a PCB for the pedals. I have the PCBs custom made for me. I use standard die cast aluminum enclosures. For the label/artwork, I use photo sticker paper in an inkjet printer and then cover that with a clear acrylic coating.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

I'm most proud of my newest pedal, the Hydra. It's a PLL harmonizing fuzz. When I finally got it working right, it made me very happy. It's just fun to mess around with and see what kind of crazy sounds I can get out of it. When I'm testing them out, I find myself playing with them for a long time.

Screeching Owl Effects HydraWhich of your pedals is the most popular?

Again, the Hydra. I think it has a really unique look and sound.

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

I usually just make pedals for myself. I get a weird idea, and I try to execute it to the best of my ability. I like weird and noisy stuff.

What does the future of Screeching Owl Effects look like?

I don't really have a set plan for the future of the company. I'm just trying to keep the orders filled and not go crazy while working a full time job.

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