Feature interview with Selah Effects
First off welcome Nick from Selah effects to MGS
Thank you, it's a pleasure!
Can you tell us a little about the company and what influenced you to start a business?
At the moment we have 3 people that make up the Selah Effects team, myself (Nick), Callaghn and Luke (Brothers). We are based in the NW of Tasmania and have been operational for slightly under 12 months now. All three of us are musicians and self confessed audiophiles! For as long as I can remember I have collected guitar pedals, I used to to buy and sell 2 or more a week I have probably owned 250+ over the years. I don't know why but I have always obsessed over my "sound", if someone came up to me after a set and said "Wow you sound great", I always took that as more of a compliment than "Wow great playing!". Around 12 months ago I approached Callaghn and tossed the idea around of starting a pedal business. The goal was to create pedals that are built and sound as good as a $600+ pedal but make them more affordable. We definitely didn't see a hole in the market for pedal builders, they are a dime a dozen now thanks to the internet! However not many builders were offering pedals with all the full MOJO and vintage parts and wiring, with a decent price tag. It more started out as a hobby and bit of cash on the side with the feather drive, but people seemed to really dig the sound and it took off really well.
What is the biggest challenge in the handmade pedal business these days?
I think the main issue is the market is flooded with pedals, it makes it hard to stand out. I think in the end though your product and customer service speaks for itself, I have contacted many "Boutique" builders wanting their pedal and either haven't heard back for a week or not at all, it doesn't really make me feel appreciated as a customer. We try to value all customers to the best of our ability, I think that goes a long way!
What is your favorite artist story involving your pedals?
I guess the big one is Nigel Hendroff from Hillsong church. He managed to get his hands on one of the first swirl Feather Drives and he really liked it! We then went ahead and created his own signature model the Scarlett Love Overdrive. Since then he has had a couple changes to make such as, more clean headroom & less overall gain, so we spent the first half of this year sending prototypes to Sydney to nail "That Sound' he had in his head. Thankfully, we have achieved that with the Scarlett Love V2. He is a very, very fussy man when it comes to his tone, so it is very humbling when he sends us text messages out of the blue saying how much he loves the pedal! The big test was when he went on a European tour earlier this year, he called me as soon as he got back and raved about how amazing it sounded through every amp he tried and just loved its sound. He also has told me how he has had comments in the studio from engineers like "Wow that pedal is doing that!?" Very humbled and honored that we get to experience this journey with Nigel!
Did you have a specific moment that you felt proud to be a pedal builder?
Whenever we receive feedback about our pedals! Our customers have been so kind sending us emails telling us how much they love their pedal and how it sounds. Without our customers we are nothing, we will always be respectful and grateful for that. Also when we created the Misty Mountain Fuzz, we wanted to create something that was usable for all musicians. It took along time to get it right, A lot of prototypes and hard work! We were very proud to start the production run, the feedback has been great so far on it!
What are the 3 most important aspects to building a quality stomp box?
Sound Quality - This of course is the number one priority, it needs to sound great! Like I said before we are all self confessed audiophiles so its hard to get a tone that we all are satisfied with.
Build Quality - Every pedal we make needs to be made to the best of our ability, all components are "Audiophile" spec, all wiring is neat and clean, all hardware must stand the test of touring and gigging. We are always trying to better ourselves! We want our pedals to look as good as they sound! We use the best jacks and switches we can afford. We engrave all our pedals, we don't use screen or impact printing. It will never rub or scratch off and it looks allot more professional in our opinion. If a pedal comes back for a repair we have failed. If the hardware breaks (only repair we have had so far) we have failed to select high enough quality for our unit. All our units come with a lifetime guarantee and we stand by that!
Customer Service - This is overlooked by so many builders, we try and make all our customers feel respected and looked after. We value their support and opinions and are very thankful for them!
Do you have a favorite hobby outside of music?
We all hang out together outside of work we enjoy Live music, golf, killing each other on Mario kart :) just the normal stuff!
Anything new coming up?
Yes! Always something new coming up! We have 3 new models we are looking into at the moment, 2 will be out this year, maybe the third!
Any builders out there that you respect and think are doing cool things?
Oh man so many! If I had to have a top 5 (in no order) it would have to be Pete Cornish, Roger Mayer, Sean Michael (lovepedal) & Bill Finnegan (Klon). To me these guys have contributed big things to the pedal world and built some of the most sought after gear on the planet. There are many more, but I have soft spot for these few!
Any artists on your radar that you would love to have using your pedals?
None that we are currently trying to chase, this year we are focusing building up a range of pedals. Next year we hope to focus more on building up a client base. However, If an artist heard about our pedals and contacted us we would love to work with them!
What is the most rewarding part of building? In turn what is the most taxing?
The most rewarding part would be seeing a customer enjoy and using the product. We do everything in house (except printing our own circuit boards) so we see the pedal evolve from a formless die cast enclosure to a fully functioning pedal! Very satisfying!
The most taxing part would probably be the shear amount of hours required to do this. All three of us work very hard and that can sometimes put strain on our personal relationships. This been said we have amazing partners and family who support us 100%, we are very lucky!
Is there a struggle between what you love as a player and what the market demands?
I wouldn't say its a struggle, we think that the biggest 2 things people are looking for in pedals are usability and great sounds. We always ask ourselves, when thinking what to do next, would I use this unit regularly? If not can I modify it to be more universal but keep the original sound if i want to use it? I'm not personally into weird pedals, I find I just don't use them! Whereas one of my partners is, but it's definitely something you have to think about.
If you had your choice what part of the world would you like to see your pedals gain popularity in?
Definitely the US and UK, massive markets over there and a lot of players! With the Australian dollar losing strength I imagine we will be attracting more international customers anyway.
Where do you see the pedal industry in 10 years?
I don't know to be honest, I think there will be another fad that takes off from the whole boutique thing, but I don't know what. I still think there will be some purists who like vintage and high spec everything, but there will also be the digital modelling guys. Your guess is as good as mine!
In closing what impression do you hope to leave on players and the industry.
We hope to have our pedals seen as workhorse pedals that can be used in nearly all genres of music by all types of guitarists. But at the same time using high grade components and wiring found in the best pedals on the market. I like to think we are heading in the right direction, a lot of our customers seem to agree thankfully!
Thanks so much for doing this and taking time out of your day. We are totally digging them so far. Killer stuff.
Thank you very much for the kind words, hopefully someone somewhere can take something from this!
For more about Selah Effects please visit www.Selaheffects.com