Selah Effects is a boutique pedal company based in Tasmania responsible for some of the most forward-thinking and sought-after guitar effects to come out of Australia.
Widely regarded for their flagship pedal, the Scarlett Love overdrive – which was a collaboration with Hillsong Music Director, Nigel Hendroff – their ethos lies in tirelessly crafting their effects and meticulous iterations based on customer feedback. In a nutshell, they make pedals for the people.
We caught up with Nick Brandsema from Selah to talk about some of their most beloved pedals, working with Hendroff, and the future role of MIDI in guitar effects.
Chatting to Tasmania-based boutique pedal builders Selah Effects about some of their flagship pedals and the future of MIDI in guitar effects.
Hey guys. Let’s start kick off with when you began making pedals and what inspired you to get into it.
I think it was in early 2012, we (myself and Cal) were both musicians playing in bands and at church and thought it would be a fun thing to do. We thought we might sell the odd pedal and make some pocket money, we certainly didn’t anticipate it taking off like it did. We certainly had to learn a lot very quickly!
The Scarlett Love OD is your flagship pedal – can you tell us a bit about how it came to fruition?
The original Scarlett was identical to the current production Feather Drive. Nigel Hendroff from Hillsong got his hands on one and loved it. We decided to partner together and develop a signature model which became the Scarlett Love (named after Nigels daughter). After a while Nigel had some things he wanted to change which translated into the V2. After a few years and feedback from various artists and clients we released the V3, introducing the 3 band EQ and MIDI switching options. We are very proud of how far the pedal has come.
Were you expecting such a strong reaction to it?
Once we partnered with Nigel, we knew there would be a lot of interest, mainly because of his influence in the Christian music scene. But it’s surprising how strong the pedal has held up over the years. Every month there is a new amazing overdrive out that people want, yet we still sell plenty of Scarlett Overdrives, which is encouraging to us.
You’ve done some really interesting things with some ubiquitous effect types (i.e, overdrives, fuzzes) – how do you approach designing pedals?
How we approach new designs has certainly changed in the past few years. Originally we just wanted to release as many pedals as possible without really thinking through how saturated the market was with that particular effect. Now we are very purposeful in making sure all new developments are either completely original or a vast improvement to an existing effect or controller.
One the other end of the spectrum, the Quartz Timer is a super unique pedal, I can’t think of anything else like it. How did it come about?
Nigel brought it up in conversation one day that it would be cool to have a tap tempo with a BPM readout. We agreed and began developing the pedal. It has really evolved in to so much more, and customer feedback has been key for that. It was important that the V2 was firmware update-able as we have a very long list of features that we are still to add.
How do you see pedals integrating MIDI in the future?
I think we will start seeing a lot more pedals that have analog signal path controlled by a digital brain, much like the Chase Bliss Audio Gear. It would also be good to see MIDI becoming more “user friendly” – it can be quite complicated to get your head around. I think manufacturers should be aiming to make things as streamline as possible for their clients.
Aside from stompboxes, what are some pieces of gear that inspire you?
All aspects of guitars intrigue me. Cables, amplifiers, pickups I can easily lose a day diving deep into the depths of the internet researching random things!
Who are some of your favourite pedals builders?
We have great relationships with Goodwood Audio, Teletronix and Bondi Effects they are all great builders and friends. I admire Chase Bliss and how he has integrated analog signal flow with digital control, very cool. RJM do some pretty cool switching stuff as well. So many people doing amazing things, too many to list!
What is in the works at the moment?
Our main development focus at the moment is building that long list of features in to the Quartz V2, and the computer software is getting a complete re-write to integrate them as well. There are a few other ideas starting to hatch, but it’s too early to discuss those.
Check out all of the amazing Selah Effects gear on their website.