Jamie Stillman (EarthQuaker Devices - President/Product Designer)
SPB: EarthQuaker has a reputation for high quality, versatile builds that artists can use in the studio, live, and in experimental environments, ie writing. What did the collaboration with Sunn O))) mean to Earthquaker on a personal level, and did you approach this project with goals related to a specific aspect of the Sunn O))) tone, or is it mean to capture something else about Sunn O)))?
Stillman: Life Pedal came about after I was introduced to Greg Anderson by our mutual friend Jim Tuerk from Reverb. Jim thought we would hit it off, so we scheduled a quick call to see if there was a mutual interest in working on a project together. That “quick call” lasted two hours. It turned out Jim was right! Greg and Stephen have a similar background; coming up in the DIY punk/hardcore/metal scene and having strong interests in obscure artists and gear. We really clicked.
Doing artist pedals was something I never considered as I’ve always just worked on things I would personally like to use. To me, SUNN was the perfect artist to break out with. They are serious about what they do and they have forged their own path and gained a large devoted following the hard way. They have a highly unique approach to their aesthetic and an unmistakable sound and vibe. I think it parallels how [EarthQuaker Devices] operates as a brand.
With Life Pedal, I set out to capture exactly what the band wanted. Every aspect of this was directed by the band and carried out between the both of us. The circuit is an amalgamation of the gear you would typically find on their personal pedalboards, all housed in a single enclosure. It wasn’t meant to be a pedal that would emulate the sound of Sunn O))) live, it was designed to be used by SUNN and give others access to their tools. The packaging was designed and laid out by Stephen O’Malley and the box was even manufactured in the same facility as the LP jackets for Life Metal. The design process embodied the DIY spirit that we both came from and it was an extremely cool project to be involved in!