The third post in our unofficial creative minds series, A.V. Club New York examines the wiring of one Mr. Oliver Ackermann - Rhode Island School of Design grad and former toy designer, founder of Brooklyn-based effects pedal factory/recording studio/live-work-performance space/"DIY empire" Death By Audio and frontman of plasma-hot band A Place To Bury Strangers:
Oliver Ackermann is trying, and failing, to describe the sound of his effects pedals. He builds them all from the ground up—designing the circuits; attaching the transistors, capacitors, and resistors; and drilling and silk-screening the metal cases—so it comes as something of a surprise that he has trouble finding the right words. "You could almost describe these sounds," he says, but then stops himself. Ackermann is enthusiastic, manic, and charming; his mouth remains locked in a permanent smile. He starts again: "I guess it's about making something that I think sounds badass."
"Badass" is an apt description for Death By Audio, Ackermann's DIY empire, which occupies two adjacent lofts in Southside Williamsburg. One of them houses a concert space, which showcases acts that occupy the interstitial spaces between rock, noise, and sound-art, while a nearby loft houses a recording studio, a rehearsal space (for Ackermann's band, A Place To Bury Strangers), a room for silk-screening and painting, an electronics assembly room, and a wood and metal shop. It's the pedal business, though, that keeps Death By Audio humming—not to mention ringing, shrieking, and twisting into and out of eardrums in basements and garages across the country...