A few years back I was at a show and happened to run into Evan Sult of the local band Sleepy Kitty. We hung for a bit and during our conversation he mentioned that he was taking over as editor for Eleven Magazine. Eleven was a free, monthly publication dedicated to local and traveling bands, album releases, and music related items. During our conversation he mentioned his plan to call on local musicians to write for the magazine, and asked if I would be interested in having my own column in Eleven. He saw it as a guitar based column and basically said I could write about whatever I want. Of course I jumped at the opportunity!
After some contemplation on what to actually write about, I settled on profiling local gear builders. We are lucky to have an extremely large number of local guitar, amplifier, and pedal builders in the St. Louis area, and I wanted to do something to help promote these hidden gems. I decided to title the column, "Load In" and it soon grew to become a fairly popular column in the magazine. But after a year or so, I began to run out of companies to write about. I also began to get busier in my own shop and found it hard to make time to meet the monthly deadline of the column. Evan and I agreed to put the column on hiatus until further notice.
This past spring was the second annual Tritone Expo, a local gear, education, and music entrepreneur showcase. As we were in the early stages of planning, we saw an opportunity to collaborate with Eleven Magazine to help showcase the Expo and some of it's exhibitors. Not only was Evan in full support of the idea, he gave us the cover of the previous month's issue leading up to the Expo, and printed a few thousand extra copies to give out to attendees as program guides! After the Expo, I realized that there were a ton of new companies that could be highlighted in Eleven, so Evan and I made plans to revive my column. The August issue was to feature the come back of "Load In" and I planned to showcase CroyTone Pedals, a new builder in the area that had made his debut at the Expo. I emailed the column at the last minute, as always, and waited eagerly for the August issue to hit the stands.
A few days into August I received an email from Evan explaining that Eleven would have to be put on hold until further notice. Evan, over the course of a few years, went from editing Eleven to fully acquiring the publication. He put his heart and soul into working on the magazine and it showed. Unfortunately, it is a costly venture to run a free publication and requires a lot of advertising revenue. For now, Eleven is on hold in print form, but I have hope that Evan will revive it soon! The following was the rough draft of the "Load In" column for the August issue of Eleven. I can't say thank you enough to Evan and Eleven magazine for giving me the confidence to write about my interests and believing in me!
After a bit of a hiatus, I’m happy to be back working on the “Load In” column again! A lot has happened over the time while I was away from the keyboard and there is plenty to talk about. We had our second annual Tritone Expo at the @4240 Building in Cortex this spring, and it was amazing! So many new companies and builders from the St. Louis area came to exhibit this year, proving that St. Louis is a true hot bed for music industry, education, and economy!
One of the new comers that really stood out for me was Colin Croy and his company, CroyTone Pedals. Croy focuses on achieving a specific sound while designing his pedals, as apposed to modifying or improving a previously designed circuit, The result is nothing short of cutting edge tone! And while this process can be long and tedious, I believe it gives Croy an edge in this ever expanding, and saturated market of effect pedals.
Croy began playing guitar at the age of 11. His father was active in the Springfield, MO music scene during the ‘80s and ‘90s, and was a major influence on his early years as a formable music student and gear tinkerer. “ He taught me how to swap out pickups in my first Epiphone SG and he taught me how to solder, as well”. Soon Croy graduated from pickup swaps to fixing older studio gear with the help of his father. By high school he had taken an interest in effects pedals by building kits and modifying off the shelf pieces. Later, Croy attended Missouri S&T in Rolla for electrical engineering and began designing his own circuits from scratch. “I spent about two years designing the circuit that is The Kicker now, and have been tinkering ever since.”, says Croy.
Currently, CroyTone offers three different models in his pedal line.
1)”The Kicker” is a two button overdrive box that features two independent drive stages. Each stage is voiced for a unique tonal characteristic, and the pedal has an amazing ability to drive your amp while providing exceptional string clarity.
2)”The Camper Fuzz” is an extremely versatile fuzz pedal that can give as much volume and gain as anything on the market, perfect for melting faces at the height of your show! Plus, the Camper Fuzz is extremely quiet while cranked, due to the gating circuit, which only allows for the noise you want to hear!
3)”The Front Line” is a truly unique pedal that offers a high quality buffer, which keeps long cables and multiple pedals from sucking your tone, an optical compressor to add some sparkle and spank to your sound, and a clean boost all in one!
Croy attributes some of his early success to the bands that play his hand built gear. “I’ve been focusing on getting the pedals into the hands of people who have influence in the music scene and it has been paying off well. Paige Brubeck of Sleepy Kitty has been an early supporter of CroyTone, and currently uses his pedals on her board. Croy also has plans to get some of his designs in the hands of Nels Cline of Wilco, who was a major inspiration in the design of the Kicker. “The Kicker came about trying to nail down Nels Cline’s solo in Impossible Germany.” says Croy.
Croy has plans to move back to St. Louis with in the next year and seriously push CroyTone to the next level. “The St. Louis Builder scene is really something unique and incredible. St. Louis is very local-centric and incredibly supportive.” Croy was inspired to really get serious about his company after attending the Tritone Expo last spring. I can personally say there was a lot of buzz about Croy and his pedals, not just from musicians and attendees, but from other builders that were exhibiting. Croy felt that support too, “Everybody there (Tritone Expo) was extremely supportive of their fellow builders. It’s a major reason I am looking forward to once again calling St. Louis my home!”
Needless to say, I can’t wait for Croy to get to town! The strength in numbers of the St. Louis builder’s scene is amazing and it’s craftsman like Croy that make it a reality!
To learn more about CroyTone pedals go to www.croytoneaudio.com