Overdrive Week: Lone Wolf Audio and BIG EAR n.y.c. Talk Drive

Joe Anastasio pulls double-duty hand-building pedals for BIG EAR n.y.c., along with his own company Lone Wolf Audio. Collectively, the artist resume of these two companies reads pure powerhouse names in metal and rock: Converge, Darkthrone, Toxic Holocaust, Nails, Cage the Elephant, ZZ Top, and more. BIG EAR’s FRANK was even featured in our ridiculously cool overdrive shootout from earlier this week.

We talked to Joe a couple months back about Lone Wolf, but checked in with him again to talk all things overdrive. Check it out:

Tell us a bit about yourself and your company.

I’m a guy who doesnt settle for what’s been done before, and strives to enhance tone worldwide. High end effects for players who want to stand out from the pack.

What inspired you to start building pedals?

Necessity, tired of stock effects that sound like everyone else.

Why do pedal makers still make tube screamer clones and variations? Will we ever have a “better mousetrap” overdrive?

Well, there has been a lot of klon hype but thats really overblown, even though i make what i feel is a superior version of one. The TS808 is a classic for the same reasons, but we have all made our own version.

The current best is my friend Pat at Abominable electronics “Hellmouth.” Another ripper is the BlackArts Witchburner. I’m releasing the Kamakazie soon also which my take on the design.

Most OD designs are based on existing chips such as the JRC4558D or the MC33178. Are there any new chips being manufactured that could change the OD game? Or is there a kind of chip you wish someone would make that’s different than what’s out there?

Burr Brown always. JRC hype is just that. Hype.

What is your favorite kind of clipping?

Hybrid pairs… it’s something I started doing that sorta became my calling card.

Whose guitar tone do you think is the single greatest ever?

Frank Zappa, who else haha.

Where’s a good place to start for someone who wants to start building pedals?

Beavis Audio, Madbean, GuitarPCB, etc

What is your design philosophy?

Go way too far then scale it back.

How are your pedals different from the other manufacturers out there?

I try things most won’t, and will stop at nothing to make it work how I think it should work.

What other manufacturer’s designs do you like?

BlackArts Toneworks, Abominable Electronics, BIG EAR n.y.c., lastgasp Audio, DUNNO))), Sean Ryan customs, Screamin FX, old Mutron stuff, Old Maestro stuff…i t goes on a bit.

There are a couple basic effect types, of which most effects are just variations of, ie: flange, delay, overdrive/distortion, boost, reverb, phaser, wah, etc. Do you think there’s an undiscovered effect type just waiting to be found?

Yes but I won’t say because people will start making them.

What’s next for Lone Wolf Audio?

Lone Wolf Audio is about to release a more affordable line soon, 2 overdrives and a fuzz, a lot of new pedals are done and out like the full analog synth, the LWA120, the Necronomicon and the Booze Lawyer.  Along with the amps for which parts should be here any day now…

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Max is a senior editor and producer of Gear Gods and member of the collective Party Smasher Inc. He studies jazz composition and improvisation in New York City.