RADIOHEAD’s ED O’BRIEN Explains Why He Loves The BOSS DD-5

Radiohead guitarist Ed O’Brien is known for being extremely into pedals. So when the man has a favorite sound, it’s probably a pretty good one. In a recent interview with Guitarist, O’Brien discussed his love of the old Boss DD-5 delay pedal and how it shaped the band’s iconic records The Bends and OK Computer.


Interestingly, O’Brien also points out that his use of pedals on both The Bends and OK Computer is pretty sparse, making the DD-5 and its ’90s delay sound all the more prominent.

“I love the DD-5,” he says. “To me, the DD-3 is the sound of the ’80s, while the DD-5 is the sound of the ’90s. The DD-5 was key to the sound of The Bends and OK Computer. It was virtually all DD-5.

“I didn’t use many pedals at the time, but the BOSS DD-5 was one of my favourites because I could get so many different sounds out of it. I love using it for ring modulator-style noises. I play around with that pedal a lot and it’s been on every Radiohead pedalboard I’ve gone out with because it’s the only delay that can make those OK Computer sounds.”

Despite his love of the DD-5, O’Brien notes that he’ll be using the DM-101 on the road whenever Radiohead gets back out there. Well, that or the SDE-3000D.

“When I go out on tour again, the [DM-101] Delay Machine is probably going on the ‘board,” he said. “I can store sounds in there, which I can’t do with the Electro-Harmonix Memory Man. The Delay Machine is extraordinary.”

He added: “If I can make the SDE-3000D [Dual Digital Delay] work I’ll use that, too, although I’ll still need a DD-5. I think the [original Roland] SDE-3000 is amazing. That ’80s era of delays was really special, and BOSS totally nailed it. Daniel [Steinhardt] and I have very similar tastes in delays, and I’m always waiting for his validation.”

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