RED PANDA: Interview with Curt Malouin

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– Can you please introduce us with Red Panda Lab ?
What kind of pedals are you building ?

We design and manufacture pedals for experimentally-minded musicians.  We focus on digital signal processing to create effects that warp, twist, and bend sound so that you can discover new ways to approach your instrument.

 – Would you like to share with us your way of creation new effects?

Pushing the hardware to its limit is a key part of my design process.  I start with a sound or algorithm I want to explore.  I enjoy programming in assembly language, because it forces you to view the problem from a different perspective.  Trying to achieve something within constraints leads to new sounds.

Once the basic effect is sketched out and I have a working pedal, I build a few prototypes to get feedback and iterate on the features and sound.  The whole process can take anywhere from 12-24 months.

– How does it look like your typical day at work?

It is mostly email and administrative work, to be honest.  I try to set aside a couple of hours in the morning to do engineering, and spent a lot of time in 2016 improving our manufacturing process so that I will have more time to work on new designs in 2017.
So on a typical 12-hour day, I might spend an hour doing engineering, then 3-4 hours of email, then ordering parts, scheduling production, sending invoices, getting ready for the next trade show or magazine ad, and so on.  Running the business is a full-time job.  Sylvie manages all of our in house production and QA now, which is a big help and ensures we are still shipping pedals even if I am busy with payroll taxes.

– Red Panda latest pedal is amazing Raster. Are you planning to add    tails to your delay pedals or any other modification update?

We do not discuss future product plans, sorry.

– You come from a synthesizer background,do you still play and what  kind of gear are you using ?

I am really an engineer, not a musician, but can operate a drum machine and sequencer.  Right now, I have a Roland TR-909, Roland V-Synth, Yamaha QY700 sequencer, Yamaha TX81Z, Dave Smith Mopho (desktop), Ensoniq ASR-X Pro, and a small Blacet frac rack modular.  Plus a dozen or so effects pedals at any given time.

             – Some advice or message to all pedal users ?
You probably have enough gear, push it to its limits to create new sounds.

     – Can you give us any hints of what we’ll see from Red Panda in the future?

At NAMM this month we showed a prototype of our next product, the Tensor.
It does real-time forward/reverse/tape stop effects, with pitch shifting and time stretching (slow down time without pitch shift).  Hold and solo functions allow you to flip, stretch, and manipulate time on stage.  We are working hard to finish it up for a spring release.

RED PANDA prototip

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