This weeks subject of our Hi-Fives interview series is the man known as Aen, aka Ben Hinz of Dwarfcraft Devices and Devi Ever FX.
Top 5 things about running your own company
- Not having to attend meetings - ever.
- Taking our dogs to work with us. If you ever get a dog hair in your pedal box, its probably because we were snuggling a mutt on the couch.
- Being able to tell people no instead of bending over for every request.
- Listening to loud music first thing in the morning, rather than sitting in silence at a desk in a sea of desks.
- The constant worry and stress and pressure is a major part of it, though not my favorite part, obviously.
Top 5 things that confuse people about Dwarfcraft & Devi Ever FX
- Devi Ever the person isn't at part of Devi Ever FX anymore. Lots of people already know that, but we find ourselves explaining it a few times a week.
- We are in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, which is not a suburb of anything and it is not a big place. That means that we probably can’t help you set up a great big show for your band. But if you’ve toured between Minneapolis and Chicago, you’ve probably driven through!
- It isn’t just me (Aen) running things. If you email us, you will get a response from Louise. Emily probably built your new pedal. If you send in a repair in the last year, Kyle probably fixed it. Tom has helped me design a ton of new stuff in the last year. I couldn’t do this without the other people around me.
- There is no battery option and that is on purpose. You’ll have to grab one of the many (fairly inexpensive) power supplies available now.
- It's supposed to makes that noise, I promise. Don’t email me saying The Great Destroyer is too crazy. If it is called The Great Destroyer, you should heed that warning.
Top 5 non guitar users of Dwarfcraft pedals
- Paul Birken (The Tone Wrecker)
- Brian Cook (Russian Circles)
- Kid Koala (solo, Deltron 3030)
- Juan Alderete (The Mars Volta, Pedals and Effects)
- Alessandro Cortini (Nine Inch Nails)
Top 5 things people don’t know about your company
This is a tough question. We have been around for a while, so most of the important information on our company is out there in some form or another, but I’ll give it a go.
- We have 50% female staff and ownership and almost always have.
- All our designs are reverse engineered from tablets left behind by alien visitors.
- We have a stereo in the main building room and we all have one permanent veto - Emily’s is Beyonce, Louise’s is Metallica, mine is Tears for Fears. We all agree on no banjos or ukuleles ever no matter what, so no one has to waste a veto on that crap.
- We hate all IPA beers. They taste like soap and perfume. It is pretty much the only beer that isn’t allowed in the fridge.
- I’m never high in my demo videos, I swear. That is just how my brain works sober.
Top 5 truckstop purchases
- Monster Energy Drinks
- Novelty license plate magnets
- Beef Jerky
- iPhone cables, because mine always get lost or broken on a road trip
- The worst music ever collected onto two compact discs (specifics are dependent on the geographic location of the truck stop).
Top 5 places/things to do and claim as “work”
- The best part of this job is going to see live music and calling it work.
- Buying new instruments and gear is a pretty big perk. I try to test our prototypes with amazing new gear because that is how I play music in real life. We also have the added bonus of trading with other builders, so that’s pretty cool.
- I have been known to spend some time promoting a local show during business hours.
- We take all of our employees out for a birthday lunch, which usually includes a bunch of beer and good food. Not a bad way to spend an afternoon.
- One time, we accidentally bought half of Deltron 3030 dinner and drinks. As far as our bookkeeper is concerned, it was a work expense.
Top 5 riffs for testing pedals
- Dopesmoker by Sleep
- No Quarter - Led Zeppelin
- Set The Controls for the Heart Of The Sun - Pink Floyd
- Ghost Bike - The Ronald Raygun
- West - The Ronald Raygun
Top 5 reasons to call in sick
We only call it a sick day if we're actually sick! But really, we take a day off when we need one and expect our builders to do the same. Sometimes you just need a day to go on an adventure. So, the top 5 reasons to take a day off:
- Live music! Sometimes a show is a few hours away and sometimes it is a 6 hour drive. Totally worth a half day.
- I love to take Fridays off and take the family to our cabin in northern Wisconsin.
- Life is too short to work on your birthday.
- My wife takes days during the summer off to garden.
- I will always bail on work if old friends come into town.
Top 5 albums we should know (but probably don’t)
- Chelsea Wolfe - Apokalypsis
- Jon Mueller - Death Blues
- Northless - Clandestine Abuse
- Latin Playboys
- Tera Melos - X’d Out
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