TOP 20: Intensive Care Audio

Today we asked Patrick, the owner and worlds best soldering man of Intensive Care Audio, creators of the righteous brilliance that is The Fideleater & Vena Cava Filter pedals.

Describe Intensive Care Audio in one sentence.
Let’s get weird.

It is now 2021, what do you hope to achieve this year?
I’ve been working on a few new pedals which I’ll be releasing this year. There’s a pretty brutal fuzz with really cool noise circuits in the pipeline, the ‘Recovery Phase’ bi-phaser is misbehaving itself slightly but I should have that sorted out soon, and there’s a very cool full range distortion which i stumbled across whilst trying to model the front end of this very strange old Italian amplifier I have.
I’ve been 3D modelling and designing new enclosures which has been fun and I’m learning how to code so I can delve deeper into the strange and frightening world of DSP.

Have you ever played an original Klon Centaur?
No. I think I played a Klone once and thought it sounded pretty cool, but not cool enough that I wanted to remortgage the house. Also, I don’t have a house. I’m sure there will be people who say a Klone is nothing like playing the real deal, because after all, electronics is not actually Science, it’s a form of ancient Druid magic we can never hope to understand. Plus, that oscilloscope looks awfully complicated.

What do you consider your greatest musical achievement?
I played Glastonbury a couple of times which was a bit of a dream come true. The first year was the first time I’d ever been and Radiohead were headlining, they’re probably my favourite band so it was a pretty amazing weekend.

Do you use alternative tunings? If so, name your favourite.
I use quite a lot but I’ve got no idea what they’re called or if they have a name. It usually happens by accident if I forget to tune a string back up to pitch or I’ll just keep adjusting a string’s pitch until it hits something I like within what I’m playing. I play with drop D quite a lot and also tuning G down to E sounds pretty cool.

Please suggest a song to learn for a beginner on the guitar.
Good Times Bad Times – Led Zeppelin. I’d rather have to learn the guitar on that track than the drums.

Do you enjoy changing your guitars strings?
I enjoy the outcome. The process is not something I’ve given a great deal of thought to. Except when one of the strings goes up into the gap between your finger and the nail, that is a fate worse than death.

What is your current rig?
I mainly play Telecasters. Some I’ve bought and some I’ve put together myself. I recently had a Telemaster made by MJT which I’ve been playing a lot. It’s basically a Jazzmaster body with the pickups and hardware of a Tele. The pickups were made by Rusty Deluxe Pickups and they’re incredible, hands down the best pickups i’ve ever played.
My pedalboard is in a constant state of flux. I don’t buy pedals anymore so most of my pedalboard is made up with prototypes and experiments. I play through a ‘77 Fender Pro Reverb but recently I’ve discovered that overdrive and fuzz sounds incredible through that strange 60s Italian amp I mentioned earlier. The cleans aren’t as nice as the Fender so I’m debating whether or not I can be arsed lugging two extremely heavy amps to gigs.

What was your first guitar, and do you still own it?
I think the first guitar I owned was an Encore Strat from Argos I got for Christmas when I was about 8. I can’t remember what happened to it but it’s likely I broke it. I had the habit of taking things apart and breaking them when I was younger, I’ve yet to grow out of that habit.

What was your first guitar pedal, and do you still own it?
I can’t remember exactly what the first pedal I bought was, but one of the first was a Danelectro Cool Cat Chorus. They’re pretty great and I’ve still got it, although I gave it an awful paint job with poster paints or something. It runs on 18v and I never have the right supply or batteries to use it so it’s just gathering dust somewhere.

Do you practice on electric or acoustic guitar, or both?
I used to play a lot of acoustic guitar but I haven’t really played one for years. Once I got obsessed with effect pedals and building circuits it was pretty much electric all the way. Maybe one day I’ll do a reverse Dylan.

Which genre of music do you not own, and why?
I can’t really be doing with Death Metal or Thrash Metal. I’m glad people are doing it, and it’s a genre which means so much to some people which is great, but personally I don’t get anything from it.

Should bands get back together?
Only if it’s for the right reasons. If they feel they’ve genuinely got something worthwhile to contribute or new ideas they want to work on then fine, but I’m not so sure when bands reform and charge crazy amounts of money to see live shows, then don’t release anything new.

Do you enjoy nostalgia?
I used to, back in the good old days.

Have you ever delved into Modular Synthesis?
No but I do find it fascinating, and there’s a certain inevitability about getting into it. There’s a fair amount of cross over with effect pedals but it’s a different world really. It can be quite intimidating at first because it feels like there’s so much to learn and understand but I think it’s a natural transition to make. Increasingly you see pedal manufacturers including things like CV inputs and outputs on pedals so I do think the two worlds are beginning to coalesce.

What are you listening to at the moment?
This week I’ve been listening to a lot of SUUNS, Marvin Pontiac, and a friend sent over a really great MF DOOM album.

Soldering, rate yourself between 1 & 10
I’m pretty handy with a soldering iron these days so I’m going to say 8.

How would you like to be remembered?
“You know, the guy with the dry skin…”

What is your favourite word?
I heard a great word the other day; defenestrate. Which means to throw somebody out of a window. I also really like egg-bound and dildo.

Tell us a joke
My girlfriend says I keep shouting about Hobbits in the middle of the night. I must be Tolkien in my sleep.

Intensive Care Audio The Fideleater