A new chapter begins…

As some of you know, my day job is as a software developer for a company I’ve worked at for the last 25 years. “Composed Chaos” was a name I used informally in association with my music endeavors. When I started releasing software I’d written as personal side projects, I decided then to adopt the name officially for those releases.

So, with the discontinuation of my vaping-related software releases and the likely fact that Disney is not going to be reinstating the FastPass+ system at Walt Disney World (at least not anytime soon, and I believe not in the form it was in pre-Covid, thus rendering my FastPass+ Finder application useless), I’ve decided to refocus on my music projects. That’s right, Composed Chaos is now a music brand. More specifically, a guitar effects pedal brand.

Several weeks ago, I started to feel really burned out on software development. Don’t get me wrong, I love my job. It’s fun, challenging, and every day I learn something new. But my music has been suffering lately as I had not only been spending my days writing software for my day job, but I was also spending my off time writing software for personal projects, including the ones that were being offered here. I went from playing my instruments every day and a consistent schedule of live shows to only occasionally picking up a guitar for 20 minutes on a weekend and mainly spending my time reading tech blogs and programming guides to learn new techniques. Sure, it helped me with my job, but my creativity took a huge hit in the process. I decided I needed to step back from programming and get back into more creative pursuits, and to that end I’ve begun writing and recording music again.

Over the years, I’ve sold off a lot of my gear as I was no longer playing live and didn’t really need it. These days, I can generally get any sound I need utilizing amp simulators on my computer. It makes the recording process so much simpler, and I’m able to get ideas out pretty quickly. But nothing beats the feeling you get plugging into a honest-to-God amplifier. And I had no effects. I’d sold them all. Well, not my wah pedal, I’ll likely be buried with that. So I went shopping for pedals. Seeing as I don’t own Amazon, I quickly realized that it would take me quite a while to fill my pedalboard with the effects I wanted. Or, I could compromise and get something “sorta” good from one of the many cheap Chinese companies that sell on Amazon. That’s when I discovered the wonderous world of DIY pedal building. Emerging days later from that rabbit hole, I said to myself, “Self, you could literally make a pedal yourself that sounds exactly like the super-expensive pedal you want, but without breaking the bank.”

And that’s what I did. I made my first pedal a few weeks ago, a fuzz pedal based on the iconic Big Muff Pi from Electro-Harmonix, specifically the Triangle variant of the long-running series (look it up, there’s a ton of them). As soon as it was ready, I plugged it in and spent about an hour playing every Smashing Pumpkins song I could think of. After that, I started to realize that building that pedal did everything I needed: added a new sound to my current setup, sparked a fair bit of creativity (wait ’til I finish some of the song ideas I came up with), and provided a much needed distraction and brain-break from my job as a programmer.

With that, I’ve decided to continue making guitar pedals. I’ll be starting with a boost/distortion pedal based on a JHS circuit of one of the smoothest overdrive/distortions I’ve heard. I’m making three of them, with one of them going on my personal pedalboard and then offering the other two for sale at a reasonable price. Stay tuned here for an announcement when they are ready. Here’s to the new chapter in my life, Composed Chaos guitar pedals.

-Matt