The following interview is the first in what will become a completely random series over the years, hopefully. The spirit and intent and vision and fun built into these mics is EXACTLY the aesthetic I love in the recording community. I ordered a pair of these already, before western Mass runs out of deer to shoot and so spent shells become hard to come by, or more likely, that Brad gets sick of making these things much the way many of the other custom, cool, underground mic makers have gone. I first championed a microphone called the "copperphone" when nobody else had one. I Have a Davisound 1950 microphone, I have the Stapes omni's that became the prototypes for the Avenson omni microphone pairs that seem "old school" almost at this point in the mic world.
Anyway, here are some questions that Brad Martin, creative mastermind and deer slayer behind these mics graciously answered for me. Enjoy. Buy his mics while you still can!!!
Who the heck are you?
Haha well, my name is Brad Martin. I'm 26, a Capricorn, I enjoy taking long walks on the beach, and blowing away squirrels to make microphones from the spent shotgun shells.
Do you record people?
I do. In college I interned at and then eventually worked at a recording studio in Western Mass for about 3 years. When it closed it's doors a few years back I came to the realization that I either had to find another studio to work at locally (there are none) or take on clients in a home studio which I do now. I make my living as a guitar teacher, but I have sessions nearly every weekend.
What was the basic motivation for making microphones at all?
Honestly because I'm broke haha. When the studio where I worked closed I realized I had basically no gear of my own. Having a house and a bride-to-be the only cash that I allow myself to put into gear is what I make from sessions. I was using Protools HD and Neumanns at my job but my first session on my own was on an mbox 2 pro with a bunch of 57s. It sucked. Buying cheap mics to mod or making my own mics was one of the ways to maximize my Gear-To-Dollar ratio.
I really love that these mics are built into shotgun shells, making it absolutely impossible for me to EVER fly with them, so how did you land on this idea? Was it after you had killed like 58 deer and a squirrel and you thought it was a waste of good plastic and brass to just throw the spent shells away?
Haha yes. Actually I had been building the mics into xlr connectors for a while just to fill my mic bag, but they just looked so lame. Some musicians would say, "dude aren't you going to plug mics into those cables?" So I was sort of on a search of something cooler to put them in. One day a few weeks back I was at a guitar students' house showing him one of my xlr mics and out of the corner of my eye noticed his stack of spent shells. That's really all it took. I've thought about buying empty shells, but there's something cool about a shotgun-shell microphone that still stinks of gunpowder.People are going so crazy over these things I'm in the process of making 2 more models, a cardioid condenser and a dynamic.
Do you have a favorite microphone (besides the ones you make)?
Favorite? I guess it depends on the application. I think the coolest mic I own is probably my 1938 Astatic K2. I sounds like shit but it looks really sweet.It has an old telephony sound that can be a killer room mic. Or decoration.
Thanks again for finding my little mics interesting enough to spawn an interview. I hope you enjoy them and any criticism will be graciously accepted.
Thanks for making good recording stuff, Brad.