Jamie, a self-described “amateur engineer” and lifelong tinkerer (when he was a kid, he took apart a car in his grandparents’ yard and put it back together!), has a tendency to obsess over his hobbies, and pedals soon took over his life. Down in his subterranean tone laboratory, he would work until five AM perfecting his craft.
After several years of late-night toil, sweat, and experimentation, Earthquaker got its big break when fellow Akronites The Black Keys enlisted Stillman as their tour manager/tech/babysitter after their second record. Naturally, since guitarist Dan Auerbach is a total fuzz fiend, they got to talking about their shared interest in gnarly stompboxes, and Dan started using James’s pedals live and in the studio. Dan’s avowed enthusiasm for Jamie’s pedals introduced Earthquaker to a whole new audience as the Black Keys attracted more and more mainstream attention, and business started booming. Between 2007 and 2010, Jamie estimates that he built about 2,000 pedals by hand just by himself!
Eventually, Jamie couldn’t keep up with demand on his lonesome, so he hired nine employees and converted his basement into a full-on pedal workshop (his daughters called his employees “the basement people,” which would be an excellent name for a band). After a while, it became clear that their situation was unsustainable, and they needed a change.
Salvation came when Jamie’s wife, Julie Robbins, left her job in banking to become Earthquaker’s CEO. Together, Julie’s keen business sense and Jamie’s innovative designs pushed the company to stratospheric heights of excellence and allowed them to move to their current 15,000 square-foot Tone Forge.
Though Earthquaker Devices may have left the basement almost ten years ago, their mentality and mission have not changed in the slightest, and their DIY ethos is as strong as ever. What started as one musician trying to build useful, durable, inspiring pedals by hand grew into fifty musicians building useful, durable, inspiring pedals by hand. Their operation has scaled up, but their dedication and passion haven’t changed one iota. Each member of the Earthquaker team builds each pedal as if it were going to go on their personal pedalboard, and this level of ownership leads to peerless build quality. This mentality also means that a certain level of artistry goes into each pedal, and that’s why their circuits create the sort of sounds that unlock your creativity. They inspire you to write new songs and play differently, almost as if they’re an extension of your instrument.
We invite you to browse our selection of Earthquaker Devices below and find the stompbox that speaks to you. They’re all handbuilt by musicians for musicians, so we have no doubt that you’ll find a noisemaker that will push your creativity and expressiveness to new heights.