Mikko Kosonen - Pedal Dogma

The idea was strange to begin with:

Finnish A-list guitarist Mikko Kosonen phoned me up one morning, and told me he had bought a Keeley Electronics effect pedal that was highly inspiring. Mikko had written a new song using the pedal in question, and he now wanted to try every Keeley pedal available.

In Mikko’s view a pedal is an instrument, too, just like a guitar. An effect should give something back to the musician and bring music along with it. The technical details of pedals or their “vintage authenticity”, on the other hand, don’t really interest him.

Mikko was eager to tape Dogma-style videos of every available Keeley effect. The idea was that he would play each effect for the first time with the camera rolling. He wanted the pedal to inspire the direction his improvisation would take, instead of carefully planning each video’s musical content beforehand.

Mikko Kosonen is known to enjoy jumping in at the deep end. In the past he has already made a Guitar Dogma video series, which saw him record one demo a day for a whole year, and load up each video onto You Tube unedited. He also held a workshop on improvisation for Custom Boards, ending the day by playing a 20-minute improvised piece, which you can find on Custom Boards’ You Tube channel.

We set a date for our video session with Mikko. Mikko knew he had to pick up his children from day care in the afternoon, but we would try to record as many clips of Keeley pedals as possible before then.

On the day of our shoot Mikko proved his professionalism. He had spent the whole day before in a TV-studio. The man was tired, but clearly used to perform under any conditions. We managed to get a whopping 18 videos in the can!

We were using a sort of “shotgun method” to tape our videos. I selected an effect pedal, hooked it up, and then we set our camera and recording equipment to “record”. The resulting videos are full of aural excitement, with a good taste of danger, some mistakes and a few surprises thrown in.

We used the three cameras we could find at Custom Boards HQ for our shoot. All guitar parts were recorded going through a Kemper profiling amp connected to an audio interfacen and then onto hard-disk. We used the Vox AC30 profile that comes with the Kemper. We didn’t use ambient mikes or additional reverb – all the sounds you’ll hear come straight off the Kemper.

The first six videos from our shoot will be online today. Neither audio nor video have gone through additional editing or processing, instead they have been left raw, staying true to our Dogma ethos.

I really do admire Mikko’s courage a lot! A lesser guitarist would have become jittery in the knowledge that the videos would be shared on You Tube, especially as he didn’t know what to expect when stepping on the pedal for the first time. But it is exactly this fearlessness that makes these video so interesting.

26.10.2017 Kimmo Aroluoma
Writer is the founder of Custom Boards