This episode is part 1 of a 2-part series with Doug Levin and Aaron Janik from Horn-FX.
In 2015, their love of effects and pedals had led Doug Levin and Aaron Janik to various corners of the six-stringed internet and back rooms of guitar centers, only to realize an unfortunate thing: There was nowhere to find information about effects and pedals from the perspective, or made for horn players.
In 2016 they created HornFX, a unique resource for the horn player looking to use effects. Its reviews, books, articles, artist pages, and effects databases are specifically geared to inform any horn player about what effects and pedals might best provide the sounds and capabilities they are looking for.
The goal of HornFX to give the most comprehensive, complete, well-thought-out information and advice to the pedal seeking horn player.
Aaron and Doug also give lessons and consultations, build curriculums for middle school, high school, and higher education, build custom pedalboards for musicians, and work with some of the most accomplished musicians in the world to develop, build, and refine their effects set-up.
Doug Levin started playing saxophone at the age of 10. His earliest influences were guitar players like Johnny Winter, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and Steve Vai, whose sonic explorations would inform his love of effects and pedals. His love of music expanded and his broadening musical capacity led him to play with such greats as The Manhattan Transfer, Buddy Guy, and many more. His musical journey eventually took him to Oberlin College and Conservatory where he met his HornFX partner, Aaron Janik.
The musical community at Oberlin was astounding and helped Doug’s musicality clarify and mature. After college he became a working musician while taking on the business world full time. This double-edged hustle continues to this day as he runs HornFX along with Aaron, plays professionally, and spends his days working hard importing and distributing construction materials. HornFX remains Doug’s passion and allows him to lend his expertise to his wide musical network in a meaningful and fulfilling way.
Trumpeter, Educator, and HornFX Co-Founder Aaron Janik has been steeped in the discipline of music since the age of ten. The Massachusetts native’s earliest introduction to music is by way of revered New England trumpeter Jack Martin, whose expert tutelage molded Aaron into a well-rounded musician, fluent in all genres.
Aaron now resides in Los Angeles, CA where he teaches and regularly performs and records with artists across the country, touring with chart-topping artists like R&B First Lady Faith Evans, Charlie Wilson,and others. He has also performed with Earth, Wind, & Fire, Lil Kim, 112, Total, The Yellowjackets, Patrice Rushen, Bone Thugs & Harmony, Robin Eubanks, Bob Mintzer, Tom Scott, and many others.
Aaron completed his undergraduate studies at Oberlin College of Arts & Sciences in May 2013 with a Jazz Trumpet Performance degree as well as a Biology (pre-medical) degree. He also received his Masters degree from USC in Spring 2020, studying with Bob Mintzer, Peter Erskine, Alan Pasqua, Vince Mendoza, and others.
Aaron endorses B.A.C. trumpets and Denis Wick mouthpieces. He also endorses Strymon, Morley, Pigtronix, Eventide, and Source Audio pedals as well as 64 Audio in-ears.
In this interview, we talked about:
- How using effects can enable horn players to compete in modern music situations
- What a beginner should think about before using pedals
- How to use pedals to hear yourself at gigs
- What an advanced pedal user needs to think about to get the most from their sound with pedals
- A demonstration of the most commonly used effects pedals
- And so much more!
You can watch the video of this interview here: https://youtu.be/FCsG3pyGi88
Doug Levin on Alto & Bari Saxes – HornFX Does Metal – Nephele – Animals As Leaders on Saxophone and Pedals