Sunday, September 28, 2008


Oliver Ackermann was living in Fredericksburg, Virginia in January 2003. His band at the time, Skywave, played up and down the east coast, finding time in between shows to run his own practice space commune for himself and other local bands. On the strength of his first original design, the Total Sonic Annihilation guitar pedal, Ollie began to sketch the blueprints that would lead to a his own line of pedals named Death By Audio. One of the towns in Virginia that Skywave often frequented was Norfolk. One of the people that came to every show was Joe Kelly. Joe was throwing rock dance parties at a Filipino sailor's club called "The Seaman's Club" and later known simply as "Cruzers". Joe began booking shows there, a few which featured Skywave. Joe and Ollie wanted to move to New York City to pursue more happiness. In March of 2003, they marched into NYC. They found a loft space in Brooklyn that they should not have been legally living in. Times were rough- friends got mugged and beat down, dead pitbulls were found in garbage bags outside their front door, next door neighbor weed dealers screamed like burning witches as they were beat to within inches of their life by bigger, badder drug dealers. Blood poured out from under that neighbor's door and then there was a knock at Joe and Ollie's front door. They silently ate pizza. Justin Avery, from Joe's old band Cobraspa, moved into the loft and he and Ollie began A Place To Bury Strangers. Ollie taught Joe how to build his guitar pedals so Joe started selling his at local stores like Main Drag Music. They also gave pedals to their favorite musicians, like Liars and Xiu Xiu. Neighbors banged on walls and threatened the two for the racket they were making with all their rock and roll toys. They built a loft from disassembled MTV sets that a friend had done PA work for. Ollie's van was constantly assualted by anonymous assholes. Tires slashed, mirrors broken, Radio Shack speakers stolen (really!? Realistic!? what could you possibly get for that? like $2!?). They disassembled the entire loft and moved it downstairs to avoid noise complaints. Justin left Brooklyn for Wisconsin and Greg Wilson (future Coin Under Tongue drummer) moved in. Joe and Greg did mushrooms and Greg passed out and busted his face open. Joe Dj'd every club in NYC and built his own set-up in the loft. He built guitar pedals and listened to records most of the time while getting paid $12/hr to work in at a screen printing company full time. Parents with small children moved into building so Ollie found a new location for the DBA crew: way down South Williamsburg.