“A lot of the pedals I use are to make guitars sound less like guitars”: Travis Johnson reveals the PS-3 secrets behind Activity’s sound, and what’s next for Trap Door Electronics

Travis Johnson performs onstage
(Image credit: Maksim Akelin)

Though he’s a self-described “guitar junkie” – having played in a number of bands over the years and built up a solid profile as a pedal builder for Death by Audio and a new company, Trap Door Electronics – Travis Johnson enjoys letting his instrument play more of a supporting role in his newest project, Activity. 

The Brooklyn-based quartet just released their second album, Spirit in the Room, with electronics and synths co-existing with heavily effected clean guitars – to the point where it can be a challenge discerning which is exactly which. 

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Amit Sharma

Amit has been writing for titles like Total GuitarMusicRadar and Guitar World for over a decade and counts Richie Kotzen, Guthrie Govan and Jeff Beck among his primary influences as a guitar player. He's worked for magazines like Kerrang!Metal HammerClassic RockProgRecord CollectorPlanet RockRhythm and Bass Player, as well as newspapers like Metro and The Independent, interviewing everyone from Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy to Slash and Jimmy Page, and once even traded solos with a member of Slayer on a track released internationally. As a session guitarist, he's played alongside members of Judas Priest and Uriah Heep in London ensemble Metalworks, as well as handled lead guitars for legends like Glen Matlock (Sex Pistols, The Faces) and Stu Hamm (Steve Vai, Joe Satriani, G3).