[interview] One Control: Tomokaz Kawamura

Here's FXDB's interview with Tomokaz Kawamura of One Control:

How did One Control start?

I had a business selling pedals for a few years already when I built the first prototype and tested it extensively. When I was finally satisfied with the tone I found a factory that could build it on for me in bulk. We started two years after the first prototype was built and I was the only employee at my company but I had a lot of help from pedal builders that I already knew.

I am no talented guy but I have ton of very talented friends who helped me: Bjorn at BJF, Nicholas at Catalinbread, James at Amptweaker, Brian at Subdecay and more and more... I got a ton of advice from them, so our products are very good quality.

One ControlWhere do the name and logo come from?

In Japanese One can be thought of as all. So you could think of it as all control.

I like outer space so it was kind of inspired by that, no real story behind it.

What sets One Control apart from other builders?

Our company not only makes products but also imports several different brands into Japan. That is why we can get advice from several great minds in the pedal industry to help us with our designs.

How do you start on a new pedal?

With our newest product, the Caiman Switcher, was a direct result of feedback at the NAMM show. We listened to several customers about what they would want in a switcher and incorporated those ideas into our latest product. NAMM was in January and we currently have a prototype built in April and plan to have units available for sale by the end of May.

How do you name your pedals?

Most of our product names have to do with reptiles. We have the Chameleon, Caiman, Crocodile, and Iguana. We thought of this because with all of the cables sticking out of the switchers they look like a reptile's back with spikes sticking out of it.One Control BJF Buffer

Can you tell us something about the production process?

We use contractors to build our products.

We use different methods to build the circuits, enclosures and finishes.

For example, the Mosquite Blender circuits are hand soldered on PCB, the enclosures are made by a CNC machine, then anodized and screen printed.

How important is the look of your pedals?

The look of One Control pedals is important but we try to keep our designs simple. I would say that One Control follows the rule that form follows function. If you build something that works well and makes sense, there is a good chance that it will look good also.

One Control White LoopIs parts selection important?

We pay close attention to the parts that we use. Not only do we start by choosing high quality parts but we also do several tests to see what creates the highest quality sound. We test over and over again with different parts until we have found the best sounding selection.

Which of your pedals makes you most proud?

The Crocodile Tail Loop. It is very complex and has many great features built into it. The BJF Buffer and MIDI functions are included, so it has many features that make it sound great and very versatile.

Which of your pedals was your toughest build?

The Crocodile Tail Loop was probably the most difficult to create because it incorporated many things that weren't on previous switchers we had made. For being a 10 pedal switcher is is actually quite small. We also added MIDI functions which was challenge but ultimately set the Crocodile Tail Loop apart from many other products.

Which of your pedals is the most popular?

Our most popular product is probably the Micro-Distro. I believe that it is very popular because unlike many other pedal power supplies, it is very small and has 9 outputs. This makes it easy to fit on almost any pedal board and it comes with power cables and a world wide universal power supply. I believe all of these factors have contributed to the large amount of sales.One Control Distro

Who uses your pedals and for which genres?

I chose to make switchers because I had several good ideas about how to improve switchers.

We haven't made any custom pedals yet but probably the most famous person using our products is Naoto from Orange Range.

What does the future of One Control look like?

My short term 2012 goal is to expand the market to USA, EU and Russia.
And someday, I want to make overdrive pedals.

Are you working on any new products?

We are currently in the process of making several new products. The Crocodile Tail Loop, the Caiman Tail Loop, the Mosquite Blender Mk2 with expression pedal input are examples of some of the products that we are currently working on. The Crocodile and Caiman should be done in May of 2012, the other products probably won't be ready until mid-summer of 2012.

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