A few weeks ago a shock went through a lot of effects related forums, communities and social network pages: Tone Factor announced it was closing its doors, Brad was going to focus on Mojo Hand.
There's good news now: Brad found a buyer for Tone Factor. Even better news is that the new owner is someone who is well known and respected by both pedal fans and makers: Tomokaz Kawamura, owner of NineVolt Japan (a boutique pedal shop in Japan) and One Control (maker of loop switches and other pedal accessories). They were talking for a while already, but the deal has been signed now.
I just published the One Control interview with Kaz last week, but on hearing this news I had to ask him a few more questions.
Kaz, for those who don't know you yet, can you tell us a bit more about yourself?
My name is Tomokaz Kawamura. I’m from Hanamaki Japan and I’m 35 years old. I was an amateur musician and I loved vintage effects. I became a collector of vintage Japanese effects. I love Japanese vintage pedals like Shin-Ei, Maxon, Ibanez and Guyatone.
I didn't plan to start a pedal business but it was a very natural progression. I started NineVolt Japan about 8 years ago, just me and my wife as the second employee. I got my first office 5 years ago working with just my wife. At first I used eBay but I stopped using it 5 years ago. The first brands I actually imported into japan were Wren and Cuff and Earthquaker Devices. Mad Professor is currently my biggest seller in Japan.
Two years ago I decided I would make my own products and that is how I started One Control. The first product was the Mosquite Blender. I decided that making products to use with pedals would be better because I already had so many pedals at my disposal.
Why did you decide to take over Tone Factor when it closed?
I wanted to help Brad. Brad and I are old friends and we shared a love with pedals. I distributed Mojo Hand in Japan with Brad.
What are your plans with Tone Factor?
I respect Brad and Tone Factor so I really don't want to change much. In the short term, I want to keep the same brands, strategy and style that Tone Factor already had, but in the long term I know lots of effect brands in Japan and I hope to introduce some of them in America and also get input from my staff in the US to make a mix of great brands available for sale.
Tone Factor's main office with still be in America but it will now be in California. I really want to make Tone Factor a great shop for American musicians and as big as it can possibly get. I noticed how the American musicians are highly critical of music gear and I want to do my best to show America how good Tone Factor is.
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