01) What was your initial inspiration the led to creating pedals?
In a nutshell, it was Les Paul who inspired me to pursue musical electronics. I always admired him as a performer, and I was lucky enough to see him before he died, but he was also fantastically inventive and technologically minded. He built gear out of necessity as a musician, and I’ve always strived to create equipment that serves a real musical purpose. I built my first guitar amplifier when I was 16 from an old valve Hacker radio because I couldn’t afford a real tube amp. I even made a 2×12″ cabinet for it because I lusted after a Fender Twin. I felt a real affinity with Les that still motivates me to this day; his resilience was remarkable.
02) Do you play guitar? If so, what’s on your pedal board?
I’ve been playing guitar since I was 9. I always loved unique gear, so I was swapping out pickups, respraying guitars, and modifying amps and pedals from an early age. Over the years I amassed quite a sizeable collection of valve amps in particular, and frequently ran multiple amp/cab setups on stage and in the studio. I think this lead to me being very fussy when it came to pedals, because I had the real deal stacked up behind me. The ‘board I used for many years had 2 original Tubescreamers, a DD-3, a DM-2, and a TU-2. I could pull a lot of sounds out of it, but I always had at least 2 amps with me. Now I only use the Bigfoot ‘board and a single amplifier, and for me it’s like having a whole range of vintage amps lined up, not just in terms of sound, but feel too. The ‘board is wired with the Trouble Booster first, then the Octo Puss, the King Fuzz, the Thunder Pup, then the Octo Puss Prime.
03) What’s the strangest request you ever received (besides this questionnaire)?
An old friend of mine, a very talented guy if a little unorthodox, thought of each frequency band like a certain type of cheese; an analogy he thought would help people to understand him where his technical knowledge was limited. For example, the bass frequencies were referred to as the blue cheeses, while the lower mids were the creamy, milder cheeses. He once asked me if I could help him get a little more Camembert from his Jazzmaster!
04) Who are some of the more famous Bigfoot Engineering’s users and endorsees?
We are really lucky to have some incredible players using Bigfoot. I’m particularly proud to have Marc Ford as an endorsee. He is one of the most naturally gifted guitarists I’ve ever heard, and it’s very affirming to know our gear is responsive enough for such a dynamic player. I was also really excited to see the Thunder Pup on the Black Crowes’ Lay Down with Number 13 tour; Rich Robinson is just incredible. Bigfoot are also finding fans in the studio. Brendan Benson from The Raconteurs has been using his King Fuzz on a whole host of production credits, so you may well have heard us on record by now.
05) What’s coming up in 2015 for BFE?
I’m really excited about what we have lined up for next year. Now we have a great range of preamp, overdrive, boost, distortion and fuzz sounds, we’re moving into modulation territory, all with our trademark responsiveness, fatness, and lots of character. First up for release will be a throbbing, thunderously deep tremolo.