We had the pleasure of sitting down with James Bowman of Bowman Audio Endeavors to talk gear, touring, and life as head of one of the most exciting new pedal brands today!
Give us a brief history on how Bowman Audio Endeavors came about.
BAE started as a direct result of the pandemic. I never really thought I would start a pedal company. But with the live music industry and the rest of the world on hold, I started tinkering with circuits. I built a few pedals and sent them to some friends, and it really started to grow from there.
Can you take us through a day in the life at the company?
The company is me, James Bowman. I handle all of the part orders, building, final testing, packaging, and shipping of each pedal. I wake up every morning and go through my check list of what needs to be done for the day.
Tell us a little bit about your history with effects pedals. Favorite brands, inspirations, funny stories?
I've been collecting pedals for as long as I can remember. Some of my favorites are, EQD, Caroline Guitar Company, 1981 Inventions, the now defunct Smart People Factory, Land Devices, Adventure Audio, Mythos, Oneder Effects, SNK... just to name a few. Tons of inspiration in those builders, as well as others. And the Bowman pedal wouldn't be alive now if it weren't for Zack with Birmingham Sounds. I tried to redo the PCB layout and completely destroyed the routing using software I wasn't familiar with. He was able get it back up and running for me! So grateful for his help. That is a great aspect of the pedal builders community I've seen thus far. Everyone is willing to give you pointers and help out with any questions that may come up.
Can you talk a little bit about your history with Russo Music?
Russo is always a tour stop highlight! Has been a constant pitstop when in Asbury for as long as I can remember. Whether it's stopping in to grab supplies, checkout some gear, or just look around, It is a must do in the area. Everyone is always super nice and helpful. Honestly one of the best! So excited to have the opportunity to work together on BAE!
As a touring musician, what do you want to see in a pedal? Anything from the pedal world you’d love to see?
I like a nice simple platform in a pedal. Anything that has more than a couple knobs, and I'm usually going to get overwhelmed. Sturdy and simple is what I tend to look for. But there are exceptions, having a pedal like the Strymon Timeline to handle tons of presets for different songs is really handy.
What’s the one pedal you wish that drunk guy in Knoxville never spilled beer on?
I'd have to say the Strymon Timeline. They're expensive, and that is the one that always gets beat up for some reason.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced as a new pedal company?
Trying to spread the word about the company. As of now the only promotion I've done is through Social Media. All sales have been direct through the BAE website. The response has been great! But getting pedals out for more people to see and play is the goal.
Can you tell us what you enjoy most about the pedal building process?
I find the building process to be therapeutic in a way. It's an electric jigsaw puzzle. You have to put the right pieces into place to make it work. My brain is always on, so it is very relaxing to have a task with a predetermined goal at the end.
How about the design process?
Design process is the toughest part. I typically try to bring the ideas to life on a breadboard, and get the circuit where I want it sound wise, make sure nothing is going to catch on fire or melt, (something always does). Then it's making sure the schematic is correct for PCB layouts.
What’s the most important tool in your shop?
My Hakko FX-888D Soldering Iron. A good hot iron is a must.
What's in store for the future of Bowman Audio Endeavors?
Trying to keep up with orders, and bring new pedals to life! I have a couple ideas in the works, and hope to get those out in the near future!
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