Zodlounge is going to bring new content in the form of interviews, blogs, and excerpts to their site for our readers and clients’ perusal. This is our inaugural post. Please share!
Most people have no idea how much preparation, planning, and hard work goes on behind-the-scenes within the music industry. From creative writing and studio work to record deals, gear, crews and touring, there are so many fluid, moving parts going on at once that one could not possibly see what truly transpires to get an act from studio to stage. Most often, people see point A and/or Point B, not the actual journey it took to get from one to the other. This is the proverbial “dirty work” that nobody notices. And this “dirty work” is crucial.
Each artist/act/band is different. They took a different path, even if just a slight variation from another. In the truest sense of the phrase, there’s not just one way to go about it.
There are three foundational necessities when it comes to putting on a show:
1) The Act
2) The Fan
3) The Gear
Conceptually, it is simple. Gear is the lifeblood of the show. Gear is what connects the artist to the fan.
Today, we are introducing TJ Bechill. He is owner and lead technician of NEAT Audio (Next Era Audio Technologies), here to discuss what standard gear is needed to put on a great show and how he blends tried-and-true tricks of the trade with new, ever-evolving technology to bring an artists’ show to life and connect them to their fans.
— INTERVIEW —
ZOD: TJ, tell us a little bit about what got you into audio in the first place.
TJ: It started with a love affair with music. My dad and uncle loved hi-fi stereo systems back when I was a kid. I focused on the bass when I was a young kid. We had these large-format speakers that put out a lot of energy. For you HIFI nerds out there, my favorite set of speakers were my uncles 2 pair of Infinity RS4.5. Later on, I started playing in bands and because my family was musical, there were instruments around the house. My parents really fueled it all. I ended up going to college for Music Technology at University of Saint Francis. After graduating, I started working at Sweetwater as a Sales Engineer.
ZOD: So, after years at Sweetwater where you built relationships with acts like Twenty One Pilots, Shinedown, and Bleachers/Jack Antonoff – you decided to branch out and create NEAT Audio LLC. Tell us a little bit about why and about what NEAT does.
TJ: NEAT builds playback rigs, wireless rigs, tour automation, and sells & installs studio gear as well. I started doing these sorts of things at Sweetwater, and it got to a point where I was needed on the road more and more. So, I decided to start NEAT and be available for acts anywhere in the country for anything they’d need… 24/7.
ZOD: It seems you navigate an ever-changing branch of the music industry. Any working artist has the potential to use pretty much everything you sell and install, correct? What are the basics that a new touring artist should be prepared for?
TJ: Control your controllables. Focus first on the things that can make your performance better. An in-ear split rig for monitoring is a necessity for performance and connecting to the artist. Playback rigs are used to supplement tracks from an album that cannot be replicated live without major headaches or hiring more players and crew. This gives the fans what they want and what they heard on your last album that then brought them out to your show.
ZOD: How does NEAT’s business model intersect with what Zodlounge does? They seem like two very different worlds, but do they work in conjunction with one another?
TJ: NEAT and Zodlounge have collaborated on everything from finding the correct studio gear to building playback and in-ear rigs for artists Zod has produced. Working hand-in-hand allows NEAT and Zodlounge to create a bridge between studio and live applications, seamlessly.
ZOD: What’s your favorite band?
TJ: Don’t go there. I have too many clients! Just kidding, I don’t really have an answer but my listening is greatly dictated by my mood.
NEAT deals in a vast array of studio and touring gear, and TJ’s 24/7 approach to servicing the artist is a breath of fresh air and stress-reliever in one of the most volatile aspects of the music business.
Contact TJ Bechill at firstname.lastname@example.org or 260-415-2563 for quotes and questions you may have regarding your live show setup! Mention this article to Zodlounge or TJ and receive a day-rate discount on NEAT Audio services.