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In this episode of the Sound Design Live podcast, I talk to Dave Swallow, Merlijn van Veen, Bob McCarthy, Darryn de la Soul, and Michelle Pettinato about their best tips to find a touring FOH sound engineer job.
- With whom should I build relationships to get international touring gigs?
- Should I work for free to get my foot in the door?
- Who are the best people to cold call to find touring jobs?
- Should I approach bands who are on tour about working with them?
- Should I work for free to get experience?
- Where is the best place to work to get picked up for a tour?
- How do I get my name out there for a touring FOH sound engineer job?
- All music in this episode by Steve Knots.
The less money you charge, the more work you have to do.
- Find out which local bands are touring internationally and reach out to their management.
- Don’t poach gigs/clients.
- Be friendly with sound engineers, tour managers, and production managers. Keep up regular email correspondence. You have to be able to stick in their minds. But if you are cold calling, go through management.
- Don’t work for free. Instead, do multiple jobs (driver + tour manager + merchandise).
Merlijn Van Veen
There’s no way to tell if it will do you any good, but if you never try, you can be sure it won’t do you any good.
- Get involved with local production companies that do international tours.
- Last minute calls on FB groups.
- There’s no harm in making yourself known. The worst thing they can do is say no.
- If an artist or client says something positive about your work, ask if you can put it on your website.
The number one thing [the artist] wants is trust. That this person can listen to them and interpret their music to the people. They’re much more looking for that than super hot shot technical chops.
- Get a job on an international music festival.
- Knock on the door of a big international touring company.
Darryn De La Soul
- Don’t poach gigs/clients.
- Work with a rental company. Get on a small tour. Help the supporting bands that don’t have a sound engineer of their own.
The people who succeed are the ones who are trying to tap out every single avenue they can think of.
- Meet production managers and tour managers. They do the hiring.
- Work anywhere where touring bands come through, and give your contact information to everyone. You have to make a personal connection and build a connection. Check in with them a week later. Do that on a regular basis. Ask for more connections. “I’m just trying to build my contact base. Can you introduce me to someone on this tour?”
- Research the trade magazines to learn the names of production managers and tour managers. Use LinkedIn to find contact info.
- Tell everyone that you meet what you want and what your goals are. You never know where that connection is going to come from.