We are back with the "Building the Community” series. I have been able to talk to two guys that run podcasts and another who is crushing it in the videography/media game. Now we get to dive even deeper into the Country Music industry as I talk to Tyler Lessard, who is the Production Manager and Front of House Engineer for Muscadine Bloodline. Tyler described his jobs. "A production manager is the guy that makes sure all the aspects of production are correct. They deal with the PA, front of house, monitors, lights, video, power...literally the whole thing. Basically if there are any questions about production or the tech stuff, I'm the guy they come to. Lee (Langston), our tour manager, oversees the logistics. I'm more over the show aspect. As far as the front of house engineer, that's the guy you see out in the middle of the crowd with the big console that looks like a spaceship. Basically just working magic. We control the sound and mix the show and everything related to that. We are the least often seen and most often heard as I like to say. Literally, what you hear out of the speakers is our interpretation of what the band should sound like." Tyler is such a good, genuine dude who has supported me and UPstar. Music from the beginning. I am lucky to get the opportunity to talk and catch up with Tyler every once in a while. It's nice to see this young man crushing it! I sat down with Tyler and talked about his journey in the Country Music industry, the electric feeling of working in front of a big crowd and how he wants to have an impact in Music City.
Get To Know Tyler
"I was born in Atlanta and lived there part of my life. I grew up mostly in Alabama. From a very early age I was interested in music and would help crews load stuff into our church and things like that. My mom always said that when I was younger and there was music playing, it would be the only time I would sit still. I grew up playing guitar and picked up bass, drums, piano and other instruments along the way. But mostly I’ve been a guitarist all my life. I moved to Nashville in 2013 to pursue a career in guitar and was involved in worship ministry. Kind of realized that worship ministry wasn't the way I wanted to go and that everybody could play guitar. However, being multi-instrumental and all, I figured out I had a real knack for running sound. In college I switched away from doing guitar. Originally I wanted to do studio work, but got a scholarship to do front of house. I had done a little of it back at church just trying to figure out the console that was way outdated. Someone gave me a chance with a scholarship and was able to teach me and help me get into that career path. Live sound has been my thing since I decided to take the step toward it. It's been a great career so far."
Q & A With Tyler Lessard
Q: How did you get into the Country Music industry and become a production manager and front of house engineer?
A: "In college I never really listened to Country Music. I started probably around 2013 when I moved to Nashville. Honestly, back in Alabama I was more Rock, Pop and Rap - that kind of stuff. Even when I started doing live sound I never thought I would be working with a country band. I always saw myself more in the Rock scene or Pop scene. In college, I was running groups like orchestra's, jazz band's and pop ensembles. We didn't really touch much music in the Country waters as part of the collegiate musical scene. After I graduated college, I needed a job so I started bouncing downtown. It was miserable and I wanted to get back into sound. I tried other things like car sales, retail and all that kind of stuff. I wanted something else so I hit up the bar I was working at and told them I had a degree in “Front of House”. I told them I could run sound and so he gave me a tryout. I started working at Whiskey Row on Broadway working there 8 months to a year running sound. Then one of my good friends, Ethan Willis, tagged me in a Facebook post that a band was looking for a front of house engineer. They hit me up, took me on the road and the rest has been history. I never really saw myself working with a country act; it was just one of those things I just stumbled into and loved it. Out with Muscadine Bloodline and those guys has been great. It’s a great fit for me and I really enjoy their music."
Q: Most memorable moment so far in your career?
A: "For me, memorable moments are shows. There are a few places in this country that are just special... where you walk into a building and the energy is there. Georgia Theater, Buckhead Theater in Atlanta and one of my favorites, The National in Richmond, Virginia. Getting to be a part of these shows is special. For me, it's always the crowd being very energetic. That's what is so different between live music and recording music. You have 1,000, 1,500... 10,000... 20,000 people packed into a place who are there for the person playing. People pay their money to come to these shows and the energy - you just can't match it, ever. Obviously you (Jamie) are a Buffalo Bills fan. The Bills Mafia is crazy and going to a Bills game is like no other. I'm a Preds fan and I've gone to a Boston game and the energy in those arenas is crazy too. It's the same feeling... you walk into these buildings and the electricity in the air is just different. My first weekend of runs, we were opening for Luke Combs. There were 60,000 people on a beach in Virginia Beach and that was insanity. To this day, the thought of it gives me goosebumps. Many of these shows have special moments and sometimes I just have to go backstage and take a breath. That is what it's all about. For all those nights you don't sell out a show or you might be having a bad day, the electric nights are what makes it all worth it."
Q: What are some of your goals moving forward and what do you want to have contributed to Country Music?
A: "I'm a perfectionist so I just want to continue to get better and continue to teach others. One thing I'm really passionate about is not just hoarding all this knowledge, but actually helping guys out and seeing other guys succeed. I want to look back 20 years from now and see that guys I took under my wing are out there crushing it too. Obviously, I want to stay with Muscadine and see them rise to the top. The band is on the edge of breaking out and it's a pleasure to be in that camp. Every day I try to wake up and ask myself what I have to do better, then going out and tackling that and getting better. I’m taking it one day at a time. I never want to get complacent. It's all about continuing to grow."
Q: What's some advice for people wanting to get into the Country Music industry?
A: "Go at it with everything and never slow down. For me, working on Broadway wasn't a glorious job by any means, but it was something that helped me hone my craft and get better at what I do. Go out and find the thing that's going to make you better and don't be afraid to do it. Everything is a stepping stone to the next thing. You might be in a dingy dive bar running sound, but it's going to teach you lessons for when you are doing a show with 10,000 people. Never stop learning and never stop growing because the day you decide it's okay to get complacent, it will hurt you in the long run."