SSE Audio and UK partner brands Wigwam, Capital Sound and BCS Audio have set up a dedicated technical team to ensure industry leading delivery across Live Production projects.
Heading up the four-strong team is Nick Lythgoe who has over thirty five years’ experience in live productions. Nick has taken on a full time role in Redditch, having been a regular freelancer for SSE working on a variety of tours and festivals as FOH Tech and System Tech. He is joined by Keth Sujeeun in Redditch, Jon Brookes who will be based in Heywood and Robin Conway in London (Park Royal).
UK Group Director for Live Productions, Spencer Beard, explained the background to the new operation: “The enforced halt in our live work has given us the time to assess all parts of our operation. We have a deserved reputation as a market leader, not just in the UK but globally. Our four UK brands, SSE Audio, Wigwam Capital Sound and BCS Audio have developed their own standards that work for their individual client base and projects. We’re looking to develop best practice from across the group, standardising where appropriate while still maintaining the unique approach that attracts customers to each of our brands.”
He added: “For example, it’s often the case we prepare a system for a Wigwam client very differently from a system put together by SSE. It’s essential that we continue to deliver these custom systems because it’s why the clients keep coming back to our brands. However, if we can find ways of pooling expertise to improve our service then we will. We’re determined to keep raising the bar in terms of system design and project delivery.
“If you take our festival offering, something which we are renowned for, it makes complete sense to standardise the package in terms of line systems, flip flop design and even the drive systems, although obviously these change depending on which PA system has been specified. Festival season is always incredibly busy and this will greatly improve our efficiency in turning these projects around. It will allow us to draw upon a larger pool of freelance resource, all of whom will be familiar with the systems.”
Part of the brief for the new team is to align technical operations not just across the UK brands but across the Solotech group worldwide. Nick Lythgoe commented: “We’re going to be working closely with our colleagues in Canada and the US, sharing our experience so we can learn off each other. The more standardised we can make our line systems, the better. Then when we are sending complete systems or part systems across the Atlantic, we know they will be compatible when they get there. A UK crew could open up a container of US gear, confident that they know how it’s been prepped and how it all goes together.”
Training will also form a key part of the technical team’s responsibilities. “We’re looking to work with both our own staff and the wider freelance community,” explained Lythgoe. ‘We’ll cover anything from truck packing through to system design. As new technologies and new products are launched, we’ll be covering these. Our aim is to be the best in our industry and to achieve that we need highly skilled crew working on our projects – training obviously plays a key part in delivering this.”