In part 2 of my conversation with Jeremy Quarles, we focus on road managing different bands and artists including his current position with Grammy and Dove Award winner Steven Curtis Chapman as well as the ins and outs of running live sound for shows.
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*What steps did you take to let people know that you wanted to transition into road managing?
*I learned a lot about road managing from Francesca Battistelli’s road manager Greg Lee. I watched him road manage her while I was doing production.
*When your road managing, there’s nobody to learn from because you’re doing the job. So that time was really instrumental to me because I was able to learn how to best do it.
*Greg Lee also worked for Streamlined Event Agency who’s main task is producing tours and they put road managers out on various tours. He was able to offer me a job road managing for some tours, short runs and one offs that the company produced.
*I also contacted other road managers that I knew and told them that I was moving into road managing and just letting people know that’s the direction I was heading.
*You can’t be afraid to let people know those things and ask for those things.
*I took about a year and a half to make the transition completely from a production guy who could road manage to a road manager who could do production.
*It’s uncomfortable and it’s hard work.
*If you can do anything and be satisfied with your life, then you should probably do something else. But if you can’t, then you know the music industry is for you.
*Some artists I’ve worked with: Love and the Outcome, Brandon Heath, Sidewalk Prophets, Mandisa, Aaron Shust, Anthem Lights, Selah, Hawk Nelson.
*What does “advancing a show” mean? It’s everything you do leading up to a show. Being in constant contact with the venue. Making sure they’re going to have food for the artists and dressing rooms, green rooms and private restrooms for the band, especially in churches which are not set up to be event venues. And helping the promoter prepare for the artist coming in.
*It can also be providing the most updated stage plots and backline rider so they can be as ready as they can be for the band coming in with no surprises.
*Then as road manager, I go on the road with the artist to make sure all of those things are actually getting done.
*My goal when I’m on the road is to have nothing to do because everything is already done. It’s just managing and making sure the day happens as we have it set up. That way if something comes up, you have the capacity to handle it instead of doing things that should have already been done in advance.
*As road manager I am responsible for getting the payment check and making sure it is correct.
*I usually email the promoter the week before they are cutting checks to remind them of the amount we agreed to.
*A cash buyout is when the promoter gives money to each band and crew member so they can eat out somewhere instead of catering the event. The amount is usually around $15-20 for lunch and $25-30 for dinner per person.
*Once a tour was over and I needed more work, I would connect with artist managers and artists I knew which opened doors.
*Front of House (FOH) Engineering means running sound for the what the audience hears and you’re out with the audience at a mixing console.
*Monitor engineering means running sound for what the band hears on stage either in-ears or floor monitors and you’re working side stage from the band.
*What’s the difference in FOH and monitor engineering? For me, I can make 6 people happy easier than 6,000 people. Running monitors is mixing the levels of instruments for each band member in their ears or floor wedges. It’s about making the musician as comfortable as possible so they can play the best they can.
*For monitor engineers, simplicity is best. There is a baseline of how things sound good, but if you’re at that baseline, take it simple.
*I now work for Steven Curtis Chapman as road manager and production manager.
*I got that job after working on a Jason Gray tour and met one of the artists named Lindsay McCaul. Lindsay’s husband Mark Mattingly came to visit who worked for Creative Trust who managed SCC and he did their live events at the time. Over time we started attending Fellowship Bible Church where Lindsay is a worship leader and was able to reconnect with her and Mark. I did some road managing for Mark with other artists as well. Mark is now SCC’s manager and was looking for a dedicated road manger for SCC and Mark called me to see if I would be interested and I said yes.
*You meet all of these people along the way and God directs your paths in the way you’re supposed to go.
*Day to day tasks as road manager for Steven Curtis Chapman – Advancing shows, communicating with promoters about 4-6 weeks ahead of a show. Looking at the calendar and staying on top of travel, booking flights and making sure we get to where we need to go. Taking care of meal buyouts. Lot’s of communication with the promoters to get ready for the show.
*I’m also mixing FOH and monitors for SCC since it’s only him performing on this tour.
*I make sure the venue has all the production we need at the venue so it is a smooth day.
*When it comes to the sound system at a church, the booking agent will send out a rider that has minimum requirements and they have to sign off on it saying their system meets these requirements or they are planning on bring in an external sound company.
*Advice for getting into live audio production or road managing –
*Don’t be afraid to say no to things that aren’t going to move you forward to where you want to be.
*For audio engineering – contacting local companies if you want to do live sound. They are all over the country and do concerts and all kinds of events that need a sound system. Contact them and tell them you want to work and learn.
*Have the spirit to want to learn because you need to learn the business and you need to be the best at it so you can to be able to succeed.
*For road managing – Foster relationships and be willing to learn and put yourself out there.
*Peach and Pine Home.com – Interior design company my wife and I run. I am the project manager and director of content.
*Love Where You Live Podcast – home tip and tricks
Jeremy grew up just north of Atlanta, GA and has always had a love for music and an entrepreneurial spirit. In 2008, Jeremy moved from Atlanta to Nashville, where he attended Belmont University to study Audio Engineering and Music. Though many in the program were drawn to the studio, he found himself being drawn toward the road.
While finishing school, Jeremy began to work at a local audio company in Nashville, where he started working live events both in Nashville and abroad. Upon graduating, Jeremy worked his way up as an audio contractor working various tours and conferences and eventually started to work for artists mixing FOH and Monitors. While his passion for the music industry was strong, Jeremy’s passion for the production side of live events started to wane. This led to a time of self-discovery, in which he found a new passion – road managing.
Over a period of two years, Jeremy began to intentionally transition his focus from being an audio engineer who could road manage to being a road manager who could also mix. In addition to going on the road as a road manager, Jeremy also began advancing for artists he didn’t travel with as an “Advance Manager.” Since starting to work as a Road/Advance Manager, Jeremy has worked for many of the biggest names in Christian music, including:
Steven Curtis Chapman (current)
Love & The Outcome
Since late 2017, Jeremy has been the Road / Production Manager for Steven Curtis Chapman, which is his current position. They just completed over 100 shows on the “SCC Solo Tour.”
When Jeremy isn’t on the road, he is working as Project Manager and Director of Content at Peach and Pine Home, the interior design firm he and his wife, Chandler, own and operate. Their newest project is a podcast called “Love Where You Live,” a podcast about all-things interior design and home renovation. Golf is his favorite hobby, and his ideal afternoon includes a round of golf on a mostly sunny, 65 degree day and hanging out with his wife and close friends.