For the week's feature, we would like to introduce you to Emily Egerton! A badass production manager from KS now living in Chicago. Read all about her below!
Introduce yourself to us! What do you do in the industry? Where are you from?
Hey! I’m Emily Egerton, I’m the Production Manager for two venues, Lincoln Hall and Schubas, as well as a freelance Sound Engineer and Tour Manager. I’m from the bustling town of Wichita, KS, but have been living in Chicago for the last 4 years.
How did you get your start in the industry, and how long have you been in the industry?
I was going to school for Audio Production and had interned at a few studios. I started to get my hands on live sound at this strange ass venue, Bricktown Music Hall (R.I.P.). This was where a friend showed me how to make a room with mismatched gear work, and how to make the experience special for the artists, even if you may be putting out a few fires in the back. I’ve been doing sound for about 7 years.
When did you know being in the business is what you wanted to do? Was there a specific moment where you were like “oh god, this is what I want to do for the rest of my life”?
I don’t think it’s really ever been a question for me. I’ve played drums since I was 8, but I knew I didn’t want to be a drummer or a teacher as a career. But, that just meant I needed to find another route to stay in music forever. It’s the only thing that makes sense. Once I started following some folks around in venues, I realized my want to be at a show every night could actually be something I could make into a job.
Is there anything you struggled with (or even still do struggle with) being in the industry?
I mean, obviously being a female has made everything more of a… challenge, which I figure everyone on this blog relates with. Being the only female sound engineer in the entire city of Oklahoma City was always a kick and even moving to Chicago, I’ve only met 3 others among the hundreds of men. But we all 3 can mix a room and push a road case like some freaking PROS.
I think a constant struggle is reaching the next level, though. Every time I make a jump or a change, there is a whole new set of things to learn, a whole new mindset to wrap your head around. I thrive off change, but it definitely is never an easy experience.
What is the best part of your job? Why?
With being a PM, it’s being the voice for my techs, hospitality folks, stagehands, and interns. I’ve never worked *for* someone with a production background, so it’s nice being able to alleviate a lot of stress from my crew.
With doing sound? It’s mixing the bands. It’s having a group that is playing their heart out, giving them a killer mix, and realizing you’re grinning like a crazy person. Because it’s the coolest gig in the world!
What is a day like on tour as a live sound engineer?
Really depends on the size of the tour and what kind of show you’re playing. Broadly speaking, it’s a lot of dealing with house gear, esp. if you don’t carry your own, and learning how a room is gonna work with the band’s sound. It’s a lot of early mornings and late nights, and like 2 Redbulls. It’s also getting to see the world and listen to music pretty much every night.
You mentioned being on tours, but now being a production manager for a few venues in Chicago. What would you say are the major differences between touring and working at the same venues?
Going to the same place every day, and maintaining some sense of a home life. With touring, the people you’re on the road with are your family and friends, but once that’s over, pretty much everyone goes back to a different city. The hours, though still pretty wild, make it so I actually have time to spend at home with my boyfriend and friends. When we aren’t in a pandemic, I still am able to get out on the road some, so I’m still able to mix it up!
Is there someone who you consider as your mentor in the industry?
My best friend, Rachel Brashear. She’s pretty much the first woman in music I met. She’d been doing this thing longer than I have and has had to deal with a lot of shit before me. She was always honest about how hard it would be, and also showed how it always ends up being worth it.
What advice do you have for women who want to get their start in the music industry?
Come on in! I’ll tell it like I tell my interns. If you’re in this to make money, this isn’t the path for you, it can take years or a lifetime to do so. If you want to be home for every holiday, this isn’t the job for you. If you don’t want to work 15+ hour days for weeks on end, then this isn’t the job for you. But if you love music fully and completely, if this sounds like something you’re OK dedicating your life to, then this will be the most rewarding career in the world, or so I think haha.
Have you ever been turned down or not taken seriously because you were a female in the industry? What did you do when put into that position?
Of course. I’ve been the only female on a tour many times, and got fired once because they didn’t want to travel with a girl. Broke my heart and made me SO mad that my skill level, which had landed me the gig in the first place didn’t matter. But, as always, I sucked it up, worked even harder, and landed way cooler gigs. I can’t make someone stop being an ass, but I can make them feel silly for acting like one. That’s more fun anyway.
What are some of your other hobbies? What do you do in your free time (which we know can be very hard to find)?
Uh… go to shows? Haha, I like to read, love making art, but If I can watch movies all night, I’m so down.
Who is your all-time favorite artist?
Patti Smith, no doubt. Certified badass.
What is something you can't live without?
I know, I know, it’s corny, but honestly music.
Go-to Karaoke song?
CeeLo Green’s “F*ck You”
Tea or Coffee?
First concert you went to?
I can’t remember if it was Hootie and the Blowfish or Linkin Park, equally thrilling though.
What’s something that you always have on you?
Sunglasses and Advil
Who is your dream artist or band to work with?
Their engineers are so killer, but if I could mix The War On Drugs, Thee Oh Sees or Sturgill Simpson I’d be the happiest clam.
What does a typical day at work look like for you?
As a Production Manager, email, email, email, take lots of notes, rent gear, schedule venue folks to work shows, then hang out at the shows to make sure everyone is happy basically.
As a sound person, get to the venue, load in gear, load up a show file (hopefully), make sure gear is working properly, get the band’s gear set up, mic up everything, run through soundcheck, eat some tasty food, do a show, then pack up, load out!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
I’m hoping to learn more positions in a venue setting, financials, how the bars work, etc. So, I’m not sure, especially with this COVID fun, but my next step is being a venue manager.
What do you hope to see done in the industry within the next few years?
I hope we can re-realize the importance of independent music venues. I think it’s pretty unsettling that large corporations are trying to take over an industry that is based on art.
What are you most proud of?
Seeing people I’ve worked with, friends, grow. I’ve gotten to do a lot of cool things, and most of those cool things have been with amazing people by my side. Makes it way cooler when you get to share the excitement.
Lastly, what saying do you live by?
Sorry, I know this isn’t PG, but “Tough Titties”.
We want to thank Emily for chatting with us! Be sure to keep up with her, here.