Title: Owner, Consultant
Company: Pure Quality Sound Productions
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Why You Need to Know Him: The ultimate self-starter entrepreneur, Hooton owned his first sound rental company at the ripe age of 13. He thinks he still holds the record for youngest SynAudCon attendee ever, at 15. By the time he was 18, he’d completed all the SynAudCon classes.
When he is not consulting on audio, video, and lighting system design; installing systems; renting systems; or working on InfoComm’s advisory board for audio coverage uniformity standards, Hooton handles sales for the Music Group in the Americas, which covers everything from production to system integration to training seminars and all the necessary media material.
How He Got Started So Young: As a young, aspiring musician, he often played open mics at coffeeshops. At one of his first performances, he was required to provide his own amplifier, so he bought one. He soon needed a microphone and mic stand. After a few shows at one coffeeshop, the owners offered to pay him $50 to leave his gear for a jazz trio to use the following night. “That’s kind of when I went, ‘Wait a minute, you mean if I have equipment, then people will actually pay me to use it? Well this is kinda cool.’”
It soon became a regular thing, and next thing you know, he’s investing in another system to make some extra cash. Later at a concert, he noticed a guy with a really cool looking mixer and went over to talk to him. He just so happened to be the Rocky Mountain sales rep for Allen & Heath, Renkus-Heinz, Biamp, and others, a man named John Murray, who began mentoring Hooton and teaching him all about the AV industry, commissioning systems and the integration side of the business. Murray imparted the logic of, “It’s all about introductions and who you know.”
Wow, Is that All That He Does?
Well no, actually. Over the years he also became involved with FOH magazine, running social media and writing blogs. Uli Behringer himself hired Hooton, originally as a consultant and then product manager for the Behringer X32 console.
So What Kind of Formal Education Did He Get?
Hooton attended about a semester and a half of college for music education in vocal arts. Until he got a call to go on a tour and never looked back. He has gone on to teach classes at the Conservatory for Audio Sciences, Full Sail, and others, teaching proper mic techniques, implementations, and acoustics. “All my knowledge came from book smarts of being told which books to go read,” he said. “I’ve found the most well rounded is just get out there and do it.”
How He Fits it All In:
A strong support network and expert product knowledge allow Hooton to get out from behind a desk most days. His schedule at the end of July had him out in Vegas for Music Group rep training, which now includes the TC products as well. Then he was off to Seattle for InfoComm to measure a theater for audio coverage standards, so they can submit another whitepaper. A three-day festival was next on the docket, followed by a trip to Kansas City to finish an install he’s been working on. He was also awaiting word from the bank on financing to purchase an event expo company, allowing him to expand into full event production.
“It’s Not a Job. It’s a Lifestyle.” That’s the best way Hooton describes everything that he’s done. Next, he’s looking at working more directly with performers, in artist development.