June 8, 2020 – You could say that Steven Moore’s career was a calling.
Moore grew up in the church…literally. His father founded a church in 1991, and that became a part of weekly life for him and his family. And it was in a church that Moore discovered professional audio was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life.
Now, Moore is Cable Department Supervisor – Tour Prep for Clair Global, one of the leading professional sound reinforcement and live touring production support companies in the world.
Born on July 16, 1989 in Chandler, Ariz., Moore’s family went to church every Sunday. Like many kids in high school, Moore aspired to become a professional baseball player, but quickly realized that was not his destiny.
“I was a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan growing up,” explained Moore. “But, I didn’t make the cut for my school’s baseball team, and looking back, I was actually fine with that because I was starting to get a little bored with the sport and was trying to find something that’s a little more exciting…something new.”
One weekend shortly after not making the high school baseball team, Moore approached the worship pastor at his church and asked him if he could volunteer a couple days a week to keep himself busy after school.
“To my surprise, he said he will pay me to come in and help,” Moore said. “So, that became my first job. I’d start off by filing music sheets from the previous weekend and doing some computer work. After about six months or so, the church’s audio engineer position became available.”
This was the moment that changed Moore’s life and when his career path now began to take shape.
“I was asked to set up the stage so it can be ready to go for the Thursday night rehearsals and Sunday services,” Moore continued “During this time, we would have the audio volunteers run sound and do all the outboard patching. I would ask them questions about the sound board and this is when I began learning signal flow and how vitally important it is for a concert, service, or recording studio.”
Not only was Moore learning the importance of signal flow, he was being taught that when working, no matter what, you don’t settle for anything less than excellence.
“After this became my routine for a while, there was one week where none of the audio volunteers could make it in for the Thursday night rehearsal, so the worship pastor asked me to mix during the rehearsal,” Moore continued. “He told me not touch anything except for the faders. About half way through the third song, the worship pastor comes back to the sound booth to listen to the mix and to his surprise he liked what he was hearing from my mix. He asked if I would like to run sound for the weekend services. After saying yes and getting the gig, I knew right then and there, this was exactly what I wanted to do for the rest of my life and make a career of it.”
Moore explained that he had always had a love of music, even as a young kid. He loved to sing but knew he wasn’t any good. He bought his first guitar at age 12. But although he loved the guitar, he realized he didn’t like being on stage or being the center of attention. “So,” he explained, “I quickly began looking for ways to work around music, but do it behind the scenes. Little did I know that within a few months from this time, I would find the answer to all my questions.”
Tim Smith, a former boss of Moore’s and a Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences (CRAS) graduate, told Moore about the school.
“While I was being trained on how to make a stage look neat and clean and starting to learn about running sound before I ever got to touch a sound board to mix, Tim was interviewing for the job to be the church’s audio engineer,” Moore explained. “We’d talk and he would tell me about CRAS and how much better it was compared to a community college or any other type of school out there. I decided to attend CRAS because at the time I was attending Mesa Community College for audio production. What had really peaked my interest was hearing that CRAS’ program was only eight months long and I didn’t need to take any psychology, English, or math classes like you do in a traditional college.”
Attending CRAS, Moore said, was the easiest decision he’d made in a long time.
“I absolutely love CRAS,” Moore continued. “There is nothing I do not like about the school, including the instructors.” CRAS instructor Keith Morris was a standout for him as Moore wanted to work in live sound always looked forward to the live sound class. “In my opinion, CRAS is by far the best institution for anyone who wants to go into audio,” Moore added.
Moore graduated CRAS in early 2009, and his internship was a paid one since he ended up getting his mandatory intern hours at the church he had been working at as an audio technician/assistant (at the time called East Valley Bible Church, now named Redemption Church – Gilbert).
After working in the church market in Arizona, California, and Texas for years, Moore exited the house of worship scene as he wasn’t feeling challenged anymore.
“Whenever something had to be troubleshooted, I felt like I could fix the issues while being blind folded and one hand tied behind my back,” Moore said. “It was no longer enjoyable for me. That’s when I decided to switch gears and see if I could find a job in the touring industry. But at the time, I had no idea where to start or who to talk to.”
Moore began searching for people in the touring industry and trying to connect with them through Facebook. “The first person I started talking to was a guy by the name of Jim Jorgenson, who also happens to be a friend of my dad,” Moore explained. “Jim not only traveled the country running sound for various bands, but he also worked for Delicate Productions in San Francisco as well as being a former MLA Product Support Specialist for Martin Audio. After months of being referred to one guy after another connecting with guys who work for Clearwing Productions, PRG, LMG, and Sound Image I was getting to the point where I was about to give up on the idea of working in the touring industry.”
That’s when Moore got in touch with Toby Francis. “I remember driving back to Arizona after doing a church gig in Lancaster, Calif. and getting a call from Toby saying that there was a position open at Clair Global to be a warehouse associate, and if I would was interested. I told him yes, and the next day, I received a call from JD Brill who is the general manager for the LAX shop for Clair.”
A month later in October 2017, More made the move from Chandler, Ariz. to Anaheim, Calif. to start work the next day. “I started out as a warehouse associate as I got to tech for rehearsals, concerts, and graduation ceremonies that were at the Staples Center,” he said. “This past January (2020), I was promoted from being a warehouse associate to being the Cable Department Supervisor – Tour Prep.”
It was a grind, but Moore wouldn’t trade it for the world as it has all lead to where he is today.
“One of the gigs I tech’d for lasted two months and it was every Saturday and Sunday…on top of my regular Monday through Friday job,” he explained. “We’d send the gear for the weekend to the rehearsal studio on Thursday to be loaded in and I wouldn’t show up until Saturday, but that’s when we would have a full day of rehearsal and final prep for the show on Sunday. A lot of middle of the night work, and so two hours of sleep a night during this time was not uncommon.”
Another gig started out as a simple gear swap out and led to Moore quickly becoming a tech assistant. That quickly morphed to him having people working under him and becoming a tech for the show itself.
What is the moral of the story according to Moore? Take the job given no matter how menial it may seem, do your best and do more than is expected of you, and you never know where it will lead.
“There will always be something that happens that catches us off guard, and you never know who is watching you and how you handle situations,” he advised. “The worst thing that you can do is to panic and show that emotion externally. Don’t ever quit, because how you may respond in that situation will be the difference between you being hired or you being fired, or you getting that raise and promotion or someone else getting that raise and promotion.”
Moore concluded that everyone in the pro audio industry needs to always think ahead and be prepared. “For example,” he said, “even if your interest is working in the recording studio, it wouldn’t hurt to get certified by OSHA. If you want to go into live sound and touring, sooner or later you will have to get certified by OSHA, because there will be a time when that will determine if you get hired to work a tour or not.”
About The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences
The Conservatory of Recording Arts & Sciences is composed of two nearby campuses in Gilbert and Tempe, Ariz. A CRAS education includes broadcast audio, live sound, film and TV audio, music, and video game audio, all taught by award-winning instructors who have all excelled in their individual fields, including sound reinforcement, audio recording and production, digital recording, troubleshooting/maintenance, and music business.
CRAS structured programs and highly qualified teaching staff provide a professional and supportive atmosphere, which is complemented by its small class sizes allowing for individual instruction and assistance for students in engineering audio recordings. CRAS has been providing quality vocational training in audio recording for more than three decades. The curriculum and equipment are constantly being updated to keep pace with the rapid advancements in the music and sound recording industries. CRAS’ course offerings and subject matter have always centered around the skills and knowledge necessary for students’ success in the audio recording industries.
The 11-month program is designed to allow every student access to learn and train in all of the Conservatory’s studios which are comprised with state-of-the-art audio recording and mixing gear, the same equipment used in today’s finest studios and remote broadcast facilities, including Pro Tools 12, API Legacy consoles, SSL AWS consoles, Studer Vista consoles, and much more. All students must complete a 280-hour industry internship to graduate from the Master Recording Program II that may ultimately lead to industry employment.