PROFILE Paul Caccamo By Andrew King W hen a young Paul Cac- camo rigged up a car tape deck to a speaker system in his elemen- tary school gymnasi- um, he wouldn’t have imagined it being his first step on a career path that now finds him as the go-to monitor engineer for one of Canada’s best-known musicians. Caccamo has been touring with music icon Burton Cummings for over a decade in addition to designing and operating audio systems for a slew of major artists and events through his company, Paul Caccamo Produc- tions Inc. He spoke with Professional Sound shortly after returning home from a short fall tour of the West Coast with the beloved Guess Who frontman. Caccamo was born and raised in Burl- ington, ON, growing up in the country along the Niagara Escarpment. His father owned a stereo shop while his mother and sisters sang in the church choir, “So I was always surrounded by music,” he shares. That pedigree may very well have been the reason he was called upon to set up the jury-rigged PA system for the school talent show so many years ago. “That was the first time I did live sound,” he says with a chuckle, “and once I made it work, I was then deemed the ‘sound person’ by the teachers and stu- dents, so I ended up running the levels on the three microphones and playing the music for the talent show. That got me hooked.” He embraced the “AV nerd” label as the student that fixed electronics and helped teachers get the AV carts working in their classrooms. “I liked it more and more because I realized I could get out of class,” he jokes. He continued in this same capacity into high school and onwards, going on to work at Canada’s Wonderland in Vaughan, ON as a technician and, eventually, a sound engineer. His next move was to enroll at Toronto’s Harris Institute to bolster his skill set and expand his industry network. While there, he met Mark Scola, who brought him onboard at Toronto sound company BCB Pro Audio. Caccamo's first tour came as a PA technician when BCB was tapped for a national Blue Rodeo tour. After that, he continued to take jobs with a number of artists and production companies in and around Toronto, and has been freelancing on the production circuit 20 PROFESSIONAL SOUND in various capacities ever since. Caccamo enjoys the ever-changing na- ture of the industry, having kept pace with incoming technologies and workflows as his projects grow in scale and scope. “Over the last five years … I’ve been working on some of the largest shows of my career,” he shares. “I like the challenge of these shows because it pushes you to the limit of your skill set and challenges you to think outside of the box. You have to get out of your comfort zone to successfully execute the gig.” His grade school curiosity hasn’t waned, either, keeping him interested in the latest technologies and innovations to hit the market. “You have to constantly be learning to keep yourself relevant,” he says of what’s simultaneously one of his favourite aspects of the industry, and also a major ongoing challenge. “It’s exciting to be able to do something so easily today that would’ve taken hours a few years ago. I think that the technology has made the business easier in many ways, but more difficult in others.” Outside of work, Caccamo and his wife, Sarah, are raising their two young boys – Alex, who’s four, and Benjamin, who’s just six months – at home in Hamilton, ON. “It’s a busy life,” he admits. “Without Sarah, I’d be in big trouble. I have to travel quite a bit and she manages to raise the boys and take good care of things. I honestly don’t know how she does it sometimes.” When he’s home, he enjoys cooking for the family and, when the weather permits, heading to their cottage in Parry Sound or out on the sailboat with his young crew- mates. “I’m actually building a wooden kit sailboat in my basement with any free time I have,” he adds, though the fact the project has been underway for the past six years offers an idea of how limited that free time actually is. Since the West Coast trek with Burton Cummings in October, Caccamo has been working on some corporate gigs closer to home, including a system design for a major company Christmas party in the coming weeks. He plans to be back out on the road with some new and returning clients come the New Year. “I have to say, my favourite part about working in this industry is the people – there are so many supportive and helpful people who care about doing a perfect job every time while still having fun doing it,” he shares. “I always feel like you plant little seeds with each and every new job or new contact, and I’m looking forward to seeing some of those seeds grow into new opportunities.” Andrew King is the Editor-in-Chief of Professional Sound.