Professional Sound - December 2017 - Page 33

SOLOTECH FOUNDER DENIS LEFRANÇOIS OUTFITTED VENUES WITH AUDIO SYSTEMS FOR MONTREAL’S 1976 SUMMER OLYMPICS MAISON SYMPHONIQUE DE MONTREAL LARMANN CELINE DION LIVE IN PARIS THE WEEKND’S STARBOY: LEGEND OF THE FALL TOUR METALLICA IN-THE-ROUND AT QUEBEC CITY’S VIDEOTRON CENTRE touring artists, as an example. “He’s going all over the world and we’ve worked with him for 20 years. There are many clients who’ve been really close and happy to work with us and, again, using our experience and the knowl- edge of our people, we’re trying to take this to the next level.” Their efforts remain, at every level, client-driven. In short, their efforts involve delivering a Cirque du Soleil and Celine Dion are global turnkey solution to save their clients money household names, but in the beginning, they and time, while reducing the hassles of deal- were known only in Quebec. Similarly, other ing with multiple providers. clients such as the Just for Laughs Comedy It’s a focus that continues to inform their Festival and Montreal International Jazz Festi- approach as they work to incorporate new val have grown exponentially over the years. technologies in new applications and markets. Cyclically, the revenue generated by these Giffard explains: “A lot of technologies are be- high-profile brands allows Solotech to contin- ing commoditized, so we constantly have to ue to support other, lesser-known artists and reinvent ourselves, and reinvest in and retrain our people. But, for example, on the video projects at the ground level. side, there’s been a lot more applications – Put bluntly, Solotech has thrived as long digital signage on billboards, in smart cities, as it has not only through the evolution of its in parking lots and everything transit-related, technologies and services, but by establish- high-end AV in hotels, shopping centres, and ing and maintaining close relationships – in condominium developments. Where we used many cases, friendships – with their clients, to play much more in the sports and enter- which says something about the culture of tainment venues, now we’ve really diversified. the company. A whole new world has opened up for us.” “That’s right,” Chouinard says, referencing As the average consumer becomes Dutch violinist André Rieu, who’s often listed Fest stage in daylight with Adamson E-Series & S-Series PA the technology that more sophisticated and in Pollstar’s annual top OVO 20 highest-generating rental revenue over a period of five years – has largely been achieved by “finding good people and bringing them into the team. It’s not all about gear,” he sums up; “It’s about people.” was previously only installed in specialized environments becomes more ubiquitous and touches every part of our lives, that new world will become increasingly important. “Again, that’s why Solotech’s capabilities are crucial,” Giffard reinforces – “because we have the means to invest in our employees, in research, in areas that are going to be good prospects for us in the future and to train our staff accordingly. That’s a key differ- entiator for us.” As far as physical expansion overseas goes, Tremblay says: “We’re always looking at this. The thing is that we’re going to find the right way to do it. Rather than looking at it from an ego perspective, being global and everywhere, I’m looking at this from a market segment perspective, and we’re trying to nail down market segments we’re excited about and good at.” If the past 40 years have been any indica- tion, it won’t take them long to do it. Kevin Young is a Toronto-based musician and freelance writer. PROFESSIONAL SOUND • 33