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On the Road: LD Sean Semler with Granger Smith

by Debi Moen • in On the RoadJanuary 2018 • Created: January 11, 2018

Granger Smith’s ‘Don’t Tread On Me’ tour launches this month. Photo courtesy Sean Semler

TOUR DATES: The “Don’t Tread On Me” tour starts Jan. 18, throughout 2018.

DESIGN: “We’re carrying a new design for country artist Granger Smith’s 2018 tour. A couple of dates will support Luke Bryan. For inspiration, I try to expose myself to as many designs as possible. Shows today have to be so original and creative to stand out that you try to ‘cut and paste’ in your mind ideas from everything out there and incorporate them into your own show. With today’s ever changing technology and array of fixture possibilities, it is a fun time to do what I do.”

BACK STORY

HOME BASE: Austin, TX

CAREER SPARK: “I remember the day perfectly. A buddy and I took a road trip to Chicago to see a childhood friend in an up-and-coming rock band, on tour in ‘B’ circuit clubs with a small crew. I was mesmerized by how their LD made a small rock club show with minimal par lighting rigs look huge. It made me notice that element of every show from then on. This struck a chord, because I never knew I could pursue an entertainment career other than being a singer or player.”

FIRST INDUSTRY GIG: “LD for a friend’s band in Ohio in 1995.”

Sean Semler

TRAINING? “‘School of Hard Knocks.’ When I moved to Austin in 1997, I was thrown into my position because of the lack of LDs within the company. I have always been an LD; I never had to climb the ladder, so to speak, to get where I am. I was never a tech or a rigger. That wasn’t necessarily a good thing. I learned from tips and advice, but as venues got bigger, so did the rigs, and I hung myself out to dry a few times. Looking back, it was good because it really made me wrap my head around what I was trying to achieve at a quicker pace.”

ARTISTS: “My last decade has consisted of working with Miranda Lambert, Kevin Fowler and Granger Smith.”

HEROES/MENTORS: “I was working with Miranda Lambert, and LD Chris Reade (Dierks Bentley) and I were doing some shows together. Coming through the ranks without being a rigger or light tech made me question my confidence and ability. Did I know enough? Chris never knew I was questioning myself; he always gave me kind words, encouragement, and a pat on the back without realizing how much I needed it. I never had the chance to thank him for his words, but he is a big reason why I am still doing what I do today. Thanks, Chris!”

WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? “Everything. I get to see the world. It beats working in a cubicle. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.”

MANTRA: “‘Be blessed by the opportunity given.’ It’s a small circle of individuals who do what we do. Have a great attitude and love what you do. Most importantly, never be afraid to learn from others.”

 

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