Whether it’s a solo singer songwriter, a 6 piece jam band, or an EDM blowout with all the bells and whistles — there’s one man who oversees the transformation of a blank stage to a full fledge theatrical production.
Layne McKay, Logjam Presents’ Technical Director, is a tech ninja, and the sound booth is his dojo. At least that’s where you can spot him on a show day. But long before that, he’s working to make sure that the artist’s stage plot is all accounted for. He ensures the act has everything they need and manages each stagehand to help set the stage so Logjam and the artist can produce the best possible show. From the lights to the sound, to making sure Zeds Dead has the correct CO2 cannons, Layne does it all.
A Montana native, Layne was raised in Polson, MT, before heading to Phoenix, AZ, to attend the Conservatory of Recording Arts and Sciences, a technical school for Audio Engineering. After finishing the program, he moved to Seattle to complete an internship at Robert Lang Studios, where he was eventually offered a position as a house Audio Engineer. He accepted the job and mainly worked at Robert Lang Studios for 3 years, but also got to work at other studios while living in Seattle.
He moved back to Missoula to complete a degree in Electronics Technology at the College of Technology at UM and Entertainment Management at UM. While going to school, he ran sound at many venues in Missoula and was offered a position as Interim Technical Director at the Dennison Theatre. He continued working at other venues around town until he met Nick Checota at the Top Hat and was offered the full time position as Logjam’s Technical Director after The Wilma was renovated.
Keep reading to find out more about our beloved techie, like what his superpower would be and what he hopes to do when he grows up.
What’s the best part about being Technical Director?
Working with a great crew of people at Logjam Presents and seeing so many talented artists.
What’s the most challenging part?
The long hours and weird schedule when working shows.
Is there a certain type of of show or genre you prefer to work?
I like Funk, Soul or Southern Rockish type bands the best. I also like doing theatre.
What makes Missoula special to you?
The people in Missoula are the best part. It’s a big enough place to meet new friends but still see the old ones around town.
What’s your favorite thing to do outside of work?
I like fishing, playing music with Off in the Woods and pinball.
What was the best concert you’ve been to OFF the clock?
The Allman Brothers at Jazz Fest in New Orleans 2010. In my opinion, Jazz Fest in general has been the greatest festival and concert experience.
What was the best concert you’ve been to ON the clock (worked)?
Toss up between Tedeschi Trucks Band and Sharon Jones.
Who are you listening to most right now?
I listen to podcasts a lot since I get my music fill at work. Crime podcasts and comedy mainly. I’ve been digging Gil Scott-Heron lately.
What is your favorite book?
Currently anything by David Sedaris.
What’s your favorite meal at the Top Hat?
Spicy Jerk Wrap with the beet salad.
Which venue is your favorite to work at and why?
Kettlehouse Amphitheater, because it’s a beautiful location and I love working outside when I can.
Do you have a favorite lyric/quote?
You can’t push a rope.
Do you recall any embarrassing/funny moment at work?
I once had a massive feedback loop happen in the Top Hat when the restaurant was full for dinner. Oops.
People would be surprised if they knew this about you:
When I grow up I want to be a magician or a comedian.
If you could have a superpower what would it be?
What’s your favorite drink?
Lewis and Clark Brewery Prickly Pear.
Anything else you’d like to share?
I’ve told you too much already.