Location: Oxnard, CA
The small sound system shop has a massive list of clients, including tours with the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Pearl Jam, Snoop Dog, and the Coachella music festival. Dave Rat and friends began the ground-up formation of Reliable Audio Technology (renamed Rat Sound) in 1979 by recording Los Angeles punk bands in exchange for a spot on the guest list and beer money.
- Audio system sales & rental
- Rat Trap 5 system
- Event support personnel
What to Expect
The core of Rat Sound’s operation is putting together tailored sound reinforcement packages for live events and touring concerts—they can supply the gear and the personnel to rock the biggest outdoor festival or an intimate club venue. In 2009, the company deployed the world’s biggest L-Acoustics K1 system for Coachella and Stagecoach; the twin arrays featured 26 K1 enclosures, subs, and dV-Dosc downfills—each.
The West Coast business is home to fewer than a dozen full-time employees, and puts about 50 freelance technicians on the road for touring gigs each year. Positions include engineers, sales manager, marketing, and installation technicians. The company takes in about 1,000 resumes a year, but does very little hiring. Rats (a term of endearment) are carefully chosen from a small circle of professionals that come highly recommended from the shop’s close colleagues, or are recruited off other gigs. To fit in there you’ll need an expert skill level, obsessive work ethic, and friendly attitude. Before you go knocking on this shop’s door, the management recommends you be able to honestly answer these few questions: “What makes you exceptional?,” “What have you done that is above and beyond to develop your skills?” and, “Can you truly say that no matter how bad it gets, you’ve already voluntarily been through worse?”
President, inventor, and all-around sound guru Dave Rat doesn’t sit back and collect checks from the success of the enterprise he built by hand over 30 years—he is hands-on. Still working the road as a front of house engineer, the lifelong roadie gets dirty just like the rest of his crew. Loading in side-by-side with a master of the craft is a serious perk of employment at this company. Personal mentoring, the opportunity to innovate new systems and techniques, and fun-loving un-corporate culture are standard benefits.
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