My name is Jesse Coonen. I’m 25 years old and live right in between Appleton and Green Bay, Wisconsin. GO PACKERS! If you follow me on social media, you may have seen me post about or share content from a page titled “Harmonic Productions,” and easily scrolled past it because you don’t know what that is. It’s ok, don’t feel bad or weird. I talk with people all the time who hear me say “I own a production company,” who often nod their heads with confusion not sure what the heck I just said. A production company often refers to a service or business usually in the industry of music, entertainment, or multi-media related services. My business specifically provides live sound services usually paired with event/stage lighting. This is the bulk of my work with Harmonic Productions. I also rent out equipment, do consulting with other individuals or businesses that use technology and need servicing, as well as designing and installing audio/visual/lighting systems. While my business is small and just starting out, my motivation to grow it is full steam ahead.
I’ve surrounded myself within the live event environment for over 10 years now. At the time of writing this I am just about to turn 25. I started playing guitar at a very young age and by the time I was twelve I was in a rock band. I know it sounds weird even as I’m writing this, but it happened. I was in 7th grade and was the youngest in the group. We started to build a name for ourselves very quickly and in the spring of 2008 we opened up for national rock band REO Speedwagon. At the start of high school I found a church that was different than my regular church experience growing up. It had a full, live band with drums, guitars, lights, video screens, and production teams. I was captivated. While I grew spiritually, I was also widening my vision into the live event industry. I started to understand this idea that the experience that consumers receive at every live event was fueled by some element of production and creativity. It was that church, and my involvement there where I cut my teeth for the use of technology as a live tool to engage with people. For the church, the use of technology was about a spiritual message that leveraged a modern format to creatively communicate the message. For me, it worked. Fast forward to the present, I’ve continued to grow my production skillset and knowledge base for technology. I moved to South Carolina on an internship right after high school at one of the largest multi-campus churches in America, and since moving back to Wisconsin, I’ve been on staff at two churches growing and leading production teams. Within the past two years I’ve started expanding my experience of doing production outside of churches by traveling on occasion with groups doing sound and leading production on events in and out of state.
The start of Harmonic Productions dated to the beginning of 2019 when a local business owner, hired me to install a video distribution system in his second location for his business. I had done plenty of freelance work before, but it was during that project that I knew I desired to do production and AVL work on a more official capacity as a business owner. It was only a few months later that Harmonic Productions was birthed as an official LLC filed with the state of WI.
The concept of Harmonic Productions is that creating amazing events truly isn’t about having the best equipment. It’s about the use of the equipment paired with really great talent or content. It’s better said this way; Great content working on harmony with the appropriate use of technology makes unforgettable experiences. Don’t get me wrong, you need to have the right tools for the job, but having new technology or good equipment is not even half of the equation. Do you remember your favorite concert? Now think about the most impactful movie you went to. There’s those moments when the hair on the back of your neck stands up, or goose bumps form on your skin. All the things that you’re experiencing when those moments occur all factor into this attempt to bring you to the place where you experienced that level of connected-ness. I know not grammatically correct, but you get the idea. Imagine an EDM concert you and the music being half the volume and without any lighting, would it be as energizing? Or if the underscoring of the music during your favorite scene suddenly cut out, would it be nearly as captivating? Probably not. What if in the middle of a concert, Justin Timberlake, or you favorite artist, comes to a soft tender moment at the piano and suddenly the lights breakout into a fast strobe effect. That would just be awkward and not fitting. Loud or soft, bright or dark, slow or fast, big or small. It all comes down to the use of all these types of things that draws the viewer in and helps create a significant connection with whatever the content may be. This is what Harmonic Productions is all about. When the use of technology works in perfect harmony with the content there’s this synergy that just naturally affects the viewer. That’s usually when people pull out their phones and start taking videos or snapping pictures. Not every band needs to be as loud as it you can get it. And not every light show needs to be as flashy as possible either. More times than not, subtlety wins. More so, when technology is used out of context, it’s just distracting which is never the win. I also think it’s amateur and often separates the “boys” from the “men” kind of thing. I get it, that can easily sound arrogant, but I’m convinced that the best production value is when you’re not really thinking about the lights or the sound, or the video quality. It should kind of feel, natural, or just right. A harmonic is a term used there are multiple things that are naturally related to another or interact with each other. When two things resonate together, there is harmony. It’s almost the way it’s supposed to be. I’m not saying I always get it right, and in fact, some environments I run sound in I wish I could mix quieter, but there are a lot of factors that force things to feel unnecessarily loud. That topic will become a whole different blog a different day.
So there you go. Harmonic Productions. Pairing your event, content, party, with the right use of technology and equipment to create unforgettable moments. That’s not meant to be just a catchy sales pitch, it’s just what I am about. It’s an art form in itself and it’s so rewarding when it can be done well. My hope is that you choose to follow what I do within my business that you learn something about this industry. And if you’re also a fellow production person, you can learn something from what I do or that we can learn from each other. Thanks for reading!