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Meet Krishan Khalsa and Bryan Chadima of ProCore Productions

Today we’d like to introduce you to Krishan Khalsa and Bryan Chadima.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Krishan and Bryan. So, let’s start at the beginning, and we can move on from there.
Krishan: I was shy when I was young. I grew up with parents who didn’t like to talk about emotions, and when things got heated they would retreat into their bedroom to fight. So I grew up thinking the best way to be was quiet and reserved. This led me to find that my best outlet to express myself was through music. I started out as a drummer playing Indian hand drums called “Tablas.”

My dad took me to my first tabla lesson when I was ten. I furthered my music education when I attended boarding school in India from the age of 12 to 16 and was a part of a small kids music troupe that got to travel all over India playing sacred music at temples around the country. When I came home, I returned straight into a home in upheaval as my parents were mid-divorce.

After I finished High School, I moved across the country and spent the next five years finding myself. Standard college didn’t seem to work for me. I was bored and couldn’t see how the classes I was supposed to take would apply to my life. I dropped half of my classes the first year and in the meantime found odd jobs waiting tables, being an executive assistant, and pretty much anything I could do to pay my bills. At 23, I saw an ad in a magazine for a school teaching “Recording Arts” and for what felt like the first time in my life I was truly excited about something.

The program promised to give me everything I needed to run the equipment at a recording studio. I knew I had two paths that interested me. First, I could become a musician, which I already had some skills, and dabbled writing music. But, I saw how hard this path was as the musicians I had as friends didn’t make a great living and were always struggling. Second, I could attend this program and learn the technical side of making music and creating great works of art.

I chose this path and a few months later was enrolled in school on my way to learning how to make things sound great. After finishing college, I moved out to L.A. since I figured L.A. is a town with a ton of work… there are big studios, and I should be able to get a job. I dropped resumes at every studio I could find and after a few weeks past… no calls… no interviews.

I was working as a host at a restaurant disappointed and unsure of what I wanted to do. A month later, I received a call from my Mother that her cancer had returned and I decided to move home to be with her. I didn’t have a job I wanted anyway, and I knew that even though she and I didn’t get along very well, I would regret it for the rest of my life if I didn’t go home to be with her. Soon I came to realize something that has stuck with me my entire life: The universe opens doors in many ways and those opportunities don’t always look how we expect them to look.

Almost immediately after moving in with my mother I got a call from a friend who was playing guitar in a band who was the #1 band on a local music label. He asked if I wanted to be their drummer and I accepted. We would tour for a month at a time three to four times a year. I toured with them for a year before I realized that performing was not bringing me that much enjoyment. I offered to become the Front of House Engineer handling the equipment and mixing the shows which brought me way more joy.  I could be a part of the band but make all of them sound their best!  This was Magic!

When I was not on tour, I started producing records for the label. And, mixed in with my work was trips to the hospital… taking my mother to doctors appointments. In 2006, my mother finally lost the battle against cancer and passed away. After settling her affairs, I was again at a place I didn’t really feel like I belonged to… I wasn’t sure where to go or what to do next… but at least I had my work.

I started looking for the next step, and while playing a show with the band in Los Angeles, I met a woman I fell madly in love with and within six months I had moved back to LA with a fresh start in front of me. I continued to produce records for artists on the label (Spirit Voyage) and over the next few years pulled back on the touring and focused in on my producing continuing to produce over 20 albums, one of which was nominated for a Grammy in 2016 for “Best New Age Album.”

In 2011, Spirit Voyage started a Kundalini Yoga & Music Festival called Sat Nam Fest to showcase all of their artists in one place. They asked me to run the technical department, and I soon became the lead organizer for finding the right equipment, hiring support tech staff, and making sure everything ran correctly. Over the years Sat Nam Fest has grown into a festival that happens two-three times a year. Once on the West Coast in April, East Coast in August, and Mexico in November.

A few years in, I was putting out the word that I needed to find new Engineers to share the load of work and I found Bryan through friends. We quickly hit it off, and he worked for every festival with me. We have run the main stage together since. Bryan and I had worked together for a few years already in 2015 as independent audio engineers. We would rent gear from A/V companies, and we would bring it to the festival, set it up, and operate it.

We had challenges at every festival when we rented gear from other companies. Every time it seemed one of the main pieces of gear wouldn’t work correctly, and we’d have to scramble last minute to get a replacement and to make sure we were operational in time for the start of the festival. We had frequent discussions about how frustrating our current situation was and how we could do it better.

Finally, I asked Bryan if he wanted to start a company with me and he was an emphatic yes. We spent the next six months figuring out how to start a business and talking through our values and why we wanted to do what we were doing. We even came up with a 20 point “Standards of Service” that we used to design the branding and mission of the company. In 2016 ProCore Productions was born and we have been growing year after year.

Bryan: From my earliest memorable moments, I was always tinkering with electronics – (if you can call a top-loading cassette player electronic!) I would record myself singing on it, and then play it back on my parent’s stereo while recording on the cassette – singing something else.

That was my first foray into music production. After re-wiring my parents stereo system, so that anything could be played in any room, (in those days hearing the one TV in our house play in the kitchen speakers was, I thought, something special!) something clicked in me – I love tinkering with music, speakers, and re-wiring! If there is an audience to enjoy it, all the better!

As a piano player and a singer, I got to spend as much time on stage as I did in front of the stage, and I absolutely love seeing all perspectives of any situation – especially one that I am so drawn to. I absolutely love speaking to musicians in their language, and really dialing in an experience that is equally magical for the folks on and in front of the stage!”

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Nothing about starting a business is smooth. We both came into it having no experience running a business and just figuring out what paperwork to fill out, and file was challenging.

Luckily, we had a few mentors that helped along the way but most of it we just figured out on our own and by asking friends for help.  I had this grand idea that we had something so good that everyone would want it and we would be busier than we expected.

We started the business in March 2016, put the word out to our friends and colleagues, and got crickets. We quickly realized that starting a business with one client (Sat Nam Fest) wasn’t going to amount to a thriving business. Most of 2016 was spent networking, doing a ton of outreach, and meeting anyone and everyone in the industry that we could.

I (Krishan) started applying for work at a few of the major companies around town to learn more from the inside about how the big companies operated. We also started with a relatively small inventory of equipment that we owned ourselves.

We could operate most small events, but when events came to us that were larger than we could handle, that’s when the strong relationships we’d built with industry colleagues became useful. We worked deals with other companies who owned larger inventories to give us discounts so we could keep our prices down for our clients.

This has allowed us to stay small yet operate like a large company when we need to since we have access to all of their equipment.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the ProCore Productions story. Tell us more about the business.
What we do is provide sound, lighting, video and staging equipment rentals for live events. We also provide professional and technically skilled staff to operate the equipment. Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for all things tech. Instead of hiring four different vendors to handle your event we act as a concierge of sorts to bring all of the equipment and staff needed as well as handle all of the logistics.

We hope to be a symbol of professionalism and client relationships for other companies in our industry and beyond. Our team feels like a family and all of our clients do too. We are in our 3rd year, and we already have clients that swear that they will never work with anyone else ever again. We hear that again and again, and we believe that it’s not necessarily what we do, but how we do it that sets us apart.

We always say that we are a relationship company first and an Audio Visual company second. Our mission is to be a catalyst for joy, wonder, and lasting partnership. We have the drive to attend to the really small details to ensure that our clients feel cared for. We look for the clients who we can share a deep bond within the creation of inspiring art and experiences.

We do a lot of gigs for free when we can and are constantly striving to invest in relationships with designers, creators, and event professionals we feel inspired by. We believe that there is truly enough abundance to go around and we love directing a potential client to another company if we feel we are not the best fit for them. We truly care about the client getting exactly, if not more than they need.

Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
Bryan: Whoever penned “Luck happens when preparation meets opportunity,” sums it up for me pretty well. I have had plenty of opportunity without preparation, and plenty of preparation without obvious opportunity. I am grateful that sometimes, the two coincide!

Working with Krishan for the past eight years has been a complete joy. When he suggested, we not only do the work we love as a team but actually start a business where we could continue doing that for larger audiences to greater effect, as well as structuring the work environment in a way that is aligned with our energy and purpose – that was a no-brainer.”

Krishan: I agree with Bryan on this one. We both have worked most of our lives to get where we are now, and we see a long road of upward potential. We are always growing and learning new things.

The one thing I can point to that was lucky was that I received a small inheritance from some family land that sold the year before we started the business. This money helped us purchase our first bit of inventory that got us started. Without that, it would have taken us a lot longer to get off the ground.

Along the way, doors have opened, and we’ve been willing to walk through them whether the decision was easy or hard. We have made mistakes along the way, and every time we’ve come at the situation saying “This is on us. What can we do to make it right? I think this is rare in the world and our continued success is directly connected to our humility, or dedication, and our care for the people we serve.”

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