Totally Sound

Totally Sound are a professional sound, audio visual, lighting and staging production business, with an extensive inventory of high quality production equipment delivered by an experienced team.

Established in 1997, they cater for corporate and sporting events, festivals, concerts, conferences and community events throughout WA’s south west region.

Working with AMD since 2003, Totally Sound had a goal to be WA’s most respected sound and audio visual business. Having achieved that and more, their biggest challenge came in 2020 thanks to the coronavirus pandemic.  

We’ve always been passionate about raising the bar in our industry and being the most respected audio visual and sound business in WA. That ambition meant we needed a ‘grown up’ accountant, rather than doing it ourselves, and so began our relationship with AMD.

We hit it off with Stephen (Down, AMD Director) right away and ever since then he’s been a critical part of our success. Stephen bought into our vision and, through AMD’s various services, we’ve been able to achieve lofty goals.

Our relationship with AMD has never been more important than during the coronavirus pandemic. We saw almost an entire year of bookings cancelled within three days – it left us shell shocked, anxious and bewildered.

Thanks to Stephen and AMD (and Government funding), so far we’ve been able to successfully navigate total destruction during what’s basically been a complete industry shutdown. While we aren’t completely out of the woods just yet, we’re optimistic about what lies ahead in the near future.”

Natalie Peterson, Business Manager

I hesitate to think what could have happened without AMD’s support, expertise and calm approach

Having spent time in various roles across the industry, Derek Peterson launched Totally Sound in 1997 looking to establish a reputation for raising the bar in professional sound, audio visual and lighting services.

Derek was soon joined by his wife Nat, a former nurse with experience in managing teams. In the proceeding two decades, Derek and Nat have seen Totally Sound go from strength to strength.

Employing a small team of local technical ‘wizards’, as well as running traineeships and hiring casuals during peak periods, Nat says their team have helped build Totally Sound’s reputation for being the best of the best.

“We have a talented team of local guys who are extremely passionate about what they do,” Nat said.

“We rely on this team to maintain our solid reputation. We can do or say whatever we like in the office, but they’re on the frontline delivering results to our clients. And they’re the best at what they do.”

So it’s no surprise staff were forefront of Derek and Nat’s minds when Totally Sound were faced with catastrophe earlier this year.

“It was 13 March – Friday the 13th, I remember it well,” Nat recalled.

“The Federal Government officially announced the closure of all events. Obviously we had been expecting bad news in the lead-up, but when it happened it still felt like the rug was being pulled out underneath us. We saw almost an entire year’s worth of bookings cancelled within three days.

“The outlook wasn’t great. Derek and I spent the entire weekend after the announcement getting our affairs in order. Things were moving so quickly, we felt we had a million plates just hanging in the air, all coming to ground at once. It was terrifying.”

Fast forward to 3pm on Monday 16 March. Their long-time AMD contact, Stephen Down, walks into the office and sits down. Nat says the next few hours with Stephen allowed them to breathe out, reset and plan a way forward.

“Stephen was calm, reassuring and focused. He listened to everything we had done so far and offered clear advice on things we should consider moving forward,” Nat said.

“Over the next few weeks AMD were on hand to help with everything – from applying for the Federal Government’s JobKeeper package, to helping our business pivot to ensure we could still operate while the rest of the events industry remained shut.”

Nat admits that type of support isn’t unique to a global pandemic: AMD have been doing it since they started working with them in 2003.

“Whether it’s help with our taxes, superannuation, or our business or personal finance planning, AMD have been there every step of the way. And a special shout out to Kathy who’s bookkeeping assistance has been lifesaving over the years,” Nat said.

While she admits Totally Sound isn’t completely out of the woods, Nat says she is optimistic about the road that lies ahead.

“Without a doubt the impact of COVID-19 on the Australian events industry has been our most challenging period to date,” Nat said.

“But with restrictions easing, the outlook is positive. One thing that will stand out to me is the camaraderie and teamwork not just within our business, but the wider community. People have really pulled together to support each other, and I hope that we don’t lose that when we emerge in our ‘new normal’.”

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