Hosa Technology’s Hoyt Binder grew up in the country of Panama, where his parents were missionaries. He was blessed to be around an indigenous tribe called The Wounaan and learn a lot about its ancient culture.

Learn more about Binder in our exclusive Final Note interview below.

The Music & Sound Retailer: Who was your greatest influence or mentor and why?

Hoyt Binder: The late Lee Watkins, who hired me and taught me how to succeed in the MI industry by funneling my passion for music into relationship-driven sales.

The Retailer: What was the best advice you ever received?

Binder: That would also be from Lee Watkins, who told me to never forget that we sell service, not SKUs. In times like these, I can’t think of any better advice.

The Retailer: What was your first experience with a musical instrument?

Binder: Strumming my older brother’s electric guitar through headphones and hearing the sound of distortion, thinking it was the greatest sound I’d ever heard, even though I had no clue how to play the guitar.

The Retailer: What instrument do you most enjoy playing?

Binder: I enjoy writing on piano, but the guitar is the instrument that brings me joy. My favorite sound in the world is a PAF humbucker-equipped electric guitar paired with a Marshall Plexi cranked to 11.

The Retailer: Tell us something about yourself that others do not know or would be surprised to learn.

Binder: I grew up in the country of Panama, where my parents were missionaries. I was blessed to be around an indigenous tribe called the Wounaan and learn a lot about their ancient culture. I feel a connection with anyone from Latin and South America, as there are usually many commonalities with food, music and overall culture.

The Retailer: What’s your favorite activity to do when you’re not at work?

Binder: Fishing with my wife. We go fishing every year to places like Sequoia, Calif., and Panguitch, Utah.

The Retailer: What is the best concert you’ve ever been to?

Binder: Van Halen’s final reunion show with David Lee Roth at the Hollywood Bowl on October 4, 2015. From Roth telling multiple childhood stories and thanking Eddie for all the memories to seeing Eddie happy and playing with his son on stage, it was magical.

The Retailer: If you could see any musician, alive or deceased, play a concert for one night, who would it be and why?

Binder: Jimi Hendrix. It’s not just his guitar playing. It’s the fact that he had so much vibe to give, and I can’t think of anyone who’s captured that free spirit on record like he did.

The Retailer: What musician are you hoping to see play in the near future (post-pandemic)?

Binder: The Marshall Tucker Band, which we were going to see in June, but that got canceled … I’d also like to see Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, as they are always inspiring.

The Retailer: What song was most memorable for you throughout your childhood and what do you remember about it the most?

Binder: My dad would occasionally play some Beach Boys. I always loved the harmonies and modulations in “I Get Around,” which always seemed to have quite a bit more packed into it than your average pop song.

The Retailer: What are your favorite songs on your smartphone/iPod?

Binder: That’s a tough one, but I’ll go with my top three at the moment, “Take the Highway” by the Marshall Tucker Band, “Blood and Fire” by Van Halen and “Surf’s Up” by Brian Wilson.

The Retailer: What’s the most fun thing you saw/did at a NAMM Show?

Binder: Meeting my childhood hero, Michael Sweet of Stryper, who was signing at a booth around the corner from ours a few years ago. It was surprising to see him right down the aisle and more surprising to have a few moments of free time to go say “hi” and shake his hand.

The Retailer: If you had to select three people, past or present, to have dinner with, who would they be and what would you ask them?

Binder: John Cleese, Brian Wilson and Johann Sebastian Bach. In all cases, I’d ask what the first moment of inspiration feels like and what’s their process for turning it into something larger than life.

The Retailer: Tell us about your most memorable experience with an MI retailer (without naming them).

Binder: That would have to be in Nashville after one Summer NAMM. We went out for some amazing barbecue
followed by my first moonshine tasting.

The Retailer: What is the best thing about the MI industry?

Binder: Everyone in this industry has one thing in common, music, which crosses all cultural barriers and connects our careers with our passion.

The Retailer: Who do you admire most outside of the music industry and why?

Binder: I admire Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph, founders of Netflix, for their ability to adapt quickly to changes in consumer behavior. While the record industry plummeted by not adapting fast enough, Netflix became game-changers in a short period of time.

The Retailer: What technology could change MI down the road?

Binder: If live interactions between musicians in different countries become more of a possibility through programs such as Twitch, it could open once impossible collaborations and live-streaming possibilities that weren’t possible before. In an age of increasing isolation, any technology that connects students, teachers and musicians of all types would help our industry immensely.

The Retailer: If you weren’t in the music industry, what would you be doing and why?

Binder: Either a chef or possibly a comedy writer. In both cases, I’ve always been influenced by creativity and attention to detail, whether it be Gordon Ramsay’s amazing Beef Wellington or John Cleese’s masterful farce in “Fawlty Towers.”

The Retailer: Tell us about your hometown and why you enjoy living there.

Binder: I live in Santa Ana, Calif., but consider the general Los Angeles area to be my hometown. I love the fact that within 30 minutes or so in any direction, you can find one-of-a-kind restaurants, stroll down the Sunset Strip or see a world-class musician at The Baked Potato.

The Retailer: What are your most prized possession(s) and why?

Binder: My Mojave Peacemaker amp, which is a modern take on a Marshall Plexi. It has modern reliability with all the vintage mojo intact.

The Retailer: What’s your favorite book and why?

Binder: “Dune” by Frank Herbert, as it still has a lasting impression to this day and clearly inspires much of the popular sci-fi culture we now see.

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