We had the good fortune of connecting with Chris Ardoin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chris, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
The thought process behind founding Three On The Floor was an organic process of discovery. It wasn’t necessary a pre-scripted formula that was followed, however looking back at its development over time and current position in the market, it does fill a unique niche that can be broken down and understood through the process and direction it paved. If I were to attempt to caption the current thought process behind the business, it would be that the business offers a stage for these vintage instruments. It captures a particular beauty in the instruments through the presentation. This exposes the artistry and craftsmanship of the instruments while also minimizing the uncertainty of ‘condition’ when purchasing vintage instruments online.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My career is truly multifaceted and I can actually recall a conversation that may have been the seed for this. I was going to school for architecture and playing in jazz combos in the music department. The stress of bouncing back and forth between studios, rehearsals and engineering classes was very demanding and at times stressful. I was having a conversation about this with my advisor at the university, Kari Smith, who also was a large inspiration to my move to Rhode Island for graduate school. She put it very simple, stating that maybe design and music were not two different things but instead one in the same for me. However she communicated it to me was far more poetic, haha. I acted like I understood what she was saying at the time, but it really set the stage to a journey. I found it as a proposition; a question asking what relationship is and how do they inform and inspire each other. This was a crucial time in my life. I was trying to decide between a career in music and a career in architecture and design. The idea of them being one in the same, or at least in my life, flipped this decision upside down. I found an internal yin-yang that was incomplete without either one. My career motivations and decisions were then backed by this underlying curiosity of what this relationship might be. Going back to the contributions of others, Kody Chamberlain, an artist from the Lafayette area, once told me that monetary success is a byproduct of following one’s passions. This has proven to be very relevant and accurate in my life. While this is a romanticized concept of success, it doesn’t come without challenges and struggle. The concept does provide the foundation to overcome those challenges, which is that underlying passion. For myself, these challenges included time management, financial and time investments and relationship building. These are still ongoing challenges, however I’ve come to know them very well and how they play a part in what I do. I have been fortunate to be involved in some great projects and teams throughout my professional career. Currently I’m a team member with PDR Corp, a multidisciplinary architecture, brand & consulting firm. I’ve been playing with some outstanding Texas based musicians and close friends including The Mighty Orq, LEON III, William and the Texas Starlight, and Charlie and the Regrets to name a few. All while running Three On The Floor; its been a ride!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I moved to Houston roughly 7 years ago and while it took a little time, the city has developed into a place that feels like home. The city really has a lot to offer for any type of individual. The places and people that have made this city feel like home are surely the stops when any friends or family visit. Itineraries are heavily driven by music events taking place, however below are some of the necessary stops along the way. The first place on this list is The Big Easy. This club was created to bring the vibe of New Orleans to Houston and hosts some of the best Texas artists. The owner and staff are awesome and we had an ongoing residency with The Mighty Orq here on Thursdays prior to Covid times. A couple of other venues on the list would be Goodnight Charlie’s, Armadillo Palace for honky tonk and western swing music. Shady Acres Saloon, White Oak Music Hall, The Heights Theater are other fantastic hangs with different degrees of musical acts. These are limited to those spots within the city proper, however there many rural towns right outside of Houston with great places to hang as well. Houston has some great breweries that are must. These include 8th Wonder, Saint Arnolds, Eureka Heights, Under the Radar, Buffalo Bayou Brewing and this list goes on. They each have cool different atmospheres at the breweries and their own unique selection of craft beer. The Houston food game is off the charts and I often consult Houston natives even to this day on this topic. A couple of places on an itinerary would be Alamo Tamales & Taco for authentic mexican, Mai’s for Vietnamese, Thai Pepper, El Big Bad and The Original Ninfa’s for tex-mex. So many options!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My list of recognition, appreciation and credit is very extensive, haha. I’ve been fortunate to have an outstanding support system throughout my family, friends, bands, colleagues and they truly have all contributed something to my character and inspiration. Getting particular towards the inspiration behind Three On The Floor, the friends and family in Lafayette, Louisiana is it. In fact, says it right in the name, Three On the Floor. The name is a play between the standard drummer lingo, ‘four on the floor’ rhythm combined with the music culture of pace of life in that area. I have memories of learning how to dance to the 3/4 timing of a waltz in grade school to later counting it behind the kit on gigs. The naming of Three On The Floor was my recognition and appreciation of that. This includes individuals like Scott Feehan whose drum shop I worked at for years, Scott’s Drum Center, whom has gone on to run Festival International de Louisiane; Brad Craduer who was another engine behind that drumshop and an early inspiration on my playing; Peter DeHart who is a powerhouse of talent behind the drums and with his design company MakeMade; Joe Gary my drum instructor and mentor for years, and Frank Kincel who outstanding drummer, friend, colleague and crafts the greatest drum sticks on the planet, LA Backbeat. Again, these were all guys under the same roof at that shop. It was just an incredible.
Jacqueline Justice, Sean Mathis, Kico Tovar, Marcia Hoang