We are a vibey and comfy retreat recording studio located on the
"The Isle of the Arts," beautiful Gabriola Island.
Gabriola is a gulf island in the Salish Seas between Vancouver and Vancouver Island.
We are approximately 3 hours from Vancouver, 1.5 hours from Victoria, 20 minutes from Nanaimo
and half a day from Seattle.
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We favour a creative approach to recording and strive to make timeless, well crafted albums in a comfortable environment. We use a mix of both hi-fi and low-fi equipment, and while we love our high end gear, we work on the philosophy that you don’t need to rely solely on gear and over-manipulation to capture or create memorable performances. A relaxed, comfortable environment, an engineer that listens and implements your ideas, contributing creativity as required, and yes, great gear, all contribute to the process.
In 2013, we moved to beautiful Gabriola Island, where we spent 4 months building our new studio. We gutted and converted a large boat building shop, into 2 performance spaces (live room, dead room), control room, and band lounge. It was an intense challenge but we are so proud of the result.
The live room is 20’ x 18’ with a ceiling height reaching 13’ at its peak. It is spacious enough to accommodate a 3-4 piece band and comfy for the solo performer. The floor is concrete (with radiant heat) and the walls / ceiling are finished in local cedar. The room is quite lively but not overly bright and is perfect when natural ambience is needed on acoustic instruments such as drums, strings or vocals.
DEAD ROOM (FREAKOUT ISLAND)
“Freakout Island” is the smaller of the two performance spaces and has a “dead” or “dry” sound. It is built above a separate slab of concrete and its’ physical connection to the live room is minimal. Therefore vibrational energy transfer is limited, and loud instruments like guitar amplifiers can be contained to the room quite well, even with the sliding glass door open. This is beneficial when tracking loud instruments at the same time as quiet ones. The room measures 16’ x 12’ with an angled ceiling maxing out 10’ making it big enough for a drummer to spread out, or 2-3 guitar players that need to play in front of their amplifiers but also require isolation from other performers. Sight lines to the live room are good. The upright piano, pump organ and studio guitar amplifiers all live in here. Windows provide some awesome natural light, especially in the fall when the sun is low.
The control room is centred around a 24 channel Neotek Series II console and a RADAR 24 multi-track recorder. The console has a “clean” and “open” sound with quiet and accurate mic-preamps and a precise 4 band parametric eq section. The RADAR might be the best digital multi-track there is. You can record / playback through the RADAR or exit simultaneously to a DAW via optical cables.
Natural light enters from the back of the room and a good amount of low frequency energy is removed into the attic via the “skylight” helping to make it a balanced listening environment.
LOUNGE / PATIO
Our comfortable band lounge has cable TV & streaming services, a mini fridge, board & card games, books, tapes, 2 couches, and an eating / drinking bar.
The studio kitchenette includes an induction cooktop, bar sink, mini fridge, kettle, bodum, pots and pans, dishes and lots of food storage. Coffee, tea and drinking water are always provided.
Marble floors, wrap-around concrete shower, tall ceilings and angled walls make it the perfect echo-chamber. The reverb is longer and brighter than the live room and shines on woody percussion or “ooh-ahh” singing. Functions as your typical bathroom as well.
Clients are invited to stay at the studio as our personal guests at no extra charge. We offer 4 single beds (1 is a loft bed) for 4 guests in the band cabin. Sometimes you can get wifi out there but you’re on an island. Who needs it?