Professional Sound - April 2017 - Page 27

L ive room Prior to leasing the space, Bonenfant had been working at the Orange Lounge. When he left Orange, he began looking for another studio with Walter and Gough. “We found this space and started it up, initially as a place for us to work. And initially, we were living here; it was our residence, our place of employment, and our studio. But we decided that wasn’t well suited to our lifestyle,” Bonenfant says, laughing. Living and working in the same space and with good friends sounds great on paper, but, unsurprisingly, comes with challenges: “Like a bass cab blaring into your room at 2 a.m.,” Bonenfant offers as an example. “So that lasted roughly six months, which was enough.” The rooms they’d been living and working in became four production rooms in which they’ve had a variety of tenants over time – “People who are young and up and coming,” says Bonenfant. “Producer rooms in Toronto are really at a premium. It’s hard to find a place where you can make noise at any hour. We found that they’re in demand and since the day we started renting those rooms, I don’t think we’ve really had any vacancy.” There has been turnover in the seven years since they started out, a result of people cutting their teeth in the industry, establishing and working on the foundation of their careers, and then moving on as their careers develop. In short, Dream House functioned as kind of an artist incubator. “And I think to this day it still works very much that way,” Bonenfant adds, “but I wouldn’t limit it to artists.” In truth, it’s really just an extension of what they’d been using the studio for in the first place. Bonenfant describes the path of his career as fairly traditional for an engineer/ producer. He studied at the Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology (OIART) and then took a position as an engineer at Toronto’s Cherry Beach Sound, where he spent a great deal of time with his first mentor, Inaam Haq, who’s been the senior staff engineer at Cherry Beach since 1998 and worked with a diverse array of artists, ranging from Rush to Mark Ronson to Rihanna. From there, Bonenfant moved on to the Orange Lounge for two years before going freelance in 2009. Gough started out as a musician, a saxophone player, which, he says, ultimately led him to hip-hop and pop production, working alongside Walter, aka Cirkut. “I’m very much not an engineer, but I know a lot about music and rely on Alex’s strength in terms of him being a gear guy,” Gough explains about their creative synergy. “I think it’s important to have people around the studio, and in the community of the studio, who aren’t necessarily the gear people, who just want to help foster the creativity of songwriters and musicians.” Having someone who’s not directly working on the tech side, who is there to offer guidance from a different standpoint is, according to Bonenfant, invaluable. “The way I look at it is [it’s like] therapy. It’s a sanctuary. I