Professional Sound - April 2017 - Page 28

CONTROL ROOM When people enter the studio, they feel like they’ve walked into someone’s house – a vibe enhanced by the claw foot tub and wainscoting in the washroom, radiant water heaters throughout, and a pair of pot belly gas fireplaces, one in the lobby and one in the live room. That’s a plus, Gough says. “It’s a fully functioning, comfortable space and I think that relaxed vibe and energy allows people to be in the studio and feel relaxed, creative, and inspired.” Gough credits Bonenfant with spearheading the retrofit of the studio. “Alex did an amazing job. At that time in my life, I had no idea what drywall was. Nor do I ever want to know what drywall is again,” he says, laughing. “I’m somewhat handy,” Bonenfant puts in, “and we pulled in a lot of favours and time from people who wanted to contribute. It was a group effort.” Having a drywaller and master electrician in his family definitely helped, he adds, but it was not a full-on studio build. “We added things as we started to work and realized that the room needed tweaking.” Over their seven years at Dream House they’ve continued to upgrade as the community using the studio grew and as the business began to be more balanced, financially speaking. “We took on risk, buying equipment and, at one point, we lined the whole live room with barn board, which mellowed it out. Then we added baffles and clouds on the live floor. Then we realized we needed some diffusion. So it’s been a very adaptive process where, when we had the money, we’d update. Project by project, year by year, we’ve continued to enhance and develop it.” Coming in at about 1,900 sq. ft. overall, the studio consists of the four previously mentioned producer rooms, which surround a communal kitchen and are separated from the main studio – with its approximately 200-sq. ft. control room and 300-sq. ft. live room – by a lobby with a spiral staircase that provides access to an expansive wraparound rooftop patio. 28 • PROFESSIONAL SOUND “It lends itself to a big cross section of people,” Bonenfant says, “songwriters, engineers, and producers in multiple genres. And the main studio is shared; that’s the communal aspect of it, that it’s open to all of the tenants and partners here.” Comfort was and remains critical, Bonenfant insists – basically, “not having the place have a commercial studio vibe.” Instead, the plan was more about fostering an environment where people aren’t staring at a clock on the wall. But community, he continues, was and is their primary concern. “Neither of us had the ambition to run a commercial studio. The intention was always to have this function as a place to foster creativity for the community around us and since the day we opened, we’ve kept the rates in a range that’s affordable and enables us to facilitate creativity. I think that’s the anchor – the backbone of the place – and what makes it interesting and unique. It’s a creative incubator where people can come in and meet other people in the community that don’t necessarily run in the same circles and find a way to collaborate with them and work on songs. Both Adrien and I, our focus has always been on songs.” Over time, Dream House has hosted producers and songwriters such as JON DREW, ILLANGELO, TOM D’ARCY, AND ARTHUR MCARTHUR, AND ARTIST CLIENTS INCLUDING METZ, JULY TALK, CRYSTAL CASTLES, FUCKED UP, NELLY FURTADO, K-OS, AND THE WEEKND, AMONG MANY OTHERS . They have an ongoing association with Sleepless Records and play host to a number of producers, engineers, labels, and management companies, including Dream Machine, Nightmare Mgmt, Nook Recording, Jason Dufour, Mike Sonier, Josh Bowman, Frazer Mac, The Hand Recordings, and Young Wolf Hatchlings, some of which actually use the producer rooms as offices. Those partnerships increase the sense of community and foster openness between everyone who is part of the creative process and the business of building artists’ careers. “It’s about casting a wide net and being a part of all of those different franchises,” Bonenfant says. “A lot of those companies are independent contractors or companies that have an association with the studio itself. Those people are all working on their own projects and it gives us an opportunity to be invested in those projects, whether it’s arm’s length or getting involved through the studio or my label or management company.” Although Gough and Bonenfant play different roles in the day-to-day workings of the studio, Gough describes its governance as “a bit more socialist.” Essentially, he says, they operate as “a big family,” with Bonenfant as Dream House’s senior engineer and Calvin Hartwick as the studio’s main in-house engineer. “Adrien and I are partners and we both handle operations. Calvin is also the studio manager and handles any of the outside bookings and coordination of the use of the studio and scheduling.” Dream House features a mix of cutting edge recording technology and vintage instruments, including a Wurlitzer 200A that Bonenfa )՝ЁɽɱݽMɉɽ՝L)ѡɥݹȰݡ՝ЁЁЁḾѡ+`̸qЁݥѠѡɥͥх)t̸qѕȁ͡՝Ёа)͡ЁЁȁ٥ɽЁeЁٕ)Ȁ啅̻t)ɅЁɕɑ́)ѡAɼQ̰ѽ1)՝ а!ݥɔѼ)ѡՑ́ݡ݅ЁѼɥ)еɅхѡ՝ѡӊé)ѼՅ䁡 ͥ䰁ѡѡ)́ѡɥѡɕѥٔɽ̰)ձѥѕ䰁ѡɕձаѡeɔݥѠ)ЁЁɕ!͔ٔ)QɥЁͽЁٕՅ䁝Ёɥ)͔ͼ܁́ݕɔѕɕѕ