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A place to jam

Local musicians extend invitation to record at their studio

By: Viola Pruss

  |  Posted: Saturday, Apr 19, 2014 06:00 am

SWEET SOUNDS – Jason Grilo of Electric Treehouse recording studio. Named after the large wooden hatch that leads to it, the studio was designed for young artists and bands looking for a cheaper, more independent place to record their art.
SWEET SOUNDS – Jason Grilo of Electric Treehouse recording studio. Named after the large wooden hatch that leads to it, the studio was designed for young artists and bands looking for a cheaper, more independent place to record their art.
VIOLA PRUSS/St. Albert Gazette

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It’s not easy to find The Electric Treehouse.

The city’s newest recording studio is hidden in the back of Bodacious Baths, a small business along St. Albert Trail. You can only reach it through the back door, and not everyone gets inside.

Named after the large wooden hatch that leads to it, the studio was designed for young artists and bands looking for a cheaper, more independent place to record their art. It was the brainchild of local musicians Jason Grilo, Colin Noel and Steve Bosch.

“We created this space and we wanted to use it for my band and Colin’s band and we wanted to fill the space for fellow musicians,” says Grilo. “The idea is we are not completely open to anyone off the street to come in.”

The Treehouse consists of two rooms, divided by thick drywall, a double door and a glass window to filter out the sound. The smallest room holds the mixing equipment: the studio monitors, compressors and amps, he says.

The live room beside it is packed with equipment and instruments and was designed for bands to practice their music or record instruments, he says.

In total, up to 16 musicians can record here, if they can fit.

“It’s pretty comfy for four or five people,” says Grilo. “We have one spot for a bass player, a spot here can be for a keyboard player, a guitar player or two over there and a drummer there – and whatever else you need.”

When the group had first contemplated opening their own studio they were offered 30 feet of space in the back corner of a mechanical shop. But that fell through and they were kind of discouraged, he says.

It was their friend and fellow musician Brad Proulx, co-owner of Bodacious Baths, who told them about the empty space upstairs of his business.

That was in September and they since spent every Saturday soundproofing the rooms and setting up their equipment. They were fully operational by January.

It’s not easy finding a good place for recording, says Grilo.

“I had a jam space in my basement but it was always tough to coordinate with my roommates, and of course the neighbours,” he says. “A lot of people can record at home with a laptop and a microphone and a guitar. But drums, for example, are difficult.”

The Treehouse was not created to generate a lot of profit, he adds.

Any money made from renting the space will go into new equipment, and paying off their renovation bills, he says. But they also need one or two more bands to use the rooms more permanently to help with the utility costs, he says.

They charge $160 per month for the rehearsal room, which comes to about four hours per week. A minimum of two hours costs $40. In comparison, Grilo says regular studios often charge between $60 and $80 an hour.

To use the mixing room as well, musicians can either do the recording on their own for $30 an hour, or get help from an engineer for $40 an hour. The engineers are Grilo and his friends.

To fully produce, record and mix a CD, musicians can contact them for pricing, he says. But musicians are also welcome to record at their studio and then mix the music at home, he says.

“We want to be that middle ground where you can do what you can’t do at home because you don’t have the space or capability,” he says. “And you don’t want to pay the $60 to $70 an hour because you are just not there yet.”

The Electric Treehouse is located at 28 Muir Drive, next to the Riverhouse Grill. To contact them go to electrictreehouse.ca or call 780-964-8487.


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