Famed North Van studio rises again
You could be forgiven for not noticing the musical landmark undergoing restoration on a quiet corner of Lower Lonsdale. But not for much longer.
Those in the know will recognize the low, grey, windowless exterior at the corner of East 1st Street and St. Georges Avenue as the former home of Bakerstreet Studios, a 20-year institution in the North Shore music scene.
Outside, the decor hasn't changed much from what could be a disused bomb shelter on a small industrial lot at 181 East 1st Street. But once inside the heavy doors of the soon-to-be re-christened Crew Studios, the feeling is more akin to walking into rock and roll heaven.
Much of the studio is still under construction; with rack-mounted amplifiers and computer software still stacked against the control room walls and the delivery of a much-anticipated vintage analog mixing console still very much anticipated.
Beyond the thick glass of the control room window is the cavernous live room where the likes of Elvis Costello and Chris Isaak put tracks to tape back in the studio's Bakerstreet days.
But it's on this side of the glass that studio manager and head engineer Mike Cashin feels most comfortable.
"I always loved music," the Newfoundland-born Cashin told The Outlook. "But never had the wherewithal to play."
Graduating from audio engineering in 2000, Cashin worked at Vancouver's famed Warehouse Studio, mixing Michael Bublé, Mötley Crüe and most recently recording and mixing the debut album from CFOX Vancouver Seeds contest winners, Louder Than Love.
It was while at the Warehouse that Cashin got a call to man the faders at a new studio being built at Bakerstreet, the famed former haunt of North Shore music producer Paul Baker who died of cancer in October 2010.
Baker apparently had a silent partner in the studio who decided to give it a new lease on life after his partner died
"Then he got in touch with me to make it a commercial studio," said Cashin, who already has big plans to take the studio beyond the typical confines of a record factory.
"When we first start I think it'll be a lot of the old Bakerstreet people, but we're going to go multimedia as well," he said.
In fact, the studio is already fitted with video cameras which Cashin foresees being used to make podcasts, video promos and possibly even TV shows capturing artists as they record. But music will always be the focus, he added.
All that's still a long way down the road though. For now, Cashin's just worried about getting the console in and uncrossing any wires before his expected opening in late February.
"Already we've had producers and musicians knocking around," Cashin said. And he may soon have a lot more of that once the early buzz around Crew Studios is joined by the sounds coming out of it.