Studio Spotlight

Studio Spotlight

Touchwood Recording Studios

by Carly Gowan

November 16, 2010 in Industry Profile

Grant Hall, Owner/Producer/Engineer
Justin Bender, Engineer/Producer/Musician

Grant Hall started out in the recording business by accident. At the age of nineteen, he started mixing sound at the Agridome. After acquiring some recording equipment for a great deal, Grant thought he would give sound recording a try. He had no idea it would turn into his career. “The door is always open in this business. It’s being in the right place at the right time,” says Grant, who believes that life is too short to not take chances on the things you are passionate about.

Touchwood Studios started out in Lumsden, Saskatchewan in 1985 and one year later moved to Regina. The studio was designed and constructed by Pilchner Schoustal Associates, and has expanded to include an audio post, digital multi-track, and many full production needs. In 2006, Touchwood became a label on iTunes so that the music they record can be directly uploaded and available to the public within a couple of days.

Touchwood Studios has also seen many engineers come through their doors. The most famous is Kevin Churko, who has gone on to produce, mix, and engineer for Ozzy Osbourne. Kevin has said, “I wouldn’t be where I am without Touchwood Studios.”

Grant wouldn’t want to be anywhere else besides Saskatchewan. He says that one of the biggest benefits is the vast talent and different musical genres that this province has to offer. “You can learn something from any type of music and apply it to another,” explains Grant. Grant has also been fortunate enough to travel to many different recording studios around the world, which has enabled him to continue learning new sound recording skills and techniques.

Grant says his biggest thrill as a sound engineer was mixing sounds for ‘Into Eternity’ at the Bell Centre in Montreal. That evening, over 8000 concert goers sang along to a song he had engineered for the band two months prior. “I am lucky to be able to create music everyday for a living,” says Grant. “This business is always changing. Nothing stays the same for too long”.

In today’s digital world, anyone can make a simple sound recording at home. However, a poor quality recording makes it very difficult for your talent to show through and can potentially do more harm than good. “You only get one opportunity to make a first impression, so don’t waste it with a poor quality recording,” explains Grant. “A good quality recording is really important especially when you are just starting out.”

Justin Bender has been with Touchwood Studios for the past two years and loves the challenges this job has to offer. “Working in the music industry has given me so many experiences that money just can’t buy,” says Justin. Grant and Justin’s motto is “You are only as good as your last project”. If the current project they are working on does not exceed their previous project, they will go back in and re-record or re-mix.

The oldest operating studio in Saskatchewan, Touchwood Studios opened their doors on October 1st, 1985, making this year it’s twenty-fifth anniversary. Over the last ten years, Touchwood Studios has recorded over 100 CDs and numerous smaller jobs. Approximately 60% of their business is from Saskatchewan and the remaining is from the rest of Canada and around the world.

Some past clients/projects include: Into Eternity, Loverboy, Joan Jett and the Black Hearts, Chilliwack, Laura Pettigrew, FOXX Worthee, Sonic Orchid, Headpins, J.J Voss, CBC Radio, Snoop Dogg, The Poverty Plainsmen, Greg Kihn Band, Brandy Moore, and Steve Gibson.

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Photo courtesy: Cortney Roth Photo courtesy: Cortney Roth Photo courtesy: Cortney Roth Photo courtesy: Cortney Roth