More music, less hassle
Local sound engineers provide space/equipment
By Paul Andrew
Ever since rock ’n’ roll came along the typical four-piece band has needed a room to rehearse, equipment to produce the sound, and experts to help record the music. So since the 1950s, when those odd trios and quartets began replacing the big brass bands, the business of supplying equipment and rehearsal studios has evolved into a full fledged industry.
Hundreds of small studios are available for rent in metropolitan areas, but until this month, there was little or no studio space for rent for the burgeoning music industry in Whistler — at least not in two, three and four-hour blocks such as it is in the city.
But two men who are experts in the industry plan on changing that by the end of November when some 2,500 square feet of warehouse space in Function Junction is converted into a musician’s heaven.
Most Whistlerites have heard of, or seen, Pip Euinton and Scott Young at work in one of the many live venues in the village, at The Boot Pub or wherever there is a need for live sound gear. Since about 1988, these two partners at PS Productions have been the men behind the scenes at some of the biggest gigs in the Whistler Valley. And if they haven’t been there in person, you can bet a piece of gear they own is being used for the production. What the pair plans on doing is making their gear available to Whistler musicians at a central location — where they can bang away for hours without bothering anyone. They also plan on selling and renting out new and used instruments and pro-audio gear.
"I think we’ll be supplying a service that Whistler musicians have needed for quite some time," Euinton said. "I’m surprised nobody else has done it. I get asked all the time if I know about studio space for rehearsal or recording."
It is odd that a service which is available on such a mass scale in the city doesn’t exist in Whistler — especially when you consider how many local artists have recorded work on sale and are planning a follow up CD or tape. But both Euinton and Young say not everyone has the expertise or the equipment for such a venture.
"We’re at the point where we can do any major production," Euinton added. "But we’re not going to forget about the little guy: The person who just wants sticks or strings or an eight channel (mixing) board. We think this might encourage more music in town."
Young says the warehouse, located between Mountain Paint and Windsor Plywood on Millar Creek Road in Function Junction, will have to begin paying for itself almost immediately, so the rehearsal space is the first element that will be up and running. Once that starts generating revenue, instruments and pro-audio gear (which PS Productions already rent out) will become available at a consumer level. Eventually, the two plan to start a recording studio.
"Pip told me the other day that we’ve got about 12 mixing boards," Young said. "So it is building up. I hope to begin recording again. That’s what I used to do in the city all the time. But our priority is to get the rehearsal space going by mid-November."
Young says the duo spend much of their time replacing and repairing sound gear, renting it to DJs, and supplying pro-audio gear unique to the live music industry. From snakes — the cables with numerous microphone ends — to pre-amps and analogue sound mixing boards, Young and Euinton own it, fix it, and supply it. But the other end of the music industry is the personal instruments most musicians begin with. At the moment, there is no retail outlet in Whistler which specializes in musical instruments and is staffed by sales people who know if it’s a Marshall Stack tube amplifier or a solid state Peavey cabinet that will be best for your needs.
The final aspect of the three-in-one service will be the recording studio. Although a few home studios operate on a limited basis in the Whistler area, such as Rob DeMarco’s, the idea of Euinton and Young’s studio is to be consumer friendly, making it available to pros and amateurs at a reasonable price.
"We’ll get some walk-up traffic too," Euinton said. "It’s a good location in Function Junction. What we’re actually doing is expanding our business to a legitimate store front. "We’ve got a lot of gear and it’s all over the place. It will centralize our business."
Young says it’s not unrealistic to do almost everything a musician needs out of one location, and he says his home in Bayshores is getting a little like Grand Central Station on weekends with musicians and DJs coming and going.
"It is getting a little hectic here. Plus Pip will pull up in the cube van and load up for a gig," Young says. "It’s rough on the neighbours so they’ll be happy when we stop storing gear here.
"As far as pressing CDs at the warehouse — why not? I’ve talked to dealers that have CD burners available at a good price if you buy eight at a time or whatever. And if you succeed at the recording industry, who’s to say you can’t start pressing CDs?"