It could be said, and with great certainty, that 2020 would be an unlikely year for a recording studio to be thriving. When the economy is struggling, income for artists and funding for their projects are typically among the first items to be shelved. Nonetheless, Lucas McKinnon, owner, and engineer at Silverside Sound in picturesque Cobble Hill is making it work.
Though starting out at just 11 years old, it wasn’t until 2016 though when music became more than just a hobby. “Music gave me something that felt really good to put all my energy into,” he says recalling the decision to give it a go and dive in full time playing in a singer-songwriter duo at the time. The pair took advantage of a house-sitting opportunity to record their first CD (remember those?) before heading out on the road. This tour took them across Canada and even to Australia for a time before eventually Lucas moved to Toronto for a year.
It was there that Lucas first experienced working with a producer when embarking on his next recording project with Dale Harrison, drummer of the famed Canadian rock band Headstones. The experience exposed him to a new level of both artistic and technical refinement sowing the seeds of a greater realization that would eventually lead a young McKinnon to where he is now.
After eventually returning home to Vancouver Island Lucas found himself in somewhat of a quandary. He was still “addicted to music, but didn’t really want to perform” after growing weary of the precarious life as a full time gigging musician. The more he developed in his skills and knowledge through taking on live sound gigs, the more his passion for recording, producing, and engineering grew.
“Engineering has been the biggest challenge I’ve given myself as an artist,” Lucas remarks. Understanding the composition of a song, instrumentation, and which various techniques to employ factors into the creation and the curation of a sonic space into which one is inviting the listener.
This kind of ethos is reflective of the atmosphere here at Silverside Sound where community and creativity come together in what could be called an “inspiration cycle” of sorts. Yes, it is still very much a business but somehow this “Field Of Dreams” has taken the form of a warm, inviting, and spacious state of the art studio in Cowichan. “People are always going to make art,” Lucas says in closing, smiling with optimism.
The rich wood laden live room has welcomed artists of all kinds, from pop/r&b acts, country, rock, metal, and even the Cowichan Tzinquaw Drummers who recorded a performance for use in an upcoming documentary film. If you’ve got a project you’ve been waiting to record, go to silversidesound.com to find out if this space is right for you.
- Ian Locke
Downtown Duncan BIA