Hadlock grew up around music his entire life, as his parents Joe and Manny Hadlock, started Bear Creek Studio in 1977. The studio has remained family-owned for two generations, and is now headed by Ryan. Joe Hadlock was in a number of Seattle bands, and their family home and studio were places where creativity was always encouraged, and part of the fabric of business and socializing. Ryan grew up around famous musicians, but also many talented studio players, who didn't find fame, but taught him much about how records were crafted. Hadlock studied sound recording in London and at The Evergreen State College. In London, he produced albums at the fabled Abbey Road Studios and by influential Olympia, Washington indie rock band Gossip, as well as the first record by Johnny Flynn. He assisted Gil Norton, David A. Stewart, and Joe Chiccarelli. Some of Bear Creek's famous clients have included James Brown, Lionel Richie, Eric Clapton, Heart, The Strokes and others.