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Greenhouse Studios is a music recording facility founded by Bruce Levens in 1987. The facility has recorded over 1000 albums during the last 25 years. The studio was incorporated as Lions Gate Studios, subsequently changing its name to Vancouver Studios before finally settling on the Greenhouse Studios name.
The operation started as a one-room studio in half of an industrial building. A steady stream of clients attracted by the equipment, facilities, location and mostly the people allowed Greenhouse Studios to grow. The original MCI console was replaced by an SSL G series which brought in even bigger projects. A smaller studio was built to handle overdubs and budget conscious artists. When the building next door became available it was incorporated into the operation, Studio 1 would become a stand-alone studio complete with large live and control rooms, separate machine room, bathroom, kitchen and lounge facilities. 2 Edit suites were added to handle the post production work the facility was doing. A penthouse studio and warehouse studio were also created in the 90s.
The entire operation would close and move close to downtown Vancouver early in the new century. A large tracking room, an overdub studio and mix room were all created. Currently Greenhouse Studios operates the large tracking room with a Neve console.
The careers of international stars k.d. lang, Queensrÿche and Sarah McLachlan were built on songs recorded at Greenhouse Studios. The facility has also recorded for many of Canada's top bands including 54-40, Default, Wide Mouth Mason, Matthew Good Band, Age of Electric, Odds, Spirit of the West, Barney Bentall, Colin James and Pluto.
The band Nickelback would record three albums at Greenhouse: The State, Silver Side Up, and The Long Road. The State was recorded and produced by Dale Penner with Dave Ashton assisting. Silver Side Up was recorded by Rick Parashar. The Silver Side Up album would yield the #1 played radio song, "How You Remind Me" of the decade 2000-2009 according to Neilsen Soundscan. Nickelback would be named the music group of the decade by Billboard Magazine. The third Nickelback album, The Long Road, was produced by Chad Kroeger and Engineered by Joey Moi who would go on to co-produce and engineer all the Nickelback albums until the end of the decade.
An unknown torch singer from Alberta started recording at Greenhouse in the late 1980s. k.d. lang would end up recording five different projects with Greenhouse including the Engenue album, the album that gave her international status and won a Grammy Award for engineering for Marc Raemer. It is the only album recorded in Western Canada to achieve this lofty distinction. k.d. lang would be inducted into the Canadian Music Hall of Fame at the 2013 Juno Awards. k.d. lang would collaborate on the projects at Greenhouse Studios with Ben Mink, fiddle player and songwriter extraordinaire.
The first client to walk through the doors of Greenhouse Studios was Steven Drake, singer and guitar player of the band the Odds. The Odds would record 3 of their 4 albums at Greenhouse Studios, the fourth album unfortunately could not be accommodated due to a Bob Rock production. Steven Drake would add producing and mixing to his musical skills, he would work on albums by 54-40, The Tragically Hip, Staggered Crossing and Tegan and Sara at the studio. Steven would also be the last client to record at the original facility, his final mix was completed in Studio B control room while the live room was being demolished.
Greenhouse Studios has hosted numerous international clients. Roger Daltrey of The Who recorded vocal tracks at the studio. Salt-N-Pepa would record at Greenhouse. Cher would record tracks in Vancouver at the Studio. Akon worked on new tracks following his show at GM Place.
Queensrÿche recorded and mixed the Empire album. Peter Collins would produce the album and James Barton would engineer with Marc Raemar from Greenhouse Studios assisting. Empire sold 3 million copies in the U.S. and received a triple platinum certification. The album produced the power ballad "Silent Lucidity" which reached No. 1 on the mainstream rock tracks and No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100.
Skid Row recorded the album Subhuman Race, the followup to Slave to the Grind. The production team of Bob Rock producing and Randy Staub engineering would team up to make this album. Brian Dobbs and Darren Grahn were the 2nd engineers on this record. Lead singer Sebastian Bach would continue his tradition of hi-jinx during an interview with Vancouverite Nadrwuar the Human Serviette.
Matthew Good Band and the subsequent Matthew Good would several albums at Greenhouse. Last of the Ghetto Astronauts, Underdogs, and Beautiful Midnight were all recorded at the facilities. Matthew Good would bring in Warne Livesey as a music producer. Warne Livesey, a music producer, engineer, and mixer from England and the producer of Diesel and Dust by Midnight Oil, has recorded multiple music projects at Greenhouse Studios since.
Bruce Levens of Greenhouse Studios would found London Smith Discs in 1991. The London Smith label started out recording the band Freewater at Greenhouse. The next artist up would be Stigmata comprised on Kevin Lucks and Mark Findler. North Vancouver band Mushroom Trail would record its debut album before unceremoniously disappearing from the music business. The final project for London Smith was the sophomore release of Lowest of the Low produced by Texan Don Was. The first release of Lowest of the Low, Shakespeare My Butt... is considered one of the great Canadian albums.[by whom?]
k-os would record and mix part of his 2012 release Black on Blonde.
The Mounties would record their first track, "Headphones", in 2013.
The main consoles have been SSL G & E series; the studio operated four SSL rooms for a couple of years. Greenhouse Studios owned 7 different SSL consoles including an early B series as well as 3 E series and 3 G series.
The studio moved from two-inch analog tape to Pro Tools recording in 2001. RADAR has also been used since the mid 1990s.
In 2012, a Neve VR Legend 48 channel console was purchased. The Neve replaced the last SSL G series console which was sold to Charles Allin, Owner of Montana Recording Studio.
The initial studio was designed by Westlake Audio. Subsequent studios were designed by the Levens brothers with input and tweaking from several music producer–engineers and studio designers. Studio B is the only music studio in Western Canada to record an album, k.d. lang's Ingenue, that won a Grammy Award for engineering.
Engineer Marc Raemer built his career which included a Grammy Award for engineering the k.d. lang album Ingenue. Jason Mauza continued his recording career in LA. Dave Ashton recorded many projects including the breakthrough Nickelback album; Dave moved to LA and continued to build his career. The studio started working with Joey Moi in the late 1990s. Moi worked with Chad Kroeger and has been involved in all the Nickelback recordings. He and Kroeger were instrumental in the development of Theory of a Deadman, Default and Thornley, among other projects.
Corey Dixon started as a junior audio technician at Greenhouse. Dixon owns and operates Big Valley Audio and continues to work with Greenhouse Studios.
Client services and front end has been home to several talented people. Anne-Marie Damjanovic would go on to run Reely Unique, a specialty audio rental service for many years. Mimi Northcott founded and operates Canadian Recording Services, a music referral service and producer management company. Rhian Gittins moved to LA and worked at the A&M recording studios; she would marry Dave Navarro. Tanya Coughlin joined EMI publishing Canada. Lindsay Reinhelt became a concert promoter and also has a career as a performing artist.
A recording studio of the same name existed in Old Street, London and was home to producers Pat Collier and Jessica Corcoran who were responsible for hit album for The Wonder Stuff, Ned's Atomic Dustbin, and Mega City Four amongst others.
- Reesman, Bryan (November 1, 2013). "In The Studio With Nickelback". Mix.
- "Nickelback: 'Band of the decade', according to Billboard".