On the Six Nations reserve near Brantford is a little-known haven for music celebrities.
Jukasa Studios, a music recording facility located on Sixth Line, has recorded the likes of Snoop Dog, Derek Miller, Protest the Hero, Ill Scarlett and Cancer Bats.
The Sheepdogs, the Saskatchewan-based rock band that climbed to fame following its recent Rolling Stone cover photo, recorded its single I Don’t Know at the facility.
“This is a very special place,” said studio development manager Harvey Medcalf. “It’s awesome here. The work that gets done is amazing quality.”
It’s no wonder, since the studio’s director is guitarist Stevie Salas, who has worked with the likes of Mick Jagger, Sass Jordan and Justin Timberlake. General manager Rob Lamothe is a highly regarded Hamilton-based singer and songwriter who has toured the world.
Chief engineer Nick Blagona’s 47-year career includes engineering albums for the BeeGees, Tom Jones, Deep Purple, April Wine, Chicago and Anne Murray. More recently, he’s worked with Green Day, Alexisonfire and The Tea Party.
“He’s engineered Smoke on the Water and Stayin’ Alive,” Medcalf said. “It makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up knowing all the things he’s done. He’s one of the best in the world.”
Blagona said his history in the music business means bands and musicians can feel confident that they are getting the right sound for their recording.
“The really good thing about my experience is I’ve lent a hand to bands who had no experience,” Blagona said. “Bands here leave with a great product and know they will go somewhere. There is no guess work with sounds with me around.”
The studio is also home to the 8000 G Series SSL Console that spent 12 years of its life in Abbey Road Studios, one of the most famous recording studios in the world. A name plate hidden inside the board reads “Rest In Peace John Lennon.”
“Some incredible names have worked on the board,” Medcalf said. “It’s borderline priceless.”
Some of those names include Pink Floyd, Oasis, Radiohead, Depeche Mode and Paul McCartney with Wings. At Jukasa, it’s celebrity history keeps growing.
The Abbey Road soundboard is just one piece of a puzzle that makes Jukasa stand out from other studios. In 2010, the studio was named one of the top three new studios on the planet by Mix Magazine. Every inch of the facility has been outfitted with top of the line equipment.
Inside the “resort studio” is 2,300 square feet of live studio space, outfitted for optimal sound. Upstairs, you’ll find apartments for long-term stays, a lounge complete with a television, Playstation, movies, snacks and anything artists need to feel at home, Medcalf said.
Outside is a par-3 chip and putt golf course. Nearby is a fitness facility, spa and indoor swimming pool that is open for recording musicians.
“Our owner, Ken Hill, is a great guy,” Medcalf said. “He didn’t do anything that wasn’t world class. Nick had a blank cheque to put together this studio, so we have anything you could imagine or want. This is a world-class facility and we’re kind of hidden here.”
It’s not just high-profile celebrities that come through the studio. With its competitive pricing – $750 for a 10-hour day working with Blagona – the studio draws local and emerging talent. Close to 90 per cent of it’s clientele are indie bands.
“What I’ve discovered is there is so much talent from the area,” Blagona said. “We do a lot of local business because this is a very talented area.”
It also helps that the studio’s rate is tax-free.
“Major labels look at us to take a chunk off their budget,” Medcalf said. “And Nick is included in our price. It’s incredibly competitive.”
The studio, which opened in 2009, is also home to the Jukasa School of Recording Arts, a facility that offers a 10-week program teaching a hands-on approach to digital audio production.
“We can take someone not knowing Pro Tools (audio software program) to producing their own record in just 10 weeks,” Medcalf said.
Visit www.jukasamediagroup.com for more information.