How did Royal City Studios come to fruition?
The first glimmer of Royal City Studios was when I was not fully satisfied in the work I was doing. For years, I had wanted to return to my passion for music professionally, however with a family to support, and bills to pay, there didn’t seem to be any suitable options.
After a career downturn, I started thinking really hard about what kind of music business could provide enough revenue for my family and I to be comfortable, while also providing high value to customers. All of a sudden, while driving home and listening to music, it dawned on me. Music studios.
My experience rehearsing at many different studios in the Greater Toronto Area left me with a strong understanding of the challenges these facilities had for customers. After doing some research about what was available in Guelph, I knew there was a need. The seed was planted.
What will RCS mean to the Guelph community?
There are several things I’d like to see happen as a result of the new business:
- Musicians without a lot of disposable income or space to rehearse will now have somewhere affordable, safe, clean, and convenient to go. At only $5 per person, per hour for a small rehearsal studio (up to 3 people), you can’t get much more affordable!
- Guelph will finally have a dedicated brick-and-mortar recording studio with high quality and affordable prices. More music recorded by Guelph artists can mean more national and international exposure for our local musicians.
- I’d like to see a summer camp held in the Music Hall to help kids learn more about music and actually experience it first-hand.
- The Musicians Lounge will enable Guelph musicians to connect with each other in person and potentially explore new musical avenues together.
- It would be great for bands to use the Musical Hall to hold album release parties.
- Overall, I think it will really help to support music in Guelph in a way that has been needed for quite some time.
Who do you hope will benefit from your studio?
There are several types of musician Royal City Studios will benefit: students, teachers (who can rent a studio for teaching purposes), hobbyist musicians, professional acts, and of course the whole community who can then go out and listen to all of the new and improved talent and buy their music. Of course, it’ll also be great for families and neighbours of these musicians because let’s face it: music can be loud. There will be a lot less disturbance going on for them.
What sets you apart from others?
There are a few key areas where RCS is different. First, the studios are designed and built from the ground up around sound isolation and in-room treatment. With vibration-suppressing pucks underneath each studio, no physical connection between any two studios, double walls around each studio, noise-proof doors (like in a movie theatre), sound-treated venting in and out of each studio, and acoustic panels and bass traps inside each studio, there’s a lot of investment in making sure the musician’s experience will be excellent.
Next, there’s the price structure. In order to “democratize” the pricing, RCS has decided to make the hourly rate for small studios per-person rather than per-studio. At $5 per person per hour, it means that almost anyone can afford to rehearse at our facility.
The third thing that sets us apart is transportation. There’s an actual parking lot. No worries about missing the first half of your rehearsal because there’s nowhere to park, or a 15-minute walk from your car. We also are right on the Woodlawn West bus route. And you don’t have to bring drums, amps or a PA system because each studio is equipped with these things. Just show up, plug in and get your groove on.
We’re also really proud to be making this as accessible, gender-neutral and welcoming to all residents of Guelph. The idea here is to eliminate anything that might prevent anyone from making good use of the space.
The Musicians Lounge is also quite different. It will be a place to relax, talk with other musicians, charge up your device, have a hot or cold drink, and have a snack.
The final differentiator is that we will have supplies for things musicians might forget or damage during rehearsal. Things like replacement strings, drum sticks, reeds, guitar picks, valve oil, and more. You won’t have to stop rehearsal while you go back home or to a music store.
Why should someone get out of their basement and visit RCS?
Musicians, whether amateur, professional, or in-between, all have better lives when they can play freely. No more being asked to quiet down. No more bumping your head on the ceiling, or trying to read music in the dim light. No more having to work around other people’s schedule. And connecting with other musicians in a respectful, relaxed and friendly atmosphere is totally awesome. Finally, a place to get your groove on!
What is your vision for RCS in the future?
Where do I start? There are several things I’d love to see happen:
- Affordable monthly studio rentals: These were in the plan, but it was just too expensive to make that happen in the first build. Same quality, but monthly rates instead of hourly.
- You’ll notice that we’re not “Royal City Music Studios”, just “Royal City Studios”. I’d like to make sure the other arts are supported in the same way: dance, painting, ceramics and pottery, sculpture, digital arts, writing, and more.
- Live venues: It would be terrific to have a public venue in Guelph that has enough room for the musicians, as well as a nice-sized dance floor for bands that perform dance music. Also an outdoor stage designed for music would be amazing!
- Finally, I’d like to take Royal City Studios to other towns across Canada and support the arts nationally. Not for a big organization, but for the individual artists that need the direct support this type of facility can provide.