Regina producer who recorded The Dead South, Colter Wall shutting down studio
Studio One was launchpad for many successful Sask. artists
The sprawling building at 2440 Broad Street, on the edge of Wascana Park, is known for housing CBC Saskatchewan, but it's also home to a piece of Saskatchewan's musical history.
Studio One Recording is tucked away in a corner on the south side of the building. Its unassuming exterior shows no signs of what has been produced inside. The only gateway into the space is a single brown door.
The studio has been around since 1982. For decades CBC used it to record local artists.
Its current/soon-to-be-former owner and operator, Jason Plumb, took over the space in 2013 and founded Studio One Recording. Now, he is closing its doors and building a new studio.
Studio One has been the launch pad for several Saskatchewan artists. Andy Shauf recorded his widely acclaimed album The Party there. The Dead South's Juno award-winning album Illusion & Doubt was recorded there. Colter Wall, Belle Plaine, Blake Berglund and more have also graced the space.
Plumb is an affable man, quick to usher in a guest and shake their hand. He produced 11 records at Studio One and said each one had special moments. He put Colter Wall at the top of the list of artists who surprised him.
He remembers thinking, "Who is this young guy?" His fears were soon soothed.
"From the first word out of his mouth, I knew it was something special."
Wall's international hit Sleeping on the Blacktop was recorded in Studio One. It was featured in the 2016 film Hell or High Water.
Scott Pringle of The Dead South said working with Plumb was fruitful because they were a relatively new band and Plumb taught them the ropes.
The producer helped with the band's songwriting and suggested little tweaks to put their songs over the top.
"He'd just pick up a guitar and be like 'how about putting this passing chord between these two chords?' And then we'd try it out and it would sound a little better than how we were doing it," Pringle said.
The Dead South has taken a lot of what they've learned and applied it to their music in the couple years since Illusion & Doubt was released, Pringle said. They are currently recording a new album in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
Pringle said Plumb helped him personally a lot with his vocal harmonies.
"He's always there to provide support and advice when you need it," he said.
"That goes outside of the context of just being in the recording studio too. We reach out to Jason sometimes when we have questions unrelated to recording that arise in the music business. He's always been there to be on our side and help us out," Pringle said.
Andy Shauf rented the studio from Plumb to make The Party.
"It was a really comfortable space to make The Party, which is why I stayed for months. Jason was really generous. I'll miss it," Shauf said.
Plumb is no stranger to the music industry. His band, The Waltons, won a Juno in 1994 and toured with bands such as The Tragically Hip and Barenaked Ladies.
Being in a band doesn't automatically mean you know how to produce. Plumb is self-taught. He started recording his own albums at home after The Waltons stopped touring and making records.
"It was trial and error," he said. "I have no training whatsoever. The engineer side of it was probably the slowest part to finally come and I think I would call myself an audio engineer now and wouldn't up until probably this year."
Plumb has primarily produced local artists' first records, which he said is really special.
"You only get one chance to make your first record," he said.
"So if I can ever be involved in somebody's first release, that means a lot. And those are usually the ones I get. People don't often come back to me for their second and third record. I don't have a lot of repeat offenders,"
Plumb is interested in producing bigger bands. He said a lot of his strength lies in mentoring.
"A lot of things have become crystallized where it's like I understand what it is I do and what it is I bring to a project and very little of it had to do with the equipment and and room, as beautiful as this is," he said.
"It made the choice of walking away from this amazing facility all that much easier."