Tour the Home Studios Where Canadian Artists Make Music

Show & Tell

Bria, Winona Forever, Cam Kahin and more show off the spaces where they lay down everything from raw demos to album tracks

Photo courtesy of Winona Forever

BY Alex HudsonPublished Mar 21, 2023

Gone are the days when artists needed to go into the studio to make a sophisticated recording. While professional studios still very much have a place today's musical landscape, home recording gear is now more accessible — and better sounding — than ever.

We reached out to some Canadian artists to ask about their at-home recording setups and, without exception, all of them revealed impressive arrays of gear with which to capture demos and even lay down finished album tracks.

Below, see the home recording spaces where Canadian musicians capture their ideas in their rawest form. See past editions of Exclaim!'s Show & Tell series here.


Photo: Luna Khods

Bria has been reimagining country classics on Cuntry Covers EPs (Vol. 2 recently came out through Sub Pop), and in order to give the songs an appropriately distinctive sonic character, Bria Salmena and her collaborators embrace vintage instruments. "I'm currently working out of a space known by very few as 711 Sound, which is really just a small room in my apartment," band member Duncan Jennings tells Exclaim! "I tend to lean on pieces that give their own unique character to a recording or are inspiring to interact with, whether it be an old pump organ or microphone."

Matt Holubowski

Photo: Véronique Audet-Gagnon

Singer-songwriter Matt Holubowski describes himself as a "restless creator," and while making the new album Like Flowers on a Molten Lawn (out March 24 on Audiogram), he repeatedly reconfigured his studio/rehearsal space in Montreal's Mile End. "I love to be surrounded by my gear, so I'm not a light traveller," he admits. "When I set up in a cottage I rent, I tend to bring almost everything I own: in addition to instruments and recording equipment, I carry around carpets, lamps and even plants. Yeah, I know… I suppose one day, I'd like to own a house in the country with a studio built into the living space, but until I do — the studio changes a lot!"

Cam Kahin

Photo courtesy of the artist

Ontario bedroom rock songwriter Cam Kahin's at-home recording space is a reminder to all musicians that fancy gear isn't required to make a big impact. "I've been using this setup for a few years," he explains. "It was used for the entirety of the first EP I put out [2022's LET THAT SINK IN], but now it's mostly just used for demos. If you're just starting out you really don't need much to make cool music." Kahin's more expanded studio sound can be heard on the latest EP, WHEN IT'S ALL OVER, out April 6 via Dine Alone.


Photo: Bryn Teri

Guelph, ON's Lisa Conway has an eclectic sound that spans genre boundaries — so it's only appropriate that her at-home setup is similarly expansive. "My current home studio set-up sprawls around many corners of my current apartment," she tells Exclaim!, adding that her partner is also an "audio nerd" who makes music. "I can't imagine I will ever fall out of love with the Prophet or the MG-1, or editing and manipulating sounds on a computer," she says. She uses this space for making demos as well as some album tracking — although not drums, for fear of disturbing the neighbours. Dispatches from the space can be heard on The Isolator, due out May 10 via Idée Fixe.

Miesha & the Spanks

Photo courtesy of the artist

Living in Treaty 7 Territory, Miesha Louie does demos and pre-production in her garage — and she credits the sound-absorbing purple dome for making the space sound "a bit pro." Backup vocals and gang vocals for the new album, Unconditional Love in Hi-Fi (out April 14 via Mint), were recorded here, and she's also used to the space to guest-host CBC's Key of A. She adds, "Sean [Hamilton] usually sends me drums recorded in his basement when we're writing, but if we need a live-off-the-floor vibe, we just use the voice memo app at jam — also in the garage — which is fuzzy and rough but gets the job done."


Photo courtesy of the artist

Located in Southern Ontario's Norfolk County, Sunnsetter's Andrew McLeod (a contributor to Zoon and OMBIIGIZI) finished assembling their Garden House Recording studio last winter, and it's where they recorded, mixed and mastered the new album The best that i can be. (out March 31 via Paper Bag) in its entirety. "Before this I had most of this same gear but set up in an extra bedroom in my house when living in Hamilton," they tell Exclaim! "I've been focused on recording for almost 13 years now, and always done everything myself, so I've just collected a lot of stuff over time."

Masahiro Takahashi

Photo: Eunice Luk

When searching for inspiration, Japan-raised/Toronto-based composer Masahiro Takahashi need only look out the window of his home studio. "I like this neighbourhood because it's surrounded by nature such as High Park and Lake Ontario," he says. "I love looking at trees through the windows. I can feel the seasonal transition, which inspires my creativity." His meditative new album, Humid Sun (out March 31 on Telephone Explosion), however, took him outside of the confines of the room to collaborate with musicians in studios around the city. He also likes to record using a MIDI controller in the park, and he sometimes edits tracks in the library. "Editing is my favourite part," he says.


Photo courtesy of the artist

VILIVANT's new album Running on Empty explodes with speaker-blasting energy — but before Toronto hard rocker Julia Gentile hits the studio, her demos are a software-driven process. "I like to plug them right into my interface and select whatever presets are available within Logic that would work best with the song I am working on," she tells Exclaim! From there, she adds piano with a Roland RD-88 and vocals with a Antelope Audio condenser mic before sending the demos off to guitarist Matt Hache to get the song ready for the studio.


Photo: Melissa Ellis

Cape Breton folk rockers recorded their rootsy, Celtic-leaning new album Dark Island (out now via Sonic) at a full-blown studio with producer Joshua Van Tassel — but before that, they worked entirely out of singer Matt Ellis's basement. The group, who are currently touring Canada, remember their basement origins fondly. "It sounds excellent," they tell Exclaim! "We just need to wait for the water pump to stop running before we hit record."

Winona Forever

Photo courtesy of the artists

Like many other people, jangle pop combo Winona Forever used the pandemic as an opportunity to improve their home studio — and the result is Acrobat, their new album (out April 14 via Acrophase), which they recorded at their basement space in Montreal. "There were some fun recording experiments in those sessions that kept boredom at bay," they remember. Since then, however, they're switched things up again, focusing more on playing together as a band and letting others record them in a studio.

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