Freshly Baked in The Oven

Renovated CJLO Studio The Oven to Reopen in April

courtesy of CJLO
courtesy of CJLO

Many aspiring musicians seek to record their music at an affordable price. Concordia students and local artists now have the chance to seize this opportunity with CJLO’s studio The Oven, located on Concordia’s campus. The studio has undergone renovations in acoustic treatment and gear upgrades for a scheduled reopening in early April.

Patrick McDowall, Production Manager and Sound Engineer at CJLO, has taken the initiative to put these plans into action, envisioning a brighter future for the music community at Concordia.

“[The Oven] was [initially] put together by meager means and gradually took form; it was all done DIY,” McDowall explained. “The reason I really put a foot forward and suggested the renovation was because I saw that the space could be so much more for the community and the university.

“The main goal of the space is to connect. It’s a big opportunity for students to get involved and record projects for a reasonable price, but also for the greater music community of Canada,” McDowall continued. “We look far and wide to have bands that tour through here to play [in the studio].”
Recent artists that performed in The Oven include rock band Operators, R&B artist L.A. Foster and Set and Setting on the metal end.

For those interested in technicalities, on top of the exhaustive list of equipment they already own, the studio has brought in the line-up, a new high-end pair of Oktava microphones, a sought-after UREI 1176 compressor as heard on records made by Daft Punk, a brand-new version of Avid Pro Tools and a new high-quality interface with better preamps, amongst other upgraded gear.

Concordia students can benefit from a half-price discount on the studio rental rate of $10 per hour. But The Oven is able to offer much more than regular recording because of its close relationship with the university’s radio station.

Operating within CJLO, The Oven benefits from its radio charts and live broadcasting sessions. With the impact community radio stations have on music trends, McDowall asserts that The Oven is a great place to start learning about the music industry.

“It benefits people whether they’re an artist or whether they’re an engineer seeking to learn something. If you’re an artist, it’s literally the most inexpensive place to record in the city with people that care about the project […] and you’re directly linked to the station,” McDowall said.

“Any artist who comes in here to record is appreciated and we try to promote the material through our charts and our live-on-air sessions. It’s basically instant promotion.”

In addition to promotion, The Oven helps volunteer sound engineers to build up learning experience for their future careers.

“I’m a graduate from the Concordia Electroacoustics program. Working at CJLO opened so many doors for me, meeting so many artists, being able to record so many people and be involved in the community [and] meet new musicians that I’ve played with,” McDowall said.

“I had to learn so many things so fast, troubleshoot a lot more than I had to before. I was recording in different environments before with more simple setups [that were] set up for me at the university. I had to set it up [myself] to make it function.”

The two main engineers at The Oven—McDowall and Assistant Music Director and Sound Engineer Marshall Vaillancourt—are constantly looking for new artists and engineers, and said they’re happy to help strengthen the studio production skills of volunteers.

“There [are] always opportunities to learn, especially sessions where live bands come through. I always try to give students or just anyone from the community the ability to work the sessions with me, understand drum miking and take that back to work with their bands,” said McDowall.

“For students there’s always a place you can come to learn, whether you want to do production for making a voice sound good for advertisement, for film, for promotion materials, even a YouTube channel. We’re into helping people out one-on-one.”

The Oven is set to reopen with a series of special events including a re-launch show at Le Cagibi with Saxsyndrum, Fleece and other guests. You will also be able to directly check out the studio with its open house at CJLO in April.

The Oven re-Launch Show // Apr. 2 // Le Cagibi (5490 St. Laurent Blvd.) // 9p.m. // Free

The Oven Open House // Apr. 7 // CJLO (Loyola Campus: 7141 Sherbrooke St. W., CC-430) // 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. // Free