Friendly Factory

Budding Label Re-Claims Old Factory to Harness Local Music

Crane Records has taken over a space in the old Crane factory building in St. Henri to capture local music.

From the ashes of an old industry rises a new one.

The remains of the old Crane factory building in the south west borough of St. Henri have been reconfigured to house lofts and Crane Records.
“[Crane Records] is an artist collective recording space,” said Jenna Harkness, one of the label’s members.

“It’s a purpose-built, recycled space that focuses on artist creativity, collaboration and freedom rather than solely being a business venture focused on profit,” she said.

Recent Concordia communications studies graduate Harkness and Crane Records partner Matt Cartman conceived the project, but Harkness stressed that “there were numerous people involved from the beginning, which is essentially how it has turned out the way it has.”

The group aided in “helping construct the space, lending [sound equipment] and advertising,” said Harkness. “It has been quite a collaboration from the beginning.”

The duo at the core of Crane Records explained that the performance aspect of recording is of paramount importance to the budding label.
“A lot of [Crane’s] influence comes from the older style of studios, like Motown or Stax and Sun,” Harkness said. “These [studios] were centered around capturing great musical performances right off the bat, as opposed to manipulating them afterward.”

Although studios like Sun Records released relatively simple, lo-fi music from over 50 years ago, Harkness considers the recordings to be some of “the best ever made because of the way they captured the music, the feeling, and that moment in time.”

In a city known for its myriad number of recording spaces, Harkness told how Crane Records plans to set itself apart from all of the others.
“The artist-centered mentality, the affordable rates and the fact that we are a space specifically designed for music production helps,” she said.
Crane Records plans on releasing a 10-track compilation during this weekend’s open house in order to showcase the studio’s abilities to anyone who might be interested in recording at the space.

Harkness added that the financial angle is currently not the underlying motivation behind the project.

“The main financial goal is to have enough money coming into the studio to make the space sustainable and to keep recording prices affordable to the artists,” she said.

“A recording studio is about the experience in itself and collaborating with other artists in a purpose-built space,” she continued. “We’re all about DIY but we know from experience there is only so far you can go with consumer-grade equipment in your bedroom. The studio environment encourages learning and the freedom to create beyond the boundaries of a home-recording environment.”

Crane Records is located at 2205 Pitt St., Apt. 304, and their open house/studio launch will take place on Oct. 16 from 1:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Stick around for the after party, which kicks off at 10:00 p.m., with free beer provided by Tasty Brews. Their website will also be launched on Oct. 16.

This article originally appeared in Volume 31, Issue 09, published October 12, 2010.