In this age of troubled recording labels and declining music industry levels, it’s more important than ever to be innovative. That’s why the local music scene is buzzing about local recording genius Josh Gwilliam. Feeling restricted by traditional recording, Gwilliam dreamed up a way to innovate a whole new way of capturing the magic that is music: he set up a mobile recording truck.
To Gwilliam, the move seemed logical. As he says, “Basically, Pilot Audio started because I was working in traditional studios for about 10 years and then I kind of just got more or less tired of the same space every day, recording in the same room and getting more or less the same sound every day. You’re basically stuck in the same box every day. I wanted to have a way to record anywhere and go anywhere to do an album. We started out with my Jeep and a cargo trailer: we’d throw a bunch of gear in the back of my trailer and we’d go out to old cabins and things like that and make records. That was working fine, but my overall dream was to do it in the back of a semi truck, somewhere where I could have all the gear set up at all times and the truck is always a control room.”
Moving to such a set up was a simple concept, yet proved to be a little more complicated in actualizing. Gwilliam realized that he would have to act quickly if he wanted his long-term dreams to become reality when a chance occurrence gave him the means to make it all come true. “Just over a year ago, CBC was decommissioning about seven of their mobile recording trucks and the Edmonton one was always in my heart. That was an amazing truck. Through a lot of loans and through banks and some buddies trying to help me out here and there, I got the truck last August. I bought it off the CBC. At the time, it was the worst time, financially, to buy anything. My wife was on maternity leave and we had a brand new baby. We had all these expenses. Financially, it was stupid but it was one of those things. It was in the five-year plan but it came a lot earlier so we had to jump on it. So now, Pilot Audio, as it stands is based out of the back of a medium duty semi truck. “
This was a high-risk move but one that has definitely paid off. Recording such local talents as Miesha and the Spanks and Jung People, the advantages have been immediately clear. Being mobile has allowed them to work in some pretty interesting spaces. All the equipment can quickly be transported to an interesting or romantic location such as a singer/songwriter’s family cabin where they can use unique acoustics as well as make the performer feel comfortable or inspired. It even afforded an opportunity to use an ancient pipe organ in a church in Peace River that hadn’t been operated in 30 or 40 years.
It’s been three short years since Pilot Audio started out with a Jeep and trailer. In those three years, they’ve been able to capture some of the best local talent around in some pretty interesting locales. Could this be the way of the future? Will we see this more and more in the years to come? One thing is for sure, if it does, it can be attributed to innovators and scene shakers like Pilot Audio.
For more information and to contact Josh Gwilliam for recording services, check out http://www.pilotaudio.net.
By Max Maxwell
Photos: Sebastian Buzzalino