The Space Studios is the newest, most homey and relaxed recording studio and jam space in Vancouver. In the sliver of remaining industrial-zoned land at the foot of Commercial Drive, it is the product of months of labour from Dan Klenner and The Star Captains. The studio is open for business, although as Dan says, “It’s like recording an album – you can always do more. You’ve just got to pick a day and be done.” Keyboardist Max Zipursky chimes in, “it will always be evolving, that’s how we want it. We noticed the use of space even evolve throughout our first jam session, and we’ll keep on improving it.”
The studio is a collection of the entire band’s gear after years of slowly adding piece after piece. A total of 17 pianos, keyboard and synths, a wall of amps, a box of miscellaneous percussion gear within arms reach of the drum kit and a few feminine touches like the dried flowers and candle centre pieces on the coffee table. Jam space complete… until the next addition!
“The Space” name came from the time when it was not yet a recording studio, but one big room for jamming and rehearsing. Like any band, the space was unofficially called… well, the space. Why not just settle on that for a name since that’s what everyone called it anyways?
“Even recently, I was talking to Dave Beckingham from Hey Ocean! and I said, ‘Meet at the space,’ and we’re like, ‘Our space or your space?’ but now I can say ‘The Space Studios!’” chuckled Klenner.
Confusing or not, a space is what brings bands together, it’s important not only for logistical reasons to have a defined location, but also for relaxing, letting loose and having experimental music sessions behind closed doors to foster the most creative atmosphere possible.
Every group of significant historical artists – be it painters, writers, or of course musicians – have had a shared space of collaboration where they could work late into the night over a few bottles of spirits, waiting for “a-ha” moments of creative breakthrough.
“Look at Miles Davis in the ’60s, he liked to go into recording studios with not a lot planned, a bunch of really good musicians and just explore a musical concept. He would try to capture the process of musicians discovering new concepts and that’s why he was creatively above anybody else,” explained Klenner. No limits, no stress, no rules, that’s the concept.
Outer space is also a fascination of Klenner and the Star Captains – as the band name might have tipped you off! The evening that BeatRoute sat down with them, they were about to go play a Ted Talk where Brian Cox could be in the audience, an astrophysicist and musician that Klenner looks up to. Besides having the honour of playing for Cox, Klenner also hosts a documentary screening night that has featured the BBC series The Wonders of the Solar System and The Wonders of the Universe, where astro- and quantum physics that explain the universe meet the exceedingly creatively talented mind of Cox.
“That’s actually how I got into recording, actually,” admits Klenner. “I wanted to be a part of the technical side.” Zipursky also chimed in, “synthesizers and the Juno 106 sound like the galaxy to me.”
With some of the most affordable rates of any recording studio in this expensive town, buying time to slow down the pace of recording is actually a feasible option for most local bands. Rather than spending two or three days rushing through a recording, spending a week at The Space stretches the experience to allow time for that experimental exploration. “A lot of artists in this city have a condition I call ‘Demoitis’ where at two o’clock in the morning in their apartment they record a demo. It’s not very good quality but it’s so emotional, it captures exactly what they want to at that exact time,” is basically what Klenner wants to translate at The Space, but on better equipment and with a sound engineer and producer.
To book The Space Studios for recording, music videos, events, or to request other creative uses, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Words and photos by Jessica Brodeur