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Please Stop Saying You’re Serving The Song — Also, What I Think It Means To “Love” Something

I’m not trying to redefine words, but I find it helpful to think this way and maybe you will too. Because many songwriters, producers, and performers talk about “serving the song” or what is best for “the song”. Let’s be practical. There is no The Song; no platonic ideal of what any song is or should be. There isn’t an objective “best” when we are talking about, well, most things, but especially not about creative endeavours. When it comes to songwriting, production, and performance there are only competing subjective ideas about what any person thinks will sound best, or is most pleasing to them.

Is it just semantics, then, when someone talks about serving the song? We all sort of understand that this is just their opinion, and should be taken as such. Well, words do matter. And there is a danger of falling into the trap of obeisance to some subtle hierarchy that tends to exist in recording studios. You may feel like the producer, if there is one, should have the final say on arrangement, production, or other aspects of a song. After all, presumably you hired them to help make the song the best it can be, right?

Producer/artist relationships can be complicated. It’s really great to have discussions in advance of the recording process to make sure you have a mutual understanding of how things will work once you’re in the studio. Producers, on the whole, take their jobs very seriously and are truly trying to help craft the songs, and album as a whole, to be the best they can be. But it’s important to figure out what “best” means before you begin. And, ultimately, while the producer will always be linked to the song, or the album, or both, they are not tasked with living with the song in the same way as the songwriter, or performer. If you have to play this song — hopefully hundreds of times in your life because it becomes hugely popular — then it better be a song you can live with in that way.

This is why I find it immensely helpful to discuss changes to any song in terms of, “I think it will sound better if…” or even, “I prefer…” as opposed to framing anything in terms of The Song. These are personal preferences, and should be treated as such. And the ultimate authority, in my opinion, is the songwriter. They can, of course, agree with the producer, or anyone else in the studio, or their mom, or a dozen other opinions. But it is their song. I don’t think it’s too harsh to say that if anyone involved truly has strong opinions against what the songwriter wants to do, well, they can go and write their own song.


This is tangentially related, but people do talk about “loving” something in a way that, it seems to me, is more accurately described as either liking it, or being a connoisseur of it. If you love something, I think, you also enjoy some of the not-so-enjoyable things about it that others do not like, and that connoisseurs avoid.

Take movies, for example. I have a friend who says he loves movies, but he mainly watches only critically-acclaimed films. Obviously those kind of movies are generally pretty damn good, but I wouldn’t classify that as loving movies — he’s a connoisseur. He enjoys finely crafted films. Watching a trashy movie — a B-horror film, a sappy rom-com, a thrilling but vacuous action vehicle — would not appeal to him. And I would argue that’s where the word “love” lives — in those movies that most people find silly, boring, sappy, crass, or otherwise “less than”.

You don’t have to enjoy every bad movie to love movies; I just think you have to enjoy some of them, in some way, to truly love movies. This is complicated by the fact that some movies are popular without being critically acclaimed, or even while being critically panned. There is a space for people who enjoy creative projects (music, movies, books) because they are popular, and that seems to have nothing to do with loving the creative art itself, but more with being aligned with pop culture as part of their identity. Nothing wrong with that, but don’t mistake it for loving movies, per se.

Not for nothing, I do think this version of the word love also applies to the people you love. There are, sometimes, things about them that others would not find pleasant (morning breath? Snoring? Strange peccadilloes of all sorts?) but that you find charming, or are just so much a part of them that they are attractive while still being something you would find awful in someone else. That’s love for you.


There is no objective truth in art, creativity, or the enjoyment of art and creativity. That is not a flaw, it is absolutely the epitome of the form. Don’t try to chase some notion of an objective “best” version of the things you create. And, be wary of those who purport to know what the “best” version of any creative project is, because they don’t know what they’re talking about.

Enjoy the version that you find most pleasant for you. Maybe some other people will like it too.

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Filed under editorial, graydon james

New Gear, New Projects

We’ve been quietly working on a number of recordings and demos, both for personal projects and clients, and not paying much attention to our website! For shame. We have been slowly upgrading and buying new microphones, equipment, and instruments. We now have a Rode NT-4 condenser, perfect for capturing acoustic stringed instruments of all kinds. We have a Nord Electro 3 73-key keyboard. We have an Epiphone Casino hollow-body electric guitar. New instruments are always exciting, and give us more options for your recording! Check out the Gear page for a full list.

Grant deadlines just passed not too long ago, and we recorded a few demos for clients to apply to grants. It’s never too early to get a demo recorded for possible grant applications — get in touch and we can put together a quick, great-sounding version of your song for application to the next round of grants! Check out our Rates page for general costs, or get in touch for a specific quote.

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Filed under gear, instruments, recording

New Recordings from Typewriter Studio

We’re pretty chuffed to be part of the albums of some pretty fantastic artists. Mark Martyre recently released his 4th studio album, “Bluebird”, which was largely recorded and mixed at Typewriter Studio. Similar to Dylan’s partnership with The Band, Mark decided to have The Bad Apples as his backing band, plus Darren Baldwin on keys on this recording. It was a fun process, recording as much live-off-the-floor as we could in order to give the album that old-school feel of a band playing together. Give a listen (and buy it!) on Bandcamp.


We also had a chance, recently, to hear the first master of Lara Martin’s upcoming album, “When We Were Light”. This album was fully recorded and mixed at Typewriter Studio, and features the many talents of Lara’s band, Larimar, as well as a great group of vocalists who came in to lay down the many-layered, lush harmony sections on the album. It hasn’t been formally released yet, but it will be coming soon, so keep your eyes peeled!

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Filed under albums, lara martin, mark martyre, recording

Recording Time — Plan Ahead!

modern recording at its finest! from wikipedia article

modern recording at its finest! from wikipedia article

Recording a song, or an album, should be a fun process. So make it easier on yourself and plan out your schedule for recording well in advance. That sounds like obvious advice, but there are too many artists who under-budget for time and wind up either having to cut songs, reduce quality, or delay on promised recordings. Not to mention that you may be under deadlines for grants, contests, or festival applications.

Part of this responsibility is also on the studio you choose, which is the main point of this post: because my schedule can be crazy too! If you’d like to come into Typewriter Studio before the end of the year, you should know that I’ll be on tour with my band (The Young Novelists) from September 10th to 29th in the States, and October 2nd to 15th in Europe. Let’s talk soon about getting your new album scheduled, otherwise you might be releasing the greatest holiday album of all time in the middle of May!

There is another part to this post: touring! The bulk of my band’s touring is booked by me, so if you are an artist who hasn’t done much touring, or hasn’t yet toured outside of Canada, feel free to get in touch and we can sit down and talk about the details and what you need to know before you begin. Get in touch with me at

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Filed under albums, graydon james, recording, studio

Album Action For The Summer

We’ve had some fantastic activity in the studio over the past while! There have been two full-length albums released that were largely tracked and mixed at Typewriter Studio. We also have two pianos now — the Steinway grand and a Heintzman upright. This summer we are finalizing tracking and mixes for a new album by Lara Martin, and have been talking to our good friend Joel Battle about recording an album here before autumn arrives. It’s a busy time, which is always great, and it’s been highly enjoyable helping the artists we’ve had here in bringing their vision to fruition.

Just today I was working on editing a new song by Lara, recorded here, that is all cello and violin parts. We sifted through dozens of takes of various parts and arranged something that sounds very lush and fantastic! One of the terrible things about editing is that sometimes you have to cut out great performances and/or great parts because they just don’t fit with what you think the song should sound like. We left a lot of great moments on the cutting room floor, so to speak, but that’s not to speak against the track but rather to the high calibre of musicianship brought by the string players in the first place! I wish we could have kept every genius thing they did.

editing pulse of poetry

editing a new song: “Pulse of Poetry” by Lara Martin.

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Filed under albums, gear, joel battle, lara martin, recording

Summertime Singles Season


Vinyl has been making a comeback for about a decade now, slowly regaining ground as a beautiful medium for music, both visually and aurally.  If you’ve ever wanted to hear your music on vinyl it is getting easier and easier to find affordable duplication services to make full-length vinyl and even 7-inch singles.  With that in mind, summer here at Typewriter Studios is singles season!  Record an A-side and a B-side at our studio space for $350 if you’re a full band, or $300 if you’re a singer-songwriter.  Only want to record one song?  That’s just $200 for a full band or $160 for a singer-songwriter!  This deal will last through July and August, and you get as much time as you need to record your songs and receive a final mix.  You also get an engineer/producer and access to all our gear and instruments, from our stately grand piano down to our lowly, hardworking SM58s!

Get in touch today about making an old-school vinyl single for your fans!  Contact for more info.


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Filed under graydon james, instruments, limited time deal, recording, studio

Headphone News & New Album Recordings Underway

Sifting through the many items of note on the internet today, I found an article about the best headphones, and discovered that Shure is considered the best headphone maker of them all. You can read the article yourself — Best Headphones: 18 Brands Ranked.  Considering that I have three Shure SRH440 headphones here at the studio, I’m glad to hear it!

all the music, all the time

all the music, all the time


It’s been a while since I updated the website, but we have been working diligently here at Typewriter Studio!  We have two clients working on albums right now, and we hope to be able to show you the results in the next few months or so.  Lara Martin is working on her second album and her piano-based folk-pop songs are receiving a very orchestral arrangement here that is sounding exquisite.  Bryan Gauer is tracking his first album, although he has a huge back catalogue of songs to choose from, so it is exciting to be working with him to craft the best arrangements of his best tracks.

Making a solid album takes time, and we aim to be flexible and work with everyone’s schedule to make a solid and beautiful piece of art without rushing the process, but still using the time efficiently.  These albums are already coming together and sounding great, and I can’t wait to get all the parts down and begin working on the mixes!

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Filed under albums, bryan gauer, gear, lara martin, recording, studio

Happy Holidays & New Music

The holidays are always busy, but we have a few early gifts here at Typewriter Studio!

Our first full-length recording that was entirely mixed here at the studio by Mark Martyre and Myke Mazzei has been released: “London” is available now and sounds great! A few overdubs were recorded here as well, and you can listen to a sample from the album, just click play below. We’re very excited to have our inaugural album released so soon after opening our doors. Keep your eyes peeled for more great albums in the new year!

We’ve also acquired a new instrument (a Fender Jazz Squier bass!) from Currie’s Music & Collectibles in Gravenhurst. If you’re near Gravenhurst at any time, you should definitely check out Currie’s — they have tonnes of vinyl, great prices on instruments and equipment, and a cornucopia of intriguing antiques. They also have live music on a regular basis (!!) and are just all-around nice folks.

fender jazz squier bass

new fender jazz squier bass, ensconced in velvet!

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Filed under albums, gear, instruments, myke mazzei, recording, studio

Fall Special — Folk Music Ontario!

For a limited time, we’re offering a special rate: one song for $200!!! Contact us and let’s discuss the best way to make this happen — this deal is especially meant for those musicians who are attending the Folk Music Ontario conference, but others can take advantage as well in the spirit of what FMO is all about: community fostering talent.

This incredible deal is for singer-songwriters/duos to record one complete song, regardless of how long it takes. If you’re a full band, you can do the same for just $300. As much studio time as is needed to complete the song to your satisfaction! At the end you will have a fully mixed, final version that you can master and release as a single, give to fans, use for grant applications, or use for promotional/publicity purposes. You may also, if you’d like, receive the full Pro Tools files and stems in WAV format. That gives you the flexibility to change any aspect of the song in the future, if you’d like.

So get in touch: This is a limited time special offer!

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Filed under limited time deal, recording, studio

Studio Additions

We are excited to say that we have a few additions to the studio! Some new gear/equipment for recording (like an M-Audio Octane 8-channel pre-amp!) and the mother of all instruments: a Steinway grand piano! This beauty was moved in quite recently and is in tune at the moment but will have her first official tuning in about three or four weeks time. Pianos are quite technically daunting instruments, and they take a little time to get used to their environment before settling enough to be able to be tuned by a professional. This piano has some history: it was once a player piano, sometime in the 1930s. It’s quite “normal” now, and we are hugely excited to be able to offer this instrument to anyone coming by for recording.

new home for the grand piano

new home for the grand piano

comes with comfortable seating!

comes with comfortable seating!

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Filed under gear, instruments, recording, studio