It’s not every day that you get the opportunity to explore a world class recording studio. Studio PM is just that, but you wouldn’t notice it walking through the art centric neighbourhood of Little Italy. A grey, short, but humble box-like building squeezed in between two taller structures. “I knocked on the door of a building I liked down the street, hoping to buy it to set up my studio, recounts Pierre Marchand, a multi-platinum producer with the likes of Sarah McLachlan and Rufus Wainwright under his belt. “The owner told me it wasn’t for sale but that he had another up the street he would be willing to part with […] I bought it that day.” And soon after, with a name suggestion from fellow Montrealer, Leonard Cohen, Studio PM was born.
“I wanted a well-designed space, a silent space where I would enjoy working or living. It could be a perfect living space if ever its vocation as a recording studio is no longer needed,” explains Pierre. Born out of care, but more importantly expertise and prowess, the studio prides itself on its top of the line equipment and impressive vintage instrumentation including a Fazioli grand piano as well as a 1920’s Steinway upright. “You will not find many studios with pianos like these, and also updates with the latest technology available. Most importantly…it all works”.
Studio manager Pascal Shefteshy (producer, mixing, sound engineer) explains that it’s not only diversity in gear that makes this studio distinct but the actual space: “There’s no other room like it in Montreal really, that I know of. It’s very controlled but at the same time very live.” An open style studio, which can host up to 25 musicians and producers working simultaneously, allows for complete communication and visual contact between the control room and the main live room, comprised of isolation booths. “Pierre thought it out in a really intelligent way where there are booths all over the place for amplifiers, so everyone can be in the same room but the amplifiers are isolated, so communication is easy. We have one big booth for either vocals, or drums, or anything but it sounds good for drums at the very end of the studio, it’s well isolated,” explains Pascal.
The custom-built studio also prides itself on the carefully designed acoustics of the main recording room, comprised of a matchless blend of absorptive wall materials at ground level and reflective surfaces as you get closer to the wooden ceiling. “Pierre kept the same ceiling because acoustically it’s very interesting what it can do,” says Pascal. “The 15 foot ceiling facilitated in giving the room a decent sound, with the help of architect Alain Carle and sound design team at Resonance. Jean Luc Lauradoure put reverberation under control by dampening the first 7 feet of wall and leaving the higher walls with reflecting material, so the reverb stays complex and musical,” adds Pierre.
Studio PM has much to offer, with the ability to host a range of diverse musicians, whether it be bigger pop acts, veteran jazz groups, or simply a local emerging band. With such an impressive wide-ranging roster from Sarah McLachlan and Rufus Wainwright to Arcade Fire, Milk & Bone, Cœur de Pirate and countless francophone artists, one must look beyond the aesthetics and striking equipment and instruments of the studio. Undoubtedly what keeps musicians and the like coming back again and again are the talents that come with the studio. Expertise obtained by multi-platinum producer Pierre Marchand and skills passed on to hone and shape the talent of Pascal Shefteshy. One thing is for sure their ability to offer such peace of mind, and do it with such ease will make you feel right at home.