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Canadian Recording Services Featured in BC Music Magazine

Company Profile: Canadian Recording Services

By Nathan Stafford

So, you’re ready to record an album, or so you think. Take it from me you’ve got a lot of work to do before you even hit the studio. It’s time to start looking for a producer, an engineer, someone to do your mastering, and of course, you have to find the perfect recording studio. Wouldn’t it be great if there were someone out there who could do all that for you? Well guess what. Her name is Mimi.
Mimi Northcott is the owner/operator of a Vancouver based studio referral and project coordination company called Canadian Recording Services (www.canadianrecordingservices.com). She and her team (Bree Cassidy and Jordan Birch) help everyone from novice recording rookies; all the way to platinum selling celebrities coordinate their recording projects.

So what exactly can she do for you?

“CRS (Canadian Recording Services) hooks artists up with studios, producers or engineers - based on the style of music and budget,” said Northcott. “I’m pretty tapped into the whole pro-recording scene across the country, so I know who’s who. After years of doing this, we’re ‘in the know’ with reputable producers, engineers and studios in most of the cities across Canada.”

Sounds great. How do you get started?

“For a local band, we usually start with a budget so we have a rough idea of what to work with,” continued Northcott. “Then we send them some producers’ credits and demo reels and they pick who they like based on their music style and budget. Then I send the producer the band’s music. If they want to work together, then we take the budget and try to get the best studios for the best rates. In a nutshell, we try and get the best people and studios for the money they have to make it go the furthest.”

So, how do I know Northcott can help me get the best bang for my recording buck? Starting out as a receptionist in a recording studio, Mimi soon realized that “it’s the producers and engineers that are the key to a successful project.” She moved on from the studio to work for a U.S. based referral company for bands looking to tour or record in Canada back when U.S. dollars went a lot further. She began working as an agent for a few producers and engineers; referring artists to them for a small fee, and years later the idea morphed into a nation-wide network, boasting the slogan, All Audio – All of Canada.  Her experience and connections speak for themselves.

Take a look at her client list if you’re still uncertain. It looks a bit like a who’s who of the music industry with acts from all over the world. AC/DC, REM, Snoop Dogg, Moby, plus B.C. favourites Colin James, Limb-lifter and The Cruzeros among her many happy customers.
The Police opened their last tour in Vancouver and called upon Northcott to assist them. Northcott recalled, “We were hired to find them (The Police) rehearsal space twice when they were here. Second time, Bree and I were hired to be on site as local coordinators. They were low maintenance and the whole Police project was a joy from beginning to end. SOMEONE had to stare at Sting all day...”

As you can tell, Northcott doesn’t mind going that extra mile just to make the customer happy. I heard that when REM was in town working on their new album Accelerate last year, Mimi was asked to find the band a lawyer to have something notarized at the studio. I didn’t see legal services on the Canadian Re-cording Services website, but for you Michael Stipe, anything goes.
“Yes, I called a lawyer to go to the REM session for some work at their request,” said Northcott. “Everyone is different. Some stars prefer services come to them, others are happy to leave the studio. I like to think we go the extra mile for everyone.”
I wonder just how far that extra mile has been stretched. There must be some strange requests from her celebrity clients. I remember hearing about Ozzie’s fabled brandy glass filled with brown M&M’s. Northcott wouldn’t name names (believe me, I begged), but she told me about some interesting things clients have asked her to source: “Opium, Viagra and swimming with Killer Whales.”

That last one sounds a little bit difficult to organize. I can just imagine the waivers one would have to sign! All in a day’s work though, I suppose. Speaking of work, I wonder exactly how Northcott and her staff go about gathering contacts for this huge referral service.
Her cell phone contact list must be filled with some pretty interesting names. We’re talking about an ever-growing network of producers, engineers, studios and more all at the artist’s beck and call. I was assured that the list on the CRS website is just a sample of what’s available. I was told that if there is any producer I want to work with and I have the budget, she would try to get them here. How?

“I think just years of doing this when I don’t know where to find a piece of gear or something someone has requested I get on the phone and find out. For local connections in Toronto or Halifax I work with studios and people in those cities and rely on their expertise. I have aligned myself with companies and people that have that “can-do” attitude and are all about making the client happy,” said Northcott.

As if she wasn’t busy enough, she is also the business manager for one of Canada’s top record producers, and a mixing engineer with a resume longer than my iTunes playlist.
I’m talking about mixer Mike Fraser, who has worked with AC/DC, Aerosmith, and Norah Jones to name a few (www.mikefrasermix.com) and producer Jeff Dawson whose clients include Kelly Rowland, Holly McNarland and B.C.’s own megastar, Daniel Powter (www.myspace.com/jeffdawsonproductions). She also represents other name producers and engineers like Dave “Rave” Ogilvie, Steve Berlin and Chris Potter (who has the much envied position as Sarah McLachlan’s engineer) on a referral fee basis. If you ask me, working with one of these guys might help launch your career to the next level.
When you get to be a heavyweight producer, chances are you won’t be willing to do just any project, even if the money is good. I’m told you can pick and choose what you work on at that level.

You probably wouldn’t see Jack Endino (Nirvana, Soundgarden) producing A Smurf Christmas Carol. Northcott and her staff take this into account and try to look for projects that their roster will be interested in doing not just from a financial standpoint.
“We’re trying to place these guys we manage with great artists and acts that they want to work with. They’re the ones spending 14 hours a day in the studio with them. I want them to enjoy what they’re doing as well as working with acts that will see success.”

Organizing so many successful recording projects over the years would be hard work, but I bet it has its re-wards. I envisioned the walls at the Canadian Recording Services covered in Gold Records.

“Yep, I have a few,” stated Northcott. “The latest was an Australian Gold Record for Xavier Rudd which I’m really proud of, as we put the whole project together and the whole camp are wonderful people. We did the studio, Dave Ogilvie as producer/mixer and Dean Maher was the engineer so great to see success come to great people. Plus I love my gold record.”
If you’re wondering what’s next for Mimi and Canadian Recording Services, I’ll give you a hint. Someone on her roster is working on a top-secret project designed to put the spotlight on Vancouver as a “World-class recording destination.” I’ll say no more. I wouldn’t want to spoil the surprise!

Think of it as selling a vacation package to rock stars. She told me that Vancouver is already attracting some big name recording acts, but the scene is just waiting to explode.
“As far as bringing people in and selling a destination 99% of the time, the request is for Vancouver. It’s a world-class city, cosmopolitan, great climate, plus our studios are world-class and have killer rates. Vancouver has a legendary history as a recording mecca. Most importantly it’s our producers and engineers that bring people in. If we can market what we have to the world, we could really put Vancouver on the map as the first choice for recording destinations.”
But let’s say you want to think outside the box. Northcott’s residential service can help set you up with a live-in studio anywhere in the world you’d like to record. Remember Pink Floyd at Pompei or U2 recording Un-forgettable Fire at Slane Castle in Ireland? CRS could set that up for you.

“People either phone looking for a castle or somewhere with a beach that’s hot to go record. We put together a list for them. Megadeth phoned for a residential studio in Northern Europe or England - a castle that could sleep 12. Tim McGraw wanted a 5-Star residential studio in Canada or the U.S. Alicia Keys’ people phoned for an SSL tracking room in Madrid last week. Venice, Belize, the Bahamas, Greece, Rome – where do you want to go? If it’s a city we haven’t dealt with before, we make it our job to learn about that market. Always handy for the next time someone calls,” stated Northcott.

So if you are an artist looking for a little help organizing your next recording project (no matter how modest your budget is), you might want to contact Canadian Recording Services. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and give Mimi and the gang a call. As it says on the website, CRS is not an internet-based business – We are a real live office with happy humans answering the phones.
What more could you possibly want? Access to some of today’s top studios and recording personnel, PLUS real live humans to answer your questions! It takes a lot of work to set up the perfect recording project, but peace of mind is just a phone call away.

Dave Oglivie featured in Pro Sound Magazine

Producer Jeff Dawson Featured in Music Connection Magazine



Posted: October 16, 2008
By Bob Grossweiner & Jane Cohen

Canadian mixer/engineer/producer Mike Fraser is anxiously awaiting the new AC/DC album to be released on October 20. The first single, "Rock 'N' Roll Train," was released on Aug. 28. He has recorded and mixed the last four AC/DC albums. Mike has also mixed four Metallica albums.

Mike's name is as synonymous with recording and mixing records as Gibson is to the world of guitars. The artists he has recorded and mixed over his 25 years in many recording studios around the world, is a veritable A to Z of the who's who in music. From AC/DC and Aerosmith all the way to Van Halen and Led Zeppelin. Leafing through the pages of Mike's resume is like following the top of the charts over almost three decades. He began his career as an engineer at Little Mountain Sound in Vancouver, B.C. working with legendary producers Bruce Fairbairn and Bob Rock. His easy-going manner and killer ears have established him as a legendary mixer in many genres of music - most notably rock.

Mike has spent the last few years working on different styles of music, from metal to country to singer/songwriters. A few of his recent credits include Franz Ferdinand, Elvis Costello, Norah Jones, Sam Roberts, State of Shock, Kelly Rowland as well as AC/DC. Mike also loves working with up and coming acts including The Dudes, Art of Dying, Hail The Villain and The Fast Romantics.


What did you do before you became an engineer?
When I got out of school I drove trucks and bulldozers for my father's logging company. Previously I played guitar in a small garage band while in school, so when work slowed down in the winters, I re-thought what my goals were and decided I wanted to explore the music angle more. I got a job at Little Mountain Sound in Vancouver as a janitor just to get my foot in the door, and it just kind of grew from there.

Which do you prefer most: engineering, mixing or producing?
I like doing it all. Mixing is most rewarding. As for producing, I'm not musically trained so I choose bands that don't need a lot writing input. I can definitely contribute to arrangements, but I generally choose really solid bands that have great songs and are ready to go right into the studio. Engineering is a large part of the process of capturing the essence of the band. Tracking is great for being a part of the recording and the creative process, and it can be a lot of fun, but mixing is my passion and my forte.

What makes a good engineer?
Someone with a lot of patience, a good listener and a master's degree in psychology! Ha-ha. A good engineer is someone that is able to take direction from producers, labels, management and the band, depending on the situation, and apply it to the recording or mix. The engineer must be able to get the artists sonic vision from their mind and mouth and turn it into a reality.

A sample of Mike's Credits
Artist, Album, Label, Credit, Year

Franz Ferdinand, TBA, Domino, M, 2008
AC/DC, Rockband video game, Harmonix/Sony, M, 2008
AC/DC, Black Ice, Sony, E/M, 2008
AC/DC, No Bull, 5.1 DVD, Sony, M, 2008
AC/DC, Plug Me In, 5.1 DVD, Sony, M, 2008
AC/DC, Stiff Upper Lip, Elektra, E/M, 2000
AC/DC, Ballbreaker, Elektra, Co-P/E/M, 1995
AC/DC, Razors Edge, Atco, E/M, 1990
Kelly Rowland, "Unity" (single), Columbia, M, 2008
Elvis Costello, iTunes – live acoustic set, E/M, 2007
Aerosmith, Pump, Geffen, M, 1989
Aerosmith, Permanent Vacation, E/M, 1987
Metallica, Load, Elektra, M, 1996
Metallica, Reload, Elektra, M, 1997
Metallica, Garage Inc., Elektra, M, 1998
Metallica, Live Shit: Binge and Purge, Elektra, M, 1993
Van Halen, Balance, Warner Bros., M, 1995
Joe Satriani, Crystal Planet, Epic, P/E/M, 1998
Coverdale/Page, Coverdale/Page, Geffen, Co-P/E/M, 1993
The Cult, Sonic Temple, Sire, E/M, 1989
The Cult, Ceremony, Sire, E/M, 1991

E: Engineer M: Mixer P: Producer

How can a mixer enhance a project?
A mixer works on the final stage of the project. The song can sometimes make it or not depending on what he does. The mixer enhances the bands performance and hopefully makes the music shine. Again it's that communication from the band and producer to the mixer and understanding exactly where they want to enhance the dynamic of the song. If they want the chorus to open-up and soar or if they want the bridge for example to be a different soundscape the mixer needs to be on the same page as them and deliver what they envisioned. With effects and levels, a mixer can create different atmospheres that help enhance the song.

Do you have a certain mixing style or sound?
I don't think I do. I try not to put my mark on things. The band should sound like themselves and not like me. It sometimes helps to see the band perform live so I can get a real sense of what they're about. I love working on tracks that are real and a great representation of the band. Too often mixing projects come to me that are 200+ tracks, and it's difficult to see and hear what the band and producer were going for. A lot of classic music has been made on 16 tracks. AC/DC is always under 48 tracks. When I'm mixing, I like to bring out their sound, and it's hard sometimes when you can't even find their sound.

How do you get your jobs?
Having worked in this business for almost 30 years, I get a portion of my work from word of mouth. My website and "myspace" (www.mikefrasermix.com / www.myspace.com/fraserproductions) are fantastic tools. People can find me, and I can hear up and coming bands that maybe in the past wouldn't have found their way to me. So technology has been cool in the sense of making it easier for people to find me and for me to hear their music. But finding work is also lot of hard work on my manager Mimi Northcott's part to keep digging for those cool projects and to keep my name out there and current. I don't work with a single producer per se, but I do work a lot with fellow local producer Jeff Dawson, who has produced State of Shock and Marcy Playground. He and I have a great working vibe and really compliment each other.

How do you decide who you want to work with?
I love working on pretty much anything. I try to balance the big projects with smaller up and coming bands. I like to work with bands that work hard and are really serious about their music. The last couple of years I decided to broaden my focus and work on styles of music other than rock, from country to alternative acts. It's been a blast and has opened a lot of doors into other genres. I still really like working on rock music, but it's nice to have a change now and again. I just mixed tracks for Franz Ferdinand, which is really exciting, and was a lot of fun to work on.

How did the AC/DC job come about?
I've worked with AC/DC for about 18 years now. From recording and mixing four AC/DC studio records, a number of live records--Donington, Plug Me In and No Bull--to overseeing the mastering of their back catalog, from High Voltage to Razors Edge. The first record I worked on with them in late 1989, Razor's Edge, the band had approached producer Bruce Fairbairn to add his magical touch. Bruce and I had worked a lot together at the time--Loverboy, Aerosmith--so it was a natural fit. I've been fortunate enough to continue to work with them over the years including tracking and mixing their upcoming album "Black Ice" and their Rockband video game I just mixed for Harmonix.

Is there a different or new sound to the AC/DC project?
AC/DC has their own sound that never really changes. That's part of the band's charm. All of their records have slightly different flavors but not really a new sound. When they come into the studio and plug in and start to play, you get hit by a huge sonic wall of sheer rock n' roll energy. If you've ever seen them live, you'll know what I mean. Just imagine that energy playing just for you in an intimate setting like the studio! Sometimes I think I have the best job in the world.

Have you mixed any live albums?
I've done quite a few live albums: Joe Satriani, G3, Metallica, AC/DC, Motley Crue, Finger 11, Sam Roberts, Rush, Blue Man Group etc. A lot of them mixed in 5.1 Surround Sound. It's often bigger acts that do live records, and I love it. You get to have a visual where usually it's all audio for me. So yes, it's like watching a concert and being a part of the big show.

What's the difference in working in 5.1 Surround Sound and other formats?
When mixing in 5.1 you have a broader scope in which to place the instruments. Instead of having only two speakers--left and right--to place all the instruments you have five speakers--left front, left rear, right front, right rear, and center. I can place an instrument anywhere in the spectrum I want. For most live 5.1 mixes I prefer to do a super wide stereo placement. My feeling is you're watching the band on the stage and want to hear the sound in front of you, not have a guitar or something appear from the rear. The audience tracks can be full surround and that gives you the feeling of being there.

First concert attended
Deep Purple in 1974 at the Pacific Coliseum in Vancouver, British Columbia.

First live recorded concert
In the early ‘80s working with such engineers as Roger Monk and Bob Rock. I worked with Roger on a group called The Nylons. They were a well-known acapella group at the time. Bob Rock and I would occasionally record his band, The Payolas, at a local Vancouver bar.

First industry job
I started working at Little Mountain Sound in Vancouver, B.C. in late 1978. There were no openings for studio work there at the time, but they needed a janitor so I thought at least this is a foot in the door. I took the job. I flipped the mints in the urinals, vacuumed floors and helped out in the studios every second I could. I even ended up sleeping there in the loading bay with a sleeping bag for over a year.

Career highlights
Working with Aerosmith, AC/DC and Jimmy Page.

Career disappointment
Not being able to do it all. I hate saying no to projects that I just don't have the time to get to. Everyone has a timetable they're working with, and it doesn't always jive with the time I've available.

Greatest challenge
Keeping it fresh. The hours can get grueling sometimes. It's a challenge sometimes, but because I love doing this so much it never really gets me down for too long.

Best business decision
Changing to my current management company. Mimi Northcott and Bree Cassidy just rock.

Best advice you received
Love what you do, you'll be doing it a long time

Mistake that you have learned from
Get agreements on paper and have a great lawyer. I've been burned too many times.

Most memorable industry experience
Working with AC/DC. They have got to be the best band in the world. Some of the nicest guys you'd want to work with and their music speaks for itself.

Industry pet peeve
Having my mixes ultimately turned into MP3's. That's not how it's meant to be heard. I wish they would figure out a way to offer full bandwidth higher quality files. Most of the public don't realize MP3's are a lesser quality.

If I wasn't doing this, I would be...
...I've wanted to get my pilots license for a long time now. The hours and commitment I have to music doesn't allow me enough time to pursue this dream--yet.

Industry mentors
Bob Rock, Bruce Fairbairn and John Vrtacic.

Mike can be reached through his manager Mimi Northcott: 604-985-0679 or e-mail: mimi@mikefrasermix.com


...Now the band’s frontman, Alex Kapranos, tells us their long-awaited third album may be released in January. “The album is finished but there is a little bit of mixing left, a lot of which is being done by Mike Fraser who’s known for doing a lot of heavier rock stuff like Aerosmith and AC/DC,” Kapranos says...READ MORE


Vancouver, B.C. - July 29, 2008 - The Vancouver Music Industry held it's 3rd annual non-profit gala and golf event at the Canvas Lounge on July 29th and the UBC Golf Course on July 30th.

The goal of this annual event is to raise money for several charitable organizations including the Sarah McLachlan Foundation’s Music Outreach Program, while bringing together members from the local music industry.  Thanks to the dedication of the Vancouver Music Industry Committee, and this year's fabulous turn out, $60,000 was raised, surpassing last year's total by $10,000.

Live and silent auctions were held at the gala, bringing in a pretty penny with items such as a signed Avril Lavigne guitar, a signed Alanis Morissette acoustic guitar, and a signed telecaster from Rock n’ Roll Hall of Famer Bruce Springsteen.  The evening was hosted by Terry David Mulligan, and featured the Bruce Allen / Sam Feldman Legend Award, which was presented by Bruce Allen to Red Robinson for being an individual who has significantly contributed to the local music industry for many years.  Several local artists performed live in the intimate setting of the Canvas Lounge including Art of Dying, Aliqua, Ryan McMahon, Christina Maria, and Sherry St Germain.

Founded in 2005 by producer Jeff Dawson (State of Shock, Daniel Powter, Kelly Rowland), the Vancouver Music Industry Committee focuses on creating unity, and ensuring continued growth among members of Vancouver’s local industry.  Also on the committee are mix engineer Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Metallica , Aerosmith), and from Hipjoint Productions, Mike James, Troy Samson, and Jordan Thorsteinson.



Posted: June 12, 2008
By Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Jeff Dawson is a Vancouver, BC based producer/engineer/mixer, whose musicality and innate ability to hear a potential hit is making him a favorite of artists and labels alike.

Among them is songwriter Daniel Powter, whose breakthrough debut album, Bad Day, was developed and produced by Jeff. After working on Powter's songs and helping develop the project's sound over three years, Warner Bros Chairman/CEO Tom Whalley took one listen and knew he had something extraordinary. "Bad Day" was #1 for five weeks on Billboard's Hot 100 in 2006 and has become a worldwide hit with almost 2.2 million downloads and nearly 3 million albums sold.

Don't let the A/C sounds of Daniel Powter fool you. Jeff's diversified musical background runs the full gamut. From his roots as a guitarist in many bands--from metal to pop-rock to a grunge band--to the musical extreme of being a piano player, his musical interests are all over the scale. He counts Neil Diamond, Justin Timberlake and Iron Maiden as his dream artists to produce.

There is one constant in his production choices and that is melody.

Recent projects include JD Fortune's (INXS) upcoming solo project, Calgary buzz band The Dudes, Chicago darlings Dotdotdot and R&B diva Kelly Rowland.

Most notably, Canadian pop-rockers State of Stock, a melodic rock band that has taken Canada by storm and just penned their deal with Universal Republic Records. State of Shock's success is thanks in part to Jeff's ability to work with the artists' songs in the writing stages and focus on commercial catchy choruses and strong hooks - his specialty.

"It's all about the song," he says, whether it's an edgy EMO band, heavy rock act or a singer/songwriter - the same constant applies to every act Jeff works with - focusing on song structure and arrangement and making the players and vocalist's performance the best they can be.

"Do it once and do it right" says the driven and focused producer. Jeff prefers to start the process by listening to an artist's upcoming material and using his keen ear and musical spidey-sense to pick the gems and focus on their potential in the writing stages before hitting the studio. Each project has its distinct sound: Jeff's diversified musical background is reflected in his project choices and these projects successes.

Jeff still likes to work with unsigned acts and most of these are in the process of becoming signed acts. Some of these include Birds of Wales, 5AM, Beyond the Fall, Fully Loaded and The Dudes.

Other recent projects that Jeff has wrapped up include the latest from Tal Bachman (Artemis), John Wozniak's (Marcy Playground front man) solo record not yet released and platinum selling singer/songwriter Holly McNarland (Curve/Universal).

What makes a good producer?
Being able to get what's in the artists' head out as well as developing absolute trust. If the artist 100% trusts you, the sky is the limit.

How can a producer enhance a project?
I can't speak for others, but I believe in serving the song first. Also being an objective outside opinion, and in my case, helping the artist focus ideas.

How did you and Daniel Powter get together?
I did a radio remix for Dan. He lived in a small town far Vancouver at the time--Vernon about 5 hours away from Vancouver. He came down, played some piano on the track and we clicked. We started doing demos together after that. The demos became the record.

Why did it take three years to complete the album?
Dan was unsigned when we made the record. I took him on and developed him over three years. We demoed about 30 songs over that time due to funding or lack of. I'd a home studio then so we worked there. We originally sent a batch of five songs out which immediately sparked interest. So we sent more and more. From the time we started writing together to when the record came out was three years. Incidentally four of those five original songs made the final record. Dan was signed by Tom Whalley at Warner in L.A.

Did you sense that "Bad Day" would be such a big international hit?
Dan came to me with the idea of the melody for Bad Day about a year before we finished it. I said it's not quite there. He went away and worked on it. We changed it from a straight groove to a swung groove and finished it quickly after that. And to answer your question, Yes, and not to sound too cocky, but the minute we finished it we knew it was a smash hit.

Do you have a certain producing style or sound?
I listen to music a certain way and definitely build records in a certain way.

I'm blessed however to be able to work on many different styles of music and always take a fresh approach to every project.

How do you decide who you want to produce?
I'll quickly listen the songs because I don't want to get too used to the arrangements should I decide to work with the project. The melodies and singer's voice are big selling points for me.

First concert attended
Iron Maiden with Twisted Sister at the Palace Coliseum in Vancouver in 1985.

First industry job
Assistant engineer at Mushroom Studios in Vancouver

Career highlights
Getting fired from Mushroom Studios in Vancouver-- I was a threat to the head engineerr.

Career disappointment
When the albums you work on don't get released for various music business, crap, political reasons.

Greatest challenge
Finding the time to play more golf.

Best business decision
Working with Daniel Powter. Having a gut feeling when I hear an artist, seeing it through and knowing that my musical instincts were right when it has such huge success.

Best advice you received
Never stop learning.

Mistakes you've learned from
I've learned from every mistake. I plan on making a ton more. You won't learn by doing the right thing.

Most memorable industry experience
Having dinner with Brian Johnson and friends at my manager Mimi Northcott's house in North Vancouver. AC/DC was in Vancouver recording their upcoming CD; Mimi also manages Mike Fraser who was recording and mixing their record at the time. Plus Mimi is a killer cook.

What friends would be surprised to learn about you
I have a phobia when looking at the back of turned on guitar amps. I always think they'll blow up in my face.

Industry pet peeve
Stop talking about how bad it is. I'm having a great time.

If I weren't doing this, I would be...
...still living at home with my parents.

Industry mentors
Mitchell Froom and Mike Fraser: both show you the importance of being humble.

Jeff can be reached through his manager Mimi Northcott at: 604-985-0679 or e-mail mimi@miminorthcottmgmt.com



Industry Profile: Mimi Northcott

— by Bob Grossweiner and Jane Cohen

Mimi Northcott is the founder of Canadian Recording Services (CRS), which focuses on bringing artists of all levels into Canada to record, mix, write and rehearse. CRS' services are free, and they will coordinate everything from accommodations and rentals to studios, producers and engineers -- whatever it takes to bring a project to Canada.

"CRS' goal is to make the most of a budget for the artist and ensure a smooth and successful session," Mimi notes.

Mimi began her career in the late 1980's as a receptionist at a recording studio in Vancouver, B.C. She went on to manage studios and quickly identified that great producers and engineers are the key to successful projects. She has focused her energy on this facet of the recording industry ever since.

In the mid 1990's, Mimi became the Canadian representative for US-based Studio Referral Services (SRS). In 1997 and again in 1999, Mimi stopped to have a couple babies and bake muffins.

In 2001, she launched her own company, Canadian Recording Services. Mimi, along with her staff (Bree Cassidy and Jordan Birch), is based out of Vancouver and are authorities on the professional recording industry from coast to coast in Canada.

"Whether an artist wants to record or rehearse in Vancouver, Toronto or Montreal, CRS will hook them up with reliable studios and talented people that fit within their budget," says Mimi. "CRS prides itself on going the extra mile for every client."

CRS works on a referral or project basis with an arsenal of producers and engineers across North America. This year, Mimi has taken on management of legendary mixer Mike Fraser (AC/DC, Aerosmith, Metallica, Elvis Costello, Stone Gods) and writer/producer Jeff Dawson (Daniel Powter, State of Shock, Kelly Rowland).

"CRS is paid a fee by the studios, producers and engineers we bring the business to," notes Mimi. "The exception being large scale rehearsals where CRS is hired to be on site." There is no government funding.

This past year has been very exciting for CRS. The company was hired twice for scouting rehearsal spots for The Police 2007/08 World Tour. The second time, Mimi and Cassidy were hired as on-site coordinators for the duration of the rehearsal. Other clients include REM, Elvis Costello, AC/DC, Rihanna, Korn, JD Fortune, Snoop Dogg, Xavier Rudd, The Jonas Brothers and Sam Roberts.

What were The Police requirements for rehearsals?
A large private venue with ample power close to the city. For the first rehearsals, they used a soundstage at a film studio. The second time, there were no commercial facilities available as feature films/TV companies had the city in lock down. We hunted around and found them a private oasis in the city. It's a gorgeous, newer recreation center-- on native reservation land in North Vancouver. The vibe of this unique venue, Chief Joe Mathias Centre, is very West Coast; it sits in the middle of about two acres of cedar trees and is incredibly private, yet essentially still in the city, minutes from downtown. It also boasts a separate good-sized production office and a ton of parking and space, which The Police crew used to build stages to prepare for their tour.

What did being on-site coordinators entail?
As this facility is private and had never done anything like this before, we were hired by The Police to prepare the venue, before, during and after they came in. We arranged everything - security, onsite staff, catering, communications, furnishings, some gear rentals and customs work -- everything except transport and crew. There was a possible MTV shoot, so we were also sent out to find a venue for that. Rolling Stone came to shoot their cover with The Police so we helped coordinate the photo shoot for them. Anything they needed or wanted done, we did.

Have you been asked to secure rehearsal space for other artists?
Canadian Recording Service's forte is recording so we're usually contacted by people who are thinking about coming to Canada to record or mix. But through contacts and people we know, we're often asked for rehearsal spots. Aside from The Police, recent rehearsal clients include Jonas Brothers in Toronto and Theory of a Deadman in Vancouver. We pride ourselves in finding standout, unique facilities that make the whole Vancouver experience a memorable one.

What did you do for the Jonas Brothers and Theory of a Deadman?
Jonas Brothers were doing pre-production for their record so we found them a recording studio in Toronto. We have coordinated several sessions for Theory of a Deadman - once for songwriting, once for player auditions and again for rehearsals before their tour.

Has the declining US dollar business hurt you in securing American clients?
People have been asking me this question a lot lately. For big film productions coming to Canada, yes, there's been a huge impact as they're dealing with millions of dollars. In the recording industry, if our dollar hovers at par, it's not tragic. If it dipped the other way, then yes. It's difficult to tell your American clients that it will cost them more to come to Canada. It's back around par though now, and recording here is a steal to begin with.

Vancouver has a history as a recording mecca. It's a cosmopolitan city with a great climate, laid back people and killer studios, but the biggest draw is the huge producers and engineers that live and work here. Guys like mixer Mike Fraser and producer Jeff Dawson bring a lot of clients here. So for the big acts, I don't think the exchange is an issue at all. They either want to come here or they don't.

For the smaller acts, we just have to get more aggressive to make their budgets go further. For artists to come from the UK and Europe, it's a fantastic deal, hands down. Every British pound goes exactly twice as far here, and the euro goes one and a half right now.

What is the US Studio Referral Service?
Studio Referral Service is a company run by Ellis Sorkin in Los Angeles. I became their Canadian rep about 10 years ago. Both of our companies provide the same type of service, the difference being that Canadian Recording Services spends a lot of time marketing producers and engineers as well as studios where Studio Referral Service's focus is on studios. Studio Referral Service is an authority on studios in the US; CRS is an authority on pro audio in Canada.

Referrals are all about saving time and money and finding a quality studio/producer/engineer in a market you aren't familiar with. For example, instead of a manager googling "neve recording studio los angeles" and coming up with 45 studios, they make one call to US Referral Service or Canadian Recording Services for Canada. They describe what they want to do, where, when and their budget, and we use our expertise to put them in reputable studios with great people. SRS' services are free as they are paid a fee by the studios. Same with CRS: we charge the client nothing: the studios/producers and engineers pay us a fee.

Are SRS and CRS aligned together at all?
They're completely separate businesses. CRS focuses on coordination and the producer/engineer area. SRS focuses solely on studios. The US has hundreds of studios where our market is much smaller, and we can spend the time putting projects together. I don't book US studios other than a handful of residential studios. I call Ellis as he's the expert there. He calls me for studios in Canada. We work together on some international projects however - Europe and Australia for example. At different times he and I will work with different studios over there. So we share this information to make sure we give our clients current and quality suggestions.

What makes a good artist manager?
One that answers emails and returns your calls.

First concert attended
Canadian band called Doug and The Slugs at a fair in Toronto, 1982.

First industry job
Receptionist at a recording studio, Vancouver Studio, which went on to buy Little Mountain Sound.

Career highlights
Working with The Police last year. Someone had to stare at Sting all day.

Career disappointment
The Foo Fighters haven't called me yet to record in Vancouver.

Greatest challenge
My experience with websites and webmasters. Don't get me going. I've made some bad decisions. I'm on my fourth website and have found that every company/webmaster under quotes, and I end up being held hostage. It comes down to a lack of communication and companies taking on more than they can handle.

Best business decision
Managing mixer Mike Fraser. Management done properly takes a lot of time and commitment. My kids are older now, I can travel and put the hours in that are required to manage someone. Mike is much loved and universally respected as a legendary mixer so he's a joy to work with.

Best advice you received
Love what you do.

Mistakes that you have learned from
I wish I would have asked more questions about the business of music when I was younger.

Most memorable industry experience
Mostly meeting different people--Jimmy Page, Ringo Starr, Neil Young...

What friends would be surprised to learn about you
I'm legally too short to be a stewardess, even on a small airline.

Industry pet peeve
Listening to people compare the industry now to the 1980's. It's done, it's gone, and it's depressing. I want to move forward, work with the changing times and embrace the digital world.

If I weren't doing this, I would be...
...in tourism for the City of Vancouver.

Industry mentor
I don't have a mentor per se, but I've been influenced by many people over the years. A studio owner I worked for named Al Rodger - he's a crazy bugger but smart: I learned an incredible amount about business from him that I use today.


Vancouver’s own State of Shock has just reached digital platinum sales mark in Canada with their first single “Money Honey” from

their sophomore album Life, Love and Lies (Cordova Bay/Fierce Panda).

This morning lead singer Cameron Melnyk stopped by the Warehouse Studio to give Producer Jeff Dawson and Mixer Mike Fraser

their plaques.

Dave Ogilvie contributes to the Heroes Soundtrack - March 25, 2008

The Heroes Soundtrack was digially released in the US last week. The All Star line up of artists includes Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, David Bowie and The Jesus and Mary Chain. The song "All Things Must Pass" by JAMC was mixed by CRS mix engineer Dave "Rave" Ogilvie.


Legendary mix engineer Mike Fraser has completed his new website! Check it out at www.mikefrasermix.com.


Astral Media, Canada's largest radio network, has voted State of Shock's single "Money Honey" (Cordova Bay) as the #1 Radio Single of the Year in the 2008 Independent Music Awards. State of Shock beat out Feist, Arcade Fire and many others.

"Money Honey" was produced/mixed by our team of Jeff Dawson (Producer) and Mike Fraser (Mixer).


State of Shock
New Group of the Year
State of Shock's "Life, Love and Lies" was produced/mixed by our team of Jeff Dawson (Producer) and Mike Fraser (Mixer).

New Group of the Year
illScarlet's "All Day With It" was mixed by Mike Fraser.

Group of the Year
Hedley's "Famous Last Words" was engineered by our very own Dean Maher and mixed by Mike Fraser.

Swedish rock band The Hives came through Vancouver on Friday, Feb 22nd to play the Commodore. But before their big show they stopped in to GM Place for a hockey game with Swedish Canucks Alex Edler, Daniel and Henrik Sedin.

The game went great, with the Canucks narrowly pulling away with the 6-5 victory. This boost of confidence no doubt was the reason for their big win over the league leading Detroit Red Wings the next night.

The event was coordinated by Canadian Recording Services. Though we usually only hook up bands with recording studios, producers, rehearsal space and accommodations....we were happy to help with The Hives request.

In this picture is Pelle, Chris and Vigilante from the Hives, Alexander Edler, Jordan Birch of CRS, Nicke from the Hives, Daniel and Henrik Sedin and Matt from the Hives.


Mike Fraser was featured in February's issue of Pro Sound Magazine

CRS In the News


Canadian singer/songwriter Sam Roberts came to Vancouver to work with legendary mixer Mike Fraser. Sam's 4th studio album will be released in 2008.


Indie rockers "Stars" just finished recording their 4th studio album "In Our Bedroom After The War" in Vancouver.


CRS has had a busy few months. Lots of exciting projects past, current and upcoming. 
Most notable is The Police !!! CRS supplied rehearsal location services in Vancouver for the band in January/February.  We will also be arranging and supporting their upcoming rehearsals in Vancouver before their North American tour kicks off in the spring.

Mix engineer Mike Fraser has been venturing into some other styles of music this past year.  In April, "Dirty Girl", the first single from Terri Clark's upcoming Sony/BMG release will hit the airwaves.  Mike mixed the single and is finishing mixing the upcoming album. The album is being produced by legendary country producer Garth Fundis.

Dave "Rave" Ogilvie mixed two tracks for GOB recently. Rave is also currently mixing Australian surf/roots artist Xavier Rudd's latest CD. Rudd's upcoming CD will be released on Universal in Canada and Australia, and Anti for the rest of the globe. Rave and Xavier produced the album together, and Dean Maher engineered it. Dave is just back from Australia where he went to the Outback to record some Aboriginal voices for the CD. Rudd is set to play Bonnaroo in June 07. Last time he played this prestigious festival, his CD sales broke festival records.  Xav is opening for The Dave Matthews Band on the Australian leg of their tour.

Other projects include; The Mars Volta in Montreal, Rihanna, Hilary Duff and  Englebert Humperdinck in Toronto, Snoop Dog in Australia and Biffy Clyro in London.

Through CRS, Mike Fraser recently mixed an artist from Halifax, Nova Scotia by the name of Nathan Wiley. Quite a buzz about this talented singer/songwriter! Steve Berlin was at the production helm and came to Vancouver to oversee the mixes. 

CRS currently has a band called Travega from Ireland working in Vancouver with producer Gggarth Richardson. Garth will take a quick break and head to London, England with Mike Fraser for some tracking and overdubs for UK darlings Biffy Clyro. Biffy's  CD was recorded in Vancouver with Gggarth and Mike. It's been a while since our last newsletter, so to keep you updated, other CRS clients over the last year included; Stars, Jamie Kennedy, Lucas Films, The Odds, Timbaland, Vanity Falls, 5AM, Big & Rich, 7th Rain, Ice Cube movie "Are We There Yet?", Tal Bachman, Rita McNeil, Darkest Hour (accommodation), Fear Zero, Genero, THQ (PS2 Game),  Fox (The Family Stone), Bob Rock, The Tragically Hip, Palmerston, Blind Army, Spirit of the West, Gypsy X, The Trews and lots more...

Some of CRS's services across Canada include FREE referrals for: recording studios, post production studios, producers, engineers, mastering engineers, live sound recording companies & mobile units, and rehearsal location services in Vancouver (thanks to The Police). CRS also specializes in Residential Recording Studios around the world. 

Thinking of bringing your project to Canada? Give us a call or drop us an email. We'd be happy to put together studios, engineers, accommodation...whatever you need done to help bring your project to Toronto, Montreal or Vancouver. The US dollar is currently worth $1.20 CDN.  Our studios and services in Canada are already priced very competitively. Competitive rates coupled with the favorable exchange rates...you can get more for your money!


Mike Fraser - Biffy Clyro, AC/DC, Hinder, Hedley, Terri Clark, Satriani, Metallica, Aerosmith, Big & Rich, Nathan Wiley, Rush (new 5.1 DVD); Jeff Dawson - Producer for Daniel Powter, Tal Bachman, John Wozniak (Marcy Playground), State of Shock, Holly McNarland; Garth Richardson - Biffy Clyro, Hedley, Rage Against the Machine, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Chevelle; Dave Ogivlie - Xavier Rudd, Nine Inch Nails, Marilyn Manson, Jakalope, Yothu Yindi; Chris Potter - Sarah MacLachlan, Run DMC, Delerium, Rufus Wainright, The Cranberries; Paul Silveria - Billy Talent, Jamie Kennedy, Ashanti, Busta Rhymes, Macy Gray w/Wu Tang Clan

Please phone or email for more information, schedules or rates.

::Thanks for reading::

Mimi Northcott
tel toll free 1-866-888-6464
tel 604-985-0679
cell 604-803-7400