Hello, and welcome to Arch Audio. My name is Lorrie Matheson, and I’m the owner/operator of this cozy lil production/recording studio in Calgary, Alberta. It’s in Inglewood, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the city, super-close to downtown and easy to get to from any part of Calgary.

I built this place because I love making records. I love making records with other people who love making records. I also love helping people make records that may not know how, or are confused and daunted at the prospect of recording. To me, there’s nothing better than getting in the room and making music together, with people who are excited about their art.

There’s no right or wrong way to write, perform, or record a song. There just isn’t, which is the beauty of it – no rules! You can try anything – got an idea? Let’s chase it down! Didn’t work? Oh well, here’s another idea! It’s different for every single artist that asks me to produce their record. Never has there been an identical session.

Speaking of producing: I had a hard time for a long time with calling myself a “producer”, because of the negative connotations that come with that title- y’know, the egomaniac wearing sunglasses telling the band to “Play it again- that SUCKED!” while talking to his manager on the phone and yelling at some kid because he delivered a coffee w/Sweet n Low instead of Splenda… thinking he’s  all-seeing, all-knowing, almighty and the band are a bunch of plebes… (I do own a pair of sunglasses, but they’re prescription ones. I basically just use ’em for driving, and besides, it’s kinda dark in here.)

I realized, though, that producing is what I do, and it takes on different connotations, depending on the project. If there’s a smoking band that has their parts down and can play like fiends, “producing” them might mean making sure the tones are good and that everyone can hear themselves, or suggesting a tweak in the middle eight, or getting them to reconsider ripping off that “awesome outro from that one Radiohead track” (or TOTALLY ripping it off, depending. Haha…). Other times, it might mean coming up with entire arrangements for a solo singer-songwriter who wants a band on her record, hiring the band (I know TONS of killer session players), and communicating with the artist and hired guns to get the vibe right. Sometimes it means I need to play something on the record, or sing a harmony, or help with the lyric in the bridge, or come up with a chord substitution for the 3rd verse, and sometimes it means recognizing that the drummer is not playing as well as he could because he needs to take a 10 minute walk outside or grab a sandwich.

The main thing is that when making a record, I think it’s really important to have someone you can trust who has an objective view on the songs, the vibe, etc. I take that advice for my own records – having another brain and set of ears has helped the recording of my songs immensely.

“What about engineering?” you ask. Well, I suppose you’d call me the engineer, too. I’m a one-man show here, which means I have to get the actual sounds from the mics onto the computer – yep, I use digital technology here, more on that later – but to call myself a real engineer might be misleading. See, I just bought some stuff a bunch of years ago and figured out how to use it in order to make my own records, I don’t know the math and physics of it, I just know how it feels. And I’m still learning new tricks and techniques to this day, probably until I’m dead, too. But, the main thing is – Does it sound good? Make you feel good (or bad, depending…)? Great. Mission accomplished.

If you wanna geek out on gear, though, or the techie stuff, I might not be your guy. You can look at the Studio page to see what I have in terms of equipment, but I’m the first to admit that it’s not state of the art or anything like that. It’s always been the best stuff that I can afford at any given point, and the upgrade is ongoing (much to the chagrin of my wife). My attitude toward engineering can be summed up by the words a very wise man spoke to me a long time ago: “To make the best record you can, record the best available player, playing the best available instrument, with the best available microphone, into the best available preamp.” Basically, I will do everything I can to get it sounding awesome, but fancy pre’s and compressors and vintage microphones and consoles (albeit nice to have) do nothing if the song doesn’t feel good. And I wanna feel good (and stay in budget)!

I use a computer to record and mix on here at Arch, but I like to think that there’s a definite analog vibe to the way the process and workflow goes here. (I use the word “vibe” a lot, hey?) I’m not opposed to using the digital scalpel on stuff, but I like the records I make to sound real and natural, which means capturing the amazing imperfections of a real performance, and not sitting around manipulating zeroes and ones. (Not that there’s anything wrong with the digitally worked-over stuff, there’s amazing records being made every which way. It’s just not my bag.)

What I’m doing with Arch Audio is definitely not the “all things to all people” model. It is a very real possibility that I’m not a good fit for you and your music. I love all kinds of stuff, and get inspired by many many artists in all kinds of genres – have a look at the Projects page and listen to a bunch of the records I’ve made, I think you’ll agree that its not a one-trick pony body of work- but Arch is not the best option for everyone. If you like what you hear, and want to have a chat about doing something, get in touch. I’d love to talk to you about it, and help you if I can.