Creative BC News

Blue Light Studio champions process, product, and performance opportunities for B.C. musicians

Jun 7, 2022 | Funding Recipient, Music + Sound Recording

Since 2010, Blue Light Studio has been a vital resource for B.C.’s music industry. Conceived by founding owner/producer/engineer Kaj Falch-Nielsen as a dedicated East Vancouver resource for music professionals from all walks of life, and specializing in indie, rock, pop, country, and singer-songwriter genres, the full-service recording studio prioritizes access and inclusion, and takes pride in service excellence.

Thanks to funding from Amplify BC’s Music Company Development program in 2022, Blue Light Studio is increasing its capacity to provide world-class experiences and resources to B.C.-based musicians at all stages of their careers. Already an innovative leader in the areas of recording, mixing, mastering, production services, musical arranging, voiceover, and video production, funding from Creative BC is enabling the studio to upgrade its recording gear, expand its mixing and mastering services, develop new service packages for clients, and expand staff roles and responsibilities: an important engine of job creation and economic growth for the studio and the sector at large in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Beyond these investments in recovery, these Amplify BC-supported upgrades will also enable Blue Light Studio to continue operating on par with competitors, improve quality and speed of service delivery, and grow clientele throughout B.C. Completion of these upgrades is anticipated by June 2023.

A Blue Light Studio recording panel.

Beyond these physical and technological upgrades, Creative BC has also made recent investments in the ability for the space to serve as an inclusive incubator and catalyst for local artists seeking exposure and visibility two years into the pandemic. As a multi-instrumental musician with years of North American touring experience that predated his founding of Blue Light Studio, Kaj’s understanding of the industry’s evolving needs – both on a sectoral level, and in the context of the individual artists that represent its lifeblood – runs deep. Since inception, Blue Light Studio has also presented over 120 live music events for local audiences, featuring more than 130 B.C.-based artists. During the pandemic, a weekly, digitally-streamed version of this activity, known as the Blue Light Sessions, represented a lifeline for artists; a 2022 grant from Creative BC’s Live Music program is enabling this program to continue at capacity in a hybrid format. Live performances will gradually resume, and also be offered digitally, for audiences beyond Vancouver proper.

A Blue Light Sessions event, shortly prior to the pandemic.

The plan is for the re-launched Blue Light Sessions to run live from the studio itself at least once a week, and showcase at least 50 local artists throughout the remainder of 2022. Live performances will also streamed on Facebook and YouTube to maximize audience reach, and maintain existing engagement on these platforms. The artist roster will be 100 percent Canadian, with at least 60 percent of this total being BIPOC/LGBTQIA2S+. Beyond its service as a convener and launching pad for local artists seeking reconnection with live audiences, Kaj and his team hope to build out the online streaming aspects of this performance series into something on the scale of AudioTree.tv, Black Cab Sessions, and NPR’s Tiny Desk Concerts series – albeit with a distinctly B.C.-based perspective. The physical and logistical up-fitting detailed above is already proving integral to this objective.

Over time, Blue Light Studio has historically provided space for local musicians in search of places to gain meaningful experience in a setting that affords equal weight to process and product. Over the years, groups like Said the Whale, The Swollen Members, and Small Town Artillery have each launched formative elements of their careers at Blue Light, and continue to serve as powerful ambassadors for the homegrown ingenuity and expertise that characterizes B.C.’s music industry. Beyond these marquee groups, a host of emerging artists have also found support, inclusion, and opportunity at the studio, and continue to benefit from its influence.

Session guitar warmup in progress at Blue Light Studio.

As the sector continues to build back from the pandemic, one thing has become clear: collaborative and versatile resources like Blue Light Studio will lead the way in ensuring that artists and audiences alike can continue to listen, together for many years to come.

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Photos and artwork courtesy of Blue Light Studio.