Canadian Recordings began in Los Angeles, California near the end of 2001. Crammed into the upstairs bedroom of a turn of the century era duplex in West Hollywood, recording and production schedules revolved around rush hour traffic, fist fights and drunken bikers on La Cienega Blvd. Expanding from a then two-to-four track recorder, the fledgling facility specialized in rock, pop and R&B records as well as the inadvertent collecting of vintage recording equipment.
In 2007, six years and several permutations later, founder Davey James moved the company and studio to it’s current location in Toronto Canada. Lots of recordings have since been made in the comfortable converted 1890's studio homestead, located in the Art District off Queen Street West. With an ambience both artistic and professional, Canadian Recordings has become a regional institution for musicians working in many genres, and looks forward to new and exciting projects. Credits include everything from working for Juno and Grammy Award winning artists to beginning musicians wanting to learn how to strum a G chord. Please see our Discography for more information.
Part of making music for the 21st century also means respecting the Earth. We, as much as possible, reduce our carbon footprint by choosing public transportation, recycling and using recycled products. Recording in solar powered settings when possible and buying foods that are grown locally. A portion of money that is earned exceeding our expenses is given to charitable causes we find important. Some of these institutions are working to donate musical instruments to people in Canada and the world that cannot afford them. They are organizations that are taking concerts and musical instruction to new places. We at Canadian Recordings feel fortunate to have wonderful musical educations coupled with life experience and wish for others to have this same opportunity.
"Bass and drums at the same time? Now that's a heavy cat!" Daniel Lanois and Brian Blade
Davey is currently finishing his PhD in ethnomusicology and holds a Masters of Fine Art in World Music from the California Institute of the Arts (CalArts). He also holds a Bachelors of Music in Jazz Studies from Loyola University New Orleans and studied music in film at the College of Santa Fe in New Mexico. Davey is a multi-instrumentalist whose background producing, engineering, coaching artists and performing has led to his involvement in several projects, recordings and performances. Davey has been involved in numerous collaborations fusing everything from death metal, pop, world music, free jazz and traditional New Orleans music. His peers regard him as a supportive accompanist and a musical instrumentalist. He has performed and recorded with artists from Columbia, Wind Up and Capital records and is continuing to tour North American, Asia and Europe. On top of producing records, he is continuing to coach and teach musicians that are shaping new musical landscapes today.
Raised in southeast Texas, Davey's first musical experiences began at a young age when his mother would bring him to local venues to watch blues musicians perform. As Davey got older he started to perform himself. Playing with different bands around his hometown of Houston, that is when he realized music was his calling. His music education started at the High School of the Performing and Visual Arts and led him to study drumming at Loyola University in New Orleans. Education is very important to Davey because of being raised in an unstructured alcoholic home with no education on either side of the family. Despite a learning disability and chaos of his troubled youth, Davey managed to get a master's degree and tour half the world with some well-known musicians. The creation of his second music company: Canadian Recordings, will now allow him to be of service to the next generation of musicians and help preserve music that brought his dreams to reality. Davey says "There is something magical about performing, writing and recording music for others to experience, and I'd like to capture as much of that as I can. Music has truly saved my life, and given me a new found freedom".
Much of what Davey does on the business side of music was learned by working as an intern, part-time runner and assistant while living in Los Angeles. He says “it’s not glamour work but you pick up all the things you need to know about the music business just by watching the pros”. He worked as a runner for music producers Rick Rubin and Michael Bienhorn and was an assistant to music manger Jeff Norskog (Pussycat Dolls and Puff Daddy). He was an intern for music supervisor Patrick Houlihan on the movies: Training Day, Bubble Boy and Sweetest Thing. He also built and ran a music studio affiliated with the Grammys in Malibu California.
Currently residing in Toronto, Davey is involved in many musical projects. On the local scene he is busy teaching African drumming at York University and building a recording program at Conestoga College. In the international scene he is coaching the Japanese singer Ui & Mi on his second album and prepping for another Asian tour. He is also in pre-production with the Canadian punk band Cerebral Scrub. Besides producing and coaching under Canadian Recordings, Davey is currently putting the final touches on Bob Egan's (Blue Rodeo) latest solo project and mixing rock group Nights & Weekends third release (MTV's Jersey Shore and The Hills).
I had the opportunity to record with Davey James in the summer of 2011 with my punk band "Cerebral Scrub?". Not having much recording experience or studio knowledge Davey was able to put me at ease with his hard work and made sure the band was happy with our "sound". Another great aspect of Davey was that he did not drink or participate in drug use. It was important to us that we had a strong and clear headed engineer with a goal in mind and a plan to execute it. People may think this is not much a big deal, but IT IS. Davey is a very hard working engineer and helped us stay on track while recording. He also payed attention to the bands energy levels and was able to utilize our energy to capture it for the recordings we did. Davey always had great energy and a positive attitude, which made him very comfortable to work with. I highly recommended him. Not only can he track a song, he also gives bad ass hair cuts.
I worked with Davey as a drummer and collaborator on a few projects and it was kind of like being an apprentice to a riverboat gambler. That is, he showed me what worked in and didn't in my hand and how to lay 'em down best. He seems to be inhabiting in a different world than most and knew it. I recognized it and moved right in. He's a killer with a gold toothed smile dedicated to the sporting life of music. He helped me make sounds that only full grown men could make - never any kids stuff. Regardless of distance, Davey will be a part of whatever I do in some fashion from this point on.
I had the opportunity to record with, and be taught by Davey James in the summer of 2011; it was an eye opening experience to say the least. I had been flirting with song writing, playing and singing for years, but had never gotten serious about it. Dave and I had a sit down prior to getting to work, and right away his approach was unique. We talked at length about what I wanted to accomplish and how I had planned on getting there. We discussed aspirations and past experiences, fears and goals alike. Originally I thought I would just write some songs , track them, and he would just work some producer magic! Which was not at all the case. When all was said and done, I walked away with a completely new understanding of songwriting, music, and what it took in order to bring an idea to complete fruition. Dave was able to teach and coach me through all aspects of the process. We worked on song structure, vocal pitch, and practical guitar theory, harmonies, transposing piano to Bass/guitar and the list goes on. It was invaluable to be able to have access to all that knowledge and experience in one teacher. He pushed me beyond my comfort zone and ability on many an occasion, and the result in the end was an EP that I think we were both surprised with, he took the time and included me in the editing process and bounced his idea’s with mine. He was unbelievably generous with his time and never rushed me though any roadblock or “writers Block” but instead gave me the tools to work through it and come out the other end stronger and armed with more knowledge. I always felt included in the postproduction process, as Dave would fire off the different mixes for me to sign off on. The things I took away from the experience will be applied in not just music but all my future artistic endeavors no matter how grand or small. Davey James is a gifted teacher, versatile musician, and phenomenal producer, and I am simply better for it. Many Thanks and gratitude!
Kevin Myles Wilson:
When I met Davey I was 22 and a budding songwriter. I was new to the process of writing/performing music and especially new to the process of recording. In my two years spent working with Davey, he worked with me as a friend, teacher, mentor and helped guide and push my progress in songwriting, performance and recording. He also educated me on the music industry, new music and being an artist in general. I went from a naive musician with very little musical vision to having a musical confidence and outspoken vision/direction in what I wanted to do with music. In that time, he also helped me record my very first record. I am very proud of that record and it is a great acheivement in my life that I couldn't have done without him. Since that record I have recently been signed to a record deal with a label in Toronto and am just about to release my second record. A huge thanks goes to Davey for helping me get to this point.
My overall experience making a record with Dave was great. I'm not sure if I was the client which took the longest to make a record (3 years) but in this time Dave coached, encouraged and challenged me to end up with a product I couldn't have imagined. Due to this process I was transformed into a musician in my own right. I learned about writing lyrics so that the listener can identify and receive emotional impact. I learned about how to deliver vocals with inflection and expression. I learned how to understand and use studio equipment and also about recording, audio levels and tuning. I also learned about all the stages of making an album everything from marketing, mastering and to printing. Not to mention performing! Not only did we make a awesome record but I had some of the best times of my life in and out of the studio with Davey.
When Davey James first approached me with the notion of a feature on singer/song writer Brownie’s song, “Russell Crowe” my thoughts were both of excitement and a sense of eagerness. My first initial thought of Jeff was nothing special, just another Toronto singer who wanted to get a kick on his career, by getting an up on the game trying to infuse rap and rock. All previous judgments were put to rest when Dave first played the vocals on “Russell Crowe.” I was blown away at the dimensions of his vocal talents. Brownie had managed to master that falsetto sound that so many rock, r&b and soul singers had fail to grasp over the years. Upon hearing it, I knew I would have to lend my lyrical talents to the track and be apart of the madness brewing in Producer Davey James' head. Working both with Davey proved to be a fun yet a learning experience. Davey has a way of pushing you out of your comfort zone and in doing so made me discover talents I never knew I had. Working with Davey has given me a new love and a lesson to grab on and utilize my new found talents for later projects in my musical endeavors. If asked again to work with Jeff, I would not hesitate to be apart of another project with him. As for Davey James, I love the guy so much I joined a band with him.
I met Dave at a gig at the Drake Hotel on Queen West Street in Toronto Canada. He came up to me and said ‘hey we should talk, I have a piece of equipment coming soon that I’m going to need some help moving in to my studio’. Long story short I ended up ‘moving a dinosaur of a 500 pound time capsule, ‘a 1980 2 inch Otari tape machine’. Dave was straight up and said he got this machine (I thought he was a bit crazy) because he knew ‘you’re never going to get a sound like this from the digital world’. Dave is a combination of knowledge and personal sacrifice to enact that knowledge he lives in and for music. He will text me in the middle of the night to tell me he’s pumped and restringing his guitars and then calls me 4 hours later to fill me in on what he just did. Dave will ‘never give a product that is half ass’. Straight away I considered him a part of my project. My intention was only to hire him for some help here and there but his ‘skill set is foolish to let go’.
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