Echo Studios has a mission on its hands.
“So many clubs are slowly destroying the small music scene, so we want to bring Peterborough back to having a good music scene,” said producer and business handler Mike Landry.
He added another goal: “[to] show bands from out of town that this is a great tour stop; not only do we have great venues and cheap venues, we have great bands that can open for you as well.”
In 2015, Echo Studios’ owner and sound engineer Riley Farmer was recording artists in the attic of his father’s Peterborough home.
“That just goes to show that we went even further. We were originally kids, not even allowed to go up into the attic,” Landry said, reflecting on Farmer’s work.
Due to the overwhelming response, the studio moved out of the attic and into a location at 423 Parkhill Rd. E. Echo Studios re-opened for business in February 2016, and business has not slowed down for the Peterborough natives.
Apart from being a recording studio, Echo Studios hosted its first coffee house and open mic night on Feb. 22.
“We were expecting only a few people. We were thinking, ‘Maybe just a few of our friends will come and we’ll end up jamming and talking’,” recalled Landry.
“We were overwhelmed. We ran out of chairs within the first 10 minutes. [There were] at least 50 people in and out the door that night; everyone was just there and having a great time.”
At just 23 years old, Farmer and Landry are a dynamic pair.
Landry completed a Bachelor of Arts degree with a concentration in culture and music management at Brock University in 2015, while Farmer earned his diploma in audio recording technology from the Ontario Institute for Audio Recording Technology in 2014.
“When they’re emailing me, they think I’m a 40-year-old dude. I honestly had a girl say, ‘I thought you were just going to be like, two 50-year-olds in a building!’ No. We’re young dudes,” Landry said with a laugh.
Their youthful energy has drawn in a variety of artists. While the Peterborough music scene tends to be home to a lot of rock, folk, country and acoustic acts, Echo Studios remains open to all.
“We will record anything and everything. In a few weeks, actually, we’re doing some Foley sound for a movie. We’ll do anything.”
Echo Studios also does mixing, mastering and live sound.
“Me and Riley always say we want to be the people we wish we had in high school. We wish we had some young guy who’s not as intimidating that would welcome us into the studio,” he said, noting that studios can be intimidating for young artists. Echo Studios wants to change that.
“I’ve had people come up to me, and they say – and I love the word – that they want to be a ‘team’ [with us],” reflected Landry.
“We love the idea that this is going to be a community team effort. We want to give back to the community.”
Echo Studios is already giving back to the community by holding its coffee houses, as well as Song Circle events for songwriters. The current Song Circle project aims to write a new theme song for the Peterborough Huskies special needs hockey team.
When asked about the future of Echo Studios, Landry answered simply.
“I just hope we record a lot of good music. I just hope we can really give back to the community. I want people to know if they need sound, if they need music recorded, if they have some kid who’s amazingly talented and they don’t know what to do, send ’em our way. We want to be, essentially, a one-stop shop.
“We want you to be able to come in, record your songs and let us help you get it out there. Whether it’s with you in person, or it’s online.”
Echo Studios is hosting its second coffee house event on March 21, from 7 to 10p.m.