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L.A. Beat

LA Studio performers shine performances to a sheen

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There are two different approaches to making a career of making original music.

 You can write songs and play them in front of an audience at open mics and any place that will let you play them and adjust them on stage until they are perfect according to audience response which is what a lot of people do. On the other hand, you can woodshed them until they are perfect and practice them until you are singing them in your sleep, polish your image to an absolute sheen shine and rehearse every single word you are going to say in between them  before even the ghost of the idea of  hitting the stage crosses your mind.

 That is the tactic Brad Lang of L.A. Records and Media Distributing, is taking with his roster of artists. And it’s why you won’t see people like Stan Ashbee (though he sometimes plays the Mocha Cabana), Carole Arbour, Mike Maguire  and Mark Nivet (though you will see Nivet performing with New WestBrad Lang sits in LA Studio’s production booth. Photo by Richard Amery Theatre) at a lot of open mics in Lethbridge — at least not yet. Because unfortunately, today’s music  business is not just about the music anymore — it’s also about the image.

“ You need to practice. You want to get your show together before you go out and embarass yourself at an open mic,” Lang observed adding his goal in addition to getting musicians’ music out there, is to get them hooked up with a  booking agent, who can take care of shows across the country, which is why he records a DVD of each of his artists, to give them a sense of what they can do on stage.
“You want to go out and wow people rather than have them observe ‘Oh, she’s getting better.’ You want to work out all of the kinks in your music before you even go on stage,” said Lang, who is pretty tight lipped about the artists and session musicians he works with for fear that other record companies will approach them.

“We have a team of people who will help get your music out there,” he said.
“It’s the best of both worlds here,” said Lang who has been quietly running his record company  here since 1995 after converting his entire basement into a top notch studio.
Lang also records radio commercials which are broadcasted all over the world in addition to recording bands in his comfortable west side studio which includes  four different studios which are linked by video, so Lang can see what is going on in each of them including the two vocal isolation booths in studio C.

One studio is a comfortable living room set in front of a green screen, where performers can perfect the live part of their act, and be recorded for a DVD which showcases their songwriting and performance abilities.


“I don’t play an instrument. I’m a producer and an engineer. I’m not here to jam with you,” said Lang, who isn’t a musician, though he has a long record of  concert promotions, organization and more importantly recording.

“I’ve been in the music business since I was 16 when I had my own mobile DJ company. Since then I’ve worked on a lot of different disciplines, radio and TV broadcasting, music promotions. I’ve always been involved with music. My life has been about listening to people’s music, so I know good music from bad music, ” he said. He  can also be heard DJing on the weekends on Rock 106 as Brad Wylder

He works as much on his artists’ image and stage show as he does on their music, though they must have their own abilities on a musical instrument, voice and as songwriters, before they are even considered for L.A. Records. He also has a stable of session musicians available to ensure the best quality sound on the record.

“If you want to be the person who only plays open mics, you can. But I’m developing your talent so you can go farther. It takes a lot more than just recording some songs,” he said.
“There’s a difference between a quality recording and a broadcast quality recording,” he said, pointing out examples of the difference on his site
“There’s people who don’t want to work to go farther, but those aren’t the people I work with,” he said adding it can take anywhere between six months to two years to develop an artist.

“We develop the complete package, the music, the live show, the press kit…” he said.

Mark Nivet would have never recorded his debut CD, ‘The Path,’ if Lang hadn’t encouraged him to write songs.
“I’ve been working on this for two years. I just wanted to sing,”  said the Toronto based Nivet, who was back in Lethbridge for New West Theatre’s December production of Glitz.

“Brad heard me sing, so I started writing songs about my life and relationships and put everything else on hold,” Nivet continued adding he had three to begin with which were quickly followed by six more.
“ I wrote ‘Cold Shoulder,’ 10 years ago with my brother. He started playing a few chords on the piano, and I just started singing,” Nivet said.
“The complete package has come together,” he said.

“We did a few of them. These are the best of them. There were a few that didn’t have the right feel for the record,’” he said adding he is “very, very pleased with Brad Lang’s work.”
“Brad did an amazing job. He has an amazing feel for music and his team of people really loved what we were doing and built around it,” he continued.

“ I wrote six of the songs because of his motivation. He was very, very encouraging,” he said adding he would definitely like to hear his music on the radio.
“That’s definitely my goal, to get my music out there. Maybe do some touring to support them,” Nivet continued adding he looks forward to getting connected with a booking agent to help with the touring aspect. He is currently rehearsing with a band in Toronto.
“People know who I am here, and the CD was being sold at the New West show as most people know me from New West, ” he said adding he is also pleased with the DVD portion of the package, though it likely won’t be sold.
“It’s come together well,” he said his music career isn’t related at all to his work with New West.

“With New West, I’m singing different, really high,  like ‘Eye of the Tiger,’ I wrote the songs for the CD and then picked the key in which to sing them in. UNless you have training , you can’t sing that high for 10 straight songs,” he said adding  the family and friends he has performed the songs  for have responded very positively to them.
Mark Nivet’s official CD release party is at the Sterndale Bennett Theatre, Jan. 13 at 7: 30 p.m.
Tickets are $5. Mike Maguire will be opening.

— By Richard Amery, L.A. Beat Editor


A version of this story appeared in the  Jan. 5,2011 edition of the Lethbridge Sun Times.
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Last Updated ( Tuesday, 11 January 2011 14:18 )  
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