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Posts Tagged ‘beijing’

Crazy Chinese Signs

Thursday, October 7th, 2010

I’ve seen a lot of crazy stuff in China, but this is the best one so far:

Beijing Meat Patty Explode sign, Beijing China

Would you eat at this restaurant?

open house for new music production and sound studio in Beijing

Sunday, September 19th, 2010

I’ve been living in Beijing for over a month now, trying to figure out how to blog about all that has happened here and what a dramatic shift it’s been living in China. There is simply too much to write about and not enough time!

So I’ll simply share that we’ve moved into our new home, and the new studio is now ready, looking great and sounding fantastic! It’s the best quality studio I’ve had in my 20 years as a music producer and sound engineer.

I’ll blog more about the studio soon. If your in Beijing, come by the open house:
Sunday, September 26th, 2pm to 5pm

Please contact me to rsvp to let me know your coming.

Happy Mid Autumn / Moon festival!

Pro Soul Studio Beijing, China

One week until Beijing!

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

Today marks one more week before our big move to Beijing China. I’ve never felt ‘prepared’ and I still don’t.
I can still hardly believe we’re actually doing this to be honest, even though I know it’s the right thing to do for us.

I’ve been appreciating the luxuries and conveniences that we’ve had in Vancouver because we won’t have those things in China, but I’m looking forward to the adventure that awaits us there, and other things that will potentially improve our quality of life.

First thing I will be doing when we arrive is setting up the new sound studio with some equipment and cables that I had custom made in Vancouver that I’ll be bringing to make it functional so I can get back to work finishing projects that have started for my waiting clients. We also have to get some appliances to make our place livable, but our things won’t be there for months, so that should make life interesting.

I’ll miss our friends and family that we’ve enjoyed visiting with the last few weeks, but the calling for China’s strong, and I need to get back to work in the new studio.

I’ll be back to North America at least once a year or possibly every 10 months or so depending on how things go.
To get in touch when I’m outside the country, you can leave  a message on my normal mobile number, or use the new Pro Soul number: (213) 908-1284.
Email is best though, and you can message me for my new number in Beijing.

And remember, if you want to work on a project or visit, we have a guest room.

Very excited and curious about embarking on this adventure living in a totally new culture and environment.

Jarome China summer palace

Opening new music studio in Beijing, China

Tuesday, May 11th, 2010

As i mentioned in my last blog, I’m moving to Beijing China, and setting up a fantastic, world class studio there.
It will be called Pro Soul Studios Beijing, in affiliation with my record label, Pro Soul Alliance.

It’s large a 3 room facility, professionally built by foreign expertise flown into the country along with specialized materials to soundproof and acoustically treat the rooms properly. It has full false floors and walls with large air spaces for soundproofing, but still lots of light from tall windows.
There’s even a built in guest room and kitchen/lounge in the middle.

Here are a few photos, then I’ll get into the technical details below for the gear heads…

The studio is in a building in an area that is a cool artist live/work residence neighborhood with art studios, restaurants, a French bakery, and a nice lagoon:
Shangri-La Culture & Art Community, Feijia Village

The studio has a funky traditional Chinese courtyard style entrance:

Studio entrance

studio entrance

The largest recording room, Studio B.
Tall soundproofed windows allow lots of light in, but no outside sound.

Large room studio B

Large room Studio B windows

Entrance to control room and studio A

Entrance to control room and studio A

The control room, below, has a custom desk with outboard gear rack panels on the left and right, and a Mackie xBus 200 touch screen console. These photos are old now, fabric on panelling has been replaced:

studio control room

Control room window with Mackie xbus console

Control room window with Mackie xbus console

Unfortunately I don’t have a great photo of Studio A, the main recording room, but it is a nice spacious room with lots of light from windows on one side:

Studio A recording room

The studio even has a guest residence upstairs, a kitchen, and large outside patio if you want to visit China to work on your music project:

Studio guest residence

studio kitchen

On to the studio equipment setup. In addition to my existing range of classic analog and cutting edge digital equipment, the new studio in Beijing will have the following new equipment that will make it the most powerful, highest quality studio I’ve had in my 20 years as a music producer and audio engineer:

  • A Mackie xBus 200 HD touch screen mixing console and computer controller capable of 192kHz resolution, configurable I/O via rear panel cards, penny & giles motorized touch sensitive faders & surround outputs.
  • 2 RME Hammerfall PCI cards allowing 32 channel high quality digital audio /MIDI channels between the computer and the console with zero latency (no delays!)
  • Apple Mac Pro 2.66 Quad Core Intel Xeon computer with 1.5 Terrabyte drive and 8Gig ram
  • 2 LCD computer monitors, 22″ each
  • Enhanced surround monitoring system with new mogami cabling and other small additions.
MackieXbus200

Mackie Xbus 200 mixer console and computer interface

The hardware mentioned will allow an incredible amount of flexibility in input and output routing, monitoring, and expansion as needed.
I’m arranging all the special cabling and other details required, and bringing equipment to Beijing from Canada to get the studio operational in the next 2 months.

I’ve put a huge amount of time, trouble and great expense to make this one of the best, top quality music and sound design studios in Beijing.
It wouldn’t have been possible without the generous support of some of my Beijing friends, you know who you are, Thank you so much!

The studio should be open for production by sometime in August 2010.

I expect to soon be booked full time months in advance in the near future, so please contact me now if you want to work on a project.
Check back here for more details and updates.

I’m moving to Beijing, China

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

Yes you read that correctly!
In about two months will be moving to Beijing, China where, as anyone who’s been following my blog knows, I’ve been doing a lot of music production work lately.
I can barely believe it myself.

it started with the production of the talented Elika Mahony’s fire and gold album which eventually brought me to Beijing, where she lives, to work with her in April, 2008. Since then, Elika has been an amazing host for my visits and allowed me to use her studio for other music projects we’ve worked on and that I’ve produced for other artists.
Beijing was nothing like what I expected China to be. It completely changed all the perceptions I, and most of us have about China. Not only did I meet new friends, clients and very talented artists, but I really actually appreciated and enjoyed the culture. (but I guess that really started in Vancouver…)  I found that in a city like Beijing one really doesn’t have to go without any of the ‘western comforts of home’.  in fact the quality of life is significantly higher for many reasons.
But what was most strange was how much I missed China when I came home.  The last year sure has been a confusing time in my life…

Over the last two years, I’ve been fighting the calling that I should be there only working occasionally, but to make Beijing my home base.
The idea seemed totally crazy! But for various reasons such as Felisha’s love for China, and my acquisition of a world-class studio, as well as partnerships with top artists in China,  is very clear that I’m not only meant to be in Beijing, but that it is very possible to make that happen. So over the last year that’s what we’ve been doing, researching and planning relocation to Beijing by selling our home, closing my studio in getting rid of things that we will no longer need there.

I’ve received many confirmations that I’m supposed to be in Beijing as I’ve mentioned. A big one is that in China there is simply a high demand for an experienced foreign professional music producer/engineer like myself, and a lot less competition than a place like Vancouver, which has limited opportunities, lots of competition in the music industry, and extremely high, exponentially increasing costs of living.
China being a huge developing country has all kinds of exciting things happening. This combined with thousands of years of rich culture and yet rapid progress into the future makes it a very exciting place to be.

During our most recent trip to Beijing in January, the purpose was not only to do some work with existing and new clients, but explore the possibilities of living and working there, looking at home and studio options, visa, and other considerations. One of the many great confirmations that I received during that trip was the acquisition of an incredible world-class studio likes of which I could never afford in Vancouver. Everything fell into place that can only be described as divine confirmation that this was the right path.

I’ll blog more about my new studio  and residence very soon. For now, here’s the entrance:
Front Door studio & residence, Beijing

in officially announcing these plans I want to assure all my friends and clients in that I will be back to Vancouver about every 10 months or so to visit and work. If you want to work on projects outside of this, our studio in Beijing has a guest room, so you’re welcome to stay, and I’m happy to fly you to Beijing at no charge to work together if you’re doing a full album or other significant project.

That being said I will sincerely miss all of you and my family, but as most of you have experienced, in Vancouver I’ve been too busy constantly working 6 or 7 days a week to ever really see much of my friends or family anyway. I’m really ready for a huge change in that regard, a change that will bring more desperately needed balance in my life!

This has been one of the most difficult decisions of my life, but I’ve taken enough time to know it’s the right one.

New China only music release ‘T. Journey’

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

Last year, i had the pleasure of working on quite an incredible Chinese project with the renowned Beijing artist Jin R (pronounced Jing R).
It has recently been released in China, it’s called ‘T. Journey’

T Journey Bath House CD coverJin R is a known world class Chinese chef, restaurant owner, and sublime improvisational Yang Qin performer and artist.
Best known for her Hong Kong and Beijing restaurants ‘Green T House‘, Jin R was recently flown to Vancouver to cook her incredible culinary creations for the VIP guests of the 2010 winter Olympics.
Many attempt to copy hear ideas all over Beijing if not the world, and she truly represents a new era of China.

Last year Jin R developed a new bath house called Green T House Living Bath House & Residence which has already won the Wallpaper* Design Award 2010 – “Best Spa” and “AsiaSPA Magazine Awards 2009 – “Best New Spa Design” and “Best Day Spa”. Jin R wanted to create a unique soundtrack for this spa experience that took you on a journey through ancient to modern China and beyond. She asked me to produce and engineer the album as well as do some sound design.
Jin R playing Yang QinWe discussed what the album would sound like, I played Jin R some sound effect ambiances, chanting, and other musical elements and she eventually became inspired to envision the entire album, with all the performers and instruments she wanted to be a part of the project.
It was quite a diverse selection! I told Jin R, “not only is this not going to be relaxing, but it will be very challenging to make it work musically!”
But she was determined to make it more of a journey, and felt the spa treatments would be relaxing enough, So we proceeded.

Yang Qin, Gu Qin, Chinese traditional opera, Shao, and Chinese percussion, it was an amazing journey for me into Chinese music and instruments unlike anything else I have done before. I blogged more about the production here.
I was amazed at how quickly she rounded up some of the most amazing talent in Beijing, many of which had never been recorded!

Amazingly, it all worked out and it’s an diverse and unique album, another product of the original and creative mind of Jin R.
I owe much thanks to the talented and lovely Elika Mahony for not only introducing us, but assisting us with this project and allowing us to generously use her studio.

You can’t buy this album though, only receive it as a guest of the Green T House Living Bath House & Residence! So make sure you visit when your in Beijing, China.

Jin R’s ‘ancient meets futuristic’ Yang Qin performances on this project reaffirmed that the Yang Qin is one of my favorite instruments in the world.
It’s hard to get a sense of the album from a small part, but you can hear an excerpt of the album below:

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More adventures in China, Happy Chinese New Year!

Sunday, February 14th, 2010

I’ve been in Beijing for the last month doing music projects, having meetings, and researching opening my music company Pro Soul Alliance in China. Now i’m in Hong Kong with my wife Felisha for a while before going back to Beijing.

It’s been an incredible experience, and I’ve learned more than ever before about China, and have done a lot more exploring on my own than before and am getting more confident interacting and doing things in this vastly different and immense culture.
I thought I would share some of my experiences with photos:
I’ve been working with some talented musicians you may know, and some new artists many people haven’t heard yet…

Elika Mahony, Jarome, Siria, Anna

Elika Mahony, Jarome, Siria, Anna

We’ve been working very hard! Elika just released 3 exciting new original songs we worked on last year, and we also launched a new Chinese Spiritual CD, and are working on a music video amongst other things…
Now Elika has a computer dedicated to the studio so she can record ideas right away before they are lost. Here she is with 3 computers:
Elika with 3 computers! (One is her new one)

Elika with 3 computers! (One is her new one)

We have lots of amazing tea to keep us going though, Tea is serious business in China!

Chinese Tea

Food is amazing in China, it is an important part of the culture. In cities like Beijing you can get any kind you want, and the food is amazing along with the presentation:

My $1 salad

My $1 salad

Desert, complete with dry ice. What presentation!

Desert, complete with dry ice. What presentation!

You find the strangest things in the food stores though…

instant mashed potatoes in a cup

instant mashed potatoes in a cup

There are all kinds of cheap and interesting ways to get around:

Man powered rickshaw

Man powered rickshaw

And never ending scenes of guys carrying way more than should be physically possible on a bike:

Man transporting wood on bike

Man transporting sticks on bike

Public pay phones sure look funny, they have very short domed covers, so if your tall, you’ll have trouble:

Public phones in Beijing

Public phones in Beijing

There are beautiful lanterns everywhere here, especially during Chinese New Year (which is today!):

Lanterns in street, Beijing

Lanterns in street, Beijing

During Chinese New Year, companies give Mandarin Orange Trees as gifts and they’re everywhere, it’s so cool:

    Mandarin Orange tree

Mandarin Orange tree

They have some fancy malls with all you can eat Vegetarian buffets with over 100 items, and movie theater (where we saw new Confucius movie with Chow Yun Fat, our first film in China), they have fancy lighted stairs:

Lighted steps at the mall in Beijing

Lighted steps at the mall in Beijing

There are so many amazing things to see and experiences to have, kind and warm hearted Chinese people. It can be very mysterious too when the fog rolls in and wind blows like it did in Hong Kong when we visited the giant Bhudda & temple nearby:

Felisha at a beautiful Buddhist temple in Hong Kong

Felisha at a beautiful Buddhist temple in Hong Kong

Felisha at the giant Buddha in Hong Kong

Felisha at the giant Buddha in Hong Kong

Hope to share more soon when I have a chance.
Happy Chinese New Year! gōng xǐ fā cái, Gung hee fatt choi! 新年快樂

Music production in Beijing

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I just got back last week from another trip to Beijing, my longest one yet as I had 3 projects to work on and a number of meetings…

I was working with artist Elika Mahony as usual, she has just released a new album on the theme of Love, ‘Birds of Love’ that we were consulting about the promotion for, and developing a limited edition version of. We were also recording new material for an upcoming new age style progressive pop album as well as her instrumental album.

Those alone were very exciting projects and it was amazing to work in person with Elika, she accomplished what I feel are her best vocal performances yet on this trip… But I was also working on a Chinese spiritual CD with some local Chinese artists including Chinese pop music legend, Cheng Lin that I will talk more about in the future.

A new project I was working on there, and one of my most unique and culturally diverse was an ambient instrumental relaxation album for Green T. Living owner, Jin R, who is also a very talented artist and performer of the beautiful Yang Qin, which I think is my new favorite instrument.
There are so many talented artists in China playing traditional instruments in new ways, You can have all the experience in the world, or a degree from a music production school, but finding and working with undiscovered talent like this is one of the most rewarding things for a producer.

Jin R had quite an ambitious and creative concept for her new album, one that would provide a soundtrack for guests of her new bath house. The concept was ‘A journey with a cup of tea’, one that you would take without leaving the relaxing confines of the bath house, so I helped her develop the album so that it went from traditional ancient Chinese roots using such ancient instruments as the Gu Qin (over 2000 years old, to the Yang Qin, to the flute and synthesizer with various sound ambiances and real world elements.

I used a Rode NT-4 stereo mic to capture the natural ambience of some of these instruments.
It’s really quite something, you may have to take a trip to Beijing to get a copy though…

For the first time, brought the mobile equivalent of my entire studio setup to work on these projects, but ran into a few challenges when I forgot that China is on 220 power! Luckily, some of my equipment such as an external hard drive with all my sound libraries, and USB hub with all my software licenses were able to run on 220 without a converter. A very good thing, as I plugged them in without thinking about it in my excitement… Not a good thing for the preamp I wanted to add to Elika’s studio. We got it fixed very quickly there, but it never quite sounded the same.

www.flickr.com/photos/jaromematthew/sets/72157615008213764/

More about the music industry related aspects of my trip are on the Pro Soul Alliance blog.

My latest production: Birds Of Love

Saturday, February 14th, 2009

On this occasion of Valentines day, I would like to express my eternal love for my dear wife Felisha.I would also like to share my latest production, the befitting new CD and book gift set by talented artist, Elika Mahony, Birds Of Love!

Birds of Love is a treasury of uplifting words and spiritually inspiring songs specially created for weddings, anniversaries and for loved ones. I’ve been working on it for over a year with Elika, and it is a truly diverse collection. I also assisted with the development and design of the book of quotes.

The response to Birds of Love so far has been overwhelming. So many people have expressed how it is lovely to have music and a book on quotes on the theme of love and marriage, and what a unique and useful gift it is for their friends getting married.  There is also special limited edition option which comes autographed with a handmade card, I was just in the silk market in Beijing assisting in the selection of some exquisite metallic gold fabric with blue highlights for this book, and it must be seen!

You can hear samples and see photos of the product on Elika’s new website which was developed by Pro Soul, who is also assisting in the promotion and release of the product.

China trip and the launch of Pro Soul Alliance

Saturday, November 29th, 2008

I’m back from an amazing and productive trip to Beijing where I got to meet and work with some fantastic new artists as well as the immensely talented Elika Mahony. I blogged all about it on the new Pro Soul site, where I will be posting a lot of my music business entries from now on: www.prosoul.com

Yes, that’s right, Pro Soul Alliance, the new innovative 21st century record label is now live and ready to take on the artists of a new music industry! It’s a very exciting accomplishment, and we’ve put countless hours of research and effort into creating a truly ground breaking solution for artists everywhere.
We’ve assembled an amazing international team that is consistently expanding to provide an incredible range of services and research to assist artists of all genres from all over the world to connect with their audience and monetize their music in new ways that reflect the changes in the way people want to hear music.
There is really nothing like Pro Soul out there for artists and you will undoubtedly be hearing more about it in the near future! Would love to hear your comments and feedback.

It sure has been an exciting year, and things are just getting going! Hard to beleive it’s almost December.