Investing in musical innovation, community connection in Vancouver
When the pandemic hit back in March, it seemed to Jim Kwan like music was cancelled.
Then he looked around his North Vancouver studio and realized he had a resource that was suddenly valuable – separate rooms.
“Recording studios already have a separate booth,” Kwan, the owner of Creativ Music Centre, explained. “But usually only one. But we’re also a music school and have a bunch of individual rooms. So, we thought, how can we use the space we have?”
His idea was to build up to 12 isolated booths for musicians connected into a control room. This would allow artists to record or practice in real time, instead of dealing with the lag online. Bands could rehearse again and choirs could sing together.
In September, he worked with a local women’s choir as a test. “We ran cables down the hallway into all the rooms. It wasn’t pretty, but it worked.” The singers were able to come in and sing together for the first time in months.
“After they sang, there was this pause. You could feel them all just like, wow!” Kwan said. The choir recorded over the next six days and sent hundreds of tracks off to the composer in San Francisco. Kwan’s idea was a hit.
Thanks to a grant from Amplify BC, Kwan is starting construction to make his idea permanent. Kwan received $20,000 through the Innovation program to support the construction and equipment costs. “Without the grant, we wouldn’t be able to pursue this.”
Creativ Music Centre is one of 20 recipients of Amplify BC’s new Innovation stream. At the music industry’s request, Creative BC added support for innovative projects, platforms and services that address its needs due to COVID-19.
“Music is a social thing,” Kwan said. “Musicians want to have some connection. Like with a choir, it’s their social time as much as anything else. This project will let them reconnect but do it safely.”
The Province’s investment in Amplify BC is doing more than keeping the lights on. It’s sparking innovation and fuelling resilience in B.C.’s music industry.
- Amplify BC is the Province’s music fund.
- In June, the B.C. government invested $7.5 million in Amplify BC to help the music industry recover. So far in 2020-21 Amplify BC has supported:
- 95 festivals, venues and presenters through the Live Music program;
- 99 music companies through the Music Company Development program; and
- 20 projects to help artists and companies pivot, through the Innovation program.
- The Province and Creative BC also launched Showcase BC, an online hub for creative performance, and provided more than 740 microgrants to musicians.
Check out the latest Amplify BC recipients: https://www.creativebc.com/programs/amplify-bc#recipients
Creativ Music Centre: https://www.creativ.ca/