Growing up in Pictou County, Nova Scotia as a budding hip-hop artist, Jordan Mackie would drive three hours just to get into the studio.
In April, they created Mackie’s Mobile Studio, a door-to-door music production studio for artists who find it difficult to access traditional studios to record, including those living in rural Nova Scotia. , New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island.
“I was driving three hours to Sydney and dealing with producers where I was paying them to record my music and not getting it back,” said Mackie, who uses the pronouns they/them. “I had to pay for gas, hotels, meals in addition to the time spent in the studio, it was really hard.”
Mackie came up with the idea for the mobile studio during the pandemic when they had an abundance of music they wanted to release.
They couldn’t get studio time due to public health regulations, so they built their own. Mackie realized that a portable music studio could be a long-term solution to solving accessibility issues for artists in Nova Scotia.
Have a studio, go travel
Mackie still lives in Pictou County, but spends his days driving to every corner of the region, producing for everything from award winners to aspiring singers.
Some of their days start in the wee hours of the morning and end well after midnight, but Mackie said helping artists with barriers to studio access is well worth the long hours.
“I just feel like direct door-to-door service is something we need because not everyone can get out of the house,” Mackie said.
“Some people have health issues that are still afraid to go out because of COVID-19, have mental health issues, don’t have transportation or maybe you live in the boonies and don’t have no studio within 100 kilometers of them.”
“They know right away what I want”
Tevin Nicholas is a hip-hop artist who goes by the stage name KU$.H. He performs in English and Mi’kmaq. In the past, he often had to travel 3.5 hours to Eskasoni from Sipekne’katik First Nation to record his music.
Nicholas said recording with Mackie’s Mobile Studio is much more convenient.
“My car broke down not too long ago so I can’t even go to Cape Breton right now,” Nicholas said. “It’s just a better experience because it’s stress-free. Sometimes riding in Cape Breton I would get exhausted from the travel and you could forget the gear.”
Nicholas said Mackie’s mobile studio pricing is as affordable as other studios, but it comes straight to him. He said the close relationship the duo have sets the service apart.
“Projects can take up to several months, but Mackie is so open and willing to talk,” Nicholas said. “Mackie comes straight to my house and they know right away what I want.”
Mackie can produce a song for Nicholas the same day it is recorded.
Relaxing recording environment
Megan St. Rose is a pop and folk artist based in Halifax. She is also a singer for the heavy metal band Vormir.
St. Rose deals with complex PTSD, ADHD and anxiety. She said that in the past, going to certain home studios has been a triggering experience, so bringing Mackie to her is more comfortable.
“I’ve been in an environment where I pay by the hour and they bring in stuff. I just can’t be there,” St. Rose said. “When I’m in my own environment, I’ve already got everything set up for maximum efficiency and productivity.”
St. Rose says being able to record at home helps her perform better.
“When it comes to anxiety, you feel a lot of tension in your throat and shoulders,” St. Rose said. “I know what tools I need to relax into my surroundings, so that translates to a better check-in at the end of the day.”
Mackie said they currently produce for more than a dozen clients and hopes to offer a mobile recording studio inside a van in the future.