Your browser is out-of-date!

Update your browser to view this website correctly. Update my browser now


Working on the Big Picture in His Basement

Grammy-nominated Vancouver native, writer and producer Brian Howes discusses his "nice basement, with the best gear in the world!”

Brian Howes' "nice basement, with the best gear in the world!”
Brian Howes’ “nice basement, with the best gear in the world!”

Los Angeles, CA (September 13, 2023)—Grammy-nominated Vancouver native, writer and producer Brian Howes has worked with Nickelback, Daughtry and Hinder and operates out of what he describes as “a nice basement, with the best gear in the world!”

“I tend to be a big-picture-type producer,” he says. “I listen to the song and the artist. I understand the basics of the technology, but my approach has more to do with the feel and the vibe and the sound than technical wizardry. I have a great engineer I work with, Karl Dicaire, who handles the technical aspects, and that lets me focus on the creative elements. What I love hearing is music through the Focusrite converters. They work wonderfully on every type of music.”

The studio was designed by Ron “Obvious” Vermeulen, known for his work on projects such as Bryan Adams’ The Warehouse and Jim Vallance’s Armoury Studios in Vancouver, and features an assortment of installed Focusrite interfaces. A 64-in/64-out Pro Tools | HD and dual Thunderbolt 3 Red 16Line is the studio’s main interface. An ISA 828 MkII incorporates eight mic preamps with Lundahl LL1538 transformers on every input. A RedNet A16R MkII 16-channel analog I/O interface is the hub for a future expansion—planned and pre-wired by the designer—of Dante networking.

Simple Plan’s Plan

“The Focusrite products are very easy to work with,” says Howes, who played in the British Columbia-based band Young Guns; later fronted the group DDT, which blended punk, ska, and rap; and then formed the alternative rock band Closure in 2002 before moving full-time into music production. He is the recipient of BMI, SOCAN, Juno and Dove awards and has also worked with Canadian pop/rock outfit Hedley, Boys Like Girls, Taylor Swift, Mother Mother, Chris Cornell and others.

Howes’ recent projects include Florida-based rockers Fame On Fire; Pecos & The Rooftops’ mix of mid-tempo country, folk and straightforward southern rock; and Grammy Award-nominated Christian rock band Skillet. “I’m working on projects that range from rock to pop to country to hip-hop, and I’ve got different flavors of gear that help me do that,” he says, “but the Focusrite units are one of the big consistent things across all of that, as well as into the future, with the Dante connectivity the A16R provides. The Focusrite gear makes all the difference.”