I recently opened Syren Studios in Nelson BC. I do audio work (production and post-production for music, film and radio including podcasts) as well as vocal coaching.
Give the gift of music! I’m offering personalized gift certificates for vocal coaching and studio work. Whether your loved one is a singer, a podcaster or a voice actor needing a demo reel, I can help them realize their goals. Click on the image below to visit my online store to purchase your gift certificate or email me at molly[at]syrenstudios.com.
This spring and summer I had some great studio sessions with Patrick Watson and Howard Bilerman, including a series of sessions with Montreal’s own Adam Cohen. One of those sessions was for Adam’s late great father and my long time idol, Leonard Cohen. I still can’t believe I got to sing on a Leonard Cohen track, even though it hasn’t yet been released. During the summer of 2016 I listened to I’m Your Man and The Future for a few times every week. I still can’t get his voice out of my head.
Photo Credit: Howard Bilerman
My first session with Adam was particularly memorable because I didn’t know he was any relation to Leonard Cohen. I knew he was from LA, so I assumed he was a west coast songwriter with a buttery voice (which he most certainly is)…so when Adam sang in his mid range, I told him his voice sounded Leonard Coheny in that register. My compliment was met with silence, and then I got that awful foot-in-mouth feeling. How could I have missed the family resemblance? He must hear that all the time! Overhearing our conversation on the vocal mics, Howard instantly texted me a picture of Adam and Leonard together with a LOL caption from the control room. That was so far my favorite way to start a collaboration.
Photo Credit: Howard Bilerman
My biggest regret leaving Montreal when I did was that I wasn’t there to join in the candlelight vigils around the Cohen residence. There’s something really special about mourning a poet, especially one so beloved by an entire city.
So now for the I played my last show in Montreal with my friends Avec Le Soleil Sortant de Sa Bouche and Yoo Doo Right at the end of August, surrounded by friends and Patrick joined us onstage for Floodgates. Less than a month later, I drove a 26′ foot truck out to British Columbia, where I’m building a studio and working on songs for my third album (that’s right, my third one). We drove across Canada with a futon in the back of the truck and camped out at beautiful vistas along the way, nearly lost my two cats in Thunder Bay (turned on the air brakes while taking them on a walk), and our truck got egged by teenagers just outside of Regina. I guess maybe our American license plates might as well have been a bullseye.
Lately all that I’ve been listening to is music from Mali…the works of Ali Farka Toure, Toumani Diabate, Tinariwen and Bombino are already a well-loved part of my music library. I was excited to learn that Ali Farka’s son Vieux Farka Toure is a great musician in his own right and I’ll be sharing the stage with him tomorrow as part of Pop Montreal.
I’ll be previewing songs from my upcoming LP which is available for presale in my store, and Brad Barr of the Barr Brother will join me onstage for Floodgates, and I’ll be covering a song by French psychedelic chanteuse Catherine Ribiero.
I’m also excited to see the Besnard Lakes performance this Friday, they’re planning something epic at the Rialto in Montreal.
I’ve spent the last two years just about in the chair of my production studio, figuring out Protools and testing mics and preamps and trying to get good sounds. Vocal takes, guitar takes, all that stuff…it’s pretty good practice actually, spending that much time on nine songs.
Now, finally, I have some spare time to play other songs and get inspired to write some new ones. I’d been subletting my jamspace for the past year to save money for the recording…now I’ve got it back and I’m playing drums and guitar and jamming with some great musicians. I went through my voice memo recording and took five days to organize them all…there’s an accumulation of 3 years of ideas I haven’t properly gone through.
So my boyfriend Linus has been encouraging me to do Youtube videos, get used to being in front of a video camera. I used to love that stuff when I was younger…my childhood friends Dan and Adam Brown and I used to make tapes of us joking around when I was living back in Michigan. Well, now I’ve got a sweet little production studio and I’m hopefully going to stick to my new years resolution of doing covers of songs by artists I like, and maybe a few of my own tunes. Linus is the cameraman and video editor, I’m the sound engineer. It’s a little sonic and visual tour of the room where I’ve spent the past two years editing and doing takes.
So without further ado, here’s my cover of Bruce Springsteen’s State Trooper, my favorite tune from his album Nebraska. It’s an excellent tune and really fun to play. A little vocal frye and overtones in there for effect.
I had a great end of summer trip to the pastoral Gaspésie Region of Quebec playing some shows in front of the ocean with seals honking in the background. We traveled to Gaspé with Blood and Glass and played the Shigawake Music Festival with Patrick Watson and The Barr Brothers. The highlight for me was staying up till sunrise in a barn the last night with Sarah and Joe and singing Will Oldham songs, and finding a bottle of terrible whisky partway through the night before the others had retired.
Shigawake is a very special place and a special festival.
After a return to Montreal, having had my summer fill of “squeaky cheese” (i.e. artisanal poutine cheese), I started preparing to go back to another beautiful landscape in Quebec to shoot the music video for my first new single, Under the Radar. I haven’t done much art since high school…but thanks to my internet research and stumbling upon Jonni Good’s website, I’ve built some beautiful antlers and a mask to outfit my friend Maica Mia. Her costume is sublime; my partner Linus had the vision in a dream and we’re nearly close to completing it. I’ll be layering paper maché and varnishing throughout the rest of the week while we finish the storyboard. We’ll be shooting the video north of Montreal. It’s cold enough now not to have to worry about insects tormenting us, but I’m praying it doesn’t rain.