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Mike Seguin-Lavigne at the main console of B-Hive Studios in Vankleek Hill. Photo by Reid Masson.

Vankleek Hill’s B-Hive Studios uses technology to work with music artists from around the world

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, B-Hive Studios in Vankleek Hill is still going strong – recording great new music with artists who have lots of time to write songs these days.

The world-class recording studio, located just north of the village on Pleasant Corner Road, has been used by artists from all over the world for the past six years. Even during the current COVID-19 pandemic, musicians and bands are able to record individually and send their tracks to B-Hive for mixing.

“Thank God we’ve got such technology these days, because if we were back in the tape days, COVID would have been a killer for recording,” observes studio owner Mike Seguin-Lavigne. “We are really lucky – we can still get stuff done.”

A veteran of the Canadian music industry, Seguin-Lavigne began his career in music in the early 1990s at the tender age of 15, keeping the beat as the drummer for the rock band In and Out. The group, led by Cornwall native Steve Gardiner, achieved moderate success in Canada and even had a number one hit in Germany. Seguin-Lavigne later teamed up with Gardiner to form Famous Jane and has also played with several other groups over the years, including The Road Hammers, Jason McCoy and Emerson Drive.

But recording was always the accomplished musician’s first love, after having been taught the ropes by his cousin Frank Levin – keyboardist for the band Eight Seconds. Seguin-Lavigne and Gardiner co-owned Down and Dirty Recording, in a studio located in the basement of Hawkesbury’s L’Escale Music Store, in the 1990s. He later recorded multiple records at his own Web Studios in L’Orignal, before opening B-Hive Studios at its current location in 2014.

“I did some drumming for other people as well, but the studio and the recording side of it was always my passion,” Seguin-Lavigne explains, laughing as he describes his search for a property which could accommodate a large recording studio. “I moved to Vankleek Hill and had a big, big garage. You know the story – I was looking at the garage more than the house.”

The expansive studio is set up with a massive mixing desk, digital equipment, instruments – everything required to make first-class recordings. There are separate isolation booths for instrument and vocal recording. It’s a professional operation and his main source of income, so it is important for Seguin-Lavigne to have the best equipment.

“I’ve been lucky in that the studio is pretty busy. It’s my main gig at this point.”.

In addition to his work with B-Hive Studios, Seguin-Lavigne is also a highly-respected live-sound operator, having mixed concerts on the road for multiple Canadian bands. For the past five years, he has worked as the sound man and road manager for popular Canadian bands Helix and Harlequin. It’s not exactly like when he toured as a drummer in his youth, but has again brought him all over the world.

“Helix has been great,” says Seguin-Lavigne, of life on the road with the band. “We’ve traveled to Sweden a couple of times, Barcelona and all over Canada.”

With more than 30 years in the music industry, his experience allows Seguin-Lavigne the freedom to be somewhat selective about the artists with whom he chooses to work. As such, B-Hive works primarily with professional musicians who are releasing commercial albums for sale to the public.

“I tend to want to work mostly with singer-songwriters – all original stuff most of the time,” remarks Seguin-Lavigne, as he queues up some tracks from his most recent recordings with L’Orignal’s Kevin David, whose debut country-rock album will be released this summer.

As well as solo artists, B-Hive Studios works with a number of bands – completing a new Rude Mood album last year, which was released to the public in the midst of the pandemic.

“That’s a great album, and they were a pleasure to work with,” enthuses Seguin-Lavigne. “Brian Vollmer from Helix was spending a weekend here and he asked what I had going on in the studio.”

“I played him a few songs from Rude Mood and he was all excited – he wanted to sing on it. So we got him to do a special appearance on one of the songs.”

And for those solo artists who need backing tracks on their records? B-Hive has a solution for them too. Seguin Lavigne often plays drums on recordings and employs professional musicians who can play any instrument required.

“I have a circle of about 15 people that I hire on a regular basis,” says the studio’s owner, who recruited a fiddle-player from Hamilton to add to the upcoming Kevin David release. “I just send him a song with all the tracks. He plays on top of it and then sends me back just the fiddle track and I mix it here in the studio.”

Anyone looking for more information on B-Hive Studios can visit the studio’s Facebook page here.

B-Hive Studios owner Mike Seguin-Lavigne with the members of Rude Mood. The band’s current album was recorded at B-Hive, just before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.

Reid Masson

Reid Masson is a graduate of Algonquin College's Journalism Program. He has over 20 years of experience as a staff writer and editor for various newspapers across Canada, including The Ottawa Citizen and Brockville Recorder and Times.

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