'Bear Creek is a musician's heaven. Such a warm atmosphere and such a peaceful, concentrated place to work.’ Johnny Flynn
Bear Creek Studio, tucked into the scenic, wooded farmland east of Seattle, is celebrating more than 30 years of recording history. From greats like James Brown, Elvin Jones, Eric Clapton and Lionel Richie, through Soundgarden, the Foo Fighters and Seattle grunge, to today's indie-rock superstars The Gossip, Blonde Redhead, The Blackheart Procession and Modest Mouse, Bear Creek has recognized and recorded the best that rock-and-roll has had to offer. Just passing its 30th year of business, the studio is still working with major label and indie artists, as well as continuing a proud tradition of producing commercials, film, and other post-production services for a diverse group of clients.
Bear Creek is just a short drive from the excitement of downtown Seattle, but the 10-acre horse farm in Woodinville feels peaceful and secluded. In addition to the comprehensive production facilities, the studio offers comfortable lodgings in an above-studio loft, a full kitchen, and an outdoor hot tub. Artists can eat, sleep, and relax while recording their albums, which has made it a popular choice for out-of-town artists - many from the UK and Canada - as well as visiting producers.
The original tracking room - known as "the wood room" and the original control room - which now serves as a secondary mixing and editing suite, were built into a 19th-century barn. In 1994 they added "the big room." The two tracking rooms give the studio very different, but equally impressive acoustic spaces. The new control room, designed by Vincent van Haaf, was added in 1997 to accommodate bigger acts. There are also three isolation booths. Though there is ample space, Bear Creek never records more than one band at a time; dedicating the entire facility to the artists for the duration of their stay.
Currently the studio has a lot of business from indie and up-and-coming artists due mainly to owners Joe and Manny's son Ryan who has worked to make a name for himself as a creative and talented producer and engineer. Another part of their current success can be traced to the studio's strong connections to London-based record labels such as Sony's 1965 Records and Universal's Vertigo Records. UK artists can get a lot more for their money recording in Woodinville compared to London. Manny says that business is great and the studio is seeing more bookings than they've seen since the grunge era.
Bear Creek has kept up with changes in recording technology, but has kept an eye on its roots with an enviable collection of analog and vintage gear. Currently, the studio boasts a prototype Trident TSM 32x24 channel mixer with Uptown Moving Automation and a Neve BCM10 sidecar. There are three tape machines: A Studer A800 mkIII 2" 24-track, an Ampex ATR-100 1/2" 2-track, and a recently acquired Otari MTR-90 II 2" 16-track. There is also a Pro Tools HD digital rig with 32 ins and 48 outs. The studio's collection of classic microphones include RCA 44 and 77 ribbon microphones, a pair of vintage Neumann u67's, a Telefunken u47, and an AKG C24 among many others. Joe has also collected an impressive assortment of vintage outboard processors such as the venerable Teletronix LA2 compressor, UREI 1176's, an Echoplate II plate reverb, some unique spring reverbs, and an AMS delay; Ryan, meanwhile, has pushed the gear into more modern territory with an Alan Smart C2 compressor, Crowley and Tripp ribbon microphones, and a Fulltone Tube Tape Echo. The most recent additions are a Neve 33609 compressor and a pair of Manley Mastering EQ's.
Since artists and producer spend so much time on their projects and actually live on the premises, Manny says they often become great friends with all of the Bear Creek family. That's easy to understand considering she and Joe live in a house across a pasture from the studio and that the business has always been a family-run operation.
For more info on Bear Creek please contact Claire Southwick:
T: + 44 (0) 20 7812 1122
M: + 44 (0) 7958 016 098
For a full equipment list and further pictures of the studio please visit www.bearcreekstudio.com.