Derek is a record producer, mixer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and DJ. He co-owns FREQ SHOP and performs as a solo artist under his own name. He's made records with John Jacob Magistery, The Damn Truth, Mountain Dust, The Franklin Electric and has worked alongside JUNO award winning producer Jean Massicotte and Grammy nominated producer Brandon Friesen. Derek received a degree in Jazz Studies at Concordia University and has taught at Recording Arts Canada. He performed as an alt-pop DJ on the Montreal club scene for a decade and twice at Osheaga's ARTIST WORLD. Originality, creativity and honesty are at the forefront of his productions. Cookie cutters be warned!!!
Splitting his time as co-owner of FREQ SHOP and touring the globe as the drummer of THE DAMN TRUTH, Dave's experience and knowledge spans nearly two decades as a professional musician, record producer and mixing engineer. A Juno award nominee, he's made records with THE DAMN TRUTH, We Are Monroe, Olivier Couture, Mountain Dust, Storry, and has worked alongside the legendary Bob Rock, JUNO award winning producer Jean Massicotte, and GRAMMY winning mixer Tchad Blake. Though a hard-hitting thunderstorm behind the drums, Dave approaches record making with a focus on musicality, dynamics and feel. Betting on character and individuality, Dave capitalizes on the distinctiveness of the artists he works with.
Pushing All the Right Buttons
At the crossroads of art, sound engineering and human psychology sits a pair of childhood buddies in swivel chairs, just trying to put out some good, honest records.
"I don't think you should get anything less than an awesome sounding song" explains Freq Shop co-owner Derek Orsi, who, along with business partner Dave Traina, pours over 20 years of hands-on music experience into every mix. "The real magic lies in what you have to do to get that sound."
Nestled in the Mothership jam space in industrial St. Michel, the Freq Shop is a professional recording studio designed to ease performance anxiety and bring out the best in every artist. Whether it's using the right mic or cracking the right joke, the guitarist and drummer duo know exactly what it takes to keep the creative juices flowing and nail that perfect take. "I can relate to musicians - they're people I've hung out with my whole life," says Derek. "And when you spend four days locked up in here with these guys, you eventually start joking around and feeling good. And that's why most people leave here satisfied."
"As an artist, you'll always feel that you may not have done enough. But there's also a great feeling of satisfaction once a record is done because so much time, energy, thought and emotion has gone into it." says co-owner Dave Traina.
The Long and Winding Road
Dave and Derek trace their own humble beginnings in 2007 to a poorly ventilated shoebox of a studio with paper-thin walls, sandwiched between a community church and a diner. Having both consciously decided to forego the pricey sound engineering school route for more practical investments, the former band mates bought some choice gear instead and fully exploited their first "experimental playground," whether it was to record their own music or demos of the bands they knew.
"From sharing that space, we kind of just came together," explains Dave. Two years later, when the duo realized they needed a more professional and creative environment for their clients, the Mothership presented a perfect fit.
While sonically isolated from the building's 25 rehearsal spaces, the versatile 1000-square-foot studio can accommodate everything from solo artists and voice-over actors to bands and full-bodied choirs, all playing at the same time. "We always believed musicians need to set up and play together," explains Dave. "This space affords us that luxury."
Time to Face the Strange Changes
Although Dave is too young to lament the golden era of the big-budget studio, he has come to accept certain basic realities about today's DIY recording business. "That's something they don't necessarily teach you in school - that you have to manage both you and your client's time, be the producer, the engineer, think technically and think about the song. And think about the dishes," he ends with a laugh.
Given the job description and the many 12-hour days, Dave and Derek appreciate those instances when they can work together on a project. Experience has taught them which gear to use, how best to address points of friction in any musical collective, and the fine line between pushing for another take or calling it a day. It also makes doing their homework key, explains Dave, whether that's watching prospective clients play live or combing through their songs and arrangements in pre-production. "We can't come into a session blind. We have to be somewhat in tune with the band. It's a union, really."
That special bond is what keeps Dave and Derek pushing on. As Freq Shop continues to record music videos and live performances tied to collaborative Mothership events, a unique artistic community has begun to flourish. "Being afforded the opportunity to find an artist we believe in, write songs together and help them pursue a career in the broader sense - rather than just giving them that one recording - is something we both aspire to," explains Dave. "And we can do that here."
Written by: Robert Scalia