I was looking for place to hold a birthday
party: mine... really gonna do it up that year,
put a band together with old friends, play guitar, sing, eat, drink, and be merry. I was speaking with an audio engineer friend of mine,
Jason Losett, regarding my dilemma—a place
to do it. He said, “You should do it at the studio I work at. I’ll ask Craig, I’m sure it won’t be
a problem.” Cool, a studio. Now that would
be perfect! So, I went to check it out.
there are at least 60–70 guitars and basses
available. At first, we just wanted a place
to play, but then I thought “What about
recording?” So I added the control room
to the mix, with an ISO booth, and now we
have the best of both worlds. Everything in
the studio proper is wired into the control
room, of course, so if we’re jamming along
and want to record, my engineer, Jason
Losett, is at the ready to push record.
What I discovered is that Tree House is the
ultimate home studio, laid out like a concert
stage, with all the best gear at your disposal. When the stage lights come on, the
place exudes vibe. Craig Hannay is the sole
proprietor of Tree House. He’s done well in
commercial real estate, but he doesn’t want
to talk about that. No, let’s talk guitars, and
playing, and guitars, and recording and
guitars (I really like this guy!).
Tree House has been a private facility for
3 years, but I understand you are going to
open it for business to a select few. What
do you feel makes Tree House unique?
Well, first off, we have the studio proper
set up like a stage. It’s really, really comfortable. I built this place so that a core
group of guys, who’ve known each other
since they were kids, could have a place
to play. We are all married, have kids and
other lives, and wanted a place where we
could go and just flip a switch and start
playing. And that’s what we have. We have
all the amps, guitars, monitors, PA, drums,
keyboards & percussion that we could possibly want at our disposal. At any time,
Recording our performances just makes us
better—you can really tell if you are getting
into a rut, both with your playing and with
your singing. And let me tell you, Jason is
fast on Pro Tools.
When did you start playing and
what were your influences?
Like all kids of my generation, I was influenced by The Beatles. I picked up the guitar
at age 13 and started learning songs. But
what really set me off, and gave me my passion was when I heard Neil Young. Learned
all the songs. And then, for me, along came
The Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia has been
the biggest influence in my playing and
You have an exact replica of Garcia’s
Tiger guitar—all 14 pounds of it. How
did you obtain this?
It’s a bit of a mystery [laughs]. I’m a collector, but I don’t collect guitars simply
for their collectability; they have to play. It
doesn’t matter if it’s $25 or $25,000, it has
to be something I want to play.
As an example, I have 6 Ruokangas from
Finland & 6 acoustics from Jeff Traugott,
Santa Cruz, CA, but I also have a $150
Recording King, because it plays nice, and
came with a hat. Custom Taylors, such as the
Cujo and the PS14-C, adorn the walls, with
the obvious complements of Martins, Guilds,
Gretsch, Gibsons, etc. Did I mention there is
a walk-in humidor to house the acoustics?
Jason, what kind of recording set up do
you have at Tree House?
We have a Pro Tools HD3 rig with a Control
24 work surface. All the interfaces and computer are housed in a custom, sound isolated
rack to eliminate fan noise. We have an
Aviom monitor system, so everybody gets
their own headphone mix. That is key to
getting a good performance. For speakers,
we use Genelec 8050s and JBL LSR4328s.
We also have a Genelec subwoofer. Our
outboard gear runs along the best lines:
Neumann, Manley, Focusrite, Avalon, & TC
Electronic to name a few mics, pres, EQs and
processors. Out in the studio, the PA is mixed
with a Yamaha M7CL digital board. We have
Lab.gruppen amps and L-Acoustic monitors. The Bose Sticks with subs work great
in this room for “front-of-house,” as it were.
Everything is really top notch.
Craig is opening the studio to artists who
want a special experience recording or getting their live show together. You’ll have to
talk to the man first, not a receptionist or
studio manager, but the owner, the soul of
Tree House. Well hello, Mr. Soul…