My name is Nicholas Dover.
Canyon Sound was an idea I had.
Recording, writing and playing music is what I do.
If you’d like to know more about me and my journey so far, here’s a brief history of me…
My early years were full of Joni Mitchell and Led Zeppelin, my teens an awkward marriage of grunge and fusion as I played a lot of guitar and saxophone but on totally separate paths. I grew up in the middle of nowhere with no neighbours so I had loads of freedom to make noise and lots of time to do it. I messed around with recording guitars back and forth between an ancient reel-to-reel and a hi-fi tape deck to layer them up, remember getting a buzz from hearing the sound gather weight, the parts interlocking, the magic of sound recording.
Then I moved south at 17 - music college and London life woke me up to all sorts from Kenny Wheeler to drum & bass and I found real emotional connection with electronica artists like Manitoba/Caribou, Boards of Canada and Fourtet. I tried to make music that sounded like them back then, and even though I don’t often go there these days, I learned a lot about the patience those guys have with their processes. As my 20’s wore on and I played and gigged a lot in indie guitar bands I started getting excited by more noisy guitar based experimental bands like Broadcast and Deerhoof. I was writing and recording music in a home studio setup at that time - I just loved the headspace, the method, the freedom of it all. It wasn’t until my later 20’s I worked out how to have a bit of an outlet for the recordings and started sending them to production companies who used them for TV stuff and that way I could make more of a living out of it, rather than the gigs and teaching I was doing being my only money.
Moving to Bristol in my early 30s meant I had a garage I could make a little studio in and that, combined with a rekindled interest in playing more jazz saxophone, meant I could invite my new Bristol jazz friends to come over and play. We would record in my cosy (cramped/hot/cold) little studio then I’d try and make it sound like we weren’t crammed into a garage and some pretty cool stuff happened - my proudest record we made in there was with Within These Vessels. Learning to deal with a less than ideal recording room is a great education!
I got into building gear about the same time as moving to Bristol - microphones, microphone preamps, guitar amps, guitar pedals - I loved getting involved in the gear at a component level, knowing the sound was all flowing through hundreds of my solder joints, parts I’d placed, kits I’d chosen from the other side of the world. I don’t mean that in an egotistical way like it all has to be about me - I just mean it’s important to me that I’m as involved as possible in my side of the process. I bought and sold a load of gear too over the years, to try and refine my idea of what sounded good to me. I’m so glad I started doing all that back then - it takes ages to work out by trial and error, but you just have to go through it because the opinions of others just don’t cut it! People's taste, and the enormous variety of angles they approach music from are what make the whole thing so interesting, and the same goes for gear - if every recordist put the same microphone in front of every singer just because it was reported unequivocally as “the best vocal mic”, then music production and recording would be a massively dull job. And it’s really not. The way I see it, under ideal circumstances it goes something like this: the artist brings an idea and expresses it along with their aesthetic ideals, the sound engineer/producer adds their judgement and interpretation of that expression, then a dialogue and series of experiments follow in which everyone involved tries to reach the ultimate expression of the musical statement and sentiment the artist has brought to the table. There is no “best”, just “truest”. There’s a really cool entwining of the technical and the emotional/artistic in all music recording, and that’s what I get excited about.