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Mike Sixonate opens 618 Studios
After turning a former storage shed into a fully-equipped recording studio, a local musician is looking to help nurture and grow Twillingate’s music scene.
When Mount Pearl-born Mike Sixonate came to Twillingate four years ago, he had an intuitive sense that the town would play a pivotal role in shaping his music career.
“It’s the perfect place for me,” said Sixonate. “For such a beautiful location in the province, as an avid songwriter this place screams inspiration.
“I know I wanted to do something musically here, but at the time I wasn’t quite sure what it would be.”
During the summer months Sixonate is the nightly entertainment at the Captain’s Pub, but this autumn his musical work has rooted even further into the community.
With the newly established 618 Studios in his hilltop shed in downtown Twillingate, Sixonate is hoping to provide an outlet for recording, podcasting, guitar lessons and even workshops for both locals and travelling musicians.
“There’s a lot of people in the Twillingate-New World Island area that want to learn how to play or get involved with performing and recording but feel they don’t have that option,” he said. “But we have an open door policy here and that option is certainly available now.”
Twillingate musician Mike Jenkins thinks the new studio will be a great encouragement for local talent, and hopes to get some studio time in himself.
“I know a lot of people in Twillingate who play music but have to travel quite a distance to actually get to a studio,” he said. “There’s not a lot of professional recording studios around, especially in central and in rural Newfoundland."
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Only one week after Sixonate wrapped up his final performance of the season Sept. 21, he took to work taking one dusty and crowded shed and reshaping it to its new destiny as a recording studio.
Taking a hold of his background in carpentry, Sixonate cleared the space and stripped the walls to their bare studs. From redone electrical work, new insulation, drywall, and new doors and windows, Sixonate says the place was taken apart and built back again from the ground upward.
“It’s been a labour of love and most of it done just by myself,” he said. “I’d wake up in the morning and I say, ‘I need this and this done,’ and I didn’t go to bed that night until it was completed.”
With the prestigious Music NL Week coming to Twillingate just as he was preparing to tackle his studio, Sixonate made it his goal to ensure the project was up and running by the festival’s beginning date of Oct. 10.
It was that very evening he brushed the last lick of paint along the shed walls, bringing his studio into completion just three weeks after he began the project.
Not only did Sixonate have the chance to show off the studio to many musicians who made their way to Twillingate for Music NL Week, he even got his first paid gig that same week.
“Two days after opening the door I had my first client,” Sixonate said. “Up Sky Down Films came in and recorded a voice over for a TV commercial. They called and asked what I’d charge for a voice over, and I said, ‘I don’t know what I’d charge for a voice over, I’m still waiting for the paint to dry yet.’
“I might just end up framing the cheque because it was very ambitious.”
Under the umbrella of his company 618 Entertainment, Sixonate is striving to share his passion of music in many avenues through the new studio. Calls for guitar lessons and recording sessions are already in the works, and Sixonate even recorded the first episode of his podcast 618 Sessions on Oct. 19 with Conception Bay South-based group Quote the Raven.
The episode is currently in post-production, and Sixonate says he is currently looking for more content before launching the series.