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GamePlans own Brian Toye!

Dan Langevin
October 25, 2011

We Make Records

This week I decided to interview some one a bit different from my usual bands and inspirations. Brian Toye from GamePlanPros own weekly blog "Audio Toyes" has been interviewed for your reading pleasure!

GP: Brian you’ve been a major inspiration to a lot of our readers, you have a great track record in the industry and you’ve been pumping people up to make more of themselves for a year now with GamePlan! I want to say congrats on the website launch first of (, now lets get down to business.

GP: How is the business treating you these days?
Toye: There is a ton of talent out there right now. Artists are hungry for people and places like us ( to translate their ideas into professional sounding audio. The hip-hop scene in St. Catharines is growing at an amazing pace. The Indi-rock/pop scene is growing in Niagara Falls and there is an ever present metal/hard rock scene from Fort Erie to St. Catharine’s to Beamsville. With so much local talent out there the business end of things is good. It’s currently flowing well for us and allowing us to do our thing, make artists sound great.
The toughest part is finding these bands…if they don’t know we exist and we don’t know they exist we cannot help each other out. This is why I have recently expanded the We Make Records family by appointing a V.P. of Sales and A&R, Maria Imbriano. She will be concentrating on making the connection between the artists and our record label throughout Niagara.

GP: Are you working with any bands at the moment?
Toye: Yes. There are a number of artists that we are currently in pre-production with as we speak. This means that we are fine tuning the song writing and arrangements before we hit the recording phase. These artists are all local and relatively new on the scene. It is my goal to keep things local and fresh, to give new bands/artists (young and old) an opportunity to record their art.

GP: You write, produce and play, what are your major projects at the moment?
Toye: I am concentrating on the song writing phase with a number of artists (pre-production). This takes up most of my time at the present and is of utmost priority. If you don’t have great songs going into the studio you are not going to have great songs coming out of the studio, it’s that simple.

GP: You’ve been in a few bands, are you playing with one right now?
Toye: No. I am currently not playing with any bands right now.

GP: I know you are setting up the studio We Make Records (building is a long process!) How is everything coming along?
Toye: I knew from the get go that cutting out the need to rent studio time was paramount in running a successful label. I know that 95% of the artists/bands we work with will not recuperate their recording costs. If we are going to sign an artist and invest our time and money into them we need to believe they will self-sacrifice, work hard, promote themselves and sell discs at shows…and although at first artists are very gung ho, they quickly realize how difficult it actually is and give up leaving the record label in the hole. To help us make our decisions wisely, we like a band/artist to record a 3-5 song demo on their own dollar and see how many CDs they can sell working as hard as they can for at least 5-6 months. If they are still a band after that experience then we will really consider investing. So with all that in mind, we have built our own project studio to do most of the overdubbing/editing/mixing and mastering. This will lower the costs in the long run for the label, however, it resulted in the start-up costs sky rocketing up beyond $60 000. It was and is a decision I believe will make this label last. The studio should be near completion if not complete by Nov. 2011.

GP: Who do you still look up to after all this time?
Toye: I look up to those who are in a position of power and do not abuse it. I look up to those who use the talents they have been gifted with and do not expect praise. I look up to hard working, humble individuals who know how to give more than they take.

GP: Is there a big goal aside from the studio launch?
Toye: The goal remains the same as always. Create an environment for local artists to produce professional product that will compete on the world stage. All genres, all ages. In doing this I hope the label and studio will grow with respect to the people it attracts in radio promotion, marketing, video production etc…

GP: Is it always about a single or EP or sometimes is it about a Jingle or Show tune?
Toye: It’s always about the client. Their vision is my vision. If it’s a show tune for a scene in a musical that someone has spent their creative energy on then I respect that and do my best to add to it. If it’s a metal song that will never hit main stream radio I do my best to capture the artists vision and do not concern myself with it being a single. It’s always about the client.
On the other side of the coin, if we are talking about an artist that we have signed and are investing in (which would not be a show tune composer) then of course the goal is radio promotion and the songs must fit in one of those available markets. In this situation we would step in and help mold the songs/arrangements with the artist (pre-production). We would not sign an artist who was not willing to open their creativity to others in a joint venture to make it the best it can be.

GP: There are many outlets for music now a days, (Radio, Web, TV shows, Movies, Commercials, , Cell Phone Apps, Retail, live performances) Where do you think the majority of your work is going to come from and go to in the next ten years?
Toye: I hope to help my clients place their music in whichever market they wish. If someone wants to have their songs playing over the loudspeakers in Wal-mart or Cosco or in the headphones of passengers flying Air Transat…then that’s what I will shoot for. If an artist wishes to produce a record for their own personal enjoyment and never promote it then that’s what we will produce. If an artist wishes to be on the top 40 pop billboard charts then that’s the direction we will head. So it will totally depend on the types of artists who hear about and come to us to record. I am not big on awards like Juno’s and Grammy’s, although I wouldn’t mind knowing I was on the right track, I’m simply big on making the best music possible.

GP: Are ‘Records’ making a comeback or are we just going to have mp3 players in our headphones?
Toye: I am not qualified to answer that.

GP: Can you tell us about any upcoming bands we should keep an eye on?
Toye: I would say there are so many and I’m just in the process of finding them now so I could list a few not even knowing that there were others deserving to be on that list. So I will pass on this Question for now.

GP: Anything you’d like to mention, that I didn’t ask about?
Toye: I would like to make a general statement to all the artists/musicians out there. Work together, not against one another. Be willing to give up and sacrifice a lot if you truly want to succeed. If you have the voice and the song writing ability and you are willing to give up everything to be successful then you are half way there.

Thanks for that insight into your world and being part of the GamePlan team for so long. Audio Toyes has been an excellent ‘High Bar’ to reach for artist out there, it is a great spot to refer to when in trouble, or looking to produce a major project. Brian has a bright future ahead of him and GamePlan would like to thank him for his hard work and dedication. We can’t wait to see what’s in store for his future. Best of Luck! Oh one more question.. What’s your next Blog title?!

Brian can be reached on or
If you need some one who’s going to take you to the top, he’s your man.

- Dan Langevin -
We Make Records