Kevin Churko, Hideout Studio, Las Vegas

Canadian born producer, engineer and songwriter Kevin Churko has worked
with an amazing range of musical names including Ozzy Osbourne, Shania Twain, Celine Dion, Ringo Starr, Five Finger Death Punch, Hinder, In This Moment, Britney Spears and many more. He currently resides in Las Vegas where he works out of his Hideout studio on Las Vegas Blvd.

Among the high points of Kevin Churko’s career are Ozzy Osbourne’s albums Black Rain and Scream, both of which Churko co-wrote, produced, engineered and mixed. His work has been honored with three Juno Awards as Recording Engineer of the Year plus two additional nominations from the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences as well as two US Grammy nominations.

Having played piano from age five, Kevin eventually moved to drums, before taking to the road at an early age.

“My father was a Catholic school music teacher and he gave me a lot of my early instruction. So I come from a musical background, rather than the technical side of things. By the time I was 14, my dad, like a crazy man, pulled us kids out of school and we went on the road, playing mostly country music and a little bit of rock, too. We had a couple of singles and worked at it for quite some time.”

“The band was called Churko. It was my mom, my dad, my sister Kim and my brother Cory, who now plays violin and guitar with Shania Twain and Kelly Clarkson.”

“Later, Cory and I had a rock band. We wanted to do better demos and recordings, but because we couldn’t afford to just hire talented studio guys, we had to figure it out on our own. It started with buying one of those old Tascam 244 four-tracks. Then we graduated to a Fostex eight-track, until we finally made it into real studios. We quickly realized that the guys there didn’t really know much more than us, so I ended up leaning over their shoulders, irritating them and turning knobs, until they finally got so pissed off that they went and sat in the corner while I worked.”

“That went on for a while, until we finally got to work with talented guys that I could really learn from. When I had my own family, I had to figure out a way to stay at home, so I decided that I was much more into recording music, rather than being out there playing, so I just started focusing more on studio work and less on playing live.”

“So there’s been no formal technical training in the form of schools or courses, just learning by doing, asking talented guys the right questions and working it out.”

I don’t stereotype music. I love listening to all sorts of music and I love listening to music on the MK’s.

You can’t pin down MK as a rock speaker or a pop speaker. It’s just a great sounding speaker.

Kevin Churko’s talent was recognized by Shania Twain and her husband/producer Robert John “Mutt” Lang, who recruited him in 1999 to work as house engineer and programmer at their studio in Switzerland, adding names such as Bryan Adams, Britney Spears, Celine Dion and the Corrs to his CV.

In 2003, Churko moved to L.A, but eventually settled in Las Vegas. “It definitely isn’t a major musical metropolis, but it’s an easy place to get to by air and only a few hours’ drive to L.A. I like being off the beaten path. I like being separated from L.A. and other major music centers. I’ve always cultivated my surroundings, rather than join somebody else’s. To the industry, I’m known as that ‘Vegas guy’. If I were in L.A., I’d be just ‘another guy’.”

Kevin’s connection to Ozzy Osbourne came from friend David Frangioni (owner of Audio One).

“After he built Ozzy’s studio, David invited me down to record some drums for Ozzy as a demonstration of how great the room could sound.”

Kevin made such an impression that he was later invited to engineer Ozzy’s Under Cover, Black Rain and Scream albums.

Kevin opened The Hideout Recording Studio in August 2011 with two control rooms. (A third is already in the planning stages.) The studio is equipped with a stereo monitoring system consisting of MK Sound 2510P powered satellites, MX-350 subwoofer and BMC-1 bass management.

“I chose them because of the experience I had working with David Frangioni at Audio One in 2004. He had the same speakers in a full surround setup and I just loved them. I loved how such a physically small system could play so loud and I loved working with a real full-range system with a great sub.”

“At that point in my career, I couldn’t quite afford them, but I always remembered how much I loved them, so when the opportunity presented itself in connection with putting the Hideout studio together, I tried them out and discovered that I still loved them.”

“The high end is very smooth and extended with so much clarity that it’s easy to mix at any level without having my ears ripped off. From low levels where I can barely hear them right up to cranking them full blast, the MK’s really stand out with consistent sound at any level. Another thing is how well the sub integrates in the system. It is very easy to adjust. And, of course, I love the fact that I can go surround sound at any time. I love surround, I just don’t have many opportunities to mix in surround, but I definitely want to leave that option open.”

“You can’t pin down MK as a rock speaker or a pop speaker. It’s just a great sounding speaker. With the wide range of artists I work with, I’m not always doing heavy or pop. I work across a wide musical spectrum from a country band to a very heavy band, so I’m just looking for a great speaker – Period.”

“I don’t stereotype music. I love listening to all sorts of music and I love listening to music on the MK’s.”

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Recorded and mixed on the MK Sound system, Hideout Studio, Las Vegas

Five Finger Death Punch
American Capitalist
Prospect Park Records

In This Moment
Blood, single
Century Media

Kobra and the Lotus
Kobra and the Lotus
Spinefarm Records

Gemini Syndrome
no title, not yet released
Warner Brothers Records