So fresh and so clean

Blackli$t Studios emerges out of older recording space

Gritty Boy Media

An established downtown Winnipeg recording studio is soldiering on, but under a different name and management.

For the last four years, 264 Portage Ave. was known as Gladiator Studios, a space co-owned by D Grimez and Trizzlam, who have recorded with everyone from Young Kidd to Charlie Fettah. But in the middle of October, Gladiator was rebranded as Blackli$t Studios. With the change came a new affiliation with the Blackli$t urban streetwear brand that recently opened up shop in the Exchange District.

“I was actually going to shut Gladiator down because I’m in the process of opening another studio in Toronto, but Derek [Grocholski] came back and saved the day when he agreed to take it over,” Trizzlam says.

“As soon as I went to Vancouver to get my credentials the decision came pretty easily,” says Grocholski, Blackli$t Studios’ manager. “We have the facility, training, equipment and talent. It took some time to renovate, set up and open, but that time is finally here.”

The 25-year-old says he was inspired to start recording in 2008 when he received a mic as a gift. The next year he founded a company called Construct Productions and to this day all of his work still goes through that name. 

So far he has produced all the music for 6Sigma, a hip-hop duo comprised of himself and Marc Herve. He’s worked with other artists, including West Coast legends Kyprios and Moka Only. Local rapper Chris Bennett has also been using the space to work on his projects. 

“It’s a dream I’ve had to run my own professional studio and it finally came to fruition,” says Grocholski, who received a diploma in audio engineering and advanced production from the Nimbus School of Recording Arts in British Columbia.

The main focus of the studio’s previous iteration was always on hip-hop, but Grocholski wants to open up Blackli$t to all genres, adding that the next project he’s working on is actually folk-based.

“Being in the hip-hop scene led me to the studio, but I am definitely not a one genre kind of guy,” Grocholski says. “I play almost every instrument you can think of and love everything from classic rock to country to reggae. I studied full production as opposed to urban production just for that reason.”

The studio also has two engineers - Max Dupas and Jim Stiff - on staff. 

“Max has been recording bands and instruments for twice as long as me and really knows his technical stuff from instrument repair to the science of audio,” Grocholski says. “Jim is into the digital production area and is more of an all-round media type engineer.”

Regular studio rates are $45 an hour and project rates can be inquired about via email.

“We are trying to make it affordable for anyone from bands to young artists,” Grocholski says. “All of us really do care about music and we put in our best effort to make everything sound great.”

Head to for more info.

Published in Volume 69, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 5, 2014)

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