Local Arts: Citadel House

Local Arts: Citadel House

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Lewisporte’s Citadel House has fast become one of the most acclaimed music venues, record labels and recording studios in Newfoundland and Labrador

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Live music venue, recording studio and record company, the husband and wife team of Dean and Stevie Stairs have carved out a foothold in central Newfoundland with The Citadel House.

Lewisporte Micro-Studio

Their apt slogan ‘where music comes to be heard,’ is fitting for the Lewisporte based micro-studio, as outside of the rising artists of Newfoundland and Labrador who have crafted and created within the landmark building, artists such as Pamela Morgan, Gordie Tentrees, Red Moon Road, Tomato Tomato and Rum Ragged have already set up shop for their musical stylings at the venue during this summer season. 

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“As far as the live venue that transition started probably five years ago now,” Dean says in an interview with The Herald. “A lot of people we were recording were saying that there weren’t many places to play if it was a listening room environment. The Arts and Culture Centres do fantastic work but if you’re at early stages of your career it’s very difficult to fill a room that size. You need something transitional and we’re what I call a micro-venue. We have about 50 seats, and fit 50 people in. You can get 25 people into our room and because we have a balcony it feels really warm. It allows people to take in a new artist for the first time and it allows them to work in a quasi soft seater environment.”

Dean and Stevie purchased the former Salvation Army Church building which would become Citadel House, laying down money on the structure on Dean’s birthday, December 19th, 1995, before moving in June of 1996, a fine space to serve Dean’s love of recording as well as a suitable home for their ever growing family (the couple have 10 children).

Fruitful Labours

 Dean accepted a military position of three years beginning in 1997 and the family would return to Lewisporte in 2000. “We bought it for the purpose of living in it and that it would be a recording studio,” Dean shared. “That’s something I had enjoyed for a long time before I joined the military and the work I did in the military translated quite well into recording digitally, the use of the internet and that sort of thing.”

The results of the labours have been fruitful. Over the past four years Citadel House has collected three MusicNL Awards and has been nominated for three East Coast Music Awards for Company of the Year, Venue of the Year and Studio Engineer of the Year.

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A Natural Progression

Dean’s passion for recording has seen him work with countless artists throughout the years, so it was only a natural progression that The Citadel House would inevitably morph into a record label all its own. 

Forming in 2015, the Citadel House record label has made strides to nurture and develop rising artists while also not shying away from working with more established acts.

“We found that out of that there are some really great talent that we’d like to record and I would like to work with and help develop them,” Dean says. “That was part of what we did and the natural progression that we wanted to work with certain artists and make it feasible.”

At present the artists housed under the Citadel House label include Earle & Coffin, Christian Howse, Adam Baxter and Victoria Cooper, but Stairs is not shying away from working with other artists in varying genres. 

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“Over the next year we’re open to anybody who would like to come and record with us,” Dean explains. “We think we have a unique setup because we have four or five different rooms that all have different acoustic signatures. We can record almost any style and we’d appreciate a challenge. Just because we haven’t recorded any particular genre doesn’t mean we don’t want to. We’re really enjoying working with young artists and hoping to develop them, but also open to working with established artists.”

For information on The Citadel House, including event details and more on the recording studio and label visit www.thecitadelhouse.com, call 709-535-0884 or email info@thecitadelhouse.com

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Dillon Collins is a writer based out of St. John's, Newfoundland and Labrador. Multi-time MusicNL nominee for Media Person of the Year. Lover of heavy metal, hoppy beverages and the loveable canine.

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