The Faccas of Life
Updated: May 11
(Part 2 of a 4 part series exploring some of the people making the music work in and around YXE)
by Chris Vasseur
“I want to take the spotlight away from the stage and shine it on the back of the room. Back where the sound guy is, maybe a couple of guitar techs are hanging out. These people in the trade (and music is a trade, to be sure) that are doing a lot of the heavy lifting behind the scenes don't often get the credit they deserve. This series is hoping to adjust that, at least a tiny little bit.”
Photos provided by Matthew Facca
“They folded down my forehead to repair the torn dura, which was caused by my shattered skull fragments and resulted in a spinal fluid leak”.
He says it almost nonchalantly, but after hearing the rest of the story it’s not surprising. Matthew Facca did not have an easy road to get where he is now. His is an inspirational journey like I’ve never heard before.
Facca is the owner of Facca Audio. A recording studio that specialises in mixing, recording and audio production. He’s making a name for himself with not only his projects and workshops (Facca hosts a number of industry related workshops on recording, songwriting, audio production and the like) but with his amazing Sask One Mic Series as well.
His interest in sound started young enough with Facca getting into music early and starting bands in his teens and twenties. He had a Boss mini recorder he started playing around with and immediately he noticed the huge difference in sound depending on where he placed the small recorder. This sparked something in him and he continued to play with and learn how to manipulate sound. His cousin Jack Facca suggested he take a course down south that he heard of from another local sound sculptor, Steve Dodd.
So Facca went and refined his growing audio skills. The biggest thing he ended up taking away from the school was not technical skills but wisdom. He learned how to work with people. He learned that if an artist thinks you are a jerk right off the bat, it doesn’t matter how good you are. Attitude and patience go a long way. As an artist, I really respect this attitude and would agree that a producer needs to be personable.
Upon his return, he took a job at Long and McQuade (where he met one Christian Douglas, more about him later though) and pushed along with his dreams of becoming a music producer. He continued to refine his skills until 2013 when he almost quit music altogether and started to chase a different future.
He decided to get an engineering degree and a “real job” as music was not quite cutting it. An all too familiar tale unfortunately, a career in music is difficult. Upon finishing his degree in 2016 a series of major life events put everything on hold.
Facca relating wisdom at a recent workshop
After returning from a trip to Toronto with his sister, a week out of engineering school, she was tragically killed in a motorcycle accident. In December 2016, his brother was diagnosed with Cancer.
A conversation Facca had with his brother while in hospital changed the course of his life. He was complaining about the lack of good jobs in his new field while working on a friend's recording on his laptop.
“What about this?” His brother asked, referring to the mixing program he had open.
“Are you good at it?”
“Yes”, Matthew replied.
“Then why don’t you do that?”
“Because it’s scary,” Facca said honestly to his older sibling.
“Hell of a push when your brother tells you to chase your dreams from his deathbed.” Facca recounts as he tells me about the inspirational chat. In March 2017 his brother passed away. Less than a year later, Facca Audio was born.
After spending a bit of time in hospital in late 2017 getting his gallbladder removed (along with some further complications that held him there for a time), Facca Audio continued to expand, having a very successful 2018. Things were looking good for 2019 and inward when Facca received another blow. This time directly to his face after crashing his bike on a course. His face planted into the dirt and caused so much damage he had to be rushed to RUH in Saskatoon. He’s had 5 brain surgeries since including the first one where they literally removed the two sides of his skull to access the damage. Another one later on included the forehead peeling mentioned at the top of the article. He also had to endure meningitis twice as a result of spinal injuries.
You wouldn’t know the guy carries such a heavy load by talking to him, he’s very humble and modest about his obvious talent. And this goes back to what he learned at school, kindness is always a great way to start.
He’s dealing with his injuries nowadays and is still healing, it’s a slow process. Because of the injuries, his ear drums were damaged and he has loss of high end in one ear. He corrects this with a simple hearing aide. If you thought such a thing would adversely affect his audio engineering you’d be incorrect. His ears are as highly tuned as ever and you can hear the evidence yourself in the bands he’s recorded or even in the one mic YouTube videos.
He also knows his limits, saying “Why would I master something when I’m good friends with the best guy in the business (Trevor Case is that guy) that can do it in his sleep?”
Instead, he caters to his strengths which include working with artists like me. I met Matthew through the amazing Sask One Mic Series where I took part as an artist. Facca and his crew (he’s teamed with Livin' Rhythm Studio and Beez Neez Recording on these sessions) recorded my song "The Wind" and it turned out so sonically vibrant and acoustically incredible I’m still in awe.
The series takes a super fancy ribbon mic (I’ll spare tech details, go check the link below) and records the artist old school. Live off the floor, single takes….no edits. It’s a super raw and very honest way to make recorded music for sure.
In fact, this Saturday the 15th of April, Facca brings his series to the incredible Sound Castle out in Viscount, Saskatchewan. This amazing converted church studio is owned and operated by Christian Douglas who we will be turning the spotlight on in part three of this series.
There are still a few spots left so head over to the links below and have a chat with Facca yourself! I promise you he’s very easy to talk to and very genuine. A lot of the best, really talented people are.