Working Man's Paradise
By Chris MacKinnon
Amin Bhatia started tinkering with synthesizers in an underground studio more than 20 years ago and runs his own Toronto music company. In 1987, he recorded the cult classic Interstellar Suite using only analog, not digital technology. By popular demand, and after much wrangling with record company lawyers, Bhatia, 43, has just rereleased the album at Web site interstellarsuite.com.
Living I recently moved to downtown, so my whole life basically works around St. Lawrence Market. It's a workaholic's paradise, as far as I'm concerned. Everything is within two blocks radius. The focus of the apartment is a nice bar for entertaining friends and family, and the other centerpeice is a 50 inch plasma screen TV.
Working When I'm deep working in the studio, nothing else matters. It's a large loft studio on Adelaide that houses me and several other composers. I've been doing film and television music for close to 20 years, starting in a basement in Calgary. I'm actually making a living at making music, which is very rare, and I'm grateful.
Eating Step one is St. Lawrence Market. There's a restaurant in there called Churrasco's, which has the finest barbecued chicken sandwich you will ever have in your life. It's the only thing they do and they do it very well.
Drinking The Starfish restaurant is just downstairs from the studio, you can have some Weiss beer and a plate of oysters. That goes really well late at night. The Resevoir Lounge has great martinis, and if you want something a little quieter you go to the Montreal Bistro.
Relaxing I'm a workaholic; I don't do much relaxing. I enjoy what I do. Sometimes you're writing a piece of music for film or a TV show and you come up with a melody or a sequence that just turns the scene into something better than it could ever be. There's a relaxation that comes from that.
Escaping Sometimes when I have a lot opf paperwork that needs to be done I'll take a ferry to Centre Island for what I call a Powerbook paperwork day. A nice place to have a drink with friends and enjoy the view is the Panorame Room at the top of the Manulife Centre. But it's important to go on weeknight's only, because on weekends it becomes a deperate club wannabe hangout, which is so sad.
Shopping For my audio needs, because I have a pretty souped-up stereo system, understandably, Brack's is around the corner. When I need to get CDs and DVDs I go to Sam's first. I'm always in the soundtrack section, in the really obscure instrumental stuff, or upstairs in jazz. I'm very grateful the one here is still open and I'm holding on to it for dear life.
Improving I want Toronto to become a Muzak-free place. We get enough noise on our day-to-day journeys.
National Post Saturday September 4, 2004