Although I spend a lot of time on the road, there is always a place that I’m happy to come back to. I’ve been supremely lucky to have a beautiful workspace in the form of our home recording studio in the Carmel Valley. Let me share the space where the magic happens!
The property is owned by my parents who bought it years ago. The previous owner was a recluse artist who built the house and outlying buildings himself. He was definitely a true cowboy and we find small relics of his all over the property, from good luck horseshoes hanging over doorways to old fashioned oil lanterns scattered about on posts.
But the true magic for Kevin and I was the “painting studio”, a small outbuilding the Cowboy made for his painter girlfriend. The space has high slanted ceilings and tons of windows for natural light. The big bonus was that it’s a short walk away from the main house and hidden amongst the oak trees, so sound is more dampened and won’t disturb people in the main house. The building had sat unused since my folks purchased it, until we came back to Carmel. I walked right in and immediately saw our studio. Kevin walked in and it’s been a challenge to pry him out ever since.
There’s a lot we want to improve in this space to make it more “high end” but in truth, the sound is quite amazing the way it is. Kevin spent some time making some homemade bass traps for the corners and we put up some foam on the walls to sculpt the sound, but the construction of the building honestly does most of the work for us. Sound bounces around enclosed spaces like rubber balls thrown by over-caffeinated children. The more straight edges and 90 degree angles, the more the sound waves bounce and clash. The studio’s high angled ceilings create irregular angles which minimize the bounce. Since the studio is built on a hillside most of the floor space is over a “basement” (i.e. – dirt pit of spiders, eeewwww….) which absorbs and deflects even more sound since the floors can move and shift with the sound waves and help dissipate them. So thanks to a ton of happy coincidences and my supportive and extremely tolerant parents (thanks mom and dad!) we have a very nice writing, recording, and rehearsal space.
One of the best features of this remote studio is there is no internet or cellular access. We’re too out in the boonies for most cell phones to work and the studio is set far enough away from the main house that our paltry satellite wifi doesn’t reach either. I’m not a person who does frequent technology detoxes but this enforced isolation has taught me a lot about the value of a distraction free environment. Whether we’re doing a recording session or rehearsing you can’t just look at your phone when the action ebbs for a minute, there’s nothing else to do so you might as well stay engaged.
Tassajara studio is our home and haven when we need to rest, regroup, and create new music. I can’t believe how lucky we are to have a place like this to just be artists. We’ve done some recording projects with friends up here and I think all of them have felt the magic in this place. We look forward to many more years here!
For the Pinners: