MusicTech’s senior editor is building a studio from scratch. This week he’s on his throne trying to impress a tough audience…
‘I’m on the toilet!’
One of the many reasons I’m building a new recording studio is, if I’m honest, to impress my three sons. So far all they’ve seen me use is my laptop and they don’t have a clue about its – and my – music making potential. Yes, they vaguely know I have something to do with music and technology but I’ve yet to ensnare them with the joys of the subject and their Wii seems to be a much far more interesting proposition.
So I figure that if I fill a room full of shiny and colourful music gear then they might be impressed enough to actually take an interest in what I do. Yes, I’m essentially trying to show off to them.
But so far it’s not working. My first purchase, the Unity Audio Rock monitors, are great, obviously, but to the untrained eyes of an 11, 9 and 7 year old they are just a set of speakers. No amount of me explaining to them about frequency responses and raising leg hairs seems to be impressing them. Strange that.
Don’t get me wrong I’m not forcing them to get into the intricacies of music technology, I simply want them to see and hear that what I actually do for a living can be, on occasion, quite exciting. And then maybe, in turn, they might be inspired to make some music. But even the arrival of the Novation BassStation 2 for review didn’t have the desired effect (“it’s a bit small isn’t it?”).
Fortunately this week I finally had time to get into Logic Pro X and it was this software that surprisingly got me a reaction. The three of them just happened to be milling around as I got the iPad control working. But even controlling Logic from an iPad only got a vague ‘cool’ out of one of them. There’s me controlling a professional music production package with a touch screen device and they’re only mildly impressed. “Come on people, this would have been the stuff of sci-fi fantasy dreams back in the 80s,” I nearly shout. But then I remember that these boys are pretty much already up to speed with Touch technology – it doesn’t impress them as nearly as much as me who once thought a ZX Spectrum was about as far as human kind would ever get with technology.
So I think on my feet, grab the iPad, run out of my studio – yes I call it a ‘studio’ even though it’s just a laptop with a pair of monitors so far – to the bathroom, sit on the throne and shout “I’m on the toilet!”. I hit hit play and stop in quick succession controlling a tune I’m working on in the studio with the iPad. On the toilet. Between it stopping and starting I hear giggling. (I hope they’re not laughing at the music.)
“Now do you see what I do?”
I’ve done it. They seem interested. Could this be the moment a new band is born? A world-conquering synth pop trio of 2020? Kind of like Hansen, but with keyboards? Or Sparks but 50% more?
Then reality dawns, I’ve just basically demonstrated to my sons how to make music from the toilet. Do they now think it’s an important part of the production process or, indeed, that this is what I do for a living? Some awkward conversations with their teachers at future parental consultations might be on the cards, but for now I’m happy just to get a reaction…
Next week: back to the process of filling the studio and it’s BassStation 2 v Nord Lead 4…