In terms of music technology, it’s been an exciting couple of decades. For a while now it has been possible to make broadcast‑quality music straight from your laptop and this has liberated many from the confines of the windowless studio.
Studios remain completely necessary; after all, they’re controlled spaces tuned to the needs of recording and audio engineering — but do you have to do everything creative there? Let’s face it, most of us occupy that space in our home usually earmarked for storing cardboard boxes and offcuts of carpet. It made me wonder, do we instinctively associate the art of making music with traditional studio spaces with vast mixing consoles and rack gear with their LEDs idly glowing in the background? I suspect we probably do, and that association may dictate our workspace design.
The reality these days is that most of us build our studio around a computer. For me, the laptop became my principal choice as part of a strategy to migrate to a largely ‘in‑the‑box’ setup, believing I could perform a significant amount of my composing tasks from anywhere. Why escape the studio? Well, for me it’s infinitely more inspiring to compose whilst sat in the garden. A view over the neighbouring fields, the sunshine enhancing vivid colours, bees going about their pollen collection, birds arriving and departing. A solid garden table, a fresh cup of coffee. It’s a great place to be. Until it rains…
Once you’ve recorded those guitars, why not edit and arrange them in the garden, on the train, or whilst you are sat next to the pool?
OK, it’s true, if you’re a professional creative, you still need a dedicated treated room with certain pieces of kit always on hand. But once you’ve recorded those guitars, why not edit and arrange them in the garden, on the train, or whilst you are sat next to the pool?
For me, it’s important to regularly change the location of my working space. It keeps my ideas fresh and can often lead to clearer thinking and inspire alternative paths because, sometimes, having a dedicated room/studio can lead to a mental association with ‘work’ or ‘isolation’.
With your laptop to hand, have a go at writing that woodwind passage or performing a rough mix on your headphones whilst the sun is shining. You might be surprised how inspiring it can be!