Recording project

April 10, 2010 3:57 AM

In probably early June I am finally going to realize a long time dream of mine and go to a remote cabin in the woods and record for 2 weeks. Has anybody here done something similar before? What do you wish you did that you didn't? What should I not forget to take with me? Any advice about productions steps to take?

So the cabin is close the Elbe river in the former Eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt. There is one big room and a finished off attic along with a small bathroom and a small kitchen. It was completely renovated a few years ago so, according to German construction laws, it should have modern electricity with properly grounded power lines. It is in a small village of a few hundred people but the cabin is far away enough from any neighbors so I can record at 3am if I need to.
I am bringing:
  • All my guitars and amps
  • Drumset
  • Old organ
  • baffles and acoustic absorbers
  • Rack with various outboard gear
  • 16-core multicore cable and assorted XLR cables
  • soldering gun
  • My microphones
  • Nearfield monitors
  • Power cables and extra power strips
  • Macbook pro and external hard drives and backup hard drives.
  • Fireface 800 firewire interface
  • Table to put it all on
  • Guitar strings and picks
  • food
  • clothes, sheets, towels
  • bike
Getting it all out to the cabin my be challenging. This is the biggest problem I am facing right now. It is 2 hours away from where I live and I'll have to rent a transporter (that's German for big white van) to get it all out there. Then, because there are no auto-rental places near where I will be, I will have to drive back to my town and return it, then drive back to the cabin in my car. Maybe I can cut down on the driving time by getting someone to accompany me out there and drive the transporter back. Hmm.

Some friends will join me for a few days to help out on vocals, keyboards and drums, but for the most part it will just be me.
posted by chillmost (15 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

Sounds fantastic, and your list seems fairly complete, except for... whisky. Bring whisky.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:03 AM on April 10, 2010 [1 favorite]

Man, that sounds wonderful. They're heavy, but a book or two might help.
posted by sleepy pete at 7:26 AM on April 10, 2010

whisky. Bring whisky. Yup - and a little mary-jane wouldn't go amiss. A tuner is missing from your list? Personally - rolling tobacco, papers, filters, coffee. Oh - and a good padlock. You don't want to be out on your bike only to return to the shack and find someone has helped themselves to your equipment. Oh and arse paper. For when you endulge in what bears evidently do in the woods.
posted by MajorDundee at 9:51 AM on April 10, 2010

"indulge". Endulge is probably German for something. Maybe to do with bears and woods....
posted by MajorDundee at 9:53 AM on April 10, 2010

• headphones/headphone amp for multiple isolated monitoring
• blank CDs to burn rough mixes to listen in car/give to friends after they record their parts/backup data
• video camera to document

I'm very jealous. We did this one winter a few years ago up at my parents' place a few hours north of Toronto but we only had a weekend. Use your time wisely. We ended up spending the entire first day setting up equipment and making a nice dinner and then into the wee hours of the next day drinking and recording many many tracks for a song that one of the guys spontaneously wrote on the drive up, about a farm on the side of the highway. It was a fun song and video that we got out of it, but the next day we were all tired and most of the songs we'd actually been planning to do got little or half-assed treatment and people started falling asleep early. The bass player actually fell asleep while figuring out a part for my song so I just said forget it. Out of the whole deal I got one decent take of me playing parlour guitar on a song I'd written. I didn't use anything else from that weekend. (A year or so later it eventually became this song.)

Good luck and have fun.
posted by chococat at 10:18 AM on April 10, 2010

Thanks for the ideas. I will definitely bring some fine whiskey, and possibly some other stuff.

Headphones and my Headphone distro-amp. I might have forgotten that as I have it tucked away for the moment.
posted by chillmost at 2:27 PM on April 12, 2010

Don't forget duct tape for holding stuff together, and masking tape (and a marker) for labeling. You might want a few tea towels for the drums, too; they're small, and you might want the damping.
posted by uncleozzy at 5:48 AM on April 13, 2010

That's awesome. I can't wait to hear what comes out of this trip. I've had a week alone in my parents house before that I tried to use for recording, and I guess I would just suggest trying to follow a sleeping pattern. The occasional 3 am song is awesome (and actually my favorite song out of my week alone was recorded in the wee hours). But if you are going to get the most out of this, it would probably be best to try to fall asleep by a certain time, and have an alarm clock so you don't sleep in. I did not do a great job of not messing around on the internet until 2 am. Will you have internet? Try to avoid it, if you are anything like me.

Sun rise hikes are good. Are you near mountains? Man, a cabin in Germany. For two weeks. Holy shit. \m/
posted by Corduroy at 9:31 AM on April 13, 2010

Oh, and a First Aid kit really wouldn't be a bad idea.
posted by Corduroy at 9:32 AM on April 13, 2010

Bug spray.

I think the avoiding-the-internet thing is useful whether you're in a cabin in the woods or at home, when it comes to working on music. It's hard to do. As you can see...
posted by thematthewshow at 1:26 PM on April 15, 2010

Extra batteries for anything that needs them.

I've thought about doing this before but never got around to it. I'm looking forward to a full report.
posted by Karlos the Jackal at 8:25 PM on April 15, 2010

turkish coffee maker. incense. guitar slide/capo.

you should be covered, volcanic ash wise, eh?
posted by kimyo at 10:03 PM on April 18, 2010

Thanks for the ideas. First aid kit is very important, especially considering how clumsy I can be before I find my glasses in the morning.

I just went to visit the place yesterday. Holy crap! It is awesome. Open the door and there is a big field with a lake right out back. There are a bunch of animals running around as well. Even more awesome is that a piano is there. It sounds like it is even in tune. There are a few small rooms to put the amps in and a big finished off loft in the attic. Maybe I will record drums up there. I dunno. Lot's of possibilities. We'll see. There is also a tractor in the barn.

It is seriously in the middle of nowhere. I'm slightly concerned I might go crazy.
posted by chillmost at 6:37 AM on April 19, 2010

I'm slightly concerned I might go crazy.

Well, you'll be able to get a good recording of yourself doing so, which may well turn out to be your definitive masterpiece.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:46 AM on April 19, 2010

percussion instruments - tamborines, beer cans, pots, pans, djembes, whatever you can think of that'll make a different sound

you didn't mention a midi keyboard controller, either
posted by pyramid termite at 9:42 PM on April 28, 2010

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