“I make my music at The Saltlands. It’s a studio that I spent all summer building with a few friends in DUMBO Brooklyn. It’s in the basement of an enormous old factory building and I’ve had a rehearsal space there for the last five years. We got our haz-mats on and put up walls, dropped ceilings and sound proofed ourselves into this. We’re kind of a guerilla recording operation, I’m so excited about it.
In the live room there’s a smattering of acquired banjos and organs, amps and lamps. We’ve got some great gear in the control room, a solid mic list, a one-of-a-kind custom eight-channel mic pre, an isobooth, amp room and a little hallway where we keep the baby piano. So much great music is being made under this building. There are two working studios and about 15 rehearsal rooms, the whole thing is totally grass-roots and manned by a good friend and amazing song-writer, Steve Salett.
For me, the most important thing in there, is that it’s quiet. Steve and I started the studio because we were working on a film score together, and got tired of waiting for the drummer in the next room to finish his metal-mashing fills. In NYC it’s really hard for bands, space is so hard to come by. And I love being surrounded by all my wacky instruments. I’ve got so many toys, and you forget about them a lot of the time if you can’t see them – especially if you’re arranging a song or making instrumental music for a piece of film. It’s a painters pallet kind of thing, you gotta have colors!
I spend as much time as I can here when I’m not touring (which has been a lot lately, being on the road that’s one of the first things I really start to miss). I’ve got a little iPod mic for ideas and things on the road, but it’s hard to flesh them out and if inspiration hits, there’s always the answering machine on your voicemail. But for me it’s really important to have a space to fully explore material. Imagine Paul McCartney working on Ram… What a crazy scientist!
Recently, I’ve started working more and more with other people. I still need privacy, though, especially with lyrics. I can’t write lyrics with other people, at least not yet, I’m not that mature. What I like most about Saltlands is the community of people that surround it and make music in it. Nothing inspires me more than knowing someone else in the next room is working on something awesome. It pushes me, hopefully in a good direction.”
New York-based singer Dawn Landes has drawn comparisons with Woody Guthrie and Joanna Newsom for her gorgeous folk stories. Landes’ day job is as a recording engineer at her own Saltlands Studio. Fireproof, her debut album, was released earlier this year (video link for single ‘Bodyguard’ in this post) on Fargo Records. For more information, gig dates and tracks, visit http://www.myspace.com/dawnlandes.