“My favourite place to make music is my bedroom. It allows me the solitude to work on music yet also the comforts of home. Since it is also one-half my bedroom it can get somewhat messy but before I can settle down to be creative, I’ll make sure to have it clean and organized. I couldn’t work in a cluttered environment. I’m constantly striving for better production qualities and cleaner sounds so it helps to be in an area that feels organized and productive. I’ve been here for nearly two years and, although I started dabbling with music shortly before that, here is where all of my music in its current form has been composed and recorded. Like most bedroom studios everything happens through the laptop and so in order for my music to feel more organic I’ve built up a series of instruments, tools and devices that allows me to work more fluidly, instead of with the generic mouse and keyboard.
So far, my musical instruments include an acoustic and electric guitar, bongos, congas, xylophones, harmonicas, shakers, a ukulele, a kalimba and a kora. I can record all of these through my condenser mic, which has become essential for me. I also use a lot of samples for keys and percussion and so I use a MIDI keyboard and Monome in order to control and manipulate them. All of this is fed through Ableton Live 7 which is the focal point of my studio. When composing new melodies on the acoustic guitar I will sometimes use my RC-50 Loopstation to seamlessly build on riffs but all of the final recordings go through the laptop. I monitor the music using a pair Sennheiser 280 PRO headphones.
I try to work on new music when I can, but its hard to find a fixed time so it’s usually in the late hours when I sit down to work. I’m definitely a night owl and feel most comfortable, creative and inspired when everyone else is zoning out. I’ve started a few side projects where I have other musicians call over to work on some music and so far it’s going really well, but when it comes to my music I really need to be on my own. I am still learning and I’m constantly looking to create new sounds, styles and ideas and to do this you really have to let yourself go and try things that may not work out. I find it more comforting to be on your own where you can work with these rogue melodies and sounds without worrying what other people think. As I said I’m still in my infancy stage and learning every day but it’s invigorating. It’s the greatest drug I know. For me the music is very organic and evolves through time so there is no fixed outline for any of my tracks. I may begin work on a track thinking I know the main melody, vibe and feeling, but the final track can tend to wander off where it wants to go and leaves you thinking ‘how did that happen?’. Michelangelo once said that “every block of stone has a statue inside it and it is the task of the sculptor to discover it“. That’s exactly how I feel about my music.”
Tenaka is the one-man project of Limerick man Ronan Carroll. His four-track debut EP ‘Eponymously Titled’ was released in January 2009 and is four quarters of melody-fuelled electronica with many influences, from Devendra Banhart (‘Ain’t Nobody’) to RSAG (‘Open Up’). The EP can be downloaded for free on his myspace page. For more information and details of upcoming live shows, visit www.myspace.com/tenakadrifting.