Musical Rooms

December 21, 2007

Musical Rooms Part 4: Chequerboard

Filed under: Interviews,Music,Musical Rooms Series — by Sinéad Gleeson @ 1:45 pm
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“Anywhere spacious and peaceful is ideal for making music. If it has good light all the better, which is why my time in the resident studio at the Model Niland Gallery in Sligo this year was such a pleasure. I’m finished up there now but while I was there my productivity increased ten-fold. It’s a lovely room tucked away at the back of the gallery which is a beautifully renovated school with a heavy, cosy structure. The room has high white walls, a skylight, two front windows and a small loft for storage. The space often felt like an extension of my head space, i.e. two front windows for eyes, a skylight for pondering through and the small loft for deep thinking. I actually heard a story that the studio is haunted by an old lady called Agnes. I think we must have been kindred spirits though as not once, day or night, did the room feel anything but serene. I couldn’t help feeling that my time there was some kind of reward for all my time spent making music in stifling unhealthy conditions in rented rooms in the capital down the years.

I like to vaguely keep to traditional working hours but that said, if the juices are flowing I’ll often work way into the wee hours and find myself peering up at dawn breaking through the skylight. Your body is shattered but your mind is exhilarated with creativity. I love that state. You feel very alive despite hanging on by a thread physically.

With regards to methods, I tend to work slowly, sometimes doing hours of takes on particular details of songs or just sifting through old cassettes and field recordings for hours, so a traditional studio set up doesn’t suit me. I used to drive engineers up the wall so it’s best all round if I work alone. I’m currently on the hunt for a new space to work in but in the back of my mind I know the chances are slim of finding anywhere as special as that again.

Still, one can only hope.”


Dictaphone Showreels was reissued earlier this month and is available at Road Records. A new album by Chequerboard is due in February. For more info, gig updates and music, go here:

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