I’ve been recording music since I was 10 years old on my stepfather’s Fostex 4 track. It was such an important part of our life, that my younger brother graduated from the School of Audio Engineering in New Zealand, and has spent his life as a professional sound engineer. I was more of a dabbler.
Through my business building WavePark Resort, I’ve continued a passion for recording music by building a small portable studio. The components can be installed in minutes – or using an iPad – in seconds.
We’ve had some great projects over the years. We had a few years when we announced a theme for the year and our guests who were musicians would show up on the island having learned something that they thought fit the theme. The first was in 2010 with the “Lou Reed” theme which brought together musicians to create the “White Heat”. The Rollings Stones and Crowded House followed soon afterwards, and it was a pleasure to produce music on the island.
My brother says that he can’t believe the space and sound that we can create here. We’ve always got waves breaking in the background through the condenser mic, and the occasional song bird is audible, but other than that we exist in such a quiet world. When we set up the office as the studio and close all the doors and windows with the fan off, it becomes a sauna, but a very quiet sauna.
Aside from the iPad, we run Cakewalk Homestudio XL on our laptop, recording through a Yamaha analog – digital interface. We have acoustic guitars, electric guitar, electric bass, many effects pedals, vocal and condenser microphones and a ton of fun percussion instruments.
We do have a lot of limitations as well, which was apparent on the last project that I worked on, “Crystal Clear” with Stevie Heger. We had to bounce our tracks between the computer and the iPad, because the drums were better on the iPad. “Bouncing” means uploading the percussion track to the internet, and downloading it again to the laptop. A single bounce could take hours with the internet downloading a .wav file and much patience was necessary. But these are the challenges and technological hurdles that I love to overcome as part of living on an island in the middle of nowhere.
All tracks below performed, recorded and produced at WavePark Resort, Mentawai.