The build is finished. Jeff and Artis have done an amazing job and I’m completely delighted with the building. Wiring and electric install goes ahead next week with Howard. For now, it’s beers, hugs and handshakes all round. Great job, fellas!
We’re done! The building part of the project is complete. The final phase, in two weeks’ time, will be the building of furniture followed by the equipment installation. More on this in a few days’ time, as I start to set up my current studio kit in there.
Jeff finished the last of the carpet tiling today, and there’s now nothing more to do to the building apart from tweak the aircon heatsink, and ‘box in’ one of the fans. Since the last post we’ve been working on the final bits of cosmetics, selecting colours (‘ginger’ carpet tiles and ‘antique light oak’ laminate flooring). Jeff and I took a run out to B&Q where he haggled with the staff (which you can do, apparently, if there is minor damage to the stock).
The control room floor is a combination of wood-effect laminate and carpet tiles. The laminate is actually preferable to wood, because I’ll need to be able to scoot around on a wheeled office chair (between analogue desk, Digi002, Mac and music keyboard) and a real wood floor wouldn’t be as durable as the high-quality laminate that Jeff uses. We’re only using laminate as far as the left-hand edge of the music keyboard (facing the live room window); the rest will be carpet tiles to avoid any reflections coming off the floor. The live room floor is all laminate – and I’m still asking around for rug ideas for the drum kit. What kind of rugs do drummers like anyway? Most drummers I’ve worked with seem to use a thin and moth-eaten Persian rug that smells a bit damp – but that may be an economic choice rather than a musical one.
We’re treating the lobby as a utility area so its look is, er, utilitarian. We’ve painted it all white, and left the hard surfaces of plasterboard panels, OSB ceiling and MDF door panels. It will be a great room for one particular guitar sound that I love – the loud-amp-in-a-small-room effect – although I don’t yet know how much ‘room’ I’ll be able to create in a space that size. Reamping was never really an option with my previous setup because of the need to avoid noise pollution for the family – looking forward to fiddling about with mic placements etc.
The air fans are now fitted and working, so the cooled air in the lobby can be pushed through the ducts at the front of the control and live rooms – there’s a variable speed fan for each room. Jeff has advised me to locate the control for the live room fan outside the room in the lobby (“we don’t want drummers fiddling with it”). Personally I’d rather like to have a speed control for some of the drummers I’ve met ;-).
And our final B&Q purchase was a pair of black handles. These are purely to help with the ‘garage door’ illusion and neither of them are fixed to a real door.
Jeff and Artis are off to start a large-scale acoustics job at Coventry University, so we all had a few beers last night to celebrate the end of the build phase of the project. During the evening Jeff impressed us with his uncanny ability to identify specific models of Ducati engine by the sound only.
And Artis, of course, introduced us to yet more Latvian music. We got into a long discussion about how Skyforger have gone mainstream since they started introducing electric instruments, and started investigating which traditional instruments they played. This got us into talking about the Kokle – a Latvian zither/dulcimer/harp. Here’s composer Laima Jansone performing variations on some traditional folk tunes on the kokle.
But you want more eighties hits perfomed by Latvians, don’t you? Happy to oblige. This time Artis has introduced us to an a capella band called Cosmos – sort of Flying Pickets with proper beatboxing. Check out this amazing version of Billie Jean.
Next time I’ll be blogging about kit and tech spec – Jeff calls this stuff ‘small wires’ and won’t countenance any discussion of it on-site. Don’t worry – Howard will be here in a week or so, and normal geek service will be resumed…
We’re now at day 29; Artis is working on the door seals, and building more hessian frames for the walls. I’ve called BT today and worked out how we can get a phone line in there for broadband – and also got some excellent Ethernet cabling help and advice from Robin, the Comms Analyst at Bath Spa. Those guys really hate Wi-Fi because the signal is so prone to interference and loss of data – and TBH I don’t have much confidence that a Wi-Fi signal will get through all of Jeff and Artis’ rockwool/plasterboard work unscathed, so we’re going to run an Ethernet cable round the building, from the aircon area in the lobby through to the Mac hole in the back of the control room.
Artis’ work on the frames is beautiful – each frame is crafted to the shape of a section of wall, so it fits perfectly together with the fabric-width of space in between. The hessian doesn’t actually touch the rockwool inside each stud wall, being raised 12mm away by the MDF frame. And the carpentry is magnificent, even though it’s just MDF. I learn that back in Latvia, Artis’ carpentry business almost exclusively built beehives!
Here are some pics of the hessian frames being constructed, and some more of the door seals.
I’m still learning more about Latvian artists from Artis – recent highlights include Linda Leen (pop/R&B), Brainstorm (pop/rock/electronic), Melo-M (three ‘cellists doing arrangements of cheesy 70s and 80s pop songs), ‘daina‘ (Latvian traditional folk songs) and S’T’A’ (rap/hip-hop). You know which one I’m going to play here, don’t you?!