Having a place to work in my house is just as important to me as having a bathroom or a kitchen. When I was younger, my studio was just a bookcase and a music stand in the corner of my room, then it was an extra room in my apartment. Now it’s a fully functional recording studio in my house. I have this space because I’m a musician, but it’s also true that I am a musician because I have this space. It’s the space I use to practice, it’s the space I use to compose, and it’s a daily reminder to me that music is central to my life.
This studio that I built for my music reminds me every day that my music is worthy of having its own studio. This might sound like a bit of circular logic but I think this is how ideas become reality. I think this is how the superstitions of desert dwelling hunter gatherers become towering ziggurats; and I know it’s how a guest bedroom in a townhouse becomes a soundproof sanctuary for sound.
Some of the earliest man made structures are temples to now forgotten gods. These ancient gods were conceived by farmers to explain the apparent chaos of the world surrounding them. Eventually, as the temple turned into a city and some of the chaos of nature was replaced with the relative order of urban life, the idea of the god became more important than the explanations it provided. It was the idea of Marduk that compelled his believers to pool their resources and build the temple that became the great city. Marduk was mighty because he had a temple, but Marduk had a temple because he was mighty.
In this way, my studio and the great temple of Marduk were built on the same principal. We make space for what’s important to us.
My studio is still a work in progress. It’s built to keep the sounds of the outside world out while keeping the sounds I generate in. It’s filled with equipment that I need to do my job and with books that inspire me. The books also serve as sonic absorption. Just by being in the room, the books make my room sound better.
I’m surrounded by books and I’m also surrounded by instruments. I play about 20 instruments and I keep as many of them close to me as I can. When I’m not feeling particularly inspired to work on a project, I’ll play an instrument or read for a little while.
When I distract myself with the sacred objects of my intellectual life, I find the inspiration I need to keep that life moving forward. It takes a leap of faith to build a temple for your own ideas, but if a non existent deity can found an empire from his temple, then I, with the profound advantage of corporeality, can certainly write a few articles from mine.