Author Archives: David

New Studio – Final Touches

Now that my home studio is finished, I spend so much time just admiring it, that I haven’t got a lot of actual songwriting or recording done. I’m sure no one could blame me; This space is seriously beautiful, and I can’t help but think that most of that credit needs to go to the local commercial painting Brisbane team who I hired to do all the painting. I feel like that giant crab in the Moana movie. I am surrounded by shiny new surfaces. My new studio is everything I dreamt it could be and nothing is drab for this giant crab any longer. It’s a pity I can’t get Dwayne Johnson to sing on one of my tracks like he did for that movie. You never know, my home studio dreams have come true so perhaps my dreams of singing with The Rock will come true too. Here’s why I’m so glad I hired a team of commercial painters for my home recording studio.

A special job calls for special skills.
Commercial painters have a different set of skills than residential painters. Residential painters have mastered the art of painting a domestic home to its full glory but lack experience in a commercial setting. Commercial painters have adapted to a wide range of jobs. Each commercial premise comes with different surfaces, obstacles, and needs. These painters are highly experienced in working in many different environments and can handle any kind of commercial enterprise. I knew that I needed painters with a little more experience to paint what is essentially a professional studio, even though it is situated within a residential home.

More than just four walls and a floor.
Commercial painters are used to painting around some intricate surfaces and equipment. My studio is no different. There is barely a flat surface in the place, and some very expensive electrical wiring and switches that need to remain paint-drip free. My painters set about the process of painting the inside and outside of my studio with confidence and care. It gave me peace of mind to know that real professionals were at the helm. Commercial painters are skilled in shop fit-outs, so they were able to install the soundproofing material and the sound control panel before painting it all to perfection. The surfaces look beautiful but are also top quality.

Pragmatic and high tech.
Commercial painters are all professional painters. They cannot use unskilled laborers in their line of work. They also have a set process of protocols that ensure the quality of the entire project. This was one of the main reasons I chose to hire commercial painters over residential painters. It all came down to assured quality.

Commercial painters also have an incredible knowledge of technology and can take your painting job to new heights. I didn’t know that there was such a thing as soundproof paint until my commercial painters suggested it during the quoting stage. The paint they used has a special kind of technology that creates a great acoustic sound in any room. It’s just another reason why my commercial painters have absolutely nailed the final leg of the building process and created my ideal recording studio.

Ciao for now!

Out With The Old, In With The New

I’m pinching myself. I never thought I would blog about renovating the old spare bedroom into a proper recording studio. But here I am. My new studio is almost done and there is nothing left for me to do now except blog about the process (it keeps me from bothering the painters as they put the finishing touches on everything). Today I want to share with you an unexpected piece of wisdom I learned during this experience. When you renovate you absolutely need to hire a skip bin. I hired mine from a skip bin hire Ipswich dealer and I can’t believe I ever thought I could get by without one. If you still think you don’t need one, just do yourself a favour, next time you renovate or do any kind of clean-out, just hire that skip bin and thank me later.

Think of the money.
The idea of hiring a skip bin may seem expensive at first, but let me tell you, that skip bin will well and truly pay for itself by the time your job is done. Before any tradesmen began, I set about the task of gutting the 4th bedroom to have it ready for the builders. I wanted to do this bit myself, mainly because I like smashing things. My brother, Col, turned up to help, before he even said hello, he was straight into me about hiring a skip bin. He said he didn’t sign up for a million tip runs, so like a good little brother, I hired a skip bin.

Col was right. We ended up tossing so much rubble into that skip bin, it would have cost us hundreds in tip fees, fuel, and trailer hire. When you do the numbers, it becomes quite clear that the cost of hiring a skip bin is far less than the cost of carting it to the tip yourself.

Having the skip bin sitting right on the driveway meant that Col and I had only 8 short steps from the renovation area to the skip bin. When I think now about all those old cupboards, carpet, flimsy weathered gyprock walls, chairs, bedside tables, and one very lumpy old mattress with matching double bed frame, I shudder to imagine hauling it all to the tip. If I didn’t have that skip bin, I would’ve spent half my day fighting with a ratchet strap, and the other half of the day stuck in Brisbane traffic before busting my back unloading it all at the tip. Hiring the skip bin meant I didn’t need a trailer, I didn’t need to tie any loads down, and best of all, I didn’t need to compete with Brisbane traffic on the way to and from the tip.

The best part is, because skip bins have so much space, we were able to get rid of other waste from around the house before the skip bin was picked up for us. Hiring a skip bin may seem like an extreme measure for a small renovation, but the only thing extreme about it is the convenience and all that money you will save. It’s extremely good for your sanity and your wallet.

Ciao for now!

New Studio

The Foundations

Building a home recording studio is a lot like writing a song. You need a great foundation. In the case of my music, it means a strong chorus and a catchy combination of chords. In the case of my studio, it means a solid concrete floor and soundproof concrete walls. I know how to make my music strong, but for my studio, I left the concreting to the professionals from ‘Concreting Ipswich’.

My new recording studio takes the place previously occupied by the fourth bedroom. The only problem was, I needed more space than the bedroom had to offer. I laid out my plans of an airlock leading into a recording room to my engineer John. He said it was doable in the space I had, but if I were to ever want something more, it would be wiser to do it now rather than renovate again later. That’s when I decided to go all-in and extend the house to create space for an adjoining sound room. Now my recording studio has an airlock, a soundproof room for recording, and a state-of-the-art room for sound control. It’s the studio of my dreams, and my concreters made the whole process come together perfectly.

I didn’t get any pictures but it basically looked like this!

I had no idea that concrete walls were an option until engineer John mentioned that many structures are erected with concrete walls when soundproofing is important. I knew I needed a concrete floor for the extension, but concrete walls were an unexpected twist. The plans were drawn up and the airlock would take up about one and half square meters of the old bedroom, the sound control room was to take up the remaining space, and then the live room was going to be extended out as a new addition to the house. This way, the room that needed the most soundproofing would have a concrete floor and 3 concrete walls. The remaining wall is glass to view and communicate between the sound control room and the live room. It is an absolute thing of musical beauty.

When the concreters arrived to do the floor, I was nervous. I know you only get one chance to put down a strong and sturdy slab and I didn’t want to live through the nightmare of busting out the jackhammer and starting again because my renovation wasn’t up to code. To my great relief, my concreters were professional and so efficient. The formwork was done, the plans were meticulously followed, and the slab was as smooth and strong as I had hoped. When it came time to construct the walls, I was equally impressed. Every part of the frame was measured and measured again before the walls were poured. It was 28 days before the concrete was cured and ready to be fully admired, but since then I’ve spent many afternoons admiring the work of the concreters in creating my super soundproof music studio. It looks so strong that I think a hurricane could pass over Brisbane, and if I was in my studio I wouldn’t even notice.

Ciao for now!

Getting Ready For The New Studio

What kind of set up do you have to record at home?

If you’re like me, your home setup has gone through the natural process of evolution that happens at every singer-songwriter’s home. First, you get yourself a USB mic and plug it straight into your PC. You download whatever free editing software you can find and feel like a big-time music star!

After a while, you decide you need a quiet space. You move all your gear to the spare room and make it your cave of music heaven. The next phase in the evolution of the home studio is an equipment upgrade. You decide that you need an XLR mic and an interface so you get the cheapest ones and love being able to create a better sound. You spend hours plucking away on your guitar and putting your lyrics to music. Your songs actually sound pretty good. ‘How great is my home studio!’ You marvel to yourself on the reg.

After a little while, you outgrow your equipment and you know you need more to turn your hobby into a career. You also can’t stand having to push all of your gear into a cupboard whenever you have visitors come to stay. You’re getting frustrated when the guy next door is mowing his lawn because the room just isn’t soundproofed enough. You decide it’s time to finally evolve to the final stage. You know it’s time to build a legit home recording studio.

(Here’s a nice video talking about setting up a home studio)

That is where I am right now. I’m getting ready to take that last evolutionary leap into creating my own studio space at home. Jody and I decided that after so many years of makeshift music-making and borrowing other people’s studios, it was time for me to have my own purpose-built recording studio. A place where I can shut out the sounds of the world, and work on my music in peace. We’re working on plans to renovate the fourth bedroom. It’s will have a fully soundproofed interior, an airlock, a sound room separate from the studio room, and all upgraded professional quality hardware and software. It’s a big undertaking but I’m so excited to take my work to the next level and have my own special area to create musical magic. Come along on my quest to build my dream studio. I’ll be blogging about it as it happens.

Ciao for now!

A Life Before Music

It’s hard to imagine that there was a time when music wasn’t my occupation. I love the conversation that comes after I tell people that I’m a singer-songwriter. It’s a great conversation starter. Believe it or not, my previous job was a better conversation starter. People always become so interested when you say you’re a tow truck driver. I worked for ‘Tow Truck Ipswich’ for a little over 7 years, straight out of high school while I built my music business up on the side. Here are the top things people wanted to know about this former 20 something-year-old tow truck driver.

  1. How do you drive that big truck through Brisbane traffic?

    People are always amazed at how we drive the trucks through the small and winding streets of inner-city Brisbane. I don’t understand the hype. I guess that comes down to practice (like most things). Tow truck drivers are very experienced in driving their truck, and they know every inch of it like the back of their hand. Maneuvering it through busy streets is one of the easiest parts of the job.

  2. What’s the most common kind of car you tow?

    I think what people really want to know when they ask this question is whether the cars are fancy or bombs. I can tell you that tow truck drivers will tow a car that needs towing regardless of its value, but we find ourselves picking up expensive sports cars just as much as old rust buckets. Interestingly though, it can often be the luxury cars that never get collected. I always speculated that the owners couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of retrieving their car and just bought a new one. Imagine having that kind of money.

  3. What does a typical workday entail?

    I think many people envision tow truck drivers to be sitting around a radio waiting to race to a job, but it’s not like that. We spend a good part of the day washing and maintaining the fleet of trucks and completing copious amounts of paperwork. Other than that, we spend a lot of time refreshing our mechanical skills so we can help stranded drivers rather than instantly tow their vehicles. Come to think of it, towing a car is the fun part but it’s not something that we wait around for all day.

  4. Some people would ask me why I didn’t get a “real job”.

    This one really stings. I suppose people who park illegally and have their cars towed would be a little bit prickly, but honestly, tow truck drivers don’t deserve the bad rep. Tow truck drivers play a huge part in keeping traffic moving and reducing carpark congestion. If it weren’t for tow truck drivers, obstructions on freeways would bank the traffic up for days, and illegally parked cars would clog up carparks all over town. Not to mention the broken-down cars that would remain in their freeway stopping lane gravesite without a tow truck to take them to a mechanic.
    Even though my tow truck driving days are behind me, I still lift 4 fingers off the steering wheel and give a nod to other tow truck drivers I see around Brisbane. They always acknowledge me back.

Ciao for now!

Let’s Get Started!

Check 1, 2 – Welcome To My Blog!

I feel fantastic. Ever since I entered the fourth decade of my life, it’s as though everything is falling into place. Life is not always easy for us musicians, but I feel like I’ve turned a corner in my life. I’m no longer the struggling sleep deprived muso burning the candle at both ends. I love what I do, and I can pay my bills too. It’s a revelation! Before I tell you more about me, here are some things about you:

You hate Mondays. You avoid small talk. You feel like your 9-5 job is a waste of your time. Your spare room is littered with musical gear from your makeshift recording studio that you push into a corner when a visitor needs the spare bed. And you’re still trying to work out how old I am.

If that sounds like you, keep reading. This blog is for you. I had a Monday to Friday job as a tow truck driver, I hated making small talk (still do). I felt like my time was supposed to be spent doing something else. I had the musical junk room. And if you must know, I’ll have 33 candles on my cake this year.

This blog is about my journey from a member of the workforce spending my days making someone else money, to being my own boss, working from home doing something I absolutely love. I’ve made the transition from being a singer-songwriter on the side, to making it my full-time job. This blog is where you will read about it all. The good, the bad, the ugly, and hopefully, the amazingly splendid. I will share with you how I now have a spare room AND a separate music recording studio. I will also share with you about my life before I made the leap to being a full-time singer-songwriter. Be sure to subscribe for all my updates.

Ciao for now!