COLLEEN 20th ANNIVERSARY: A 6-YEAR ALBUM BREAK, A MOVE AND THE SAN SEBASTIAN STUDIO WHERE I RECORDED MY 3 ALBUMS IN THE 2010S.
December 10, 2022 § Leave a comment
In June 2007 I resigned from my teaching job after the renewal of my sabbatical was repeatedly denied. I was ready to take the plunge and be a full-time musician, or so I thought… A year later, during a run of 6 shows in Brazil, I distinctly felt something within me was off: I had lost the desire and will to make music, both for records and on stage, for multiple reasons, which I went through in a lengthy article in 2012 to explain my “long silence” (here and here).
I actually only stopped making music for about a year, in 2009, but it felt eternal, leading me to fully realize just how tied my personal identity was to making music. In 2010 I was already trying to force myself back into it, and several forces converged to lead me to this second phase of my production spanning the 2010s.
First, I felt the desire to sing, and even though that was mixed with a fear of “diluting” my musical identity, at least it was something I really felt like doing, which already felt like a small victory.
Secondly, reading Tim Lawrence’s biography of Arthur Russell and diving into Russell’s musical output turned out to be the catalyst I needed – more about this in my next post.
Last but not least, for personal reasons I moved to San Sebastián, Spain, in the summer of 2010, and I had to rent a space to make music, since this was not an option where I lived. The street-level space I transformed into a makeshift studio – a former olive and guindilla pepper brinery – had major drawbacks: it had an unsolvable dampness problem that was to plague me throughout my 9 years there, and severe noise from traffic and passersby, even after the century-old wafer-thin doors and windows were changed by the owner a couple of years later. But it was also 500 m from the sea (and had a beautiful street corner view – see pic), had really good vibes, a mezzanine space that acted as a damper between the studio and the neighbours upstairs, and it was immensely liberating to finally not have to worry about volume. Also, not a detail: there was no internet and I did not have a mobile phone– the only thing I could do there was work…
Here are some photos of that space, taken in 2010 on my old camera… Low quality, but I’m happy to have them as souvenirs of both the work accomplished to make this space work (the before-after photos are pretty telling…) and the actual music I created inside this space :-)