To capture the moment and just let it happen
Vincent Wood, known as Vinny Wood in Austurland, has been spending the last few years building a recording studio in Stöðvarfjörður with his colleagues and friends. It is the only studio in Iceland that focuses on analog recording techniques and Vinny hopes to capture some genuine magic moments at Studio Silo in the future.
Vinny (full name Vincent Franz Wood) was born in Liverpool in 1986. He’s been “obsessively interested in Electronics” since he was a child. “A few years later came the music,” he says. “Both merged together beautifully when it came to building my first garage studio in a damp, windy shed at my parent’s home.”
Vinny qualified as an Electronics Engineer in 2008 and worked for a number of companies, while playing and recording music in his spare time. “We did many tours of Ireland, the UK, and mainland Europe in the following years with my Punk band Vamos, and I recorded a lot of bands. It was on one of those tours that I met my partner and soulmate Una [Sigurðardóttir]. I had always dreamed of building up two things in my life; a Recording Studio, and my own Electronics company.”
The first of those is now becoming a reality, here in Austurland.
A very steep learning curve
In 2014 Una and Vinny moved to Iceland: “We had a Skype call with Una’s friend Rósa, who had started a huge Ex-Fish Factory Arts Project in the East Fjords in 2011. They had 2800 sq. meters of space! We booked ferry tickets that night. The following month we were packing every square inch of our VW van with music equipment, plus a few clothes and cherished possessions of course.”
The day after they arrived in Stöðvarfjörður they started working on how to fund a project that became a far bigger and bolder project than they had ever dreamed of. “We had originally intended to spend just one summer building a simple Studio, but that quickly changed when we got an offer from a Studio designer that was too good to turn down. John Brandt, from Texas, holding forty years of Acoustics Algebra under his belt, started to design our 90 sq.m studio.”
Over the course of the following four years Vinny and Una slowly and meticulously built everything exactly to his detailed drawings, all by themselves with help from skilled friends and volunteers. “It was a very steep learning curve, but luckily both of us are good with our hands and materials. Walls over 30cm thick, 80kg doors filled with sand, three ceilings in every room, detailed shapes in the corners of every space, and a rather complex air conditioning system. We also pushed ourselves to manufacture and lay hard-wood parquetry floors, to lay a natural stone facade in the main room, and to design specific furniture and equipment to make this a unique experience for the artists who enter its doors. This is where my Electronics came in vital, by not only being able to repair and revive mountains of ancient and wonderful sound equipment, but also being able to design and build unique devices that no other Studio will have.”
Special place for musical creativity
They hope to be open by December 2018: “Studio Silo will be a very special place for musical creativity, not only because it is in such a beautiful and unspoiled location far from the reaches of super-pubs, shopping malls and freeways. But also because of our mission; to provide an environment which can be as “analog” as you want it to be. We will of course be able to record to computer like any other studio, but you can also take advantage of our extensive collection of weird and wonderful vintage equipment, and even go all the way and produce an entire record 100% analog, on big tape machines from the 80s, plate reverbs from the 70s, and microphones from the 1940s.”
But why is analog so important?
“For me, recording doesn’t have to involve tape recorders, but that is the way I enjoy it the most and I believe that it sounds nicer. For me “analog” is my alias for a mind-set and a method by which I believe is the most organic and magical way to capture music. To capture the moment and just let it happen, and let the magic of the performance appear. This is how the most remarkable albums of the 20th century were made, so let’s make more of them!”
Text: Jón Knútur Ásmundsson.