Photo by Andy Hawkes
Quarantine Diaries: Marc Scibilia Is Building A Studio & Listening To Beastie Boys With His Daughter
As the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic continues to rock the music industry, the Recording Academy reached out to a few musicians to see how they were spending their days indoors. Today, singer/songwriter Marc Scibilia shares his Quarantine Diary.
[6 a.m.–8 a.m.] The first two hours of my morning I hang out with my 16-month-old daughter, Naomi. It was a little tough to get used to not diving into work when I wake up but I have really grown to love it. We listen to Beastie Boys' "Intergalactic" no less than 15 times every morning. She walks over to the record player and signals for more. I have tried so many other artists and songs but they do not work. I guess it's fitting since it was probably my favorite song as a kid.
[8 a.m.–10 a.m.] Our babysitter gets to the house and I start my work day. I run 1–3 miles, lift light weights and shower. I try to have a phone conversation with one of my friends… sadly most of them aren’t up, but Troy or Thad is a good bet. I read for about 20–30 minutes, I fill out a detailed plan of what I am going to accomplish in the day. I use a guideline my friend Donald Miller created (I would recommend it for any creative person who has trouble focusing their energy).
[10 a.m.–11 a.m.] I listen to what I was recording the day before—usually I have mixed feelings. Love some of it, hate some of it. I try to make some gut decisions and move on. If there are people that are helping me on things… players, mixers etc. I try to get them going early in the day so we can all be finished with stuff by the end of the day. Since we’ve been in quarantine for about three months and I’ve barely left my house, I’m relying mostly on emails, FaceTime, texts and voice notes for speed.
[12 p.m.–2 p.m.] My current studio is in the basement of my house. It's 7.5 foot ceilings and no natural light, so I go down into the creative dungeon with some hesitancy at the beginning of every day. At this point, I finally start making music. Once a song is written, I usually start by capturing a scratch vocal and one instrument—whether that be guitar or piano—to map out the structure. After that, I try to understand the rhythm of the song by adding some drums. At this point, I let my imagination take me wherever it’ll go. There’s really no set of steps. It’s really about how I can best bring the song to life. One of my go-to instruments is the Moog 1 synthesizer (the first polyphonic synthesizer they’ve put out in like 30 years!)
[3 p.m.–5 p.m.] I am finishing building a studio in my backyard that has a ton of windows and 23 foot high ceilings but none of this record will be made there. This all comes from the basement. I’m not involved with the technical side of building the studio, in fact I’m probably a nuisance. I am involved in the vision of how I want it to work. Since I spend most of my time when I’m not touring, I like being very involved in the way the space feels on the creative side.
[5 p.m.–7 p.m.] Since I have been finishing an album most of my time is music production and finishing recordings. If I’m making good progress in the day, I like to end the day with a game or two of FIFA online.
If you wish to support our efforts to assist music professionals in need, learn more about the Recording Academy's and MusiCares COVID-19 Relief Fund.
If you are a member of the music industry in need of assistance, visit the MusiCares website.