Tay Oskee Goes The Behind The Scenes Of Building A Recording Studio In A Shipping Container

17 April 2023 | 11:19 am | Tay Oskee

I was investing in something that we could move with us wherever we decided to live next...

(Supplied by Tay Oskee)

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The album all started with a move up to a property in Kin Kin, QLD. 

I had planned to record in the cabin / shed my wife and I were living in, but the noise of the bush, roosters and tin roof was way too loud to get anything done. This is when I had the idea to build a recording studio in an old shipping container; this way, I was investing in something that we could move with us wherever we decided to live next. 

Pic supplied by Tay Oskee

The whole build took a few months, with some much-needed help from friends and family here and there. I had no idea what I was doing, and about two months of the build was planning and second guessing what will work, will it be soundproof, how do I make it sound decent inside etc. Once I was finally committed, it kinda flew by, and the end result was better than I could have ever expected.

With a new studio done, I went straight into recording the album. It was one of the most challenging things I have ever done. To completely self-produce and engineer these songs meant I was constantly fighting myself and second-guessing if I could do it. I played all the instruments on the album except for the piano, which was done by Jason Daniels and trumpets for RawBrass on Fiver! Sequoia and Let The Fire Burn were mixed by Garrett Kato and everything else I did, trying to match what he had done, haha. That really helped me get it over the line.

Pic supplied by Tay Oskee

The build took around four months; we were flooded in for a few weeks and couldn't get supplies, so it blew out a little bit, time-wise. The idea came from a YouTube video I saw a while back, but the main thing that attracted me to the idea was that I could build something that was mine and could be moved when we purchase property or move to another property.

It’s a used shipping container bought off Facebook Marketplace. We went with new structural pine for the frame, 16mm plasterboard for the walls and window trim and a new split system aircon. Pretty much everything else is marketplace finds and recycled. The windows are from an old QLDer; the floor was left over from someone's renovation, and the back wall and trims are from an old deck that got ripped up, which I had to plane down and take out the nails. 

Pic supplied by Tay Oskee

The insulation was a bunch of different leftovers from friends and Marketplace, and the sound panels I made using leftover rockwool and coffee sacks from a local roaster. The ceiling facade is bracing ply, which we cut into lengths and stained to make it look like it was hardwood. The paint is leftovers from a friend after a renovation. We built the frame with gaps to stop sound transferring and rubber to dampen the floor and corners where there would be any touching of the frame. All the rubber was used leftovers on Marketplace also.

Pic supplied by Tay Oskee

The bulk was done by me however, I had lots of help from my dad, who is a self-trained carpenter, and other friends/family here and there. A fan/friend offered his welding skills for two days, but we didn't get it all finished. He was generous enough to lend the welder, so I did a fair bit of welding too. It would have been next to impossible to do it completely by myself, so a huge thanks to everyone who helped out. Also, the electrical work and aircon were put in professionally.

We got absolutely flooded in with huge rainfall (over 1m in 2 days on our gauge), and the whole container was mouldy on the inside, so I had to hand clean the whole thing before we got started. The floorboards were the same; each one had to be individually cleaned before we laid them; so much work! The container is still not 100% finished either; I plan to put on a roof deck with speakers so we can listen to mixes with a beer overlooking the valley after a hard day's work. Also, a little deck on so we can chill outside when we need it.

Pic supplied by Tay Oskee

The theme of the songwriting on the album is one of inclusiveness of all people and regaining your spirit and mind. The world is a hectic place, and I have definitely had periods where my mental health has suffered, so hopefully, these songs can take people on an uplifting journey. Connect back to nature and with your fellow humans.

Tay Oskee's new album, Keepers Of The Morning, is out now. You can check it out here

Pic supplied by Tay Oskee