Sunday, April 29, 2018

My studio story with Stuart Allsop

In May 2017 I contacted Stuart Allsop ( a well known studio desinger and acoustic engineer) about designing my studio. We exchanged quite a few mails and we made an agreement:


The normal method of payment can be any combination of wire transfer and PayPal (I prefer PayPal, since it is the cheapest method for both of us), and is split into stages, based on progress with the design. I suggest an initial non-refundable down-payment of 35%, followed by another 25% upon delivery of the initial basic layout and specs, and 30% on delivery of the completed design. The final 10% is payable after the studio is finished and ONLY if it substantially meets or exceeds the design spec goals, or six months after I finish the design. 

I made the first payment in July but there were some huge problems so the money did not go through until 1st week in August. Stuart had said he was very busy but the initial design could be delivered in 2-3 months.

Mail on Oct 18th:
Hi Ricardo,
Nearly there!  Coming soon...
Best regards,

Next mail was 11/16/17
Should be ready on Monday, perhaps before.
Best regards,

First video arrived about Nov 23rd, 2016.  Not on the Monday but at least that same week. This was looking promising but was lacking a roof and ventilation system. IT was late but it did arrive.

Dec 15th
I finally got a link to where I could see the high resolution video from Sketch up and access the skp file. Finally!

We exchanged a lot of very friendly and interactive mails between Dec 16-22nd and I was feeling really positive. I asked for a slightly larger window in the live room and to make the storage area a bit bigger. He said he could do this and I would get the changes in a week or two.  I made the 2nd payment.

Jan 1, 9, 19,20, 24, 26, 30- no answers at all.
Feb 2nd, 6,

All the while Stuart has made at least 50 posts on the forum.

Finally Feb 8th
Hi Ricardo,

I owe you a huge apology.  I've been keeping you waiting for far too long.  I have been working on your project, with several versions of what can be done with the extra half meter, but I have not advanced near as much as I had expected by now, as I have been bogged down in other projects that I thought would be completed by now, plus some personal stuff that I wasn't expecting.  I have no other excuses than that.  Nearly every day I've been telling myself "Today I have to advance on Ricardo0s studio", and somehow something always comes up.

However, I will be taking a vacation next week, and I'll be dedicating most of that time exclusively to your project.  I'll be out of the office, in a small town on the coast, without much internet connection, so there won't be any distractions.  I'm letting all my clients know that I'll be off for a week. So that's my promise to you: I'll give your project the attention it deserves, and hopefully get it to the point where you can get your architect to star on the drawings.

I do apologize, sincerely, for this major issue.  I'll do my best to make up for it next week.

Feb 26th and March 1st a bit of communication but still nothing is finished as promised. No roof or HVAC.

March 8th- the design in different formats and with some of the people and furniture stuff removed… but not complete.

I wrote on the 18th, 25th, April 1st.. Never heard from him again.

Now it is 9 months not 2-3 months as we had agreed and I have a 90% complete design.

We only got to the 2nd payment and the initial basic layout and specs were not completed. There is no roof or ventilation system in my incomplete design.

What we agreed would be delivered with the 3 payments was:

Building layout (considering the above 5 rooms in a building footprint of 70m2), basic structural design (to be reviewed by your own local structural engineer), isolation design, CR geometry, CR treatment, LR treatment, VB treatment, HVAC, and basic Bill of Materials.  

I did not even get half of what was agreed on for the price.

So now, I sit here with my local architect who has never built a studio and we do not have a roof or HVAC system. IT is clear that Stuart had intended to put the ventilation system above the kitchenette and the ducting and silencer boxes above the control room ceiling. ?  The roof in the live room appears to be about 4 meters.

I am way delayed in this project and very frustrated and let down by Stuart.  I know he does amazing work on this John Sayer Studio forum but this is clearly his highest priority in life and not satisfying customers. I love how wise he is but would never ever recommend anyone to pay him to do anything as you never have any idea when you might get it? IF there are a lot of posts on the forum, forget it as he will answer them all before he does anything for you… Pity..

I will have to go for advice somewhere else.
End of my story until I get my studio built—

Sorry Stuart but this was not my fault.. I tried to work with you and was insanely patient.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Roadburn Festival 2018- Tilburg, NL April 18-22nd

I have been coming to Roadburn every year (missed 2017) since 2005.  The Roadburn experience is just part of my life now. The yearly pilgrimage is about to start in Tilburg to meet up with Walter and music enthusiasts from around the world and experience many one off music events.  The focus of the festival is to bring together a one of a kind unique festival experience with a huge variety of music but all of it intense and emotional.  Last year there was a large focus on the Icelandic music scene. This year the highlight will be the San Diego invasion and the interaction of Earthless with some of the Japanese bands. This should be special.  Orangi Pazuzzi meets Dark Buddha Rising to make a brand new piece of music called the Waste of Space orchestra is one I really look forward to as well.

Weds April 18th

Sue and I arrived at 15 in Tilburg, went to our B&B (2 blocks away from the 013), had a little rest, and then sat on the main strip at Café Bakker, which only serves Dutch craft beers. What a great place and some excellent beers, especially the Sleeper, Pine IPA. Yum!!  We ate at the Indonesian place that names their burgers after the bands (see pic). We ate with our friend Anders and Ann-Karin. 

Speed queen
There were three bands playing at the Cul de Sac on this evening, all bands from Belgium. We managed to catch half of Speed Queen, which I quite enjoyed, a fast paced heavy metal with good rock and roll anthems. They even did a cover of Rose Tattoo, who I was telling Anders I had seen opening for ZZTOP. One of the guitar players in Speed Queen had a ZZTOP shirt on. Witch Trial, was a young 3 piece band. I did not like them much. It was a bit doomy but also some fast stuff as well. A bit too bassy in the room for them. We met some friends so we did not catch Butcher.  Great and fun first night and so cool to meet up with old friends.


This might be the hottest day ever at Roadburn 29C today. Some of the places are going to be roasting hot, like the church. We caught about 10mins of Zvi in the Cul de Sac. Sadly, he was playing for about 15 people, one of the smallest crowds I have ever seen for anyone at RB. One guy with a Les Paul and some effects. He was a cool guitar player and did some very interesting things with low end sounds, loops and solos. We did not like it much when he started to sing. IT was not what  I had expected.

We started the day off in the Green room with the US band, Yellow Eyes. Despite being the first band and having a soundcheck, the guitar players set up was all fucked up and so for the first 5mins, they were noodling about with bass over the pre-recorded stuff and a few delay guitars here and there while he struggled. Then they went into something spacey, then post rock heavy with intense drums etc…. Every track was quite different from each other.
Waste of Space Orchestra

The Waste of Space Orchestra was something I was really looking forward to and it was amazing. This was a collaboration with Dark Buddha Rising and Oranssi Pazuzu. A 70min brand new piece of music with matching visuals. It was about 8-10 pieces with different levels of intensity. 9-10 people on stage, two drummers, two bass players, two keyboard players, 3 guitars (one also plays some keys) and a main singer. I was pretty blown away. It truly was the best elements of both bands put together in a unique and amazing way. I hope they release this. 

We managed to get in to see Khemmis, a US doom rock band recently signed to Nuclear Blast with a new album out in June. They had a mix of death metal vocals (bass) and a clean vocal (one of the two guitar players). They had some great songs and some a bit too cliche for the genre. Crowd was into it and they had a great energy. The Church was not too hot yet!

Next up we had a chance to catch a bit of Uniform before Earthless. This was super powerful stuff and I really got into it a lot. A trio that sounded a lot like Ministry. The guitar player had one of the nastiest tones of the festival. Just dirty and mean guitar sound! Singer was great and the drummer pounded with a mixture of triggered drums and real drums. Check out the video.

Earthless played the first of their 3 sets at the festiaval and opened with an amazing 20min track followed by another 15mins jammed out track. Audience was totally into it and the place was packed. I was suprised. We saw them 10 years ago at 1 in the morning in the main hall playing for 500 people… now 3000… The rest of the set except one song was from the new record and with vocals. They ended their 70min set with the Groundhogs song, Cherry Red. This trio just has a great chemistry like the guys in Papir but in a different way. Both have amazing guitar players, drummers and bass players that keep in interesting.

Now we had to get some food. I had hoped to catch some of Insect Art but we did not. Årabrot and Fuoco Fatuo (Italian doom) were also playing. Our friends said Insect Ark was really cool music.  Converge were playing their latest album, The Dusk in Us on the main stage as well. Next band we did see was the Swedish band, Hällas. They were a five piece that sounded like Uriah Heep meets early Iron Maiden, the way their songs sort of galloped! The church was insanely hot now and two of these guys had these capes and face paint on. The bass player was the singer and he did not really have a srong voice. They had a lot of harmony guitar parts, maybe a few too many as it was really over used and not enough traditional guitar solos. Very few keyboard solos. They had a great overall sounds but need a bit more variety as all the songs were fast to mid paced.  I enjoyed it quite a bit though.  
Cult of Luna, a band I have seen a few times many years ago were now on the main stage with female singer, Julie Christmas. They had a great sound and amazing lights. Quite psychedelic at times the way they use the strobes, fog and lights from behind the band. It was pretty intense as they usually are. People were really into it and the hall was packed.
Cult of Luna

Hooded Menace were doing their album Fulfill the Curse in the church, and Bong Ra Future Doom in the green room but I really wanted to see Mirror Queen in the Cul De Sac, as their album last year was one of my favortites. The place was only half full when they started but soon was pretty packed. They focused mainly on tracks from the new album and these sounded great. The weak link is the lead vocal. Kenny is not a bad singer but just not that powerful or unique. That might push the band to another level. Anyway, Starliner was a real highlight for me in the set and the very BOC inspired track from the new album was also great live with a nice long solo section.  People were into it and they were great.
Mirror queen

The night ended with choices of Weedeater playing their Good Luck and Good Speed album on the main stage, Harsh Toke’s 1st set in the Church or some extreme metal stuff with Dawn Ray’d or Une Misére. All our friends headed off to Harsh Toke. Sue, my wife, was really tired so we called it a night. Really wanted to see Harsh toke but they have two more sets at the festival still. Heard it was the best gig of the day. You can hear it below. 

Over all, it was a great first day and so cool to see many old friends again here in Tilburg…


This was such an incredible day or music and guitar solos! The San Diego invasion was in full force today. It was simply impossible to see all the great music on today but we tried.  I was quite disappointed that I missed Harsh Toke last night as many said it was the best show of the festival.

We started at 14 in the church with the Hugsjå workshop. This was Einar and Ivar plus one on hand drums and vocals and a lady of violin. Einar told stories and then they would play songs. It was pretty cool and already very hot in the chruch. I enjoyed it alot but the talked too long. 

Motorpsycho played a killer 2hr show with Reine Fiske playing most keyboard/mellotron but also some guitar. They opened with a 26mins version of Un chein de Espace. Fucking amazing. Snah was playing the coolest and most intense guitar I have ever seen. The new drummer was fantastic and driving the band into a more rocky territory. They played quite a few tracks from the new album as well. Ship of Fools was a great version.  Amazing concert. One of the best I have ever seen them play.
Next we tried to see a bit of Supersonic Blues but the Hall of Fame room was so packed and hot, we just skipped it and went and waited for Kikaguku Moyo in the Klopelhal. This is a huge new place about the size of Den Grå Hall in Christiania. I guess you can have 2000 people in there. Sounds was very good and KM was excellent as always. Such a cool vibe to their music. They also played two new songs which I liked a lot. I hope we can find their new album when it comes out.  Great band.

Heard that Comet Control was good but it was too far to go so we went for Sacri Monte jam and was right in the front. Isaiah from earthless played the first 15mins jam with them so they have three lead guitar players and keyboards. It was a huge wall of guitar masturbation but sadly very poor muddy sound. YOu could hardly hear the guitar anywhere in the room. Sound guy said it was because the bass rig was too loud on stage. He did turn up the guitars after I spoke to him so it was a bit better after Issaih left. Worst sound of the festival so far though. Pity..
Sacri Monte Jam with Issaih
Minami Deutsch was a hypnotic CAN inspired thing with this total CAN bass and drum groove and then the two guitar players played some stuff over the top. It was pretty cool if you let yourself just get sucked into it. Some of it was very muck like the band Folkezoid from Chile.

We needed to rest and get some food so we missed Petyr doing a set of 70s covers in the Hall of Fame, so next up was Damo Suzuki and Earthless. They actually had the sitar-keyboard player from Kikagaku Moyo playing with them as well. This was one pretty intense 75min jam. Damo looked and sang great. It was very hot in the hall but people were pretty engaged. Issaih still was able to do a lot of solos and there were some intense interactions with the guitar and sitar. The sound was not very good though. Way better for Kikagaku Moyo. Issaih played with a lot of delay which gave it a more spaced out sound.
Damo and Earthless
Time to go back into the super hot Hall of Fame for Red Octopus, another project with the Harsh Toke guitar player, Gabriel. This was a killer spaced out blues stoner rock jam. Gabriel used a lot of delay on his guitar solos and riffs which gave it his really special sound but the chords were often quite blues oriented70s hard rock riffs. It was a great hr of music.
Red Octopus
 Dhidalah, which features the ex-church of misery guitar player were a trio that played a mix of some doomy Sabbath like riffs mixed in with some very cool psychedelic stuff. The bass player had a lot of pedals and did some cool stuff when they went into the more spacey psychedelic parts. Pretty cool. I really want to hear their album now. 
Next, I hung out in the back stage with all the San Diego bands before JOY. IT gave me some good time to get to know the JOY guys and talk about what we might do on the gig on Sunday.

JOY just destroyed the place! They were so hungry to play. IT was like Cactus on Speed. The rhythm section totally reminded me of Carmine and Tim from Cactus. Zakk was just killing it on the guitar. Audience was totally into it. I have a great time but was super tired now. Time to go…


Tim- Supersonic Blues
The day started off early with Bell Witch performing their album Mirror Reaper (83mins) in the Koepelhal.  We arrived over there only about 10mins late but the hall was too full and there was a long cue so we walked about the merch area (bought a few cheap CDs) and listened as you could hear it well.  At 15:50, Supersonic Blues, a young Dutch band, whom we could not get into the room to see on the first day played a 2nd set. I have their 7” record and it is really good so I looked forward to hear them and they were great. A real authentic UK late 60’s early 70s sound. A mix of 1st black Sabbath record, Cream and early UFO.. They even did a cool cover of the Coming of Prince Kajuku from UFO’s 2nd record (1971). Excellent band.

Next up was the 2nd show with Damo Suzuki paired up with the very Kraut inspired Minami Deutsch, who we saw the day before. This was totally packed and we were in hot sweaty place just behind the visual guy. This took quite a long time to get going and I feel like the Japanese are a bit too polite so they don’t want to get in the way of Damo, which can make it quite boring at times as both the guitars played long sections of nearly the same riffs, no one was taking any solos or any risks… Eventually, they did all come together with some pretty cool music but the evolution was too long and some of it was boring. The Earthless with Damo was much more exciting and on edge.

Panopticon, was a total surprise. We just stepped into the main hall to see what was going on. A very intense US metal band that also played some real folk inspired stuff. A track Dark Waters was wonderful. Singer had a great voice. Reminded me a bit of some of the Nate Hall stuff.

Zakk ripping it up with Volcano
Volcano blew me away totally. I am a huge fan of Afrobeat music and this was the guys from San Diego going for that type of sound. Zakk from Joy on vocals and guitar, Gabriel (Harsh Toke, Red Octypus) on vocal and keyboard, bass player from Red Octypus, also guitarist in Sacri Monte), Mario from Earthless on congas and bongos, Thomas from Joy on percussion and Zakk’s brother on drums. WOW… 45mins of killer grooves and great guitar solos and cool songs. They have recorded a record and looks like Tee Pee will release it this year. Excellent stuff.

Next, we walked directly in and caught the very beginning of the Boris & Stephen O Malley performing Absolutego. This was totally mind blowing. Very slow to develop for the first 10mins and then just insanely loud explosion of insanity and noise only to fade back down into another universe of sound. Very spacey at times.. I was transfixed and frightented.  I did not see the entire piece but quite a lot and then it was into the HEADs from the UK.

I have seen them in the bat cave, green room, church, main stage and now back in the Green Room. This was also super loud and intense. I think they played 6-7 long tracks and the first seemed like a jam with amazing lead guitar. It might be the best I have ever seen them play. I was so blown away and the 2nd to least track was a very Hawkwind like piece that I just loved.. Amazing.. One of the best of the festival.

I really wanted to go see Dhidalah in the Hall of Fame but was too tired and took the easy way out and tried to squeeze into the Godspeed you Black Emperor. They had only been playing maybe 10mins at this point.  It was a lot like what I remember them being like 20 years ago when I saw them in Copenhagen.  Very slow building and beautiful music with stand up bass, violin, three guitars, two drummers…. And then the music takes on a whole new dimension with some quite rocking stuff at times with very interesting guitar playing. Some almost sounded like organ or keyboards (which I did not see any on stage, but it was very dark). They used real 16mm films for their projections. Mostly old black and white stuff.  Amazing show..  I did not see the entire show but it was great what I saw.

Sacri Monte was next and this was a killer show, way better than their jam show in the Hall of Fame, mainly because the sound was great here. What a killer 6 piece band. They have these long 7-9min tracks where everyone is so well written and epic. Both guitar players are excellent and trade off and do a lot of harmony stuff, a bit like Wishbone Ash. I think they are a bit like Allman Brothers with the southern and blues removed! Just a fantastic set. I have to get their record.

Sacri Monte
I was totally blasted having seen nearly 4 straight hours of music and not going outside the 013 18 now…

Greenmachine from Japan were playing in the Church but I was too blasted. I went and sat on the stairs and watched the Earthless meets Kikagaku Moyo East meets West jam set up. Have one last beer.

This was extremely good. The raga started off with just the sitar player from KM and Issaih from Earthless trading licks like in an Indian raga. After maybe 5mins, the two guitar players from KM came out and joined, shortly followed by the two bass players from the bands (although one would play floor tom for the first jam), then the drummers and finally the last member of KM.  They did two jams, each about 30mins long. The first more meditative and building and the 2nd with a lot of energy and the Japanese guitar players really going for it. Issaih only let off one ripping solo in the entire hour towards the end, he mostly played cool rhtym guitar.  IT was excellent and a great way to end the evening.

I really wanted to see Hair of the Dog but was simply to tired to right into the Cul de Sac to see them. I really love the album the released last year. Pity..


I was pretty tired from the night before but decided to go check out Petyr (pronounced Peter) at the Skate Park. We arrived a bit before 14 and there was about 30-40 people there. The sound was very harsh in this concrete hall with a metal roof but it was decent if you were right up front but very loud!  Thee guys are cool. A quite dark stoner doom rock with lots of lead guitars.  Cool band and very nice people.

Next up was a new band called Iron Chin from Holland. It features members of Devil’s Blood and XXX.  They had a great sound and the lead singer had a great voice and was a very good lead guitar player playing some excellent solos. The first two songs, one called Iron Chin, were originals and then they played Raging River of Fear by Captain Beyond. Great version. Drummer was excellent. Now, the guys from JOY came out to add a 3rd guitar, some percussion and Rusty played the keyboard. This first track was a sort of long jam it seemed but with some worked out themes and then they did a cover by an old Dutch band that was a sort of Iggy Pop meets Hawkwind like track with a great groove. This was excellent. Zakk was great on the guitar but you could hardly hear him. Seems the sound man was not really paying much attention to the guests as they were hardly in the mix. Pity.

            Now we went back to the skate park to see Harsh Toke play another set. Since I missed the set in the church. The band looked  a bit ragged and tired and Gabriel, the leader, mentioned something about them drinking like 3000 beers this week. Anyway, after a bit of although start they started to really kick ass after they played Urban. IT was a few songs and a lot of jams.  When they get in the zone, this is a killer jam band. Wow…  Pharlee was playing another show at the skatepark at about 18.
Harsh Toke
Now, I met up with some of the JOY guys to discuss what we were going to try to do on this night at 2230 at the Cul de Sac. We had been hanging out a bit over the days but more on this day.  Most of the San Diego guys just hang out and backstage or at the bar they call the Midget bar down at the end of the long main row of bars and restaurants. They rarely go see any bands except their friends. A bit strange they are not at all interested in experiencing anything new??

There were a lot of other cool bands today- Bellwitch, Hell, Zonal ft. Moor Mother, LLNN, God Speed you Black Emperor, VMO, Zuriaake from China and Bison.

My concert with JOY featuring Dr Space was a blast and I am not sure I have ever seen Cul de Sac so packed it was very hot. I was dripping with sweat. We started off with a long jam, probably 40-50mins long and then we played Spaceship Earth by Road and jammed out on one of their tracks, Miles Away. People seem to be totally into it and we had a great response. I think we all had a great natural HIGH after the gig. Thanks to Walter for making this happen. It was my 5th time to play Roadburn with 5 different bands.

I had an amazing time and it was so great to meet up with lots of old and new friends. So many highlights this year. One of the best Roadburn’s ever.  I really hope Walter and his crew and keep this psychedelic and 70s rock music vibe vein running through the program next year.  This was the most improvised and most jamming ever at Roadburn. Congrats..