David Stukenberg's one-of-a-kind recording studio? An East Troy silo
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David Stukenberg’s new album “The Silo Project,” released last month, was recorded inside an East Troy-area farm silo. Click on photo above to watch Joel Hager's video trailer.
EAST TROY — Last year, before musician and songwriter David Stükenberg could start recording his latest album, he had to clean loads of trash and even rusty farm equipment from his studio space: a silo on a former pig farm near East Troy.
Stükenberg, 24, who now lives in Madison, was composing songs while renting the farmhouse when he got into a lively discussion with friends over what true art really is.
“We talked about how as an artist, you have to create something that has integrity,” he recalled. “It has to be a part of you — not fabricated, but something real, already a part of your surroundings.”
He remembered saying, only half-seriously, “I suppose that means I should just do an album right here on the farm.” And out of that seemingly preposterous idea came “The Silo Project,” released just last month.
“It had nothing to do with the novelty aspect at all,” Stukenberg said. “We had a lot of songs that we wanted to record, but we didn’t have the funding for a standard studio environment. What we had to work with was a silo.”
Art may be a part of your surroundings, but recording an album in a silo isn’t that simple, he discovered.
He knew sound was going to be particularly troublesome.
“Doing something inside of what is essentially a stray sound magnet doesn’t lend itself to quality audio,” he said. “The music was, literally, recorded inside a giant tin can.”
“I think the silo ... forced the album to be more of a folk project,” he said. “There’s only so much rock ’n’ roll you can fit through a 23-inch hole.”
One of the things that made an already difficult project even tougher was that Stukenberg’s friend, New York filmmaker Joel Hager, decided to make a movie of “The Silo Project.” Hager basically used one camera, getting up close and personal on nearly every part of the six-month recording process, from lighting obstacles to impromptu concerts in the silo for friends.
Watch the video HERE.
The challenge, however, was worth the results.
“More than anything I was happy with the way the film looked,” Hager said. “It really came together as a story.”
Read the full story in the e-edition of Walworth County Sunday, PAGE 18A.