Whose House? Scott Nolan’s House

House music: With a backyard studio, Scott Nolan can record whatever, whenever

Kaitlyn Emslie Farrell

You know when you love something so much that you want it all the time? Scott Nolan has definitely done that with the creation of his own backyard music studio.

“It’s built kind of as a garage basically, it’s low-key,” Nolan says. “The stuff in my studio, I started collecting from when I was about five-years-old and strangely I’ve been able to keep this stuff and protect it and not wreck it. 

“So, all these years later I’ve finally got a space that I built for the purposes of writing and recording. Just to be able to go out there every day and see some of these things that go back to when I just started walking. That’s a really great thing.” 

Nolan, 39, has played with bands (Leaderhouse, Motel 75) in the past, but he feels most comfortable as an almost solo artist, joined only by drummer Joanna Miller, his longtime musical partner. 

“It’s just not an easy thing to manage,” says Nolan of bands. “Strangely the best thing I ever did was lose the ability to manage a five-piece band.”

1. Pump organ

“I came up playing music at the old Blue Note Café. I got really close with the family. I took this gift from Richard Borowski.”

2. Record collection

“Sometimes I’ll do the math and think, ‘man, we spent over $1,000 on records last month.’ We buy one to seven records a week at least.”

3. Winston Churchill painting

“I found this painting while on the road. On a closer look I discovered that it was painted by a young painter by the name of Kellesimone Waits, who is a daughter of my songwriting heroes, Tom Waits, and Kathleen Brennan.”

4. Bee

“She’s actually really funny when she’s being held. When you roll her on her back or pick her up like that, it’s like she goes paralyzed.”

5. Grand piano

“This piano is significant to me because it’s one of my best friend’s family’s piano. This is the piano him and his siblings grew up playing.”

6. Guitars

“One of these is a ‘73 Martin, and it was my road manager, Ernie Blackburn’s guitar. Ernie was a dear friend and dear supporter. I was helping his mom with his estate, I came across it and I just had to have it. I had to offer his mom a fair price, but I didn’t know if I could afford it. I left my house to go see his mom and I stop and open my mailbox and there was a SOCAN [Society of Composers, Authors and Music Publishers of Canada] royalty cheque for the exact amount that I wanted to offer for the guitar.”

7. Backyard Studio

“It’s the first time in my life I’ve had my one space where I can have all my stuff.”

Published in Volume 68, Number 18 of The Uniter (January 29, 2014)

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