Choosing to record in San Francisco at Tiny Telephone

Before I had kids I used to spend an entire weekend holed up in my bedroom recording. I loved getting lost in the process. After I had kids getting lost in the recording process was not an option. I had my first kid 8 years ago, so, aside from a few one-off projects, I have not done much recording since my first child was born. So when I finally decided to record my first “proper” CD this year in a real bona-fide recording studio, I wanted to do it in a place far from the demands of my day job and of parenthood. I wanted to sequester myself and focus completely on recording and I knew that was not possible if I was to stay in town, so I chose to record elsewhere.

I am not sure how I remembered the name “Tiny Telpehone” I must have come across it in the liner notes for some random CD. Somehow, the name stuck with me so on that first night when i went cyber-exploring for a place to record, I typed “Tiny Telephone” into the search engine. Next thing I knew, I was emailing John Vanderslice, the studio owner. This is what my email said:

John,
I am a singer-songwriter from San Luis Obispo looking to record an album April-ish. I’ve read about Tiny telephone in the past and it looks like it could work, but i suppose you would be a better judge of that based upon what I am looking for:
I have a couple of young kids. Before they came along I did a lot of lo-fi home recording which I am quite proud of. I played all instruments myself and made good old fashioned 3 chord garage folk/rock kind of stuff. But family distractions/day job etc no longer allow for those long, uninterrupted weekends when i would record away. I still write a lot of songs and play solo acoustic shows but cannot ratchet up on my own time to produce my stuff. So I am looking for a studio where I can record but also have the input/resources of a producer who can help shape my songs with ideas and guest musicians. I play in a bit of a vacuum so i wish i could drag a cadre of musicians in the studio with me, but I do not have those resources.
So, in a nutshell, I am not looking for a place where someone will simply press record. I need help. Help with musicians, with ideas, etc. In my humble opinion, I think i write good songs, but i need help bringing them to produced fruition.
I figure I would need at least a week. I’m hoping for some studio serendipity. My goal would be to have 10 songs album ready.
Any input is appreciated!
Thanks,
Derek Senn

And this was John’s response:

derek, this sound perfect for the studio actually.
we have a large group of exceptional, well-priced session folks.

i love the songs, listened to the entire man cave man and will listen more tonight.
i can hook you up with a producer no problem.

it might be easier to talk quickly on phone.

i’m around all day tomorrow. Call me.

april is good, feb and march are sold out.

thanks derek and THANKS for thinking of us!!
__________________________

Next thing I knew, I had booked 10 days at Tiny Telephone.

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