A shed in rural Donegal could turn out to be the saviour of the north west’s music industry.
Treehouse Productions is an entity formed by south Donegal musicians Keith Mannion of Slow Place Like Home fame and former Wild Herring band member Patsy O’Kane. Over the past number of years the two friends have been using Patsy’s shed as a venue to showcase small musical events.
With their diaries decimated due to the Covid pandemic though, Keith and Patsy have used their spare time to develop the shed into an environment fit for multi-purpose recording of live studio performances.
Since September 25 the shed has hosted three acts performing as part of the Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival. Among those who have stepped up to the microphone so far are Ego the Jackal, Alan Finan and Reevah while Mirenda Rosenberg brought the curtain down on the festival’s series of gigs on Saturday.
Outlining where the idea to transform a shed in the depths of south Donegal into a top class recording studio came from, Keith Mannion said, “At the start of all this we had no idea what was going to happen to our careers. As time progressed I started watching some of the broadcasts that were appearing online and some of them were terribly poor in terms of sound and lighting.
“We did shed shows every year for a few years, just these little soirees made in Patsy’s shed, and they were great fun. But early in the summer I pulled everyone together and said that if we are going to do this, then we have to get it right.”
Keith and Patsy spent ten weeks working morning to night sound proofing the shed, building a stage and transforming it into a proper music studio.
“It was just the two of us every single day, some days we were eating our dinner at midnight because we were so busy. But it helped us get through it and we wanted to do it to get people in the industry back to work and artists back performing again. That is why this tiny collective of close collaborators has been established, with that purpose in mind.”
What the two musicians have created is a fully functional studio complete with recording desks, mixing equipment, everything required to meet the needs of a professional performer.
“The goal is to keep moving because we don’t know when the entertainment industry is going to come back or if it will come back at all,” said Keith.
“We now live in a world of visual arts and for us, we are learning on the fly. We aren’t in this for the money, for us it is about the arts and right now all we want to do is give artists that platform.
“We aren’t looking for cover artists or session musicians, we are looking for people who want to get into the studio and create. We are genuinely looking to showcase talent, particularly in the north west.”
Keith said Treehouse was an interesting concept because the committee has no idea how it will go.
“But we do know what we want to achieve,” he added.
While still in its infancy the Treehouse team already has plans to expand their project beyond the walls of the shed.
The Donegal Bay and Blue Stacks Festival performances are available to watch on YouTube.
To submit music to Treehouse Productions for consideration, the committee can be contacted via Facebook, Twitter and Instagram or email, email@example.com.