Sonic Circumstances: American Echoes Records in a Deserted Railroad Tunnel

August 15, 2017 | by Jon Simmons

American Echoes

American Echoes | Courtesy of Live from Nowhere | Photo by Emily Graham-Handley


Gone are the days where musicians had to record songs in a studio. Sonic Circumstances is an interview series that features musicians talking about unique places they’ve recorded and how location influenced their experience. In this chapter, sister indie-rockers American Echoes talk about the time they recorded in a deserted railroad tunnel with Live from Nowhere.

What did you record?

"Diddle" from 2015 EP Hungry

Where did you record?

Part of the whole premise of the live from nowhere series is that we don't discuss the locations with the public. We might have been in illegal territory, and we don't want to incriminate anyone involved or ourselves. We can say that it happened in the state of Massachusetts.

How did the location affect your recording process?

We had to walk for a long time through a completely pitch black old train tunnel in order to arrive at the destination for the shoot. Everything we needed to perform and record the video we carried on our backs. It was very creepy to walk in the dark and not know where we were going and how the location would work out. Once we arrived though, the team that scouted the location and shot the video did an awesome job, and we are very pleased with the outcome.

The sound was very unique because we were singing from the center of a ravine, with a quarter or half mile train tunnel right behind us. We played around a little with singing from the mouth of the tunnel into the ravine, and then from the ravine into the tunnel. We ended with the shot you see. The season was turning and the leaves were falling elegantly around us. It created a beautiful dreamlike quality to the aesthetic, and our wonderment and happiness at the connection with nature came through.

“We made a few frog friends. There was a lot of awesome graffiti in the tunnel...some of which was too risque to be included in the video. I would never have gone into that tunnel alone. Let's just say that. It was spooky.

Learn more about American Echoes on their Facebook page.

Be ready to record your song ideas when they hit. Download the Spire app, a free, multi-track recording app for iPhone.

Sonic Circumstances: American Echoes Records in a Deserted Railroad Tunnel