Sonic Circumstances: Kate Diaz Records in an Abandoned Bear Cage

July 11, 2017 | by Jon Simmons

Kate Diaz at Franklin Park Zoo - Adbandoned Bear Cage

Courtesy of Live from Nowhere


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, singer-songwriter Kate Diaz shares the story of when she recorded in an abandoned bear cage at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston.

What she recorded:

Diaz recorded an acoustic performance of her original song “Cameo.”

Where she recorded:

As part of the Live from Nowhere video series, we recorded at an abandoned bear cage exhibit at the Franklin Park Zoo in Boston last summer. Emily and Nico, the creators of the series, gave me a few choices of abandoned spaces we could film at, and I chose the bear cage because it was such a sunny, beautiful setting. I chose to perform my song “Cameo” because it has an upbeat vibe that matched the bright vibe, and the lyrics parallel how the space is no longer used and made a cameo experience in the zoo’s history.

Kate Diaz at Franklin Park Zoo - Adbandoned Bear Cage 2

How the location affected her recording process:

Nico set up two mics and ran them through an interface to record the performance. It didn’t really affect my playing too much.

It was really cool to hear natural elements like bird chirps and gusts of wind come through in the recording, which added such a nice, calming atmosphere to the performance. It was a very open space acoustically. Overall, the experience was amazing, and I would definitely love to perform in an unconventional outdoor space again.

How playing to just a film crew affected her recording process:

It didn't really bother me. It was fun to play in nature on such a nice summer day, but it was also cool see all the filming effects and gear that the crew was using. One of the cameramen had a camera attached to a harness, and that's how we got those aerial-looking shots.

Learn more about Kate Diaz on her official website.

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

Sonic Circumstances: Kate Diaz Records in an Abandoned Bear Cage