The Tour Bus: 3 Questions with Guerrilla Roots Band Damn Tall Buildings

June 23, 2017 | by Jon Simmons


Damn Tall Buildings | Photo by Tucker Mitchel


The Tour Bus is an ongoing series featuring musicians talking about staying creative while touring as well as offering mobile recording tips from the road. In this installment, Avery “Montana” Ballotta (vocals/fiddle) of guerilla roots string band Damn Tall Buildings weighs in.

What mobile recording challenges do you run into, and how do you work around them?

We are often inspired to release videos of new/reworked material while on the road, and tend to run into the most limitations when it comes to capturing quality sound. We’ve experimented with a few work-arounds, the chief of them being playing around a single condenser mic into an audio interface/macbook. This doesn’t always pan out, of course, due to the pace of our tours and available space. When inspiration strikes in the van, or camping in one of our National Parks, we usually record directly to an iPhone. While this has worked in the past, the lower audio quality has tended to dissuade us from jumping on every creative moment.

Where do you find inspiration for songwriting on the road?

Where DON’T we find inspiration on the road?! Conversations, scenery, architecture, and exhaustion among many other things are constantly providing rich inspiration for our songs and creativity.

How has touring affected your songwriting?

Having jumped into touring early on in our career, our travels quickly became a strong influencer of our songwriting (as well as our band ethos). One of our favorite things about touring is getting to be a part of many different people’s lives for a day or two at a time. Everyone we meet has a new story, a new perspective, new idea we’ve yet to hear—getting the opportunity to revel in these things together, in rapid succession, creates a momentum of inspiration that is unlike anything else. As we tour with the songs birthed from that momentum, we’ve found this cycle of inspiration to be a unifying force bringing us closer with our fa(n)mily, and immense fuel for our creativity as a whole.


Damn Tall Buildings | Photos by Tucker Mitchell

Catch Damn Tall Buildings on tour.


Be ready to record your song ideas wherever you are. Download the Spire app, a free, multi-track recording app for iPhone.