Connect with us

HotSpot

Alone, at last, in a hideaway

Musicians Joey Puyat and Kowboy Santos find sanctuary in their respective man caves

Pocholo Concepcion

Published

on

My music “studio” is a place where I can pretty much do what I feel like, whether to rock out with my gear, learn and write new songs, read, relax and listen to music, shoot a video or watch Netflix and Amazon Prime with my wife. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF KOWBOY SANTOS

A man cave is anything that gives space and privacy to the male head or member of the family.

It can be a basement, a den, a spare room.

It can be as luxurious as a home theater, as adventurous as a tree house or as simple as a lounge chair in a corner of the house.

Privileged is the man with a room to indulge his passions and hobbies undisturbed for hours.

Daily Tribune asked two top musicians from different generations to give us a glimpse of their respective caves.

Joey Puyat is a corporate executive who has been able to pursue his love of music as a guitarist for over 30 years.

He plays with two bands, the Blue Rats and Kiss the Bride.

He told us that the pandemic has allowed him to spend more time in his music room, which was made to store his gear when he and his wife, Tinette Ozamis-Puyat, were remodelling their house three years ago.

Kowboy Santos has music running in his veins.

His mother, Tessie Alfonso-Santos, is better known as ’70s Pinoy rock queen Sampaguita.

His father, Nilo Santos, is the man who brought Eric Clapton to perform at the Araneta Coliseum, aside from producing the fabled New Moon Concerts and managing the early careers of Mike Hanopol and Sampaguita.

My dogs Ziggy and Sage (both mini Schnauzers) love to hang out here, too.

“The best thing I did was to move in and finish the renovations right before the lockdown,” Kowboy, the guitarist of the band Pig Dog and husband of Nannette de Leon-Santos, said about an unoccupied bedroom in his house that he converted into a “music studio.”

Kowboy Santos: ‘The new space is my own aesthetic, pretty much rock ‘n’ roll’
My music room holds almost all my guitars and amps.

I keep some outside to save space.

My work desk has JBL reference speakers and a Yamaha THR 5 desk amp, and my laptop has a small mixer and interface, with AKG and Shure microphones.

My drum kit and the rest of my live sound gear (PA, backup amps, cables, mics, lights, ceiling fan, etc.) are also stored outside the room, and can be set up whenever we have jam sessions or a party.

Also in the room are my work desk, which has JBL reference speakers and a Yamaha THR 5 desk amp, and my laptop, which has a small mixer and interface, with various microphones, AKG and Shures.

My flatscreen Samsung LED TV and my sound system that has a Marrantz amplifier going through Sony vintage speakers are for my viewing and listening pleasure.

My main guitars here are mostly Fenders (Stratocasters and a Telecaster), Gibsons (an SG, a Les Paul and a Firebird), and also some Taylor and Martin acoustic guitars.

I have some one-offs, including an Epiphone and a PureSalem TomCat.

I have a few guitar effects that are mounted on a Pedal Train pedalboard, mainly a Strymon BigSky, a Keeley Red Dirt, EQD Hoof Fuzz pedal, MXR Flanger and an EQD The Depths UniVibe for that Hendrix sound.

My guitar amps are a Fender Blues Jr. III, A 59 LTD Bassman, a Vox and my most recent one is an EVH 5150 III with a Laney 2×12 Cab loaded w Celestion Vintage 30s.
I relax on my La-Z-Boy Leather recliner, the Cardinal.

I also have a basic lighting setup for recording videos for my band or myself, along with some tripod stands and some cameras, like GoPro and Olympus.

Outside of sound, I keep a collection of knives and axes, Lionsteel, Victorinox, CRKT and Benchmades.

My skateboard is on display, as well as various artworks that I have collected throughout my travels and some art by local artists like Gringo Grass.

This is also where I can monitor the CCTV system I had installed throughout the house and outside, on a separate monitor.

My music room is what I dubbed the “studio” room in the house, when I moved most of my gear to the room that could tolerate the most “noise” coming from it.

It is situated in the front portion of the house on the second floor.

I started working on it with minor renovations (lighting, new paint, resanding the floors, bathroom was previously renovated) early this year and was able to move my gear in by March, right before the lockdown.

The room has always been a part of the house.

It was a bedroom but it didn’t have anyone in it for a long time.

Previously I occupied a multipurpose room on the other side of the house, but it was next to the neighbors.

I felt like I was intrusive by being louder than usual for a neighbor, although no one complained.

I decided the music room was better for me, as it sits in the front portion of the house and has the most space around it, with my neighbor’s pool adjacent. It’s more tolerable for noise, rather than being right next to the bedrooms.

I go here every day.

I was able to finish fixing the room literally a few days before the lockdown.

My listening preference leans heavily towards hard bop jazz: Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Art Blakey, early Miles Davis and John Coltrane, etc.

When it started, there was nothing you really could do except stay at home. I was able to shoot quarantine videos for my band Pigdog and one for The Jerks in this setup.

My routine has pretty much been the same, except for the COVID-19 protocols.

Everything that comes up is disinfected.

My music “studio” room is a place where I can pretty much do what I feel like, whether to rock out with my gear, learn and write new songs, read, relax and listen to music, shoot a video or watch Netflix and Amazon Prime with my wife (she recently moved her recliner here, too!).

My dogs, Ziggy and Sage (both mini Schnauzers), also love to hang out here.

Their beds are placed in their favorite spots.

I installed a doggie door so they can come and go as they please.
The best thing I did was to move in and finish the renovations right before the lockdown. I’m thankful to the crew who helped me do it. It made a nice backdrop for all the videos I have done during the lockdown for various projects.

It is still an ongoing project.

At present, Joey has 5,000 LPs and around 2,000 CDs. (Top) A collection of mini musicians playing their respective instruments that Joey got from a guy who handmade them in Hong Kong over a 10-year period. / PHOTOGRAPHS COURTESY OF JOEY PUYAT

There are a lot of things I’d like to put up on the walls, like murals and floating shelves to display stuff, LED strip lights for mood, some carpets for a vibe.

But so far, it has been really fun to hang out and make this new space into my own aesthetic, which is pretty much rock ‘n’ roll.

Joey Puyat: ‘So much great music, so little time to listen’
My music room is filled with music-related stuff that I’ve collected over the years.

One side has a rack of guitars that I regularly use for live gigs or recordings: an assortment of Les Pauls, SGs, 335s, Strats, Teles, Semi-hollows, Jazzboxes and custom-built axes.
My favorite gigging amps are a VOX AC30 and an AC15. There are several other models as well: VOX AC15HW, VOX AC15 60th Anniversary, VOX Night Train, VOX MV50 AC, VOX MV50 Clean andVOX MV50 Boutique.

Nothing beats un-sleeving a great record, setting it on the turntable and listening to it while reading the descriptive liner notes on the back of the covers and looking at the pictures of my heroes.

I am extremely fortunate that my better half can’t complain that there are too many, because I have the handy excuse that these are provided by the brand that I represent.
The guitars are the regular ones that most players commonly use, and I also have various pedals that see regular action (which I hope will resume when this pandemic eases). A favorite is a pedal that was likewise provided by the kind folks at VOX.

On the other side of the room is my vinyl LP rack. I used to collect records until they became unavailable when CDs became the rage in the late 1980s.

But the passion was rekindled three years ago when I discovered that my very considerate wife never threw away my LP collection, turntables and other audio gear that I had packed up when we got married 20 years ago!
At present, I have 5,000 LPs and around 2,000 CDs.

The sound system that I’ve had since college: Linn Sondek LP12, Thorens TD 160 Super, Technics SL1200 MKII turntables; Marantz 4400 amplifier; and JBL L100 T speakers. (Right) Rack of guitars that I regularly use for live gigs.

On top of the rack is a collection of mini musicians playing their respective instruments.

I got these from a guy that handmade them in Hong Kong over a 10-year period, and he would surprise me with new ones playing different instruments each time I would visit him.

The past three years have been a joyful rediscovery of the thrill of the hunt, the excitement of the unwrapping and the immense pleasure of listening to great music on vinyl through a sound system that I’ve had since I was in college: Linn Sondek LP12, Thorens TD 160 Super, Technics SL1200 MKII turntables; Marantz 4400 amplifier; and JBL L100 T speakers.

Although I usually play blues or fusion jazz with either of my two bands, my listening preference leans heavily toward hard bop jazz: Dexter Gordon, Sonny Rollins, Bill Evans, Lee Morgan, Hank Mobley, Art Blakey, early Miles Davis and John Coltrane, etc.

The record labels are usually Blue Note, Impulse, Muse, Riverside and Columbia.

So much great music, so little time to listen!

Live-sounding room
When we were remodeling the house three years ago, one room was allocated solely for my gear, so I had the liberty of laying it out to accommodate most of the gear. The rest are still in the attic, but I eventually plan to bring them into this room so that everything is in one place.

I wish I had done some soundproofing, but I prefer a live sounding room with some resonance, so the music sounds like it’s being performed before you in your living room.

On weekdays I’m in the room around 9 p.m. daily and stay there until midnight.

Weekends give me the opportunity to spend some of the afternoons there as well.

The pandemic has given me lots of time to concentrate on working out on the guitar, recording, listening to music and doing my musical research (which is mostly listening).

Home office
The room doubles as my home office during the day since I’ve been working from home since March, but I make it a point to close my desktop at 5 p.m. and call it a day. After that, it’s all strictly music-related stuff.
I rehearse for at least an hour daily, but this happens in my bedroom and with headphones.

I have a simple rig where I plug my guitar into an interface and play along with music on a laptop.

The music room is strictly for listening and musical research, so I guess it’s more of a place to relax, unwind and listen to what the masters did at the height of their creative careers.

The kind of music I like listening to is timeless, and still sounds incredibly hip and modern even if most of it was recorded in the late ‘50s to the early ‘60s.

The best thing about the room was setting up the trusty sound system, laying out all the old and beloved records, cleaning them one by one, and listening to each and every one.

The experience never gets old.

Nowadays, you can bring your musical library around on a mobile device, and listen through streaming sites. But that has always made the same music I love sound cold and detached.

Nothing beats un-sleeving a great record, setting it on the turntable and listening to it while reading the descriptive liner notes on the back of the covers and looking at the pictures of my heroes.

The music room is strictly for listening and musical research, so it’s more of a place to relax, unwind and listen to what the masters did at the height of their creative careers.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement