Spelunking for Songs, an Ode to the Sound Cave

Music resident Emma Hall discusses her process for writing “Sound Cave”, a song about our one-of-a-kind recording studio.

Writing a song about the place where you write songs is just as convoluted as it sounds. At all costs you must try to avoid describing the walls and ceiling. I did break that rule a little bit to focus on the history of the space. The Sound Cave once housed the organ pipes that played for the former chapel that is now Speck Gallery. I thought about the evolution of the instruments that had been used in the cave. A pipe organ became a computer. Levers and switches became wires and a beat pad. I am proud to carry on the tradition of making music in that space, but I felt the song deserved some deeper meaning as well.

In a nod to my Herron High School education, I looked into the archetypal significance of the cave. A cave is a place of creation, the womb of the earth, and the Sound Cave is the place where music is created.

We are afraid of the dark because it harbors the unknown. Cave spelunking can lead us to buried treasure, a swarm of bats, or just deeper into the darkness. It’s a gamble.

I often say that I don’t think of lyrics. They either come to me, or they don’t. They hide in the shadows of the Sound Cave, and hit me when I least expect them. Sometimes they’re treasures, sometimes they startle me with their mediocrity, and sometimes they spin around my head, and fly out of my grasp before I can even understand what they are. Enjoy.