In a Japanese Shoebox: Branden Kirchmeyer's Apartment Acoustic

Branden Kirchmeyer -

Move to southern Japan, become an English teacher, fire up the laptop and a USB mic, and then record & engineer your music in a shoebox apartment. That little slice of DIY life belongs to Branden Kirchmeyer, a son of Buffalo, New York. Here’s the tech, the music, and a bit of the story behind it all.

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We have the Technology, Anyone Can Do It; Not Everyone Should
A laptop is good, but in truth, now that a majority of the developed world has a smartphone, a device increasingly disassociated with actual telephony, almost any one of us can digitally scream loud enough to be noticed. Lamenting the overabundance of (many unworthy) voices has become a common refrain, and forty-five years later, Warhol’s 15 minutes have become a shrill, often unwelcome 15 seconds.

But we love the tech. Of course most of us don’t put it to good use, but in fact we’re all walking around with magic media studios in our pockets. If you've got the motivation to learn how, any citizen can create digital content with minimal overhead cost, and then distribute it instantaneously to most of humanity. For those juuuusst old enough to remember life before the internet, that's kinda beyond profound.

For the end-user, the consumer of creativity, our tech has without doubt created a glut of content, but it’s also given us a pseudo-democratic choice in the matter; there’s a lot of power in our clicks, views, and downloads, and we can vote as many times as we like.

Cream Still Rises: the Music of Branden Kirchmeyer
If you like some Jack Johnson, and if you like some Dave Matthews - but lean more toward the Johnson - you’ll like some Branden Kirchmeyer. He’s young, a little raw, and his tracks sound a little bit well, you know, recorded-in-a-shoebox-apartment, but his talent will quickly overshadow any of that. He’s writing the songs, laying down multiple guitar tracks, singing, whistling, doing back-up vocals... probably clapping. Maybe a tambourine? It’s really good.

We the executively dorky here at AkihabaraNews very much enjoy Branden’s music, but we’re also just in love with how he did it. Take a listen below, and remember that this is one guy with a borrowed guitar, a $50 USB mic, and a Toshiba Satellite laptop in a tiny Japanese apartment in Kumamoto City, Japan.

The technological advancements necessary for Branden to record, engineer, and distribute his music have folded into everyday life with a ferocious stealth, and it's too easy to forget that most of what makes this article possible did not exist 5 years ago. We should appreciate that more.

And here, let's appreciate a product of some of this fine modern tech:

A few months back, AkihabaraNews had a chat with Branden in Kumamoto City. If you enjoy his music and want to learn more about the apartment acoustic, check out the interview below. You can also find Branden on Facebook.

You’ll have to forgive the pirate audio - we've all got this beautiful technology, but it’s clear that Branden does a lot better in his shoebox that we did with a mic’d up iPad Mini in a southern Japanese coffee shop.

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Photo: Fernando Rosenberg
Audio: Branden Kirchmeyer on Soundcloud