It’s a romantic notion: heading out to a cabin in the middle of woods, completely detached from civilization, ready to create whatever it is you were born to create.
Two Vermonters have taken this dream and turned it into reality with Rebel Yell, a cabin in the Northeast Kingdom set on 140 acres of solitude where artists can write, record and be creative without distraction.
Alex Lalli, co-owner of both Signal Kitchen in Burlington and Rebel Yell, joined Vermont Edition to talk about the new space in Craftsbury Common.
“I think it all started because we feel that all artists are inherently rebels,” he says. “This is a kind of safe place to go and let their holler out. It’s a space for visual artists, writers and musicians as well, but that’s what really drove the name.”
Lalli says the remoteness of the cabin isn’t its only attraction to artists. “It’s off the grid, it’s all solar powered and it’s pretty buried in the wilderness on 140-acre plot of land. So you’re pretty far removed from the things that bog us all down, or certainly bog me down, day to day. So it’s a unique opportunity to just kind of focus on whatever that thing you’re focusing on is,” he explains.
Two bands have spent time at Rebel Yell so far and have had positive experiences, Lalli says, despite some concerns he and his partner had. “We weren’t necessarily ready,” he says. “It was the middle of the winter in the Northeast Kingdom of Vermont and these were city boys from Chicago and St. Louis – very downtown. But that’s what they wanted to experience and our generator blew out … but that informed their writing and their creative process and that was a big part of the experience for them.”
Lalli says that both groups of artists left Rebel Yell with a lot accomplished. “They both went there not to record, but to write, and they both wrote a significant amount more content than they thought they would write,” he says.
So how does Rebel Yell fit in with their Burlington-based recording studio Signal Kitchen? Lalli says they’re not quite sure yet. “The way we interacted and met with these [bands] is they were playing a show at Signal Kitchen and we were settling up the night with them and at a certain point they said, ‘This is a really strange question, but do you know of, like, a cabin in a woods where my band could just go write a record?’” Lalli told them he knew just the place.
For that band, their recording label paid for the stay and set everything up. But it raises the question: How much does a stay cost and how will budding artists afford it? Lalli says they are working on ironing that out by applying for grants. “We want to be able to get people up there for sessions that are paid for through grants. That’s what we’re going through right now. Writing these things and finding out what’s available,” he says.
In the meantime, the space functions very much like their recording space in Burlington, without the added noise.
Lalli believes recording in a space like Rebel Yell can change the tone of the art. “The nature flavors it,” he says. “I think it’s going to sound different than a record that’s made in the woods in California.”