David Catching’s Rancho De La Luna sits atop hallowed ground. The recording studio (which doubles as Catching’s private residence, so keep out!) is the musical oasis from which flows the sandy lifeblood of Southern California’s thriving desert rock scene, giving rise to albums by the likes of Kyuss, Queens of the Stone Age, and Eagles of Death Metal. The new sacred texts of rock n’ roll.
Founded in 1993 by Fred Drake and David Catching as a “relaxed recording environment with inspirational sunsets, moonrises and shooting stars,” el Rancho is one of the world’s top recording destinations, sought out by artists like Iggy Pop, Foo Fighters, and the Arctic Monkeys. Like a caravan of spirit warriors, they flock to the desert, forever searching for good vibes and the famous Rancho De La Luna drum sound. Oh, that drum sound.
Inside, the studio feels like home. Because it is home. A portrait of Dick Dale adorns the refrigerator door. There’s always an instrument within reach. Catching eschews the controlled environment of the traditional recording studio, choosing instead to roll the dice on a collection of esoteric and unusual gear -- a practice amp on the front porch, guitars crammed up against the walls, headstocks pointing every which way; a bureau drawer stuffed full of EarthQuaker Devices -- and letting his ears lead the way.
"This thing always stays," he says, stepping on his Dispatch Master. "I think this is my favorite of all. Which is saying a lot, because I love all the EarthQuaker stuff, but this one never leaves the pedalboard."
“We’re always experimenting, and it’s great,” he says. “Plugging things up that shouldn’t go together... a lot of people get pretty interesting things from that.”
Experiment long enough, and Dave just might cook you dinner.