As Mark "Mooka" Rennick recalls his family's history of Midwest farm living, it begins to seem more than appropriate that he opened Prairie Sun Recording Studios on the same kind of land. Making his move onto a 12-acre plot in Cotati, California in 1980, Mooka used the serene space to create a laid-back studio environment capable of producing quality sounds.
Originally serving as a residence and chicken hatchery, the buildings on the land may have not seemed like the most logical place for a studio, but Rennick worked magic to develop the rooms for recording. "Studio C, where we are now, is this big square room. This is the hatchery building. This is where they had the incubators," Mooka says of his surroundings. "This is where the eggs were actually manufactured."
The hatchery-turned-studio continues on in two other rooms on the property, including the former grain storage space and a chicken coop. "That's a real bona fide chicken coop... We modified it and turned into a mixing room," Mooka exclaims. "That's the only room here that actually looks like a real recording studio."
Since opening in 1980, Mooka has hosted his fair share of impactful artists including ...And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead, Van Morrison, Primus, Bass Drum Of Death and more. Yet, perhaps the most interesting turn for the studio was when it acted as Tom Waits' recording hub for nearly a decade. Finding solace in an adjoining storage room that had yet to be utilized, Waits would record two Grammy winning albums, Mule Variations and Bone Machine, at Prairie Sun.
Want to meet Mooka and get a sense of what life on the farm is like at Prairie Sun? Check out our brand new Make Your Mark to hear more of Mooka's life story and see all of the recording spaces, including the Waits' Room.