“There’s no such thing as a wrong note”: Jacob Collier takes you inside his “wise” music room and explains why he can’t stop using a discontinued Native Instruments MIDI keyboard

Jacob Collier’s music room means a lot to him. Situated in his childhood home - it’s where he learned to walk - it’s been his creative space for his entire life thus far, and seems likely to remain so for some time to come.

Caleb Simpson was recently given a tour of the room - if it’s actually possible to ‘tour’ a single, defined space - during which Collier told him that, even if he eventually sets up other studios in different places, “this will always be the ultimate anchor”.

“You can ask the room for answers… it’s a wise room,” he adds, and it’s also one that contains around 70 musical instruments. Factor in everything that “can be used to make sound” and that number rises to about 100; Collier favourites include an old panettone tin that he likes to hit and sample, and a vintage typewriter.

Asked where he spends the most time in his room, Collier says that it’s sitting in his chair at his desk, which is built out of a set of old Ikea shelves that have sentimental value, and are filled with concrete to help keep out the cold.

There’s also a section of the desk that’s been custom-designed to (just) fit Collier’s trusty Native Instruments Komplete Kontrol S49 MK1 MIDI keyboard. This though, leaves him with a bit of a problem.

“These [the MK1s] have been discontinued, so whenever this one breaks or I spill tea on it - which I inevitably always do - I have to beg for any unused spares, which up until now they have [had].”

Later on, as Collier sits at the piano, he says that, when you’re improvising, “there’s no such thing as a wrong note,” because even if you play something that initially sounds out of place, “you can put that note in a new context that makes it right.”

“I’ve spent many, many hours in this exact place, just finding my way through,” he adds, wistfully, and we suspect he’ll spend plenty more there, too.

Ben Rogerson
Deputy Editor

I’m the Deputy Editor of MusicRadar, having worked on the site since its launch in 2007. I previously spent eight years working on our sister magazine, Computer Music. I’ve been playing the piano, gigging in bands and failing to finish tracks at home for more than 30 years, 24 of which I’ve also spent writing about music and the ever-changing technology used to make it. 

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