Musician Field Report: A Case for Space
(Remember when we went on a field trip to visit Denver rehearsal spaces? Ian paid extra attention, clever musician that he is. We asked him to write this week’s post about his subsequent experience as a happy shared rehearsal space customer, and to fill us in on why a Fort Collins space is as important as ever for bands … and fans).
I have spent the past 10 years actively playing in the Colorado music scene with two different bands, Wire Faces and The Jimi Austin (RIP). Currently we are in our 10th rehearsal space, which daylights as a drum lesson room that sits directly below office space and an apartment. This equates to limited hours, no amplifiers, and no PA system; when we do rehearse, we plug our guitars and mics directly into an interface that allows us to listen via headphones. Although it works, it certainly does not provide one with the necessary experience needed to prepare for a big, loud show.
The rest of the time, we record in our drummer Shane’s bedroom… it’s very intimate, and he has a blanket with cats all over it and Cinderella pillows, which is nice but somewhat incongruent with a band known to play “wild rock”.
Each rehearsal space we have had over the years has ultimately resulted in us either being forced out or choosing to leave under some form of duress. We have never been disrespectful tenants, however generally people don’t want loud music next to their living space or place of business. We’ve practiced in living rooms, basements, storage facilities, and gone long periods of time without any place to play at all, which can get weird. Even if I tried, I could not estimate the number of shows we’ve had to play while forgoing a proper rehearsal, or any rehearsal for that matter. Thus creating a possible increase in pre-show anxiety and a much higher potential for missed notes, forgotten lyrics or chords, stick drops, and other unexpected musical blunders.
Subsequently, I have stumbled into seeing the true benefits of a shared space that charges an hourly rate (it only took me 10 years). Although it can be ideal to have a space in which all of your equipment is set up and ready to go the moment you walk in the room, we haven’t been able to find such a place in well over a year – before that we were usually on some sort of wait list or scouring Craigslist for options because whatever we had at the time was insufficient. But I digress. You get the point.
Fortunately, Wire Faces is currently utilizing RocketSpace Rehearsal Studios and Lesson Space, located in Denver. The space has proven to be extremely convenient, and I am not sure what we would have done without the ability to quickly book a few hours of rehearsal time in order to prepare for a big show. Our most recent experiences at RocketSpace saved collective our Wire Ass; without the availability of an hourly room, we would not have been able to rehearse before our trip to SXSW for the Colorado Music Party, or for our recent show for Red Bull Sound Select with The Joy Formidable and The Epilogues last Tuesday. Since we do not currently have access to facilities in Fort Collins that provide us with what is required for a genuine rehearsal, this has been a fantastic option. The downside: it’s not in Fort Collins.
RocketSpace provides a backline (drum kit, bass and guitar amps, a PA, microphones, and cables) and all we have to do is show up, plug in and play. Each room is retrofitted with professional acoustic sound baffling, adequate lighting, and ample electrical outlets and power strips. Did I mention it’s affordable, and they take credit/debit cards? Well it is, and they do. Funk, mariachi, metal, hip-hop, rock, even guitar and voice lessons are some of the diverse sounds emanating from each of the rehearsal rooms. During our last rehearsal at RocketSpace, a nice gentleman gave us his card and asked if we’d be interested in playing a show with his band because he liked what he heard from the hallway. These rooms not only provide a much-needed working space for musicians, but also cater to the inconsistent nature of a musician’s schedule, while fostering both networking and collaboration.
This is why we, via our support of Cohere Bandwidth, are so driven to create a shared rehearsal space in Fort Collins. Although there are already several locations in Denver somewhat consistent with RocketSpace, a counterpart does not exist in Fort Collins. These existing spaces have proven the business model, as well as the necessary demand; RocketSpace is actually in the process of planning an expansion. So although you may be growing weary of hearing what IS NOT (yet) available in Fort Collins, I’d like to remind you what IS possible. We are not giving up until a quality, affordable, secure, shared rehearsal space exists in the Fort Collins area. Our musicians deserve it, and so do their fans.
~Ian Haygood, field tripper, Cohere Bandwidth co-catalyst, Wire Faces guitarist