All About Music in Fort Collins: by Argento Studios

Tim and Angel were recently interviewed by Cynthia of Argento Studios for an epic look at the Fort Collins music scene. We think it highlights all the best parts of who we are as a town. The article includes in-depth interviews with local heroes like Greta Cornett, Julie Sutter, Erin Roberts and Tim Massa. If you are new to Fort Collins or just curious to learn more about how we work as a music city, this is a must read for musicians and non-musicians alike.

“The thing I have learned because I haven’t been in the music industry except through Cohere Bandwidth is that the people who are supporting the musicians in Fort Collins are musicians. They form the foundation of the fan base.” -Angel

Read the full article: Fort Collins is the Startup City Built on Rock-and-Roll.

Field Report: Road Trip to ToneVille

Those of you that follow us on Instagram and/or Facebook got a little sneak peek at the way we spent last Friday … going on an adventure to fetch a secret gift that will soon be part of our shared rehearsal space experience!

shhhhh

Update — in shocking news, we have procured not just ONE gift, but TWO for you, our beloved Fort Collins music community. Gift #1: we decided the Cohere Bandwidth team needed some more enthusiastic young musical expertise, so we got you a tall and sprightly drummer!

shanehatched

But not that tall and sprightly drummer. Another one:

shaneadrian

More Awesome Energy!
We are very excited to announce the addition of Adrian Wright to the Cohere Bandwidth team. Adrian is a tall and sprightly drummer who plays in a band called Yettie, and he is poised to step in with his bonafide brilliant musician mind should someone suddenly kidnap Shane and stuff him into the hatch of an SUV, never to be seen again. You can never have too many drummers, in our opinion. Someone’s always needing a spare. Please join us in welcoming Adrian aboard. And you should check out his band. You’ll likely see more and more of him as we move in and prepare for opening.

Speaking of preparing for opening …

More Excellent Equipment!
Gift #2 was purchased with a credit card, and required a bit of a road trip, so we shoved all our drummers in a car and drove off to Colorado Springs to get … an amplifier. It occurred to us at about the Longmont exit that maybe we should have grabbed a guitar player, too.

Julie: “do you think maybe we should have brought someone that could test this thing out?”
Angel: “Shane, can you play (surprises everyone by humming Black Sabbath’s Iron Man)?”

Then we remembered we were picking up said amp at a music store. Lucci Music, to be exact, where someone would surely know how to play some Black Sabbath if needed. Oh, and also Lucci Music is home to ToneVille Amplifiers. Ta-da!

toneville-in-case

We mean … ta-da!tonevillerevealed

Lovingly handcrafted right here in Colorado, ToneVille amps are this beautiful blend of art and science that practically made Angel weep with joy:

angelovestoneville

We purchased the Broadway model, which has insides made from “new old stock” tubes (a phrase, for the uninitiated, that sounds ridiculous but actually has meaning for those in the know; it refers to tubes that were manufactured in the past, but just never used. Good for built-to-last, authentic vintage sound, apparently). The Broadway’s outsides are made from black walnut and hard maple, with gorgeous dovetailed joints and a retro flair that is such a perfect fit with our branding that we nearly had to bring Julie some smelling salts.

Best of all, though, our ToneVille amp was made by Phil. We got to meet Phil and shake his hand, and talk to him about his business, and that doesn’t happen that often when you buy things these days. It was like a music farmer’s market. It was awesome.

phil

This is Phil. We did not make him play Black Sabbath.

Phil wrote down every individual tube included in our ToneVille for our reference. And he gave us ToneVille T-shirts. And he sat cross-legged on the floor and painstakingly took us through the features of the Broadway. If you want something akin to that experience, you can check out lots of demo videos on the Internet, like this one from Guitar World at the NAMM show earlier in January:

But what we would like most of all is for you to come experience your new gifts in person when we open, of course. When do we open? Well, we’re getting closer to exact dates, but for starters — we’ll be acting as the artist and sponsor check-in venue for FoCoMX April 24 – 25. So if yours is among the 266 bands playing at our favorite Fort Collins music festival, then we’ll see you very soon. We’ll open for rehearsal room bookings shortly thereafter and you can come try out all the amenities in our home in the Downtown Artery building, including the ToneVille amp. And the Colorado-made Mantic Effects pedals. And you can high-five our getting-increasingly-taller team.

teambandwidth

In the meantime, don’t forget to get your band on our wait list to stay up-to-speed on our official opening date. It’s all happening, faster than you think. We can hardly wait!

Field Report: Metal, Pedals and Mantic Effects

Now that shared rehearsal space in Old Town Fort Collins is totally, officially a thing it’s time to do some more shopping for gear for the Cohere Bandwidth backline while we wait for construction to begin. On the shopping list: effects pedals. Friday being the perfect day for a little field trip, we decided it was a good idea to detour to Denver. We paid a visit to some of our more intriguing and innovative friends, Luis Etscheid and Caleb Henning, the musicians-turned-mad-scientists behind Colorado’s Mantic Effects.

Mantic (aka Mantic Conceptual) was a business born from a desire to create new sounds, good old-fashioned experimental entrepreneurial drive, and Luis’ self-confessed pedal addiction (“I have a real problem,” he says). The result: a local boutique effects pedal company with national buzz and a rapidly expanding A-list clientele after only two years on the scene.

Yeah. They’re kind of a big deal. So where else would we shop?

Mantic - Luis

Luis, tinkering.

The fellas showed us around their workshop/lab, patiently answered our questions about knobs and thingies, and of course, let us listen in on some of the Mantic magic. It was basically like being backstage at Red Rocks before a Jack White show.

Production Heads: Caleb and the Mantic mascots

Production Heads: Caleb and the Mantic mascots

We’re super excited to combine forces with Mantic and introduce more local musicians to their genius gadgetry. These are two super-duper smart guys. Angel and I admittedly tuned out for a bit when a conversation about circuit bending started blowing our minds to the point where we kinda needed a helmet. Which they totally had. Because they rocked it at Moogfest 2014 (all the way to the finals).

Mantic Moogfest Helmet

Our hope at Cohere Bandwidth is to cater to more basic needs (like reverb and distortion pedals) via the permanent backline gear, then to also introduce a beta testing/prototyping program in conjunction with Mantic so musicians at the space can demo some of the more specialized stuff. And we can, in turn, provide Mantic with some … wait for it … feedback. Heh. Funny every time.

While they recently established their first retailer relationship with Eastside Music Supply in East Nashville, the bulk of Mantic’s sales come from direct-to-musician transactions. So while we all wait excitedly for Cohere Bandwidth to open, in the meantime we of course encourage those of you with a bit of a “pedal problem” to check out the Mantic product line. They make gorgeous-yet-rugged handcrafted pedals that some of our favorite musicians love.

Mantic Faces

Wire Faces “Mantic Monday”

Thanks to Luis and Caleb for letting us into the lab! Enjoy a little music by a Mantic fan — Denver’s Alex Anderson of ManCub and Rose Quartz:

 

Cohere Bandwidth: It’s Official!

Cohere Bandwidth Lease
For some reason, this feels like the Snuffleupagus of blog posts (at least the old-school version, back when Snuffy was imaginary to everyone but Big Bird). But we swear, it’s REAL. It’s news that is so hugeand it’s been such a long time coming that it actually seems somehow anticlimactic now … but still. We’re writing because It’s Official. Cohere Bandwidth has a home! Truly. As evidenced by a SIGNED LEASE for the place where we will construct shared rehearsal space in Old Town Fort Collins. Holy. Cannoli. Amphiboly.

We have shouted this from the social media rooftops already, and have emailed the musicians who have reached out to be on the waiting list, and have told all our initial supporters from our Community Funded campaign. But we figured we’d make it Blog Official, too, just in case this is all news to you, our devoted readers.

Here’s the nitty gritty:

  • Cohere Bandwidth will be located in what was the warehouse portion of the recently closed Colorado Drum & Percussion store at 256 Linden St. (the corner of Linden and Jefferson)
  • our contractor is working on permitting, which is right now taking 4 – 6 weeks
  • we’re aiming for a demolition start date of 10/2
  • construction should begin 2 – 3 weeks later
  • we signed a 10-year lease — we are committed to being in the community for a very long time
  • we’re sharing a building with the Downtown Artery which makes us feel like this … in 2015 you can look forward to a building that houses artists, gallery space, musicians, rehearsal space, a crash pad/hostel for visiting artists and a new venue/cafe for ~100. We also plan to host events and classes to encourage musicians to meet up and talk shop. Squeeee!!
  • the plan is to have two hourly shared rooms with backlined equipment: PA + microphones, drum kit and throne (includes hi-hat and 1 crash), bass amp and guitar amp
  • we’re shopping for some other neat things while we wait for construction to get underway; you can email Angel or Shane if you have equipment advice, requests or curiosities. We want your feedback. And your input. << we can’t stop with the music and sound lingo, now that we’re “in the biz”
  • The moment we open, we anticipate we will be able to serve at least 42 bands. We need your help to help us spread the word to the musicians in our community! 

Pep Squad
So. Nearly two years later, away we go. And by “away”, we mean HOME. We are so very grateful to you for hanging in there with us. Our goal is to get this thing built and regularly occupied before anyone gets frostbitten during band practice.

In the meantime, please join us in enjoying the song we’ve been wanting to post every since we started this project. It’s finally, finally time!

 

 

 

 

Best Practices: The Sweet Smell of Success

It’s been a whirlwind week in pursuit of our perfect shared rehearsal space. We’ve been a little giddy over here in Cohere Bandwidth land. “Do you realize how much we’ve accomplished in the last 48 hours?!” Angel exclaimed on Saturday after a perfectly lovely meeting with our friends and soon-to-be neighbors at the Downtown Artery. (Well — make that about 16 months … and 48 hours). But who’s counting? Turns out, maybe we are. Or at least we’d better figure out what counts. Which is easier with a little bit of informed insight.

love luck success protection

One of the things helping to point us in the right direction currently is actually a practice that happens both organically and often at Cohere — accountability via coworking. In this case, Angel and I have opted to take this natural byproduct and put a little more structure around it by taking part in a 6-week process called Cotivation, as defined by our pals from NYC’s New Work City coworking community. Angel and I are meeting once a week with three other Cohere members; we each work on an individual project of our choosing. We set goals, report on progress, gather feedback from our fellows and talk about everything from time management tools to the magic of donuts as “carrots”. I’m working on some Cohere Bandwidth projects (which means Angel is, too, whether she likes it or not. I think she likes it.) Out of one of these Cotivation sessions came the idea of using a prescribed checklist for launch that we discovered somewhere. First item on our checklist — after “make checklist”, I suppose — was this: define success. This is harder than it sounds.

Success sucks

Over noodle bowls, a few swears and much head nodding, Angel and I took a stab at success for our shared rehearsal space project. In no particular order, it looks like this:

  • Band practice is as low-stress and low-hassle for musicians as going to work is for us every day
  • Cohere Bandwidth is a trusted, known entity that “sells itself” … through positive word of mouth via the users of the space
  • Bands have a super-amazing technical experience with the website and booking process — it’s simple, fast, intuitive, useful
  • “Big name” bands use and recommend the space, in turn helping support the venue adjacent to the space
  • ALL the communities — Cohere Bandwidth, Downtown Artery and the Cohere coworking spaces — are connected to one another and coalesce by working on shared projects that draw on both their individual and collective strengths
  • Includes a financial return on investment that allows for stability and sustainability; specifically, enough to pay someone who is passionate about it to manage the space
  • A waiting list exists for practice spaces. Not forever — perhaps just long enough to catalyze expansion!

Finally: we talked about patience. Again. And the idea of a distant future, and long leases, and Warren Buffett and believing in the outcome, and getting creative, and staying the course. And microwaving cookies as an olfactory relaxation technique, but that was a tangent.

The Wit & Wisdom of Winston - Oct 2010  - Westerham Pub Wall - Those Two Imposters

Other things we learned this week:

  • Our compatriots at the Downtown Artery have an almost eerily matched set of success-pectations. It couldn’t be a more perfect pairing, really. Amy had this to say: “For me, success doesn’t have to do with money. It has to do with not giving up — it’s about going home and feeling proud that you did a good thing, that you’re providing something good for the community.”
  • We didn’t get the Economic Health Office grant we re-applied for. And initially, we were feeeled weeeth ennui. But the City’s message for us wasn’t completely discouraging; they had this to say: it’s not NO — it’s just not NOW. We just need a W.
  • We did, however, get a completely awesome executive report from the consultants we hired to help us with pricing, David and Lucinda (or “Lucid” as they like to call themselves). They did a bunch of research, complete with fancy spreadsheets, and we found out an incredible amount of useful information about pricing … and much, much more. Of particular interest: having two hourly rooms is far more financially sustainable than having one lockout room + one hourly room. Sharing is not only good, it’s better. More to come there, but bringing in some help to make sure we nail the solid financial stewardship piece? Priceless.

Of course, success defined by us is nowhere near as valuable as understanding success defined by Cohere Bandwidth’s community of musicians. We’d love to hear from you. Success is different for everyone … what will success look like to you? Leave a comment, drop us a line, let us know. Oh and P.S. we really do have a current waiting list, by the way, so contact us if you’re interested on adding your name to it!

 

Love, Money (and the “we need some space” conversation)

Exactly one year ago today, I sent a text to a musician (a musicIAN, to be exact) to ask him about the logistics of band rehearsal space. Because, against all rhyme and reason, my business-minded friend Angel had a sense that solving  workspace problems for musicians might be not too very different from solving workspace problems for freelancers and other independent workers. One year later, the truth is: it is different, but not substantially so, because guess what? Musicians ARE freelancers and independent workers. In fact, the more Angel and I talk about it, the more connections we see between musicians and the more “traditional” mobile workforce. And we aren’t the only ones.

Daisy Girl Guitar

On this, our Valentine’s Day anniversary of the beginning of the search for shared rehearsal space, while the story continues to unfold (nutshell: we have found a quite plausible location, but as in any relationship worth embarking upon, there is now honest conversation, a dash of negotiation, and some compromise to be considered) the bottom line remains the same: sharing is good. And business is still business, but choosing to approach it from the heart AND the head is the only way I want to go about it. And, thank goodness, I’m still not the only one. It’s been a long road and we’re not quite there yet, but this much I know: I’m not stopping until our community norm is to equate musicians with business owners and treat them accordingly. <<Hell yes, I bolded that. Consider yourselves on notice. Happy Valentine’s Day.

“Work is love made visible.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

 

Cohere Bandwidth: Progress Rocks!

No, not prog rock — you read it right the first time. PROGRESS. In our search for a shared rehearsal space location that we can call home for Cohere Bandwidth, we’re making progress! In terms of pace and overall coordination, it still looks a little bit like this:
 … but we’re content to be “winning the race” by letting things unfold a little more organically, if not more quickly. Trust is still the key, and the musician comes first, so we want to get it right. It hasn’t exactly been rabbit-rapid.

However, in a nutshell/turtleshell: we believe we have found a location (!)

  • …that we may be able to lease — we’re working through those logistics right now
  • …that has heat, electricity, and even bathrooms with running water
  • …that we can make more secure with a minimum of fuss, relatively speaking
  • …that has neighbors (but neighbors that are likely more tolerant than most when it comes to bands practicing next door)

That said, we still have some hurdles to clear, the biggest one being our old frenemy: soundproofing (there are also a few horror stories about the space that involve sewer backups of a magnitude requiring hazmat suits, but somehow those pale in comparison to the sound barrier).

Other good news: we finally got a response from a firm specializing in architectural acoustical consulting! This is a miracle in and of itself because apparently a hot new small business technique is to not to return phone calls inquiring about estimates. There are times when we weep for the future of entrepreneurship. But: these folks got back to us quickly and professionally and politely.

The less-good news is: the acoustic architects tell us it will cost $2900 for a site visit and recommendation (see also: hyperventilation and panic). Yep, that’s the price for the sound experts to come see the space and tell us what to do with ONE ROOM. We could spend half the money we have raised thus far just to get a plan — no materials, no labor, no rent, just an expert opinion.

Le sigh.

If you’ve been reading along faithfully following our story, you know that every “le sigh” has thus far been followed by a “woohoo!” It’s a good thing, too; otherwise, we might have thrown in the towel a zillion times already. So, having just scratched the surface of the harsh reality of soundproofing costs, our most recent woohoo! has fortunately appeared in the form of an opportunity to apply for a grant from the City of Fort Collins — a grant which requires matching funds (which luckily, we have, thanks to the crowdsourcing campaign many of you helped us complete last fall). Woohoo!

There are many bits of information to compile for this opportunity, but we’re definitely going for it, because what do we have to lose? Sleep? Already doing that, might as well do it in pursuit of some possible funding assistance. One way you can help, if you feel inspired, is to send us a letter of support to include with the grant application. It needn’t be fancy; think of it like a Mad Lib of sorts. “My name is (your name goes here) and I am a (your title here, ranging from “concerned citizen” to “community leader” to “not starving but kinda hungry artist” — whatever). I am writing in support of Cohere Bandwidth, a shared rehearsal space for local bands. I believe our Fort Collins music community needs affordable, secure shared rehearsal space because (your reasoning goes here, ranging from “our musicians need a place to practice their craft so our music scene can continue to drive visitors, attract and retain a creative workforce, and foster local economic growth” to “I can’t stand up to play my viola in our practice space and that impedes my ability to be 100% artistically awesome”). Then your name, contact info, any other (nouns) and (adjectives) that come to mind. We’ll need to collect these by Jan. 27 to really be able to pull it all together, so if you’re up for it, don’t think too hard, just write.

You can contact us for more information about providing letters of support, to hear more about our long and winding road to rehearsal space, to ask us how you might help in other ways, to tell us you want your name on the list for rehearsal space when it opens, etc. You can also just stay out there sending your supportive vibes, and basking in the excitement of woohoos! with us. Things really do feel incredibly positive right now, and we’re reinvigorated all over again. Let’s give this town a jolt, shall we? Woohoo!

Here’s a little Patti Fiasco inspiration for you in case you’re feeling le sigh: 

 

 

Cohere Bandwidth: The Time is Now. And Now. How About Now?

Oh, hi! It’s me, Julie, a founding member at Cohere (is that what we say if we were among the original “card table people”?). I’m also one of the three people consistently beating the drum over at Cohere Bandwidth. Which is not yet a physical place but is about to go from cool concept to “holy crap, it’s really a real thing!” More on that in a bit. Anyway, Angel’s given me the keys to the blog, so here I am.

If you’ve been following along with our Cohere Bandwidth progress on this blog and via the social medias, you’ve surely noticed that we are nearing the end of a crowdfunding campaign to raise money for shared rehearsal space for local musicians. It has been a roller coaster of of a ride, boy howdy. First, we had to get people to “endorse” us, and next, donate money, and it’s all been during this craaaazzzyy time period for me, personally and professionally. When Angel talked to Ian and me about the timing of the campaign, in fact, the first thing I thought was how the timing couldn’t have been worse. Not enough time to do things perfectly, not even enough time to do things the way I know I want us to do them, barely enough time to think, you know.

Bandwidth Time

So of course, we said YES to taking on the campaign. That’s how it works around here. “Here” meaning: in my life lately and, apparently, when rowing the entrepreneurship in general. Because if you wait for the timing to be perfect, you’ll miss out on the good stuff.

Speaking of the good stuff: I’ve been thinking alot about synchronicity lately. (Actually, I think about synchronicity more often than alot; when I sat down to write this post, I even said to myself “I feel like I’ve written about this before.” Which is really more deja vu, but I digress. Turns out I had indeed written about synchronicity in the past. A few times.) When I found that most recent synchronicity post over on my blog, turns out it was precisely two years ago that I wrote it. Must be time again. Especially since I’m noticing a zillion weird coincidences lately. Like stumbling upon this post about octopus synchronicity.

I’m going somewhere with this, I swear. My brain is just working a bit like a labyrinth at the moment.

What happened with the crowdfunding campaign was this: we did quite well with endorsements, we launched the donation portion, and then at crunch time, I got really really busy elsewhere in life just as I was supposed to be helping carry the baby across the finish line. (<<That is the worst mixed metaphor maybe EVAR, but it is indicative of my current mental state). But you know what I mean. I was feeling panicky. And the needle wasn’t moving on our donations. And then suddenly: we were unstuck.

You know why? Because people are generous and good, of course. And because music fans are everywhere and they are drawn to give because they care in that weird way that only music can make you care. (I know several of the donors, by the way, and even though we don’t all spend tons of time together, I can tell you there’s a Jimmy Buffett fan, a Prince fan, and a Little Green Cars fan among them, and even one guy who really wanted to be more impressed by The Romantics, but  just isn’t. These are the nuances you pick up when you’re talking to a music person.)

But I also believe that the campaign is working because everything just clicks into place when it’s supposed to. Because it’s time. It’s time for our community to provide our musicians with a better place to practice. It’s time to give something to a group of people that share so much, so generously, with us. It’s time to move in the same direction. It’s time to wrap up the campaign, roll up our sleeves and find an answer to the question “where is Cohere Bandwidth?” because in a moment, the answer is going to become “it’s here and it’s now.” Don’t miss out on the so-called coincidences. Get involved, give it a chance and stick around to see what happens next. It’s about time.

Crowdfunding update: Looks we’re going to exceed our goal and shoot for an additional “stretch” goal for operations and overhead (i.e. coffee and toilet paper — for the working bathroom! — and MOAR RENT). Hurray!

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