Field Report: Rehearse in Space

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Are we there yet?! Are we there yet?! Shane has been bugging me for MONTHS to visit Space in Austin, Texas. It was hard to say yes given our lack of wheels down here and the distance to get there (a 30 min drive from downtown READ $50 Uber ride each way).

As luck would have it, I arrived in Austin and met a brand new coworking space owner, Shelley, who was willing to give us a ride! Her coworking space is called Orange Coworking and is located in the “Far South Awesome” neighborhood.

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We landed in Space and begged for a spur of the moment tour. They acquiesced despite being wicked busy due to SXSW. Brent showed us around all the Space, which includes THIRTY-ONE rehearsal rooms spread over two floors and a tracking room/recording studio.

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Most of the rehearsal rooms are hourly/shared just like Cohere Bandwidth’s will be be but they offer just the PA, mixer, mic stands and the occasional drum kit. Bands can either bring their own amps/rigs OR rent some from Space. A small number of rooms are reserved full time for a few specific bands.

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I made Shane wail on a drum kit while I stood in the hallway with not 1 but 2 solid doors separating us. I’ve never been more thankful for the sound-lock vestibules our contractors are currently building.

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Summary: we are even MORE excited to bring this awesome concept to Old Town Fort Collins. Join us for our first open house day on April 24th! **we’re waiting on our new address but find us on the Jefferson side of Linden and Jefferson underneath the Downtown Artery.

Ps. Get on our wait list for rehearsal slots

Pps. Rock a Bandwidth hoodie

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!

 

 

 

 

Crunching Numbers: Sound Choices in Practice Space

As we move closer to construction for Cohere Bandwidth, things are getting real. Really real. Like “sit down and talk to the people who build things” real. Which is precisely what Amy and Angel did last week, spending some quality time with pens, paper, calculators, and Brandon (pictured below), who took some time out from Downtown Artery re-construction to talk through some nitty-gritty rehearsal space details. Mostly: about sound.

Cohere Bandwidth Blueprinting

You know, sound, our familiar frenemy in our quest for shared rehearsal space. We already know more than we ever wanted to learn about constructing soundproof spaces, but Brandon took things up a notch. Not all the way to 11, thank heavens, but — let’s just say it got reaaaal scientific. We talked about green glue (our favorite!) and genie clips and isolation joints and Roxul (<<which, incidentally, may be our new band name) and staggered subfloors and agggghhhhhhhh. But we truly needed this level of detail so we could then ask Brandon to come back again with an even MOAR detailed estimate. So we might then identify places where we *could* cut costs — for instance, perhaps the waiting room needs less attention to sound attenuation than the practice spaces themselves — and places where we under no circumstances should we ever, ever attempt frugality. Like making sure the practice spaces are built so you can get to the electrical and HVAC for repairs without busting a decidedly un-soundproof hole in the wall that you just spent thousands and thousands and thousands of dollars to construct. Smart construction. SOUND decisions. You know.

Because what it boils down to is this:

me: “if we get this right, we’re going to be SO HAPPY.”
Angel: “and if we get this wrong, we’re going to CRY.”

So, we’re using a “measure twice, cut once” philosophy (or a “high-five thrice, cry zero times” approach, if you prefer). Why all the pre-caution? Because Community-Building 101: we want to get this right for the people who are going to use the space, so they’ll actually use the space. Because if we screw up the sound, we diminish the happiness of the musicians. And because, for our little two-room project here, we’re currently talking six-figure construction costs and worrying about band budgets. Because the space we’re moving into is for sure going to have neighbors who have to be kept happy, too, and this has become a little bit more delicate now that those neighbors aren’t going to be drummers after all. Alas, maybe that one was a little too good to be true, but we sure felt extra-lucky there for a bit. 🙁

All that said, we are moving forward. Brandon is sharpening the pencil. Amy and Angel are reminding each other what a beautifully synergistic co-existence Cohere Bandwidth and the Downtown Artery will have for many years to come. We’re planning for green glue shooting parties where the community can invest some sweat equity, and we’re becoming appropriately enraptured by bass traps.

Only moment later, Angel performed a "clap test" -- which just wasn't the same without Ian.

Only moment later, Angel performed a “clap test” — which just wasn’t the same without Ian.

Most importantly, we’re taking our lessons in patience to heart and not being too hasty to make decisions right now that could have disastrous effects in the years to come. Because as anxious as we are to start, we are 500 times more anxious to make sure that what we choose is smart, and that our choices keep the musicians at the forefront, not lost in the background noise.

Proof: But No Roof.

Our latest shared rehearsal space adventure found us thinking outside the box, by thinking inside the box. Having found that our most viable commercial space options almost always include neighbors, and neighbors mean sound issues, Angel had an idea: what if we decoupled the space from the space? (Whoa. Did you feel that? Don’t be alarmed, it’s just our paradigm shifting.)

Plasma Ball, 2 Hands in the Dark

Now I know what you’re thinking (wait … wut?) — but hang tight for a minute while I ‘splain: turns out there are companies that construct portable soundproof rooms. And purchasing a room might mean we could put the space within a space, but without making a substantial permanent investment in a building we are merely leasing. Landlord decides they want us to clear out? No problem! We just take the room with us and put it back together somewhere else.

We got super excited about this idea for about 15 minutes, until Angel did some research and discovered that one of these rooms cost $26,000. Then we were crushed. But THEN: she found a company that makes them for a fraction of that cost — and it turned out that company was right here in Colorado! Less than an hour away. And they had one under construction, in house, that we could test. Right “now”.

As is the way with this quest, a series of misadventures followed — it’s not easy to coordinate the schedules of anyone these days, not to mention finding people with drum kits and bass amps and the ability to use them, who can then take a field trip during the work week to indulge our whims. But as is also the way with this quest, the musicians in our community were once again amiable and accommodating. Maybe somewhat disbelieving, but at least willing to give it a shot. When we put up the bat signal around here, the bands always answer the call.

BAT SIGNAL

  • Scheduled Field Trip #1 resulted in a no-show by the guy who owns the company, and Angel sitting on a curb with a bass player and a drummer (we found out later the guy was in the hospital, and I had to rescind all my swears).
  • Scheduled Field Trip #2 resulted in a snow storm, some van shenanigans and ultimately, a reschedule.
  • Field Trip #3 was “the charm” – though a last-minute schedule switch by the company owner meant the bass player was out, and we would have to do our best to test with a drummer only. A drummer who was willing to load up a carload of gear, take the morning off work and drive down to be shoved into a freezing cold warehouse into an 8×8 room << the available test size.

Let’s skip to the results part of the experiment and let you see (and hear) for yourselves, shall we? Does this seem —> Soundproof?

Well … not so much. “Sound resistant”? Maybe. The whole test took about five minutes once our intrepid drummer got set up in the unheated warehouse. We used a little decibel reader app on his phone to test the sound reduction (about 10 decibels). Angel used an app called her eyes to make note of visible gaps in the construction. I used my mittened hands to clutch my coffee cup, while lamenting inwardly about the bands that are probably practicing in similar conditions every day. Still.

Bottom line? At a price of thousands of dollars and a noise level that is decidedly … audible, we think we’ll pass on the “soundproof” room idea. For what it’s worth, the rooms are generally used for studio voice-over recording and that sort of thing, and maybe aren’t a great solution for entire bands anyway. In the end though, we were left with cold hands AND cold feet, standing back at the drawing board. Eliminating options is a good thing, but it’s hard not to feel a little disappointed when your hopes get dashed. We’re trying to be scientists about this, but I bet even scientists get discouraged. But: the best ones keep thinking and acting. Boxes be damned.

You can put Dr. Who in the TARDIS, but you can't make it soundproof. It's a metaphor, go with it.

You can put Dr. Who in the TARDIS, but you can’t make it soundproof. It’s a metaphor, go with it.

 

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