Backstage Pass to Cohere Bandwidth: All the Stats and Financials

No matter your interest in shared rehearsal space in Fort Collins, we’re answering all your questions about Cohere Bandwidth. How much did it take to start Bandwidth? How many bands have rehearsed there? How many rehearsals happen each day? What’s the most popular time to practice? How much is your rent? It’s all in this handy dandy infographic. Please enjoy and more importantly, share.

Fort Collins: 7 Days of Rockin’ Christmas Videos

No matter if your holiday travels take you out of Fort Collins or shuffling to your couch in bunny slippers, we’ve put together some of our all-time favorite Christmas music videos to help you pass the time, avoid your family or bring you cheer. Come January, bring your band to Cohere Bandwidth, your rock solid rehearsal space!

The 12 Beers of Christmas

River Bottom Nightmare Band

Bing Crosby & David Bowie Peace on Earth/Little Drummer Boy 1977

Taylor Swift Last Christmas

SHEL Sleigh Ride

Holiday Road Cover by Shane Zweygardt & Alana Rolfe

Muppet Christmas Carol: Marley and Marley

Bonus Song: Carol of the Bells by Post Paradise

Bonus 8th Video: Josie Carey and Fred Rogers (on Organ and Piano) “I Know It’s Time for Christmas”

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: 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

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: Kicking It Into Gear

If you’re wondering what all that racket is, well: we’re movin’ and shakin’ over at Cohere Bandwidth. Not so very long ago in the saga of shared rehearsal space, we were getting giddy about structure and infrastructure, and waxing poetic about Magic Mick, of acoustic architecture fame. (Update — digging up the dough to hire Mick has been the smartest money we’ve spent thus far, by far. As in, spend a little, and save a LOT in the long run, that kind of smart.) Since we’re feeling pretty solid about our sound decisions, it’s time to spend some more money, this time to outfit the practice spaces with gear. But what to buy first?

The heart of the band seemed like a good place to start, and to bypass any potential arrhythmia in the process, Angel decided to immediately purchase one of the more critical components of our backline equipment: the drums. To neatly evade any repercussions we might experience from making ill-informed choices, she also immediately enlisted some expertise. She hired this guy:

Shane

Actual drummer! Not to scale.

You might remember Shane from such escapades as “the time we shut him in a portable room to play drums in sub-zero temperatures” or “the time we made him practice in the living room while we listened outside from the curb”. In addition to being a cheerful test subject and one of our favorite actual drummers, Shane also happens to work next door at the drum store and not only knows what he’s talking about, he knows where to get it. Angel went shopping and immediately came home with this sweet kit:

fraggle rock

j/k… she wishes. #notforsale

Making Things Click
As you might recall, one of the primary reasons we started this whole shared rehearsal space project was due to a strong belief that, just like any other businessperson, a musician needs a nice, normal, properly equipped place to work. Angel already knows a thing or two about outfitting a shared workspace, and one of her other strong beliefs is that she, as the owner and community manager, needs to know what’s up with the office equipment. If the going gets tough in Internet land at Cohere, when the com has been cast and the router is pouting, Angel’s the one that endures the tech call required to diagnose the problem. She is the great plugger and unplugger, the one who talks to surly onsite service repairmen, the Restorer of All That Is Right With the World.

Tech Support

Actual tech support call! Exasperation not to scale.

So why, she thought, should owning a shared rehearsal space be any different? Without further ado, Angel purchased a non-Fraggle drum kit from Shane … along with a series of drum lessons.

User instruction manual.

Adult Education
Armed with a  fierce determination and a high school marching band background (legacy: the possibility of playing “ironic jazz flute” at Musak-enhanced business networking mixers), Angel is practicing. Practicing assembling the kit, and learning the proper grip and foot positioning (it matters). Practicing patience and persistence in pursuit of improved on-the-job performance. And, practicing, because according to Shane, she might get to learn how to play Billie Jean pretty soon.

Angel Lessons

Keeping her fingers on the pulse of practice space.

Shane reports that Angel is a good student; Angel’s report: “Shane is fun, drumming is hard, and OMG there’s so much to haul!”  Her next move is to buy a throne, as is befitting the new queen of all she surveys. Well, it’s mostly so she can stop sitting on a child’s chair with a pillow in her basement practice space. After that: probably headphones and earplugs and cymbals. But eventually? She looks forward to practicing in a proper rehearsal space. Good thing we have a couple of those on the way.

P.S. wanna take drum lessons from Shane? Email him — he’s accepting new students of all ages.

P.P.S. we’re bringing back the local music track sample in our posts. Hey, here’s one:
Chain of Command by Wire Faces

Cohere Bandwidth and The Sound of Music

In re: “The Sound of Music” title … for those of you that took a wrong turn at Austria, you might wanna hold up for a second. We’re talking about the sound of music in terms of acoustics and Cohere Bandwidth, our presently-being-blueprinted shared rehearsal space. And while we do have a Julie, we don’t have Julie Andrews. Also, there are currently zero nuns involved with this project.

What we have instead is: an engineer. An architectural acoustic engineer with a rock star name. And we are SO RELIEVED to bask in the warmth of his expertise.

Meet Mick:

Angel and Mick poring over the plans ... "in concert" (hey, that's Angel's pun, not mine, so direct any eye rolling her way)

Angel and Mick poring over the plans … “in concert” (hey, that’s Angel’s pun, not mine, so direct any eye rolling her way)

Mick works for D.L. Adams Associates, and pretty much the minute he walked into our lives with his tape measure and his reading glasses and his ability to immediately answer questions about things like green glue, we felt sure we were in the presence of genius. Mick knows what he’s talking about. Mick sent us DRAWINGS. Mick is going to make sure we don’t make some horrible mistake out of acoustic ignorance that causes our neighbors at The Downtown Artery to curse us due to our insufferable crash-bang-booming at all hours of the day and night. So huzzah.

A Lavatory in the Laboratory
Something else to celebrate: our PLANS include a CAN. Yes, friends and musicians, that’s a working toilet with running water and everything, right there in black and white. Mick even included an armchair in the waiting area. He shares our crazy idea that musicians should be afforded some, oh, you know … amenities.

The Can @ Cohere Bandwidth

The Can @ Cohere Bandwidth

#regram
Some of you may have already seen this very rendering of The Can @ Cohere Bandwidth because a) you are Mick or b) you are Alana, who is our frame of reference for ceiling height standards (“must be able to accommodate the playing of viola STANDING UP at full bow extension, while wearing heels”) or c) you are following Cohere Bandwidth on Instagram. Oh hey, you should follow @coherebandwidth on #instagram you guys! We’re going to start sharing snippets of the space as it progresses. Here’s one we haven’t posted yet of some actual tools we found already on the shelf in the warehouse space where Cohere Bandwidth will live.

Tools for Cohere Bandwidth

They all look pretty useful so we might ask if we can keep them.

If that’s not enticing enough, we’ve got prizes for you if you interact with us on Instagram! Take a picture of yourself at your current band practice space, tag or mention @coherebandwidth, use the hashtag #practiselfie, and we’ll pick a winner in the next two weeks. What do you win? Well … what do you want? We’ll entertain your suggestions (which may not be the same as fulfilling them, but you never know unless you ask, so, yeah). Talk to us! Through pictures or even … videos. Because you know how we love SOUND.

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.

Bandwidth: A Look Back

It’s that time, you know. That week between Christmas and the New Year, when you start feeling kind of wistful and reflective, and yet you are pretty sure if you read one more retrospective blog post, you’ll puke. So of course, here it is, the obligatory year-end flashback. Try to hold on to your cookies.

One year ago. When I think about it, that’s when this whole shared rehearsal space quest got started, really. December 29, 2012. I open Facebook and find a chat from Dawn Duncan, who writes: “…our dear FBR and Wire Faces friends were robbed. Their practice space that they share/rent together in N. Fort Collins was robbed clean …” She continues with some details. My initial horrified and none-too-articulate response is: “Oh shit. shit. shit.” Of course, this is not, sadly, the first time I’ve heard such a tale (in fact just a few months prior, I had backed The Heyday’s Kickstarter project after their van was robbed in downtown Denver). It’s not rare, and it’s always distressing. But this has happened here, and these are our friends, and I’m pretty much horrified.

Scream

I recover a little. We try to think up ways to help. Dawn contacts The Coloradoan and they write a story. Social media lights up and the community is similarly aghast. We discuss bake sales. Gear is loaned and loaded, shows go on.

The bands post a list of stolen items (if you feel like maybe you want to throw up some excess holiday snacks after all, peep this):

Sabian 13″ Fierce Hats
Sabian 22″ Omni Crash/Ride Cymbal
Pasha 20″ Ride Cymbal w/ Sandblasted Finish, should say “Made in
Italy” on top or bottom
Zildjian 13″ Amir Hi-Hat Cymbal
Zildjian 13″ K Hi-Hat Top Cymbal
Yamaha DTXplorer Electronic Drum Kit Rack and Trigger Pads w/ NO Controller Module/Brain Serial Numbers on the Trigger Pads will Range (834890-834899)
Zickos 22 x 18 Bass Drum w/ Evans Clear EMAD Batter, + Clear Resonant
Head with 5″ Chrome Reinforcement Ring Hole
Zickos 14 x 10 Rack Tom, Batter Side has single point lugs, resonant side has original stock Zickos Lugs.
Tama Starclassic 10 x 8 Tom Natural Birch
Tama Starclassic 12 x 9 Tom Natural Birch Clear Emperor Batter
Tama Starclassic 16 x 16 Floor Tom Natural Birch Evans EC2 Batter w/
split in head
Mapex Pro M Bass Drum 22 x 18 Transparent Black w/ Remo PS3 Batter, Evans EQ3 Resonant head w/ 5″ Hole, No bass drum mount is attached
Viking 22 x 18 Bass Drum White Wrap, Missing resonant head.
Viking 12 x 9 Rack Tom White Wrap, Evans Clear Hydraulic on Batter head
16 x 10 Junior Bass Drum White Wrap Finish, Remo Clear Pinstripe in batter and Remo Ebony Ambassador on Resonant side,
10 x 5 Junior Tom Tom
Two 8″ Peace Octabons Wood shell w/ Midnight Blue finish
Ludwig Double Tom Stand for Octabons
Wolverine Steel Snare Drum 14 x 5 w/ Evans Genera Dry Batter
Acrylic Snare Drum 14 x 6.5 with Pearl Throw off, Remo Clear CS on
Batter, 40 Snare strands on snare side, crack in shell coming out of the throwoff.
Carvin D44 Bass Drum Mic
Stagg 16 Channel Mic Snake
Yamaha CS 745 Boom Stand
Mapex Snare Stand w/ Yellow Gaffe tape on feet
Tama Double Tom Mount for Starclassic Toms
Yamaha Bass Drum Pedal
Bass Drum Mount for Mapex Pro M Tom Holder
Yamaha Auxiliary Hi Hat Mount
2 Pearl Tom Arms
Stagg Hardware Bag Black w/ Purple straps full of Misc Percussion mounts
Mackie CR1604-VLZ mixing board
VOX Wah-Wah V847A
Boss RC-30 Loop Station
Sears Silvertone Amlifier (Reverb is broken and only one of the channels work)
Fender Hot Rod Deluxe
Electro-Voice N/D967 Supercardioid Concert Vocal Microphone
Koch Load Box LB120 (power attenuator)
Ernie Ball VP Junior Passive Volume Pedal
Boss Chorus Pedal
Electro-Harmonix Classics Usa Big Muff Pi Distortion / Sustainer
15″ CGM Stage Monitor
Large Fender Bassman Style Cabinet with 2 JBLD130 15″ Speakers
1979 Ampeg V4 Bass Amplifier w/ Master Volume
Roland Micro Cube RX Battery Bass Amplifier
Ampeg BA115 Bass Combo Amplifier
Rolland AC90 Serial# VR24509
Yamaha Motif 6 Serial# 1001266
Fender Jazz Bass American Serial# 9320463
Ampeg SVT4 Pro Serial# DCTCR00014
Sans Amp Progamble Bass Driver Serial# 984161
Korg DTR 1000 Serial# 038258
Boss pedal Serial# ST18882
Boss pedal Serial# ZW47942
Boss pedal Serial# KW20519
Vox AC-30 CC2 Amplifier Serial# C2AC005505

One year later and none of this stuff has been found, mind you.

BUT. Fast Forward. The desire to help doesn’t go away, and throughout the year, more and more people respond to the search for safe rehearsal space rallying cry. Including, of course, at least one Angel and many angels. As I write this today, we have three distinct possibilities to pursue for shared space and despite a bit of a disappointment recently, we’re feeling like the future looks a little bit brighter again. And as it turns out, this New Year coincides with a New Moon — a bit of auspicious astrological abundance. We’ll take it. It’s been a long time coming. In the meantime, here’s to better days. Happy New Year!

Sparks

On Tour: Cohere Bandwidth Field Trip to Denver

For anyone out there who thinks that money changes everything, we’ve got news for you: sometimes, it doesn’t. Don’t get us wrong, we’re thrilled to have successfully raised six months worth of rent money to put toward shared rehearsal space for local bands, but we’ve been feeling a little stuck. And then unstuck. And then stuck again. Progress, that saucy wench, is happening in fits and starts, but we still don’t have a confirmed home (even a temporary lab home) for Cohere Bandwidth. And since it’s been nearly two months since we wrapped up our crowdfunding campaign, we are – not gonna lie – starting to freak out just a little.

So what do you do when you feel an itch to get moving, to explore new ideas, to connect, to stretch and grow, to find inspiration outside your own backyard? If you’re a band, you go on tour. If you’re a merry band of stalled-out rehearsal space catalysts, you TAKE a tour. In this case, to our sister city to the south: Denver.

sign

This is what goes on in Denver. *gasp!*

Angel, probably growing weary of the emotional roller coaster of YES!/NO!/MAYBE!/GAH, WHY DOES THIS HAVE TO BE SO HAARRRDD? (sometimes all in the same afternoon) wisely decided to ask for some help, or at least some insight. She reached out to some people who have been there/done that/are still doing it right now, in fact, and arranged for us to meet with Denver rehearsal space owners and managers from RocketSpace, Soundstructure Studios and Francisco Studios. Here’s what we found:

RocketSpace
RocketSpace (2711 Larimer St.) is the result of a ton of hard work, past and present, by owner/operator/guitar-playing-badass Kate Innes (<<she’s the redhead on the left, in your face). RocketSpace rents hourly rehearsal rooms – you can’t store your gear there, but each room is equipped with drums, PA system, microphones, bass rig and guitar cabinets. This means as a musician, you get to show up, practice, and not load too much stuff in and out. Convenient. Yay! It also means, as Kate, that you are in the repair business and the constant scheduling business. Boo! Luckily, she is a real hands-on type and is very much invested in the space, having put her own sweat equity in over and over again (she showed us the closet where she first learned to drywall before building out all the soundproofed RocketSpace rooms). She is also invested in the community, being a currently performing musician herself. Unsurprisingly, Kate’s advice is to own all your own stuff vs. renting a building where you are dumping a bunch of money into improvements that you then have to leave behind with your lease. She was no-holds-barred about how much work it is, but she also seems to genuinely love the process and the people. And RocketSpace is very, very busy, so that doesn’t hurt a bit. Well, maybe it hurts a little, but it’s worth it. That’s what Kate would probably say.

RocketSpace

Kate dropping some knowledge on us at RocketSpace

Soundstructure Studios
Just adjacent to The Walnut Room, and having been around for 20 years, Soundstructure Studios is the established elder statesman to RocketSpace’s startup sensibilities. Encompassing two different buildings with 25 total studios, Soundstructure offers “lockout” spaces: meaning your band rents a room (which you might decide to share with another band or two), you bring all your gear right on in there, and you set up camp. And if you can manage it: you never, ever leave. Because spaces like this one are pretty much impossible to find. Built from the beginning with the magic of acoustical architecture in mind, these rooms are high-end, rock-solid and designed for silence — or at least to keep the sound contained to your space and out of everyone else’s. Double door systems, rooms with no right angles, some sort of cuts (?) in the floor to mitigate low-frequency noise … Angel and I basically lost track of the details, probably because we were both mentally adding up all the dollar signs that were required as an initial investment. That said: owner (and drummer, of course, like all good sages) John Burr, after a couple of decades of business, was hard-pressed to tell us what the “biggest nightmare” is in terms of managing the space currently. The rooms are constantly booked. No marketing required. An hour or two here and there, mostly in the processing of monthly rents, the occasional bit of wear and tear? John seemed so chill about the whole thing that we started to believe that we could be, too. Someday. But not without some serious upfront stressors (see “mind boggling initial investment”). Then again: maybe money does change everything.

Soundstructure

The unflappable John “Jedi Knight” Burr opens the first of many doors to show us around Soundstructure Studios.

Francisco Studios
Our final stop on our Denver day tour was at Francisco Studios, which apparently is a franchise of sorts, with locations in Los Angeles, Phoenix and Tucson as well. Our intended tour guide kinda forgot he was supposed to meet us (to his credit, when he realized later, he was extremely gracious and utterly mortified), but undaunted, Angel and I asked a freshly arrived musician/space renter if he’d let us in to try and find someone to show us around. Turns out said musician became our tour guide, which was perfect, because we got some insight straight from the source. Francisco Studios is a HUGE building, with 50 rehearsal rooms arranged in an eerily familiar labyrinth that felt so much like a junior high school that we were convinced that’s what it used to be (when Angel finally talked to the space manager, Kreston, he explained that no, the building was built that way on purpose). The overall result — lockout room upon lockout room, stretching down long hallways, with no real sounds or movement. (Other than the sound of musicians practicing inside the rooms, unfortunately — yes, the rooms are soundproofed, but only … sort of. Our new musician friend just shrugged and said, “yeah, you can totally hear other bands practicing, but what’re you gonna do?” John and Kate would tell him in a heartbeat). As for the ambience in the building, Angel flatly declared it “creepy as f*ck” and the musician kid confessed to freaking himself out there sometimes, but then chalked it up to smoking too much weed. Check out our slasher flick, A short stroll through Francisco Studios. Really, though, once inside the rooms, it was way less spooky and pretty basic. And the bottom line: busy. Just like all the other rehearsal spaces.

What We Learned
Hard to say what impact our tour day had on us, other than it gave us hope for the future, and a whole lot of ideas for what to consider when it’s time for permanent space. We connected with perfectly lovely people who are making it work, we visited spaces that are at capacity, that are secure, (mostly) soundproofed, and yes, bathroom-rich. We got to feel like we’re on the right path even though the next step seems like it might require a divining rod. Not a bad day in Denver. Now: back home, to the task at hand.

P.S. Speaking of the task at hand, Ian got to perform his highly serious, patented “clap test” at RocketSpace. A+!

ianclap

insert off-color joke about the clap here

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