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rehearsal space - what do you look for

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by flacko, Jan 22, 2003.


  1. flacko

    flacko

    Dec 6, 2001
    Surrey , UK
    I wonder if I could get your views on rehearsal space.

    What do you look for when hiring rehearsal rooms ? Cost , location , near public transport , quality of gear for hire , availability at certain times of day/night , room size , easy access to the room for gear unloading , availability of raw recording equipment , near a bar ......

    If you hire gear, what do you and the band usually hire ? PA , drums , amps , mics , cables , keyboards, PC tools ......

    What hacks you off most about rehearsal space ? Unhelpful staff , poor equipment , rates , time slots available , poor room acoustics ......

    Any of you double on drums ? What elements of the kit do you bring to rehearsal and what parts would you expect to hire ? Cymbals , snare, kick drum pedals ..

    Are you prepared to hire rehearsal space without the ability to get a demo quality recording burnt ?Do you/would you use a sound engineer to get a demo quality recording or are you able to get that done yourself.

    Any other points all gratefully received.

    And yes, that's right, I'm toying with the idea of starting a rehearsal space. Should it ever get off the ground there will of course be a discount for visiting TalkBass folks.

    Thanks for your help one and all.
     
  2. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    There are loads of factors. One of the key factors driving our current rehearsal space (The Premises, Hackney Road) is that the drummer can store his gear there for about £50 a month - I'm not sure if that also includes being able to come over and practise when there's a room free. I find it reasonably convenient to get to by car (as long as we're rehearsing after the local parking restrictions end at 6:30pm), although public transport is less easy (but hey, that's public transport for you ;) ).

    One thing I'm not so keen on is that booking slots are four hours long. We'd probably get as much out of a slightly shorter practise but would still have to pay for the extra time - on the other hand, I can see how this would be a pain for the owners.

    Each room at the Premises has a mixer and PA (with other equipment available to hire) - the systems have been quite good, although it would be useful to have a handbook with each one... I've used enough desks to be able to bluff my way through but it would be good to have a few hints about getting the best out of each specific set up.

    I've got plenty more thoughts, but that will do for starters.

    Wulf
     
  3. flacko

    flacko

    Dec 6, 2001
    Surrey , UK
    Hi wulf,

    Thanks for the feedback. I don't know The Premises - tend to use Alaska in Waterloo , BoneFide and the Joint , both in the City. Or Scream in Croydon - a great place but difficult for the drummer to get back from.

    Lock-up space. Hmm. Another point to put on my list.

    I agree with the 4 hour slot complaint. I find the same as well - the band I play with usually take 7 till 11 in the evening. Even with a break every hour , after three hours I find it hard to keep going.

    Do you record your rehearsals ? We use a mindisk recorder with the headphones plugged into the mic input of the recorder and dangling from the nearest coat-hook. You can probably imagine the quality , but it's good for getting a feel for how the song hangs together (or doesn't).

    Do you find availability of rehearsal space limited. We normally need to book 3/4 weeks ahead if we want our favourite day.

    Is the Premises multi-room. If so does sound leakage from other rooms trouble you.

    Like the playlist (and the orange bass ). Just dug my copy of Talking Book out the other day. I'd forgotten how good that album is. Pretty light on bass players though ! Still with a left hand like Stevie Wonder ...

    Thanks again.
     
  4. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    I think I know the Alaska studios - I had an audition there last year (which I was happy not to get - nice guys but they weren't looking for a jazzy bass player like me ;) ). The Premises compares favourably with the other two I know from recent times (Timewarp in Brixton - cheap but cramped and damp and one somewhere in Deptford, which was a tiny carpetted sweatbox); our drummer has visited a lot more of the spaces around London and regards The Premises pretty highly (it also featured in one of Jamie Oliver's cooking programs... a tasty bit of trivia for you).

    It is a multi-room facility but you don't hear much of the other bands - you could maybe pick them up if nobody in the room made a noise but the soundproofing seems quite reasonable. Each room has a double set of doors leading into it - I don't know if they've done anything special with the walls / floors / ceilings as well. There are rugs or curtains hanging up in most of the rooms, although these probably have more effect in damping unwanted reverb in the room itself rather than limiting sound transfer to other spaces.

    According to the board in the reception area, they're pretty busy (certainly on a Tuesday, when we normally rehearse). To avoid problems, we do block bookings - if we need to cancel, we just have to remember to give 48 hours notice. If you want to add another thing to your list of 'attractive things', put down being able to set up a block booking like this.

    I record some of our rehearsals, using a minidisk and stereo mic. You can hear some of the results on the Lovesjones music page:

    http://www.lovesjones.com/music.php

    The results tend to have too much bass and drums and not enough vocals but that works for my purposes - I normally try and catch a song at the point where we've learnt it enough to make it our own rather than aping the original artist, and then occasional snapshots as we come back to it in the future. I started recording everything but decided it was too much to sift through!

    BTW, the Premises has it's own website:

    http://www.premises.demon.co.uk/

    Wulf
     
  5. flacko

    flacko

    Dec 6, 2001
    Surrey , UK
    wulf wrote -
    Should I put an oven and wok on my "to-get" list.:)

    Thanks for the feedback.
     
  6. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    A kettle, small fridge and microwave might be worth considering... however, I'd see that as pretty far down the list of important things.

    How likely do you think your dream is to become reality?

    Wulf
     
  7. flacko

    flacko

    Dec 6, 2001
    Surrey , UK
    wulf wrote
    wulf, I wish I knew . :)

    Finding a premises of a suitable size and location is a large challenge as I have a particular customer catchment area in mind : South London/N. Surrey/N. Kent and a particular premises size.

    Secondly it is my intention to provide equipment for hire during rehearsals. There are third party accident issues involved in this.

    But mostly I need to give the musicians hiring the rooms what they want, not what I think they want. This needs more investigation , especially into the requirements of younger rock/jazz/pop musicians and also classical players.

    I also need to consider a partnership to provide recording engineer and production resources.

    Other than that I'm almost open for business !
     
  8. wulf

    wulf

    Apr 11, 2002
    Oxford, UK
    Does that mean that you wouldn't want people bringing their own gear along? If so, that could damp down interest - although having stuff on hand is great, it's also useful to be able to try out your own equipment at a reasonable volume and in interaction with the rest of the group before hitting the stage.

    Or is it just that you need to make sure your clients choose to use their own gear rather than being forced to because you have nothing available?

    Wulf
     
  9. The place we rehearse is a pig sty.... but its cheap $20 for as long as we want, and all PA is supplied.

    As a band we have everything else. Even a PA of sorts. But we look for a room that already has a PA. And this place not only had that, but many influential metal bands rehearse there. We took off after that. A band hears us and they tap on the door "you guys free in 3 weeks time? wanna do a gig" Now its us knocking on doors. ;)

    :D:D

    Merls