Practicing enough to get to Carnegie Hall (or maybe SXSW in this case) can be a real challenge for Brooklyn bands. Classic band incubators, like basements and garages, aren’t readily available, and neighbors are pretty unforgiving about practicing in your apartment. This adds, “search for practice space” to the list of tasks that stand between an aspiring musician and fame. As with any rental situation, during the search you’re likely to encounter several too-good-to-be-true spaces, and accompanying them are absent landlords, bad wiring, less-than-secure-locks, you name it.
Here are a few highlights of the practice space market–places that work for musicians, with rooms that are affordable, flexible or both. Feel free to add in your faves, or places to avoid, in the comments.
The bros behind Danbro studios have some serious ambition. Taking over a massive space in East Williamsburg that formerly housed a brewery, they offer up-to-code, well-conditioned spaces (some even with windows!), at solid mid-market rates. They promise skilled wiring (no fires), security, and conditioned air for when it gets sweaty. According to the space manager, Kenan Gunduz, Main Drag Music will soon open its second location in the building, and they’ll be hosting regular shows and parties on the bottom floor.
The Sweatshop, also in Williamsburg, is less grand, but what they do, they do right, and at the right price. Rooms are as cheap as $12/hr (for a single drummer), and are appointed with basic backline equipment. This is a great place for those of you who are in between bands and want to keep practicing, or just want a space to wail on drums with abandon for an hour. The staff is remarkably friendly and mellow, and always on hand.
In Fort Greene, Shanti rehearsal studio also trades in flexibility and offers a range of options for single musicians or whole bands. It’ s a chill space with a relaxing vibe that can be a welcome antidote to punked-out Williamsburg spaces.
Around the corner in Prospect Heights, Complete Studios offers spaces large and small, and has become a go-to spot for longtime scenesters and newcomer alike. They’ve been in business for 21 years and moved shop to Prospect Heights in 2006. They house a diverse roster of bands from huge and they also offer conditioned storage on site, which is a real plus for regular clients. Rooms start at $25/hr.
Text by Rachael Rakes, sent by Annaliese. Photos courtesy of Complete Studios.