Photos © LENNA
LENNA's new rehearsal room: from cow barn to professional recording studio
The band LENNA from Bremen (Germany) talks about new and old rehearsal rooms and why many people only want to spend the price of a kebab on a ticket.
For many bands, the rehearsal room is something sacred, the temple, the nucleus of their own creative work. Changing the rehearsal room often means a cut in the band's history. The band LENNA from Bremen who is a long-term member of the IMG STAGELINE's endorsement artist family has now taken this step. IMG STAGELINE wanted to know why and visited the band of singer Alenna Rose from Bremen in their new rehearsal room - nothing less than the Harbor Inn Studios Bremen.
Dear LENNAs, you have recently moved to a new rehearsal room. Why?
Mainly, because the old rehearsal room became too small for us. To be able to stand in the rehearsal room exactly as we stand live on stage has become increasingly important. Thus, we can rehearse the live situation much more authentically. At the same time, it was also a great logistical effort to make good demo recordings in the old rehearsal room. We had to get the technology in, wire it up and so on. There are, of course, wireless solutions for mixing console and PA but we still needed more microphones.
Our new rehearsal room is also used as a studio for small demos now. We have got our own recording room here and better permanent technical equipment, too. Here, we can record our own music in high quality.
Wait, you are rehearsing in your own recording studio? So this is a rehearsal room and a studio in one?
Not quite; we cannot do everything here. But let us be honest, high-quality recordings for a single or something like that is very expensive. In particular if the recording, mixing and mastering is done externally and we want to release the whole thing professionally. That would be a few thousand Euros which are not just lying around. That is why we do it this way: we record our new songs as good as possible locally. Once we go to a recording studio for a bigger release, we can already take some good, usable audio tracks with us. This saves time and money and with a sufficient number of high-quality microphones in our new premises, for example, we are able to provide a reasonable quality. It is a mixture of home recording and professional studio. For example, we recorded some drum tracks here in the rehearsal room and sent them to a producer in Berlin. He can then edit them again and combine them with guitar tracks which we have recorded there in Berlin.
From a certain standard on, you as a band no longer do just home recording. These days, however, you do not have to give everything into other hands if you want a great result.
These days, nobody has to start from scratch in the recording studio. You can at least do what used to be the 'dirt track' yourself and bring it to the studio. And you can do much more, all with relatively small means.
This is what the new rehearsal room of LENNA looks like:
Did you find it difficult to move from your old rehearsal room to the new one?
We converted our old rehearsal room in the village from an empty cow barn into a great rehearsal room using crowdfunding and lot of DIY. There was a big pit in the middle of it which had to be filled up. There was nothing on the walls. It was incredibly hard work. Therefore: yes, it was a sad goodbye. However, when your band gets an offer like this and you can also make sure that the old room is at least re-utilised, reason prevails. The band's own demands have increased. Thus, technical equipment for the creative work had to be adapted, too.
How does a band get such a great room? This is every musician's dream...
It helps to have contacts as well as a positive charisma as a band when working together with other musicians and technicians. Then, such possibilities arise. However, maybe we were just a little bit lucky.
The old rehearsal room of the band LENNA during construction work:
What is important to you in a rehearsal room, what are must-haves?
First of all, the room should be dry and burglar-proof. There are values in the four-figure and even five-figure range. Some of the equipment reacts sensitively to moisture. With a new rehearsal room, you should always remember that in the end it is not only the band in there but also your instruments and your amps, merch, cases and other accessories. The room has to be heatable. Check, whether there is a lot of cold air entering the room and if you can insulate the room. Sometimes, there is a heating cost trap waiting for you which you can avoid if the rehearsal room is well insulated.
We also need the flexibility to go in when we want. And as I said, we have to be able to rehearse the live situation as authentically as possible.
Speaking of live situations, you have been playing live a lot lately. At the same time everyone is talking about clubs dying and young people being reluctant to go to concerts. Have you noticed anything?
Difficult question ... (laughs). You cannot deny that clubs are dying. At the same time, people spend less money on concerts and event organisers demand correspondingly less because they have to get people off the couch. That does not help the bands, of course, who want to have a reasonable income. In some cases, we are talking about an entrance fee of 5 Euros here and guests are already complaining that is too expensive. For goodness sake, that is almost the price of a kebab. Our guests can experience the result from hours and hours of practice and a good rehearsal room. However, on an average evening, we are not even getting the minimum wage.
This is partly due to the streaming services. Our generation gets music streaming services almost for free. Therefore, many listeners no longer appreciate live music.
As a musician, what can you do to stop this development?
We could broadcast the costs of a rehearsal room, the equipment and studio time. We could show more of the real band life to the outside, just like we do right now. On the one hand, people would see how much the whole stuff costs, on the other hand they could see that nobody gets rich here, let alone make a living off the music. In big cities, there are also lots and lots of concerts, particularly of smaller bands. I think that the club culture is different nowadays. Less people are coming to concerts. However, those who are coming show a profound interest in the music and are very committed to the music scene. Sometimes, they even want to give more than the few Euros entrance fee.
Maybe bands can start here: with merchandise or crowdfunding platforms.