Indianapolis is a city that has always had some sort of appreciation for music, though, perhaps not always one of considerable attention. The Circle City and the Hoosier state as a whole have produced some renowned names within Jazz through the early to middle periods of the last century. With names like Wes Montgomery, Gary Burton and Freddie Hubbard to name a few. Within the last decade or so the likes of Fuzzy, Dream-laced Pop, Art Punk and Hip-Hop have dominated the underground music culture of the Midwest — with Indiana being front and center with its involvement. With the emergence of new artists, bands and sounds the need for more spaces for artists to express themselves through their art is growing. In addition to performance spaces, artists need recording, rehearsal and overall creative spaces to interact, collaborate and brainstorm methods of action for their work.
This is where Soundspace comes in. Founded in 2018, Soundspace is one of the latest music-oriented establishments to pop up around the Indianapolis metropolitan area. However, Soundspace is different. Soundspace looks to blend the creative brainstorming space within the same confines as the recording and rehearsal environments. Making their idea multifunctional and extremely resourceful to artists and musicians that may not have other places to work in. Being an independent artist is not always easy but it is the most important and authentic level of the entertainment industry.
Currently, Soundspace is in the first stage of its overall implementation, having launched in May of 2019, with a physical, full operations opening of “Soundhouse Beta” in November of 2019. The next step for Soundspace is opening “Soundspace Proper”, a space complete with meeting rooms, multiple recording/rehearsal studios, artist co-work areas and an all-ages venue. Kyle McGinnis, Community Architect and Chief Marketing Director at Soundspace, talked to me all about the future of Soundspace, its beginnings and its current efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Maxwell Denari: So, Kyle. Just to start digging into the conversation here — can you give me the rundown of the overall inspirations and foundations of Soundspace?
Kyle McGinnis: Yes, absolutely. I came to hearing about Soundspace from an acquaintance named Danny, who was the roommate of founder and CEO Ricky Anderson. Danny informed me about his roommate’s music idea and that he needed some marketing help. I was interested in the opportunity and met with Ricky for a coffee not long after that. The idea for Soundspace really stems from Ricky and his experiences during his stint at IUPUI. Trying to write and record music during his time in school and not really finding affordable spaces to do so. We sat down and thought about a space that could really benefit the artist. If we could build the ideal space, how would it work? From both a logistical and financial perspective. So we ultimately settled on a membership model. People being able to share the space, have it be collaborative, have it be community driven. Making it accessible and affordable to be a musician has kind of inspired the entirety of our growth to date.
MD: Would you say Soundspace is something tangible that the Indianapolis music community might have been missing?
KM: There are essentially two things we have noticed, not necessarily just within Indianapolis. Things tend to be pretty pocketed and there definitely can be a lack of cohesion. As there always seems to be awesome people and awesome little scenes that make up a bigger community. Things going on via the Arts Council of Indianapolis or Fountain Square or even somewhere more obscure like Healer. There are all these great spaces, locations and artists but there tends not to be a whole lot of connectivity in-between. So, our goal was to connect it in a new way. We want to be a land bridge locally as well as a resource hub. If we don’t have a certain asset or resource, we want to be able to put someone in touch with the right people. If someone comes to Soundspace and needs a recording space or a rehearsal room for their band or they need to know where to get a graphic designer or a videographer… we can provide those services and bits of information to help connect the arts community together as a whole.
MD: Of course. It is exceptionally important to be multi-faceted and music/arts communities need these kinds of spaces. Spaces that can be a jack of all trades.
Moving into a very relevant topic, can you dispense some information on how you guys have tackled the situation involving COVID-19 and the streaming platform you’ve developed? How has that been contributing to Soundspace in this trying time?
KM: Sure, I’ll speak about how it has impacted our operations and our long term planning first. I’ll note that we opened our beta space in November 2019 at the Circle City Industrial Complex with the goal of building what we refer to as “Soundspace Proper”, our eventual full-scale location. Beta has been somewhat a sampler platter of what is to come with proper. With everything going on, construction on proper has begun, that timeline is still looking hopeful for later this year. So, the pandemic has not really interrupted most of our long-term plans… However, with the beta we are just recently open for rehearsal by appointment only. Trying to keep patrons safe and our space clean. We have also decided to launch our Twitch platform and provide an opportunity to have local artists come on and do interviews, have discussions about local resources and talk about how to navigate the pandemic. We are also exploring ways to conduct a virtual mixer in the weeks to come. Our networking mixer at the end of January was a huge success, involving producers, musicians, agents, etc. Interactions like that make me very hopeful, I think those things will come back in due time… and any way we can engage those resources digitally can allow for us to keep some level of connectivity with our audience. Which I believe has been important both as a community, and of course, personally.
MD: To round it all off, Kyle. What was your expectation for the first full year of implementation for Soundspace and what do you expect within the next couple years?
KM: It’s been a whirlwind! A lot of people have supported us to allow it to happen at such a rapid pace. We were able to bootstrap the beta location and just prove our concept. People quickly responded and in those first few months we were able to get up to around 50 members. By November of this year, roughly, we are hoping to open Soundspace Proper. So, ultimately it will be have been a year of getting things off the ground, a year of a beta product and hopefully another year or so of success with the Soundspace Proper launch. In addition, we are also looking at the logistics of a several hundred-person ALL AGES venue. In the end, our goal will be to stay as innovative as possible for our members and for other artists, as well as working hard to make our resources as equitable as we can for those who need them.
Simply put… support local! A community will always benefit from the local populace chipping in.
You can stay up-to-date with Soundspace’s developments via their social media, which will be linked below! Be sure to visit the Soundspace website and learn all about their membership details, artist reps, company team, booking procedures and mission statement!