TWO MEN ARE SITTING on a couch above a busy street in San Francisco—drunk, nostalgic, and talking about life—when a sobering idea hits them. One year later, AudioCinema is born.
Those drunken dreamers were former Dante's booker Adam Mackintosh and Ilan Laks. The idea, now a reality, is AudioCinema, a one-stop shop for musicians, where companies rent space from Mackintosh and Laks and join forces in providing just about any musical service imaginable. The 10,000 square-foot warehouse in the Southeast industrial district hosts its grand opening this Saturday with Fireballs of Freedom, Nice Boys, and Dark Skies performing, but it's been open for two months now—with 20 bands already making use of the facilities. Laks recalls, "At first, it was just going to be a rental space, then I wanted a painting studio, then it just took off from there."
Laks is referring to AudioCinema's list of services which include everything a band could need, from rent-by-the-hour spaces in three sizes to a booking agent and publicist. Technically an artist would never have to leave the building to accomplish everything on their "to do" list—except for shopping sprees, of course. Laks proudly says, "On Tuesday, we took a band shopping with a stylist and by their show on Saturday they will have gotten vocal coaching, fliers, a bio, and a video shoot... AudioCinema's game is speed."
The duo claim their prices are 30 percent less for materials and services since everything is under one roof. "Our 11 x 17 posters are 50 cents. Kinko's will charge you $1.50... We do it for you and we do it on time."
Beyond material necessities, creative input is just a door knock away. Website design, T-shirts (or underwear), and album art are available, as well as on-the-spot photo shoots in Laks' studio, which features a wall-sized light box.
Options for solo artists or folks just looking to work on their chops or learn the turntables are upstairs. Sarah Cawley, who holds a degree in vocal performance from the University of Oregon, offers vocal coaching in her piano-equipped studio at $30 an hour. Brandon Neustel (AKA DJ What!?) runs SpunAcademy, offering courses in turntablism—a one-day beginner course is $175 and a two-day crash course runs $325.
Mackintosh stresses the importance of proximity and community for the different services, as well as the accessibility of the industry companies that perch above a huge 40-foot by 30-foot showcasing stage. It is here that Transistor TV will be broadcasting a local TV show, airing live videos of bands in the building, as well as typical indie videos. "[The band] Nice Boys came by to get dibs on rehearsal rooms and Josh from Transistor was at his desk. I told him how great they were and suggested they do a segment with him, and he booked it right there."
Even if your purist gut is warning you of the implications of further expanding the accessibility of Portland's music scene, you should still check it out—you could be kicked out of your practice space sooner than you think.