BOSTON – Standing in the middle of a room overlooking Boston’s historic Lovejoy Wharf, I’m surrounded by new guitars, pedals, amps and mics; afraid to knock something over and end up owing someone more money than I could ever imagine.
For me, this is a fear. For a band? A dream scenario.
Converse has decided to make that dream happen for so many bands with their new Converse Rubber Tracks Boston studio. Since 2011, the Converse Rubber Tracks program has allowed unsigned musicians to come in and record a full day’s session in their state-of-the-art studio for free and retain the rights to what they record. They opened their first studio in Brooklyn a few years ago, then went international in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and they’ve now expanded to Boston for their next project, opening July 1.
Jed Lewis, director of music marketing at Converse, talked about the origins of the Rubber Tracks project and eliminating the problem of expensive studio time:
“We wanted to build a studio, a state of the art facility that any emerging artist can apply to and come to and record for free and leave with all the rights to their music, no strings attached. That was really the genesis of what happened when we opened doors in July 2011 of our studio in Brooklyn.”
In addition to the Converse Rubber Tracks studios on the East Coast, the company has taken over recording studios in 16 countries all over the world, serving as pop-ups to provide free studio time for emerging artists. But it’s not just the opportunity to record a session that’s enticing about the opportunity. As an artist who records at the studio, you also have the chance to play shows with bigger, established acts.
Up-and-coming indie rockers Eternals were one of those smaller acts that were chosen to join the program. Stephen Konrads, vocalist and songwriter for the group, said it wasn’t just about the gear and production they had access to, but also about the experience.
“It’s not just a bunch of people who were like, ‘Oh cool, this is just another band.’ The people who were working were piping in and helping us… there was one moment actually with the Mellotron (keyboard) where I was playing it, because I really wanted that sound, and it sucked. It was not the right sound for it, and one of the engineers came out, and he brought out this string synthesizer and said, ‘This is the synth you need.’ You have people who are not only absolute professionals, but they’re also very interested in what you’re doing, and they care… We released the song we recorded at the Rubber Tracks pop-up as a single in April and got some of our first press coverage from it.”