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Article from the GetOut (East Valley Tribune)!

Article from the GetOut (East Valley Tribune)!

clforenz@gmail.com

May 8th, 2015

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Here’s the link to the actual article too…

http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/get_out/music/article_dc85f662-f04a-11e4-8aa1-ffda35960d5e.html

The Valley’s local music scene is thriving, and with lots of bands comes a need for rehearsal space. After all, not everyone has a garage they can dedicate to music, and not every band will benefit from the sound that kind of acoustic space produces. Enter Chris Forenz and his not-quite-new facility: Bomb Shelter Studios. The studio, located at 210 S. 4th Ave. in Phoenix, is a converted air raid shelter built in the 1950s. Forenz said the building’s history was a big part of what led him to choose it for his business.

“I fell in love with the idea of having a studio here,” Forenz said. “I was a sustainability major and I’ve always been very interested in the reuse of existing spaces. And it’s always been my dream to open a business in this area.

“Environmentalism, urban development, those have been interests of mine since I was a teenager. And music has been a huge passion for me, too. So Bomb Shelter was a way for me to combine the two.”

Forenz has been involved in the Valley music scene for 17 years, known for his work as a member and the production manager for the Pink Floyd tribute band, The Great Gig in the Sky. In his nearly two decades of involvement in the scene Forenz said he has worked with numerous bands and promoters, rehearsed in many studios, and he brings that knowledge to his new venture.

“I’ve been here a long time,” he said. “I know what’s needed, and I don’t think there’s any other rehearsal studio around built with this amount of care.”

The studio is located in a nondescript building that can be easy to miss. On the east side of the building is the main entrance, but it isn’t until you walk through the lobby, through giant swinging double doors and a darkened room, then down an elevator, before you come to Bomb Shelter Studios.

“Welcome to my hole in the ground,” Forenz said.

The space is 3,000 square feet in all, with four rehearsal rooms of differing sizes built using the thick walls of the former shelter as well as newly constructed, sound-proofed walls. The rooms each have their own air ducts, Forenz said, and are double-framed as well, so a band practicing in one room will never hear the band next door.

“All the walls are double framed, two steel frames with space in between,” he said. “And a double layer of 5/8-inch drywall inside and outside. These rooms are absolutely acoustically sealed. We could have bands in every room and the sound would not bleed.”

The rooms are affordable, too, with the smallest room going for $15 per hour.

“There are tons of bands out there who just don’t have the space to practice,” he said. “And they may have scheduling issues, so they don’t want to rent a full-time space not knowing when they’ll actually be able to practice. That’s where hourly rental becomes a great option.”

Perhaps most importantly, the rooms are all fully back lined — drum kits, amps, the works. So bands who want to come in and rehearse don’t have to lug in all of their gear.

Forenz also built a lounge area, with couches and a TV and an Xbox 360, should the musicians ever need a break.

“From rehearsal or from each other,” Forenz said. “I wanted to have a comfortable space for people to have a meeting or watch Netflix or just to relax.”

All of this construction work, beginning last October — and still not entirely completed — was done by Forenz and a musician friend of his who also works in construction. Two people built a fully-featured rehearsal studio, in what can only be described as truly a labor of love.

“Having the opportunity to create something unique like this, in Downtown Phoenix? It’s a dream come true,” Forenz said.

Forenz has only recently opened the space for business but he already landed a big fish in the form of A Day To Remember, who were in town for a music festival in early April. They were preparing for a tour of Japan and needed a space to rehearse that was big enough for all the equipment they would be taking on an international tour. Lucky for Forenz, his building has a loading dock on the south side.

“They backed a 53-foot semi truck up here,” he said. “All of the common area down here was filled with their equipment. They were here for two days doing tour prep.”

Another national act will be using Bomb Shelter soon, though Forenz said he cannot disclose who it is. And the local scene is healthy enough that he envisions all four rooms in use simultaneously becoming a regular occurrence.

“This is a huge city, with a huge population. It’s not a well-known scene like Nashville or Austin but, per capita, I think we’ve got as many bands as anywhere. And those bands need a place to rehearse.”

For more information, visit TheBombShelterStudios.com.

• Contact writer at jdempsey@yourwestvalley.com.

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