Archived Story

Space Station offers unique outlet for artists

Published 11:41am Thursday, February 20, 2014

Fergus Falls has a new hub for live music: The Space Station.

It’s a newly-renovated production studio located at 1221 N. Union Avenue, just a couple doors down from Falls Baking Company. The goal for Space Station directors Ryan Carlson, Dan Olson and Justin Retzlaff is to “provide a resource for kids growing up here,” Olson said.

“It’s kind of about community building,” Carlson said. “(It’s about) getting to know other artists and helping each other. It’s kind of just about having equipment that’s nice enough to have a recordable product. Here’s a place where you can do that affordably.”

What inspired the idea for the Space Station, with its recording and performance in front of audiences, was variety shows in the 1970s, according to Olson. Those were filmed in front of live studio audiences.

“It’s a unique thing that we’re doing,” Olson said.

It’s forward thinking, “and it’s not a bar atmosphere,” Retzlaff said.

“The thing that’s unique about it is being in a studio and recording but also you’re playing live,” Carlson said.

Each performance will have a host to control the mood of the room, and the room will be catered to each artist.

They’ve been in the new recording studio since October and hope to open to the public in late March or early April. The studio space used to be a flower shop, but Carlson and his brother designed it as a studio, specifically for soundproofing.

“It still is a work in progress,” Carlson said.

The studio got a boost through a grant from the Lake Region Arts Council, which helped provide the rest of the needed equipment, lighting and a web designer.

“It helped us fill in the film side of it,” Olson said.

One piece to the musical puzzle at the studio is Space Station Live, a concert series filmed in the studio in front of a live audience. The 30-minute pieces, or webisodes, will feature interviews with artists from the area and across the state, and will be edited into episodes uploaded to the website ffspacestation.org

The Space Station founders want to be able to help people out if they need another musician for a band, for example. The directors can help find that person for you. The studio can also be a resource for businesses looking to make a jingle. It’s a hub for musicians.

“To be able to help people out,” Retzlaff said. “To be that next step up.”

Coming up this summer, Michele Anderson, of Springboard for the Arts, will run a school of rock camp for kids ages fourth through eighth grade.

The directors have heard from teachers, for example, that there’s community interest in a studio like this.

“There’s kids that are interested in rock and roll, but they have nowhere to go,” Olson said.

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