By Eloise Lushina
The outside resembles a large, cold warehouse — but inside, The Record Co. studio is far from that. The faint hum of singing travels down the hallway, beckoning one to explore. The Record Co. is an impressive and affordable studio space for a nonprofit organization.
“Everything here is high-tech and built with good quality materials,” said Bobby Boyd, director of operations. “Everyone here is a musician, and I think the experience attracts people.”
Located in Newmarket, The Record Co. is a hidden gem for musicians. The rented space used to be a warehouse. Now it flourishes, with 20 different studio rooms each lined with prime sound isolation and instruments in premium condition.
Musicians can rehearse here at a limited cost. And for struggling artists, The Record Co. aims to reduce financial and professional constraints.
“We are reducing the barriers for anyone who wants to be creative,” Boyd said. “If there’s a financial barrier, we want to eliminate that.”
Depending on the type of practice and recording an artist would like to do, there are different sized studios to rent at an affordable price. One of their small rehearsal rooms only costs $10 per hour.
Nico Rivers, a professional audio engineer, composer and musician from Marshfield has been using The Record Co. facilities for about eight years.
“The first time I went there I was working as an engineer for a session with a friend,” Rivers said. “Now my band uses the studios to rehearse.”
His band, called Gold Hoax, creates indie rock songs. Rivers said that the affordable price of the studios has helped him as a musician and enabled him to record his own personal projects.
“To have a space that is so affordable, comes with such high-quality gear and amazing support from the staff is huge,” he said. “I wish every city had a place like The Record Co.”
Rivers credits his engineering career to the nonprofit because it helped connect him to a number of different clients, from musicians to films and podcasts.
“Occasionally clients will reach out to [The Record Co.] and they will then reach out to me,” he said. “They really helped me build up a strong client base.”
The organization also has an open Facebook group, “TRC,” for anyone in the community to join. It’s used as a platform to connect professionals to artists who may need assistance on a project.
“It creates a space where artists can build their reputation,” Boyd said.
Not only do musicians use the studios, but music teachers too. All of the necessary equipment is available so no artist has to bring their own.
“Most of our instruments are donated to us by musicians who are moving on,” Boyd said. “We also get a lot of donations from our vendors and support from our community because we are a nonprofit.”
All of the staff at The Record Co. are artists in their own way — from Boyd, a hip-hop artist known as “Bobby Dangero” on Spotify, to studio support Kyle Johnson, who uses the affordability of the nonprofit to produce his original lofi and hip-hop music.
“The Record Co. has great vibes and energy,” Johnson said. “It’s always lively here.”
The organization was founded by Berklee College of Music alum Matt McArthur who wanted an affordable space to support artists and create a community.
Howard Godfrey Jr., a Berklee student, uses the studios to record original musical theater soundtracks.
“The Record Co. is super affordable and is user-friendly, compared to other studios that will charge $100,” he said. “There’s a large open-floor plan that can fit an orchestra.”
Boyd said the organization is working hard to keep their studios affordable as expenses consistently increase.
“Programming from our partner organizations help our funding,” he said.
Boyd oversees the studio staff, recruits board members and provides the various resources that the musicians need. As a musician himself, he was drawn to this role. He grew up in the South End of Boston when hip-hop was huge.
“I used to do rap battles back in the day, going to old warehouses and underground parties,” Boyd said. “Now I write more poetry and do recordings.”
But Boyd expressed that there isn’t enough being said about The Record Co.
“It’s like a speakeasy, if you know about it you know about it,” he said. One of his future goals is to improve their marketing to let more people know they are there.
The Boston Medical Center owns the entire building, so the nonprofit is looking to find a more permanent building. Boyd said that the organization is still “young in this space” and that they are still trying to find their groove.
Every genre of music is practiced and recorded there, including jazz, reggae, Caribbean and much more. Famous musicians have come in, like rapper and producer Lupe Fiasco.
“One of the things that make musicians so comfortable to come record here is that no one is starstruck. Everyone here is an artist.”
Boyd said that the community understands how important it is to have a nonprofit like The Record Co. because they advocate for all things musicians want.
“Sure, there are certain luxuries you can get from other expensive studios,” Rivers said. “But The Record Co. has become a community hub in Boston for the music scene. It’s just a magical place.”
Eloise Lushina is enrolled in a Boston University College of Communication Reporting in Depth class, which focuses on community reporting.