The first thing I thought when I entered Lynx Music was, this place is well designed. It feels downright luxurious.
Everything a musician needs in a rehearsal space is here: parking, free WiFi, room projectors, iPads, room mics that connect to your phone, beer fridge, mic stands with phone holders, vending machines filled with music miscellany and... did I mention parking? Yeah, there's plenty of it.
Generally speaking, rehearsal spaces are dark, dirty and uninspired. I play in a band, and in our last rehearsal space, the toilet had a problem where it perpetually flushed. It wasn't what you'd call a creative space.
Lynx Music was built to be the opposite of that. One of the founders Ryan Altschuler explained to me that they "built Lynx out of a sense that something was missing in the city... we wanted people to step into our rooms and actually feel creative and inspired."
The Rehearsal Rooms
Each rehearsal room has unique artwork done by a local artist. So while the equipment and layout is identical between rooms, the artwork gives each room an identity.
My favourite room is the Toronto Room— which has a huge cartoon map of Toronto music venues:
Ryan says they treated the rooms to have "just a bit of liveliness... If you have a room that's all carpet or curtain it creates a naturally dead sound that the life out of the music. "
"Rooms are setup to make it feel like bands are on stage performing. For example, rather than arranging in a circle, the instruments are arranged as you would expect them to be on stage."
There are 6 standard rehearsal rooms and 2 premium rehearsal rooms. Standard spaces are 270 square feet and rent for $24 / hour (except for two standard rooms that rent for $20 / hour because of their proximity to other rooms). Premium spaces are 350 square feet and rent for $28 / hour.
Rooms are setup to make it feel like bands are on stage performing. For example, rather than arranging in a circle, the instruments are arranged as you would expect them to be on stage. Each room also has a variety of lighting controls— so that bands can feel like they're performing onstage.
The details and design are what makes Lynx stand out from other rehearsal spaces.
There all kinds of thoughtful details:
How Lynx Music Started
Ryan and his partners dove headfirst into research mode once they decided to build Lynx.
They started by touring every rehearsal facility they could find— in Toronto or abroad in cities like Austin and Paris— and started figuring out what they liked and what they didn't like.
"The number one thing [band's asked for] was parking— even ahead of sound isolation and gear!"
Then they sent out surveys asking bands what amenities they loved and hated in rehearsal spaces. They thought bands would want a patio or coffee shop area. But that's not what bands said. That was almost last on the list. The number one thing was parking (even ahead of sound isolation and gear!). So they transformed a dirt and grass parking lot into a nice, paved parking lot.
When you enter Lynx, your eyes are drawn to the cool details: the iPads, projectors etc. But the reality is that those things were easy— it was the unsexy construction that turned out to be hardest. Ryan says "the hardest part of this whole process was just construction. My partners and I know audio and we know music. What we didn't have was construction experience." Fortunately, one of the partners was a project manager and Ryan says, "without him this place never could have happened. Going through that process was by far the hardest thing we've done. "
Apart from the rehearsal studios, Lynx also offers four production studios— all available at very competitive rates:
A Place For Creativity & Community
When you build something like Lynx, you start cultivating a community around it. On any given night, you can find hip hop acts, jazz trios, Peruvian flute bands and a metal band all rehearsing at Lynx.
They even have bigger bands like Glass Tiger, Bad Bad Not Good and Selfish Things coming through. Ryan describes a scene a few days ago when "a few of the guys from a [local] band walked in front and saw one of the members of blue rodeo just hanging out on the couch."
For Ryan this was all part of the plan. "We really wanted to we wanted to capture the entire spectrum. From casual people who want to jam once a month to much bigger bands... We want everyone to coexist in the same facility."
Lynx Music is near Geary Ave at 260 Emerson Ave. You can book rooms and find out more at LynxMusic.ca.