Rock n’ roll mythology fetishizes an artful sloppiness to the practise of music that doesn’t care for cleanliness, ease of access or comfort. Brunswick’s renovated rehearsal space Three Phase is an antidote to this, adding a defiantly modern cafe/bar, one-stop gear shop and a stunning new front to its state of the art facility.
The story of Three Phase Rehearsal Studio’s development is one of DIY passion- back in 2003, future owners Ben Hovey and Scott Taylor were musical regulars of Shanty Town Studios who leapt at the chance to buy it out when offered.
“Shanty Town was the typical rehearsal space – dingy, unventilated, smelly rooms with half assed PA’s, but people liked the vibe and it did well,” Tovey remembers.
The entrepreneurial pair made many improvements to the original Brunswick Road space before deciding a clean slate new rehearsal complex was required, culminating with the opening of a new slot on Tinning Street, tucked off Sydney Road in 2013. The space was revered by watchful eyes in the Melbourne scene, including future manager Liz Thomas.
“Before I started as the manager at Three Phase (2017) I’d been a customer, and the studio was always a favourite because of the flat-load, the great rooms and the clean toilets! There was always this little bit more attention to detail, I felt, that made it much more comfortable place to rehearse.”
Initially Hovey and Taylor thought this was the final word on the studio, retaining what Hovey labels a “no nonsense, down to earth vibe” with “sheer ease of use”. Restless minds in the music industry however are a given and a pressing desire to provide something beyond mere rehearsal space gave birth to 2018’s stunning new renovations; a cafe, bar and reinvigorated reception/ accessory shop.
“It’s really stepped things up a notch - you can come in for rehearsal, grab a coffee or a beer and a snack and get to work. We’ve also put a lot of effort into stocking our music accessories, so if you need strings, skins, or a sharpie, we’ve got it - so it’s a bit of a one-stop-shop really,” Thomas explains.
“It’s a space where you feel comfortable to create, and don’t want to rush in and rush out.”
The refurbishments have also opened Three Phase to a myriad of new event possibilities that go beyond rehearsals, including listening parties, small gigs, exhibitions and launch parties.
“While our focus will remain firmly on rehearsals, we’re looking to utilise the down time that is Saturday night. No one wants to rehearse on Saturday nights so we’ve never opened! Now we’re a licensed venue we’re going to explore different avenues for events,” Hovey says.
“There’s so much scope here - the large, spacious main hallway lends itself so well to exhibitions. We also have a great mezzanine which can accommodate acoustic showcases, film clip previews etc. People have approached us about hosting workshops in the rooms and recently the entire studio was hired out to shoot a video clip,” Thomas adds.
With its now dizzying multi-purpose setup, it’s easy to forget Three Phase is still an immaculately modern acoustic space, offering 11 unique rooms, sized and furnished individually.
“Some rooms have timber floors, some carpet, and various combinations of reflective and deadening materials were used throughout to give each room its own individual character,” Hovey says.
Hovey has also fitted every room with a Yamaha MG166CX 16 input mixer + DSR115 PA for a reliable and strikingly clear mix, whilst also offering affordable gear hire of anything from a Mesa Boogie Triple Rectifier to an extra cymbal stand; all per session.
Surprisingly, the ubiquity of home recording has bolstered the success of Three Phase according to Hovey. The way he and Thomas describes the daily clientele evokes the democratising powers of the digital revolution so often touted as destructive.
“There’s always a great mix of musicians coming through the doors - from those who are working professionally to those who are just starting out. The thing I love about the studio is that it’s an incredibly welcoming space - there’s no one genre or pocket of musicians that dominate, no attitude and just no bullshit,” Thomas says.
Three Phase Rehearsal Studios is open 7 days a week at 8 Tinning Street, Brunswick. Opening hours are midday - midnight Sunday-Friday and midday-6pm Saturday. Book a room or make an inquiry via their website https://www.threephasemusic.com/