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“It is every one’s right to contribute a verse,” declared Shelby (DJ Qualls) in the 2005 film Hustle and Flow.
“Young people will always seek out good music,” musician Jack Casady once said. These two principles, the importance of expressing oneself creatively, and the unifying power of music through the ages, are the reason Utopia Studios exists.
Great music has always come out of St. Louis. This city’s musical heritage, from ragtime to blues to jazz, rock, punk, and hip hop, is celebrated worldwide. Utopia Studios is honored to help musicians of this era, young and old, of any genre, keep the tunes flowing.
Our journey as a small, independent rehearsal hall began in Jan 2002 when Spence and Amy Harrison, a musician-and-dancer, husband-and-wife partnership, opened Berzerker Studios in Midtown St. Louis. Recognizing an unfilled local need for safe, affordable practice space, Berzerker Studios was the first PA-equipped, hourly rehearsal hall in town, and the first St. Louis rehearsal spot that was legitimately licensed and insured. This meant musicians not only had a dedicated place to practice without upsetting family, neighbors and the police, but they did not have to store their expensive gear in a freezing/sweltering shed/garage or abandoned building at risk of theft or damage. This was the first rehearsal hall worldwide to offer access to its studios with a monthly membership, an option which brought affordability to many financially-strapped band budgets. This concept is being replicated elsewhere now in the industry.
In 2004, the owners purchased a disused 1904 tobacco factory with its own parking lot and 3x the space of the original location. They changed its name to Utopia Studios and set to work building out the facility, one room at a time. Today, 9 years later, Utopia Studios offers 24 rehearsal spaces, a recording studio, dance studio, two stages, full bar and lounge, plus additional warehouse and artist workshop areas. Services provided also include instrument rentals and onsite storage.
Utopia Studios would not have been possible without the help of many people over the years. Quite a few customers who frequented the studio in 2002 are still regulars on the schedule today. Andy Goldberg, Daniel Harris, Jerame Brown, Jimmy Sanchez, Daniel Byington and Ollie Langhorst are among the first round of helpers who got Utopia Studios off the ground. We are continually awed by the local musicians in the community for their talent and support, especially when considering our customer base is purely from word of mouth referrals. Stop by any night of the week to jam, or even just to enjoy coffee and wifi or cheap beer and shots with a round of atari or foosball. D, Justine and Sabrina will be happy to see you.
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