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Mastodon to Open ‘Ember City’ Rehearsal Studio Space in Atlanta


Mastodon are a band centered on creativity and know what it takes to put in the work needed to be one of metal’s most successful bands. The quartet haven’t forgotten their humble beginnings and have decided to give back to the local Atlanta, Ga., community by opening up a rehearsal studio. The facility, which will be named Ember City after the Mastodon song, is beingĀ spearheaded by guitarist Bill Kelliher, who has taken on the bulk of the workload.

“I want this to be a cool place where people feel safe, and can express themselves in an artistic way,” the six-stringer began telling Creative Loafing. “Do what they want to do in their room. Over the years there have been practice rooms that I’ve used that just didn’t feel good. I didn’t feel a spark there. I don’t want this to be like that. I want this to be somewhere that people look forward to,” he continued. The building will be a haven not just for musicians, but for any type of artist who requires a studio space for their chosen medium, whether its music, ceramics, painting, etc.

The inspiration came when two of Atlanta’s rehearsal studios, Thunderbox and Avatar Studios, closed down, leaving musicians without a space to practice. Kelliher projects the first rooms will be open by the summer and has already made significant headway, commenting, “I already have plans drawn up, and I think they’re already in the city’s hands. I’ve been talking with contractors and builders. And I’ve been known to swing a hammer here and there. So you might see me in here doing something pretty soon.”

Regarding the size of the rooms, Kelliher wants to leave as many options open for whatever artists may need and said, “I think I can get 13 [rooms] upstairs. Maybe another six or seven downstairs. I want to get the general population’s ideas about what sizes of rooms they need: A 10’x10′ room? A 20’x20′ room? And build it to suit the needs of what people are looking for. Some bigger bands might just need a 6’x10′ storage space. I want there to be options. If it’s just one dude and his drum set who wants a 9’x9′ room, I want to have that. I don’t want to paint myself into a corner where every room is 10’x20′ and that’s all you can do. I want there to be options.”

Ember City will be owned by Mastodon and future visions include a full recording studio for the band, but that project is on the backburner until the studio generates enough revenue. For now, the expenses are coming out of pocket, so the guitarist is aiming to have everything up and running as quickly as possible.

Kelliher has also dipped his toes into other musical waters, being adding to the Grammy Awards committee last year.

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