Hi! My name is Rick Torres, and i’m the founder of Buskerville. If you’ve spent time
on our website and Indiegogo site, you probably have a decent idea of what we are trying to accomplish with Buskerville. However, I wanted to take a moment to share my own reasons for starting Buskerville.
As a little background, i’m a producer, engineer, and musician who has lived and worked in New York City since 2006. While I have over a decade of expertise writing and recording music, i’m not famous, haven’t won Grammys, don’t have an entourage, and am very much a “behind the scenes” kind of guy.
What I do have is a deeply seeded love for music; listening, playing, recording, producing, it doesn’t matter. I’m also a big fan of driven people. Witnessing incredible talent is always inspiring, but i’ve always been drawn to stories of people that succeeded because of dedication and drive, even if they weren’t the most naturally gifted. My “dream” is to work with as many people like that as I possibly can, and be a part of their music in whatever way helps. It’s not the most lucrative path, but one I am happy to walk, nonetheless.
So why Buskerville?
When I came to New York, I was immediately struck by the opportunities available to musicians. It’s a dynamic city full of artists and art lovers, with access to the resources anyone would ever need to make music. Unfortunately this comes at a cost, namely the cost of living. Rent is expensive, so is food, and that leaves very little for the average person to pursue music. Rehearsal space is limited, and recording is expensive, making this even harder. There
were many times where I felt like I might as well live on another planet, as many of the resources I craved to further my own music were overwhelmingly out of reach to a middle class guy, like me who still had to figure out how to get by month to month.
I realized there was a need for a place where dedicated musicians could find support for their art. I spent some time producing and recording out of my apartment and practice room, but found that I missed the collaboration that comes along with working with live musicians. Through time I put together a solid (albeit modest) recording system, and came across the opportunity to build a small studio in Queens. I wanted to create a place that encouraged artists to dedicate ample time to the development of their art, in a way that had minimal impact on their financial resources. The thought was this would allow musicians to focus on the artistic component of their craft, while freeing up their financial resources to pursue opportunities for exposure and further growth.
The challenge was how to pull it off. I’m not a wealthy person, so how could I offer access at a cost low enough to help other musicians, yet be able to afford to keep it together?
I began by finding out what the lowest recording rate I could sustain was. Lowering the hourly rate as much as possible was the first step, however from my years as a musician I’ve learned that there is no substitute for practice. Recording can be a daunting task, but when someone is comfortable and confident in what they are playing, it becomes an extremely fun and creative process.
The key was practice. If I could find a way to encourage musicians to practice more, they would make better recordings, while lowering their recording costs in the process. Furthermore, if they could practice in the studio itself, it would give them a familiarity with the space that would make the recording process much less stressful, yielding a
more creatively rewarding experience.
Thinking about this I realized that as a recording studio, we are often in phases of projects that don’t require our live room. I could make use of that unused time and space to provide a rehearsal resource, and by doing it on a “pay what you can” basis, it would have minimal impact on artist’s budgets. The benefits of this extra practice time would benefit all aspects of their music from recording to performing, and ultimately free up resources to share their music with others. It would also encourage collaboration…
Which brings me to community. Since Buskerville started a little over a year ago, I’ve seen what this place can be. There’s been bands who were finally able to record their first EP, singer-songwriters that have found other musicians to write and perform with, and even a regular here, who used the space to practice leading to an audition that landed him a touring drummer job with a national label signed act. The roots of the community I hoped to build have taken hold, and with time, I believe Buskerville can grow into a place where great musicians find their sound, and collaborate with others to make meaningful music. Within that budding community are also fans, friends, and family, who through their contributions and positive word of mouth help spread the word about our alternative approach to making music and the artists involved.
Thanks for taking the time to read this, I hope this gives you more insight into what this is all about, and encourages you to support our efforts.