Union Square is undergoing a transformation, and while it’s easy to be resistant to change, sometimes good things result from an altered landscape. When Starlab Studios, which had been based out of one of the now-demolished buildings in Union, was forced to find a new location, it provided the perfect opportunity to for the founders to join forces with friends to create an even more robust business.
“Somerville in general and Union Square in particular is a huge part of Starlabs even exisiting,” said Studio Manager Matt Price.
Starlab was founded by Price and Head Audio Engineer Marc Valois, who worked together at the Middle East in Cambridge, about five years ago as a rehearsal space and recording studio. During their time in Union, they met Project Manager/Creative Director James Lindsay and Head Videographer Richard Hawke, who were operating out of their own studio near Union. After working on a project with friend Lisa Vidal, they brought her on as Starlab’s business manger.
“We decided to join forces and come together,” Price said.
When Starlab’s original home near the new Green Line extension was slated for demolition, the enlarged Starlab group decided to look for a joint space in the neighborhood.
“When we did have to move, [the city] helped us out,” Price said. Support from the City of Somerville was a large part of Starlab’s desire to stay in the area. “There’s a culture of young people doing cool things and it was important for us to stay a part of that.”
After combining their various talents and skill sets, Starlab is now a one-stop shop for bands and others who need a host of creative services. From helping a band record an album and film a music video to producing promotional materials for a show, Starlab can do it all.
“The idea behind what we’re doing now is we all have our roles, but it’s a group effort, we try to help each other,” Price said. “We’ve all been involved in different creative projects, but now we have all these creative services under one roof.”
Starlab spent the last year-plus building out its new space at 453 Somerville Ave., and is just now launching this new venture. The studio is seeking local clients, who they hope to help on their creative journeys.
“We’re getting closer and closer to where we can provide multiple services to bands,” Vidal said. The variety of in-house skills means that bands can get everything they need in one place, which saves time and money, and provides a more unique experience.
And if bands come to Starlab with special requests, like custom illustrations, they can tap into their large network of fellow local creatives to get the job done.
“We as individuals have a lot of creative experience,” said Price, who is a musician. Vidal and Lindsay met at an improv class before becoming friends and deciding to work together.
In addition to providing creative services for bands, Starlab envisions creating materials for a variety of clients, from small businesses to schools. What sets the studio apart is its ability to run a project from start to finish, from the conception and the filming to the music scoring, Starlab can do it all.
Beyond Starlab’s suite of creative services, the studio hopes to continue the Starlab Music and Arts Festival that it held for five years at its old space. A day-long event with 10-12 bands, food and drinks, the festival traditionally takes places in the summer and has become the studio’s signature event.
“We put it on and the city is very supportive of it,” Price said. Starlab is currently in search of a location since its new space isn’t conducive to hosting the event, but the group is hopeful that they’ll find something nearby. Stay turned for details.
Images courtesy of Richard Hawke/Starlab Studios.