When Cassie Chantel walked into Rabbit Hole Studios last week to unlock her office door, she was carrying an acoustic guitar in her other hand. That an award-winning hip-hop artist from Athens had the inspiration and support to experiment with his sound is a testament to the transformative effect the studio has had on members of the local scene.
Rabbit Hole will celebrate its fifth anniversary with a free night of karaoke and roller skating on Saturday from 7 p.m. to midnight. Food and drink will be provided, and the studio will hold a free raffle for 30 hours of rehearsal and recording for bands in attendance. Members of the coworking space, like Chantel, will continue to have 24/7 access.
Founded by Athens resident Nick Bradfield in 2017, Rabbit Hole began life as Bradfield’s home recording studio and has grown over the past five years into a fully functioning creative space at 1001 Winterville Road which includes indoor and outdoor concert stages, rehearsal and recording rooms, a clothing store and an urban farm.
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“Artists often exist in a void or void without a community,” Bradfield told the Banner-Herald. “I’ve discovered and learned so many new artistic mediums through my leadership role (at the studio), and am continually inspired by just making sure everything here is efficient, safe, inviting, and clean.”
Rabbit Hole Studios “a crucible”
Bradfield moved to Athens from Wisconsin in 2008 when his mother got a job at the University of Georgia and decided to move to the city after becoming involved in the local music scene. Unable to sustain himself as a career musician, Bradfield taught himself to use recording equipment and went into live engineering, where he earned money making sound for festivals. Bradfield ran Creature Comforts’ summer music program for three years.
At first, Rabbit Hole Studios operated out of warehouses in Chase Park, renting equipment and providing recording and rehearsal space before expanding to a location on Commerce Road. But Bradfield’s dream came true when the former AMVETS headquarters on Winterville Road became available.
With a staff that includes director Victoria Austin and tech tinkerer Sean T. Conlon, Rabbit Hole has grown exponentially over the past two years. Austin told the Banner-Herald that Bradfield was an inspirational person and a great example of someone who was able to turn a passion into something that can be shared with others.
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With its free workshops, invitational Full Moon Jams and weekly drumming circles in downtown Athens, Rabbit Hole has become a presence that has not only attracted and won the help of longtime members of the local artistic community. It is reminiscent of the Athens that could back and support the artists who might one day see their name on the Athens Music Walk of Fame.
“I’m definitely not the same Cassie I was when I moved in (to Rabbit Hole Studios),” Chantel told the Banner-Herald. “This place is like a melting pot of different genres and different styles of artists and musicians. I explore music theory and learn about music history. I take time to reshape my craft.”
For more information, visit rabbitholestudios.org.