What do you do with an old x-ray clinic? Turn it into a music studio, of course.
Robert Billard, a lifelong musician, did just that by creating Fifth Chord Studios in uptown New Westminster.
The old clinic sat empty for many years. It’s positioned under a medical building and resides mainly under the landscaping and walkway in the 600 block of Fifth Avenue.
Billard said he realized the opportunity the space provided and undertook extensive renovations to turn the space into a sound-controlled rehearsal and recording studio.
“This isn’t just any music space,” said Billard. “We’ve worked to develop a space that is accessible, comfortable, and professional. While in the process of setting it up, we talked about who we want this space to support, and made a special commitment to supporting Black, Indigenous and artists of colour.”
Fifth Chord Studios features five locked-off monthly-rent rehearsal spaces, a live recording space, control studio, and gathering area to relax and meet the other musicians post-pandemic.
A special feature of the space is that it is accessible for people in wheelchairs and with mobility limitations, including an accessible washroom and thoughtful considerations such as offering light dimmers and low-noise air flow for neuro-diverse musicians.
The walls currently feature visual art by local artists, including PJ Patten, Sherida Charles, and Iris Mes Low.
“We are working with Black and Indigenous musicians to determine what kinds of programs would support their work best and how we can support their art,” said Billard.
Following COVID-19 protocols, Fifth Chord Studios is available for viewing by appointment only. Musicians interested in renting space can contact Robert Billard directly at 778 789-0621. You can visit the website here.