Something other than couches, coffee tables, and memory-filled boxes inhabits the depths of Affordable Storage Solutions’ storage units in Pueblo, CO. Meet Nate Alcon, Zach Young and Nate Ward, otherwise known as Stolen Format. The band, an alternative rock group similar to Chevelle and Trapt, has been practicing in a storage unit at Affordable Storage Solutions since it came together two years ago. SpareFoot loves alternative uses for storage space, whether it be for art or storing vinyl records, so when we heard of Stolen Format, we had to get the inside scoop.

“The thought came to mind when my girlfriend was looking for a space to teach her fitness classes,” said drummer Nate Ward. “The manager made a comment about the different spaces she had available, and which ones would be a better fit for the disturbance of music. It sparked an interest in renting a space for band practice.”

For an alternative rock band with growling vocals and insistent beats, noise concerns are especially urgent when choosing practice spaces. It’s hardly easy to rock out in an apartment or even a house without annoying the neighbors. A storage space turned out to the perfect place for both the band and Affordable Storage Solutions.

“There have never been any known complaints about our practicing or the music being too loud,” said Nate. “In fact, it has been the complete opposite. There have actually been tenants who have stopped and listened, or commented to staff members that they enjoy the music. On one occasion, a lady said she actually felt safe knowing that we were there.”

“I think it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to us,” said facility manager Christian Marcen. “Customers love the fact that if they’re moving in and getting everything put away, they have music. They stop by the unit and listen a little bit, so we get great feedback.”

The Washington Post ran a story in 2007 about bands practicing in alternative spaces, storage units being a big contender. Since then, the emerging trend of storage units doubling as studios has turned the typical image of garage-based band practice in suburbia on its head. And why not? Most storage facilities, like Affordable Storage Solutions, offer gated entry, 24-hour surveillance and indoor climate control. It’s the perfect “studio” for any kind of artistic endeavor.

“People have always thought of storage as a part of moving and associate it with excess, but there’s so many different uses for storage,” said Christian. “We have the band, we had a customer who brought his gym equipment and works out in his unit, and we had a bookseller. There are so many possibilities–people amaze me with the ideas they have. ”

“Plus it’s nice to see my customers coming in and out all the time,” she added. “The guys are so sweet. Every time they have a concert, we try to promote them. We’ll get them to autograph their CDs and sell them in the lobby, because we really love them and want them to make it big.”

Stolen Format is planning to tour this summer, with Texas as a tentative tour stop. As for the future, Nate told me that the band is completely happy with their storage unit and has no plans of changing.

“Through the years, I have gotten to know most of the staff and developed a friendship,” said Nate. “The storage facility is run by good, honest people.”

For more of Stolen Format, visit their Facebook and Twitter.

This isn’t the first we’ve heard of artists subverting traditional practice studios for storage units–check out our previous features here and here.

Image courtesy of Stolen Format.

  • Yvonne

    Glad it has worked out for you all so well. A few years back, neighbors (across the railroad tracks, no less!) complained so much about the Bands practicing here that even after we had to ask the bands to leave our Facility was royally Fined by the city for Noise Violations. Thankfully a few of the old band members remembered us when they needed storage.

    • Jenny Zhang

      Hi Yvonne, thanks for reading! That’s really unfortunate–some people are just hard sticklers for noise ordinances.