By the time you step into Joyful Noise Recordings new space in the Murphy tonight, their new performance space will have changed utterly from these photos. That's because the label has been in the midst of a massive move and renovation to combine one entire length of the Murphy Art Center's second floor into one big, new complex. And tonight's the big opening night.
When I first wrote about Joyful Noise's new spot in the Murphy, then Ste. 207, the small space played host to all aspects of the label's processes. It was an office-cum-fulfillment space-cum-performance space-cum-storage space — and there were only two full time employees, including founder Karl Hofstetter. But in three years, the label expanded operations dramatically (signing Sebadoh, continuing a steady stream of killer local releases, pumping out limited runs in odd new formats, curating a WARMfest stage), and they need more employees (14, as of current count) and more space.
"The moving process started First Friday of January," label employee and booker Rachel Enneking says. "When Sleeping Bag finished their set, we tore the stage apart and started moving it over here. The next day, we completely switched rooms."
The label is now housed in four spaces on the second floor, connected internally. Daniel Coles, Joyful Noise's PR contact, notes that everyone formerly in the new spaces JNR now occupies relocated into other open spaces in the Murphy (including the former Joyful Noise spot, Ste. 207).
So what's the grand concept for the new space? The relocated Joyful Noise record shop will be your entrance to the performance area.
"We want to have [the record store] as our public face, where people can come in and engage with the records right away. It's going to be similar to the old one, a showroom for all of our releases, a listening station, and the museum right there," Coles says.
The yet-to-be-opened museum will house a musical oddities collection; that will open in two or three months. The performance space has an increased capacity of about 30 percent. Bands will play on the same low, wide stage there. Keep walking (or maybe don't, because you're probably not allowed back there) and you're in the new JNR offices — and go even further, and you're in the warehouse/storage space (currently packed to the gills with Lil Bub merch, among other treasures).
Here are tonight's details: First Friday's show features DMA, KO, Serengeti, Yoni Wolf and Yonatan Gat, all Joyful Noise artists that have released something on the label in the last year. It's free and all-ages (although Enneking notes attendees are free to donate towards bands' travel costs.) Indiana City Brewing will be serving beer at this (and every) show. Klipsch Audio, local (rock and roll dentist) Dr. Kolman and Sam Ash have signed on as sponsors for the space.
"With all of our sponsors, we're self-sustainable now," Enneking says. "I want Indianapolis to have a space that bigger acts will consider for intimate performances, since we are still a really small space.
Most shows will still be pay-what-you-want, and there will be no shortage of local acts booked for the new room.
"We're sticking to the same formula, for the most part. I love doing pay-what-you-want," Enneking says. "We're of course going to stay an all-ages venue, because that's super important to us. Big changes are mostly coming internally from how we manage shows. It's a huge help that we now have a brewery running the bar, which frees me up to focus on helping out the bands, whatever they need. We're still doing everything in-house. Everybody is volunteering. We've got interns coming to work shows, like they always do. Something that I'm going to be focusing on a lot this year is reaching out to bigger acts to come through."