Mercer Music at Capricorn: Student bands given a place to jam

Senior+Vice+President+for+Marketing+Communications+and+Chief+of+Staff+Larry+Brumley+gives+a+tour+of+the+newly+restored+Capricorn+Sound+Studio.

Serena Golden

Senior Vice President for Marketing Communications and Chief of Staff Larry Brumley gives a tour of the newly restored Capricorn Sound Studio.

After celebrating its grand opening in December 2019, Mercer Music at Capricorn is set to be an instrumental resource for future musicians and bands.

Andrew Eck, a Mercer graduate and lover of music, will be running the Music Incubator at Capricorn where students can rent out rehearsal space. 

Found on Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard and only a short drive from Mercer’s Macon campus, this facility offers many different accommodations for students and Macon citizens alike. 

“The incubator is here to cultivate and develop musicians,” Eck said. 

With 12 different rehearsal rooms to rent and 24/7 Bear Card access, Eck said the rehearsal space will be a vital resource for students. The rooms vary in size; some fit a single drum set while others can fit entire bands. 

Two of the rooms can be rented on a daily basis, but most will be rented monthly. 

“These rooms are for bands that need to practice, people that want to have more professional space. It’s for students, which is great since students can’t really just put a drum set in their dorm room,” he said.

This room arrangement was inspired by an interim version of Mercer Music at Capricorn known as the 5/4 Music Space.

John Harrison, an entrepreneur in downtown Macon, is but one individual who is already using the new Mercer Music at Capricorn facilities. 

“I was able to set my drum set up here starting in February, and I have really enjoyed it so far. I’m currently practicing my drumming here and working with other musicians. We’re working on a list of songs right now, practicing music together and even looking for new musicians, especially horn players or jazz musicians,” Harrison said. 

Harrison says that the safety of the facilities is what first drew him to the Mercer Music at Capricorn building. 

“We have great facilities here that allow me to play my drums 24/7. If I want to, I can come up here in the middle of the night. Everything is secured behind, like, three locked doors, and it allows me to meet new musicians as well,” he said. 

Harrison started using the facilities in February for the first time and enjoys the community-focused environment. 

“Another great thing about this place is that you can network with other musicians. Just yesterday, I ran into a guy here who also plays, so we were able to talk for a while. It’s always nice to be able to talk with like-minded people,” he said. 

Many of the rooms are designed for collaboration. 

“The rooms are mostly soundproof, but not completely. While places like the McDuffie Center for the Strings have completely soundproof rooms, we found that bands really didn’t want that. They’re solid doors and solid walls, but you can still hear what’s going on,” Eck said. 

One special room also used to house all of the original records that were created in the facility. Many famous artists, such as The Allman Brothers, the Marshall Tucker Band and other iconic Southern rock bands recorded and sang songs through the Capricorn Record label. 

One group currently renting space is made up of lawyers, a banker and a general contractor. 

“They’re more amateur. I mean, they’re not trying to become musicians full out. But that’s the beauty of it. There are people at different levels and who are great musicians, but they can use the place to practice. Sometimes it’s great to have people like that that are low key,” Eck said. 

Along with the rehearsal rooms, Mercer Music at Capricorn also has a bar and a museum, both open to the public. There is also a studio in the building as well. 

“The cool thing is that you have people coming in to celebrate music here, to see what all the fuss is about and where some amazing people have recorded. You have people in the rehearsal rooms practicing, and you also have people who can come in and record, whether they’re local or out of town,” Eck said. 

The new, larger studio allows large string bands to record. While the new studio was created specifically under the direction of Mercer Music at Capricorn, there is also an original, preserved area where The Allman Brothers recorded. 

“This studio is the crown jewel of the entire complex,” Eck said. “Everything is somewhat connected to this area where people can actually record their own music where The Allman Brothers once recorded. No renovations were done in it, but the recording gear is updated. This room will attract national talent to record here, but will also give the local talent the ability to record here. That’s really what we’re trying to do. We want to give everybody a leg up depending on what they’re doing.”