In 2018, Sam Billen moved his Lawrence-based business to a secluded four-acre farm just west of town.
The brick house, originally a hay barn, had been occupied in recent years as a single-family residence. But Billen had other ideas. He sees it as an ideal working environment for the team of composers he employs through Primary color musicwhich creates custom music for commercials, soundtracks and video games.
“We made it this creative sanctuary where you can sit outside and have a cup of coffee on the terrace surrounded by wildlife, cicadas, trees and fields, then step into this space in its own right to record music,” Billen said. “We’ve done a lot of our own stuff here, but we’ve also had bands that have come out and spent a few months making a record, or someone stops for a few days and records vocals or something. “
However, Primary Color Music continues to grow – an office in Denver was opened last year – and after four years in the country they are moving back to the city, where there is more space and faster internet connections. Which means the farm is for sale.
List price on Zillow: $565,000.
Most of the musical instruments and equipment will go to Lawrence with Billen and the team. But several of the modifications they made to the farmhouse—soundproofing panels throughout the house, interior windows connecting the playhouses to the control rooms, a large cedar closet turned into a drum room—make it a great place for a musician or recording artist with enough money for the down payment.
“It’s not a traditional studio with a concert hall where a full band can fit in,” Billen said. “It’s kind of a hybrid that we think makes a lot of sense for the amount of music being recorded today, where creators often do things one instrument at a time.”
Non-musicians might also be interested: it’s a four-bedroom, two-bathroom with rooftop solar panels surrounded by rolling hills, but it’s also just eight miles from all the action on Massachusetts Street. in downtown Lawrence.
“Any room could easily become a regular bedroom again,” Billen said, “but I think it could be a really special, magical place for a musician or a group of musicians like it was for us. And there is also a grand piano which is just ok and an upright piano which is quite nice. I think I would be ready to leave. I’m pretty negotiable.