- Associated Press - Sunday, January 3, 2016

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) - Somewhere along the path of building one of the best-known bands in the Sioux Falls area, the members of Soulcrate Music became businesspeople.

“Soulcrate kind of figured things out for me,” said Wes Eisenhauer, 34, who has been part of the band since he was 21. “We all kind of have our things.”

The three band members each own at least one other business.

And soon all of their ventures will share an address.

Eisenhauer, who started Wes Eisenhauer Photography this year, became co-owner in a warehouse recently and is converting it into space for five businesses.

“I just kept looking at it, kept envisioning it, and at the end of the day . it just worked out really well,” he told the Argus Leader (https://argusne.ws/1YQ7x01 ). “It’s a rough neighborhood, kind of, but it’s changing.”

The building will include practice and office space for bands Soulcrate and Later Babes, office and studio space for Eisenhauer’s photography business and a photography business owned by his brother and band mate Dan, plus a new coffee roasting company co-owned by Eisenhauer and Soulcrate member Corey Gerlach.

“For me, personally, it’s really a life change,” said Gerlach, who has worked at Black Sheep Coffee for more than a decade. “We’re always looking to start new endeavors and try something out.”

At age 16, Dan Eisenhauer just liked to make music.

He started a rap group with Gerlach. His brother, Wes, decided to move back to Sioux Falls to join the band instead of staying in Portland, Oregon, where he was in school.

“It was more of a hobby,” Dan Eisenhauer said. “We pretty much played anywhere we could, basement shows, coffee shops, house parties, anything we could do. There weren’t a lot of hip-hop groups, so we jumped on a lot of rock shows.”

He remembers the band’s first show drew four people.

“The second was eight, and then it went from there,” he said. “As it got more popular, I guess we took it more serious.”

The band started attracting more interest around the area.

“The turning point for me was definitely when you start to notice your friends don’t really come to your shows anymore. It’s more people you don’t know,” Gerlach said. “It was like, ‘I don’t know anyone at this show.’ “

They booked their first tour in 2005. The group has toured from New York City to Los Angeles several times, put out 10 albums and seen its new release climb the iTunes charts. A concert during the summer in downtown Sioux Falls drew 3,000 people.

“We ran this band like a small business, and we had a lot of success in this city,” Wes Eisenhauer said. “Being in a band was like college for me. It was about the music, but it was also about learning every facet of how things worked in business and finding the things we were good at individually and applying that in our lives.”

The band experience taught the members everything from design to marketing, he said.

“It taught us about managing social media. It taught us about promoting and finances and how to print T-shirt and press records and how to build a website.”

The group formed a limited liability partnership years ago.

“We’ve just always had full control over everything we do,” Gerlach said. “We do our best when we can control everything we do. We figured a lot of it out on our own, trial and error, lots of research and trying to dig in and learn as much as we possibly can. Everything we’re doing separately all branches off of Soulcrate.”

Several years ago, its success growing, Soulcrate bought a professional camera to help with marketing.

“That ended up getting into my hands and changing my life,” Wes Eisenhauer said.

He ended up running a full-time photography business that works with agencies and is hired for weddings and video work.

The new building will provide the business much-needed space, he said, including an office to meet with clients and a garage door that opens to a space with 10-foot ceilings.

Dan Eisenhauer Photography and Design, which started a year ago, also will use the space.

“I do everything. I do weddings, family pictures, senior pictures, corporate events. I like to do it all,” Dan Eisenhauer said. “It’s been great. I think being part of Soulcrate was a huge help in that with the connections and meeting people and all that.”

The Soulcrate members added a fourth partner in their new space with Isaac Show, co-founder of the band Later Babes, which came together about four years ago and includes Gerlach and Wes Eisenhauer.

“We remain pretty busy for being kind of a side project,” said Show, who has several part-time jobs, including work with film company Passenger Productions.

The band practices out of his basement.

“Because we’ve been scaling up for bigger shows, we need all the production that goes into these shows,” he said. “It needs more room to grow.”

The building on Dakota Avenue space will provide rehearsal space for both bands, Show said, adding he hopes it also leads to collaboration with other entrepreneurs.

“Everyone who’s been involved with Soulcrate and Later Babes, we all collaborate really well together, so it’s nice to come together under one roof, building our empire, as we would call it.”

Soulcrate doesn’t tour like it used to, but there is a new album due out next year. “We’re very much quality over quantity, trying to play interesting shows and do it really big,” Wes Eisenhauer said.

He’s also not ruling out another career now that he’s taking on one building project.

“I really enjoyed the process of renovating this building,” he said. “It’s really fun for me, so now everywhere I go I’m like, ‘That’s a cool building.’ We’ll see where that takes me down the road, but I’m definitely not ruling out doing it again.”


Information from: Argus Leader, https://www.argusleader.com

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