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Interview: Jessi Frick of Father / Daughter Records - Going Global Music Summit 2018

Interview: Jessi Frick of Father / Daughter Records - Going Global Music Summit 2018

Kiki Van Newtown / Wednesday 29th August, 2018 1:00PM

IMNZ's two-day Going Global Music Summit kicks off on Friday 31st August at Auckland's Roundhead Studios, featuring presentations from a raft of top-tier international industry professionals including Unknown Mortal Orchestra helmsman Ruban Nielson, and music lawyer and author of Music: The Business Ann Harrison. You can check out the timetable of panel speakers here on the Going Global website, along with info on the Going Global Presents artist showcase event.

US independent label Father / Daughter Records was started by Jessi Frick and her dad Ken Hector, and over the last eight years it's grown into an incubator for some of the most exciting music around including Body Parts, T-Rextasy and Shamir. With the upcoming release of their first print publication, Father / Daughter Records are expanding their community-minded business skills into the literary realm. Kiki Van Newtown (Hex) caught up with Jessi Frick to find out more, ahead of her speaking appearance at this week's Going Global Music Summit...

Let me start by asking what your relationship with music has been. How did you get to the point where you were like ‘I’m going to start a record label’?

Aside from just casually listening to music and going to concerts I had a zine at highschool, and that was my first taste of getting promos in the mail, reviewing things, interviewing bands and that sort of thing. And I was just fascinated by the business side of music.

When I moved to LA I worked at a label that my friend from highschool had started and that’s when I started doing a lot of PR and marketing and some A&R. From that experience I knew that one day I would want to have my own label.

How do you view your relationship with the artists who are on your label?

I would like to think that it’s pretty respectful more than anything. We work with a lot of new and up-and-coming artists who don’t know what to expect working with a label, so we just try and act like normal humans.

I like to be super transparent about everything, because I think it’s important that the artist knows what’s going on and what people are doing with their music, and how they’re being portrayed and marketed. But when it comes to the creative side, unless someone asks for our opinion we really don’t get involved.

What makes you know that a business relationship with a band could work?

I feel like we just kind of know, just by talking to someone. There has to be good communication, and there has to be similar goals that we’re shooting for. We have to know that they’re going to work just as hard as we are and vice versa. Like, they’re going to know that we’re hustling as much as we can for them.

We’ve definitely had conversations with artists on the phone and you can just tell that you’re not on the same wavelength. And we’ve passed on things because there just wasn’t a personal connection. You’re going to be working with each other super closely so if we don’t get along that’s going to make things really difficult. As much as we love the music we wanna really enjoy the people that we work with too.

So the last few years has seen a lot of people finally being held to account for abuse and shitty behaviour. I wonder what you’ve learnt, and what your reflections are on this time?

I think I’ve learnt that you just have to follow your gut. I just think having a space that feels safe - not to say that only men are perpetrators of gross behaviour - but as a label that works with a lot of female identified people it just doesn’t feel right to not make this a safe environment for everybody. I am really glad that people are talking about it and are aware of it and are holding people accountable for it, even though it’s a really hard, sad conversation to have to have.

Have you noticed any industry wide changes happening within the independent area in response to this?

I feel like the industry is responding when they feel like they have to respond, because people are looking at them. Do I feel like there’s a lot of people that aren’t being held accountable for their actions that work on the business side that are just getting away with it? One thousand percent.

I think there’s a long way to go because there’s a lot of things that happen on the inside that no-one can see that people in the industry are just sweeping under the rug.

You’ve worked really hard to build a sense of trust and community around your label. You’ve had these challenges but you’ve still maintained this sense of community and care. Why is that important to you?

I think it’s especially important in an arts field, because a lot of what these musicians are singing about is very personal to them, and it would feel weird if our part of it - the business part of it - didn’t at least treat them as a person with feelings and emotions and stuff. I think the artist is giving so much of themselves personally, and it only feels right for us to do the same while still maintaining a professional relationship and doing what we need to be doing on a business level. This industry is so personal, it would feel strange to not be normal.

So what’s in the future for Father / Daughter Records?

We’re publishing a book in October by Kat Gardiner. It’s a collection of micro fiction that are based around a music venue / cafe that she owned with her husband in the early 2000’s. And then we have three other records coming out between now and the end of the year, including Tasha. She’s from Chicago and her record is out in late October.

For more information on Father / Daughter Records head along here. The two-day Going Global Music Summit kicks off on Friday 31st August at Auckland's Roundhead Studios. For more info, the schedule of presentations and speaker bios head along here.

This year's Going Global Presents showcase will feature alayna, Albi & The Wolves, Arthur Ahbez, Holly Arrowsmith, Jaggers X Lines, Jed Parsons, Nakita, nomad, ONONO, SHAYNA, Soaked Oats, The Beths, Unchained XL - performing at Auckland's Whammy Bar, The Wine Cellar and Whammy Backroom on Saturday 1st September. For tickets and more info head along here.


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Sat 1st Sep
The Wine Cellar and Whammy Bar, Auckland

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