Day job that pays the bills: I’m a freelance graphic designer at the moment which is great, working on some jobs for record labels and a charity this week.
Current Side-Hustle: Producing electronic music and running my label Blank Mind, which is on a relatively modest 9 releases across 6 years now.
Your spirit animal: Undoubtedly a gibbon.
What initially inspired you to start your Side-Hustle? I kind of always knew I would run a label at some point, as I was obsessed with music from quite an early stage. Getting into vinyls and DJ-ing took a firm hold of my life from about the age of 16. This is still is the case now.
Describe to us the very first moment the Eureka idea happened! I came across some Grenadian carnival tunes for the ‘Jab Jab’, which is essentially a horde of people who get together covered in oil, typically crude diesel and cause a bit of a rumpus and jamboree at the Spicemas carnival. The tracks and the vibe instantly hit the spot; they were strange and a bolt from out of the blue that I needed to get out there.
What was the first thing you did to make it happen? Contacted the artists, sorted distribution, came up with ideas for the presentation and name etc. The first release really set the tone for the label whenceforth.
What were the initial huge pitfalls that happened when you started your Side-Hustle? Pressing up too many copies! There’s a calculated gamble you have to take when deciding how much to press, my distribution and I didn’t know what was going to happen with these tracks really as there was no pre-existing market. My 28 year old self would certainly tell the 22 year old self to press less, as experience has certainly shown the first batch to be optimistic.
What is the biggest lesson you’ve taken away from starting this project? That your efforts genuinely do go to some avail, even should that not be monetary; to take pride in what you do and make no compromises to your artistic vision. The job can be frustrating, but I have taken great heart from people I’ve met through the label or have said kind things about it. If you make the effort to do something that you consider interesting and follow it through as best you can, there generally are people on the other end of that who will appreciate it.
Could you please describe the first moment when you thought to yourself “wow, this has actually turned from a dream into reality?” Hard to beat that first feeling of holding a record you’ve designed in your own hands and seeing it in shops and on websites that you follow; like some kind of breaking of the fourth wall.
What’s been the most rewarding part about your Side-Hustle?Meeting the different artists on the label and forming meaningful relationships through the project. I’ve met DJ Clent from Chicago and Adrian Lenz from Grenada who were artists from the first 2 releases, which has been special.
Any advice you would give to your past self when you first started this project?Some aspects about ways to handle the finances of releases certainly, but in many ways I still feel like I’m learning as I go along and there’s a great many unknowns to all people putting out records I think. Nobody really knows what’s going to happen when something is put out there.
Any up and coming developments with the project for us to look out for in the future? Hopefully will be a release coming up towards the end of this year, which is a new project for the label. We’ll have to wait and see really, I never know what’s around the corner.