Father/Daughter Records Is a Family Affair
Many local labels are offering obscure reissues and innovative new releases on all conceivable formats. Label Sampler is an occasional column that profiles a different Bay Area independent label in each edition.
Father/Daughter's Jessi Frick
Name: Father/Daughter Records
Headquarters: Spare room, Inner Sunset, San Francisco
Owners: Jessi Frick and Ken Hector.
Label one-sheet: Father/Daughter is a small indie pop label run by a father in Florida and his daughter in San Francisco.
Creation story: Yes, a father and daughter teamed up to found a record label. They live on separate sides of the country, but the distance allows each owner to be scouting talent on their respective coast to potentially add to the label's roster. Cutely, they assert that the label endeavor is a means of bringing the family closer together over a mutual love of the artists they choose to invest in. Early on, Frick recalls having difficulty convincing bands to release on her label, but that only led her to hone artist relationships based on trust and mutual respect. Father/Daughter has slowly built a stable of releases at about the rate of a single for every season since its founding in 2009.
Frick's appreciation of personal character: In discussing nearly every group on her label, Frick inevitably mentions what pleasant and thoughtful people the musicians are, implying a criterion for selection that other labels might shirk. "They're two of the kindest people I know," Frick says of Pure Bathing Culture, Father/Daughter's recent signees from Portland. "I'm stoked to help nurture them." Likewise, she describes making the acquaintance her first signee, Family Trees, as if making new friends: "I finally got the chance to meet them over beers and snacks and instantly hit it off." Signing artists is often discussed by label representatives in an austere, businesslike tone -- which makes Frick's insistence on actually enjoying the company of artists on her roster particularly refreshing.
Musical focus: As Frick explains, "Like Faygo, Father/Daughter is an eclectic brand of pop." Indeed, its releases include Pure Bathing Culture's lush chamber pop, Leapling's electro-pop, and Cocktails' soulful roots-rock. There is a particular emphasis on mellowness in Father/Daughter's catalog, and much of the label's releases would flow together seamlessly on a single mix tape.
Upcoming release: Cocktails, a brand new San Francisco group who've left strong impressions on attendees of their numerous recent shows, will soon release their debut single on Father/Daughter. With their clear affinity for traditional rock 'n' roll and soulful vocal styling, Cocktails command an effective pop sensibility that's driven home by the sheer earnestness and conviction evident in each track.
Attitude toward the Internet: Frick fondly recalls discovering music via fanzines and word of mouth while she was in high school, but like so many new label owners, regards the Internet as a superior means to the same end. Impressively, Father/Daughter's Twitter feed, Facebook updates, and blog-style website rivals the slickness and presence of labels many times its size. A built in media player graces the label's sleek home page, and separate contacts are provided for licensing -- surprising features for a label with hardly more than 10 releases. The imprint's releases don't go unnoticed, though. For example, the A-side of its third record, a single from mildly minimal pop artist Levek, was recently featured in an ad for Apple's MacBook Pro.
San Francisco's resources: Father/Daughter outsources most of its manufacturing to local businesses and is quick to voice appreciation for the community of other small labels with comparable goals. As Frick explains, "The Bay Area most definitely has a hand in helping the label thrive. It's amazing to be a part of such a close knit and welcoming community of labels... vinyl manufacturers [like] Pirates [Press,] record stores, booking agents, venues, bloggers and bands."
Primary format: Father/Daughter is enamored with vinyl. So much so, in fact, that Frick describes the record shopping experience in revelatory terms. "The entire ritual of going to the store, flipping through the bins, taking the record home, opening it, being able to swoon over the big, beautiful cover, it's such a satisfying feeling." She adds as an afterthought, "Vinyl sounds exponentially better than that digital crap."