By the Artists, For the Artists…
Musician couple Sally Jaye and Brian Wright form the new co-op record label “Café Rooster Records” from the shed floor up…
By Jerry Horstmeyer
I recently got the chance to interview Sally Jaye and Brian Wright in Nashville. They have been working hard on the development of a new record label named “Café Rooster Records”. With the eagerness of their local community, their passion for all things music, and the interest of fellow musicians, they are forging a new path in the growth and support of artists.
On how Café Rooster Records started:
Sally: So we became friends with Darrin (Bradbury), and he was coming over here a lot, and writing in the shed over there, and recording, and hangin’, and other people were coming over and collaborating, and it just was this little hang. And, music was being made and one day Darrin says “You know, we should put out my record on Café Rooster Records” and Brian is like “We don’t…we are not a record label.” And he (Darrin) is like, “Well we should be one”, and so that’s how it started.
The model for the record label:
Sally: We were like oh, this could be an interesting model for a record label, it’s a co-op. We’re not set up like the traditional model of/for the music industry for record labels.
Brian: Not at all, I think, you know, having had a couple of record deals. I don’t have anything bad to say about them, but there’s a lot of hoops that artists need to jump through to get a deal.
On developing the Café Rooster Sessions:
Brian: I made a quick little acoustic record to take out on the road. But then what the intention is, going forward, with the Café Rooster Sessions, is I record all these little jams and hangs and things that people come over and I want to release them as sort of compilations of just things, just these little natural happenings out in the shed, where you get really good stuff, you know, people can record. You know it’s not like they’re going in to make an album, they can just record something for fun, whatever, sit out here and have a beer and make up a song or something and then just record it with no frills, no bells and whistles, you don’t have to make a big, literally a big production, you just have fun with your friends making music.
Plans for recordings:
Brian: I’ve got a computer full of just really cool stuff, that I just need to compile cause some stuff goes in this pile and some stuff goes in this pile but I think there are several volumes of that. Ok so that’s just the Café Rooster Sessions and then that sort of spawned Darrin’s idea to “Hey can we put this record out on your label”. Cause he was shopping his record around and getting a lot of good feedback on these other labels but you know it was bad timing, or this thing or that thing and he just wasn’t, you know a lot of nibbles but no bites and I love his songwriting, I love how he does things. I feel sort of a kinship to the way he makes music and writes and makes it and I think it should be out in the world and through our experience we have enough relationships professionally that we can do a modest job of promoting this thing. We’re not, you know, Universal or Sony, nor do we want to be. We just want to put out music that we like and we believe in, and we believe has a place, you know, has an audience. Maybe it’s not fit for prime time.
Sally: Yeah and it’s fun…Brian and I were, laughing at ourselves the other night because we’re such busy people, we have two kids, he’s touring, you know, all the time, so he is in and out. We don’t have any extra time in our lives to start a record label, but for whatever reason we decided that we’re starting a record label. We’re working, we’re putting in a lot of extra hours and it’s been crazy but it is also really fun to be an artist but also be promoting another artist. My role in the label is the media aspect of it, and every morning working on promoting Darrin’s record has been really fulfilling because I love his music so much.
On promoting other musicians:
Brian: I think it is a lot easier for us as an artist to promote someone else, rather than yourself. I mean, obviously you have to promote your own thing because it’s your livelihood, and whatever, but with Darrin’s thing it made sense because we had something that wasn’t just us shouting about us, you know what I mean. It was more, we had something that we believed in strongly, and were connected to but we could promote it without, you know, the ego attached to it, you know with your own doubts and fears and whatever. We knew we believed in this thing, this is easy to promote for us because you don’t have all of your own stuff that is in your head, getting in the way.
Sally: Feeling rejection, you know because you’re working on getting somebody else’s art out there. So yeah, it’s good.
On establishing a homegrown label:
Brian: Well I think in our own way you know certainly with Sally and myself we put out a lot of records independently we just never called it a record label. I have friends who have record labels that they only put out their records you know but it has a name and you know it has a thing. But you know it never occurred until Darrin said something and it just made a lot of sense. It made a lot of sense because we know, you know what record labels do. We can do those things, you know and what we lack, we’ll learn. You know, learn as we go, it’s just like making records in your shed you know I’m not like some world class grammy winning engineer, but I can put a microphone in front of something and record a good song. I think at the end of it, that’s really all that anybody wants to hear. They don’t care if it is perfectly recorded, or nice and shiny, I mean some people really enjoy that but for me I always liked the records that sounded like they were made at home, or sounded like they were made quickly by a group of people that were around just having fun with it.
On being a musical community:
Brian: I think the communal aspect of it is key to me. There is so much talent in this town and just in this little area. There’s just so many talented people that we’re lucky to know and to play with. I’m just really happy that people seem to be excited about it. I know that people like coming over and just recording. There’s not a clock running and you’re not paying thousands of dollars to do anything, we’re just making music for the sheer joy of making music and then putting it out into the world and hoping that people feel the same about it as we do. It’s exciting.
Sally: And I think that there’s something really special about the Nashville music scene, particularly right now. I loved my LA music scene, it was amazing to be a part of, those years that we were in LA, the people that we met, the talent and all of that. But something is happening here right now (in Nashville), where people are on board, for supporting each other and helping each other. While everyone is struggling to figure out how are we supposed to make money being artists, it’s gotten harder and harder to do that, there’s still the love for the art and they’re still going to do it whether they are making money at it or not, they don’t want to go a day without creating something with someone and so it’s not hard to get people excited to be on board for something like this.
Brian: If they like the idea they’re just like, “How can I help?”-we wouldn’t be able to do it without (them). You call your friends at different press outlets and whatever and they want to hear about it because it is exciting to them and they want something to write about and it is super helpful. And it’s not just the artists. It’s everyone in the music industry. There are all different facets but the Americana world in our experience is really familial and inclusive and cool.
Sally: Yeah, supportive.
On how people can stay in touch in Café Rooster Records:
Sally: We have a newsletter, Red Rooster Social Club that people can sign up for. They can sign up for that at our Facebook page, or they can email us at email@example.com.
On “balancing” family and work:
Sally: First of all, there is no such thing as balance! I hear so many people talk about that and there really isn’t. You just have to figure out what works, what sort of dynamic works for your family. Our kids know what we do and what our lifestyle is and that it is a little bit different than their friends’ families, but not really because we know a lot of families. East Nashville has a lot of artist families.
Brian: Yeah, a lot of times it’s like “Where does your dad play? Where does your mom play?”
Sally: So we include them. There’s jams going on out here almost every day and our kids come out here and listen to the music and play outside. They go in and listen. They talk to the musicians, they interact with them, they know them all and we feel really grateful that they’re getting that experience around them all the time. I think it is really special. You just include them.
Brian: They go in there and bang around on the instruments. I wish I’d had had an environment like that.
Sally: Now if you go out to a really great show like we did last night and don’t get home until 2 am, then you do have to suffer the consequences. You still have to get up at 6am.
Brian: My dad played the record player really well growing up, and then I went off on my own to discover my own thing, became like a metal and punk rock head for awhile, and I still like that stuff but somewhere along the way I worked my way back to all the stuff that I grew up on and I was grateful for it. You know, it’s cool…
On this new adventure:
Brian: You know, we’re just getting started, but I’m excited about it. I’m excited to see what comes…
For more information, you can go to the following links:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/caferoosterrecords/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Brian Wright’s Café Rooster Sessions Volume 1: https://brianwright.bandcamp.com/album/cafe-rooster-sessions-vol-1
- Ladies Gun Club: https://ladiesgunclub.bandcamp.com/
- Darrin Bradbury: https://www.facebook.com/DarrinBradburymusic
- Brian Wright: https://www.facebook.com/brianwrightmusic