interviews

Ctrl. Alt. Repeat: Perry Farrell - The Music Week Interview

Be it his influential work with Jane’s Addiction or founding the legendary festival Lollapalooza, for decades Perry Farrell has played a crucial role in bringing alternative music to the masses. As he releases his solo career-spanning collection The Glitz; The Glamour, ...

Inside Dua Lipa's Studio 2054 livestream

It was the ground-breaking livestream event of 2020. Now, Dua Lipa and Pete Abbott, director of production company Ceremony tell us how they made it happen... For an artform that only really began nine months ago and originally featured musicians strumming guitars in their pyjamas, livestreaming has come a long way. And Dua Lipa’s ticketed Studio 2054 extravaganza raised the bar higher than anyone else. Featuring guest stars Kylie Minogue, Elton John, Miley Cyrus, FKA Twigs and more, the multi-set show was filmed as-live at London’s Printworks and reached over five million viewers worldwide. “It was so exciting to get to do something like that,” enthuses Dua Lipa. “To be able to bring everybody together, put on a show and make it feel as if everything was normal again was great. It’s really interesting how you can reach so many people all over the world.” The show was livestreamed by LiveNow with Lipa’s agent, David Levy at WME, and promoters, Live Nation, also involved. But it was production company Ceremony – who also work on many of Lipa’s groundbreaking awards and TV performances – that was the driving force behind translating Lipa’s vision. “Dua’s really great in terms of understanding what works in the moment, when the right time is to do which bit of it,” says Ceremony director Pete Abbott. “And we as a team are good at coming up with the right combination of people to make it happen.” Studio 2054 was a never-seen-before production, with the star at the centre of its concept. “She knows exactly what she’s doing and where she’s going and she also knows that basically the way you become brilliant is by working hard,” says Abbott. “She started with a great base and, if she’s felt she’s needed to improve something, she just goes for it and does it 10 times more. Her work ethic is inspiring.” Abbott himself was influenced by shows such as The Carpenters’ TV special that, “take the camera and performer where they can’t go in a gig, and get to the essence of who they are”.  “We have to create Dua’s world around her,” he adds. “What you can’t do is stick her on a stage in an empty room, put cameras and pretend it’s as good as a gig, because it isn’t.” So will the success of Studio 2054 influence actual events in the future? “Well, an arena has limitations,” notes Abbott. “What it might teach people is that the thing we miss about shows is the human interaction, raw emotion, honesty and so on.  “But what we can definitely do now is make compelling versions of shows that can be sent to markets we can’t access,” he adds. “We’ve learned a lot about the process and we can bolt that onto a show quite easily. And thatis exciting.” PHOTO: Pixie Levinson

Phoebe Bridgers' Saddest Factory label to back artists on 'creative goals'

Phoebe Bridgers has spoken to Music Week about her ambitions to sign “awesome” artists to her new label. Saddest Factory is a joint venture with Secretly Group’s Dead Oceans, which releases Bridgers’ own recordings as a solo artist. “It’s bespoke, depending on what an artist wants,” said LA-based Bridgers. “Like any A&R, I can be involved or not as involved [in the process]. The only difference is that, being an artist myself, some people would find it annoying for me to be in every press release, and some people would find it rad.” Bridgers made a global impact this year with sophomore album Punisher, released in June. The LP peaked at No.6 in the UK and has sales to date of 19,066 (48% from streams), according to the Official Charts Company. As a label boss, she will focus on A&R and creative marketing, while Secretly provides the record company infrastructure alongside third-party partners globally. “We’ve set the bar very high goal-wise for Saddest Factory and are laser-focused on it,” said Chris Swanson, co-founder of Secretly Group. “Our conversation about starting a label with Phoebe began with the premise that she had a real desire to work more closely with artists on achieving their creative goals, while affording them the same marketing opportunities that she has enjoyed within the Secretly Group system to achieve their commercial goals.” Saddest Factory’s first release will be Claud’s debut album Super Monster on February 12. Further signings to the imprint are yet to be announced. “My nightmare is for it to feel like a vanity label,” said Bridgers. “The way to avoid that is to only sign shit that I truly think is awesome, and put my whole weight behind it and the weight of Secretly.” While Saddest Factory will embrace streaming opportunities, the label will be dedicated to vinyl. “I would rather have physical match with streaming [release dates],” she said. “I try to do what I can to help physical media, because that’s helping small business. “So I’m ready for [vinyl] to grow and change. My absolute fantasy is to have a record store with a [label] office in the back of it, like Rough Trade [when it first launched].” Bridgers acknowledged the support of Secretly Group in the campaign for Punisher, which has earned her four Grammy nods, including Best Alternative Album. “Secretly put so much thought into every artist,” she told Music Week. “It’s been inspiring to watch the public recognise Phoebe first as a timeless recording artist and then live performer, to embrace her as someone who uses her acerbic wit and cultural voice to influence the world all around us,” said Swanson. Bridgers recently collaborated with Phoebe Waller-Bridge on a video for Saviour Complex starring Normal People actor Paul Mescal. She will continue to promote the album in 2021, alongside her plans to develop the imprint. “I want to keep [Saddest Factory] small in the beginning, and I can hire people down the line,” said Bridgers. “I want to make sure that it doesn’t get beyond my capabilities. “Everybody with a dream of starting a record label wants to sign all their friends immediately – and I definitely plan on doing that eventually! I just want it to grow naturally, and for everybody to be as stoked on every artist as I am.”

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