Starting a business is a pretty daunting thing, let alone a music label! I chatted to Laura Lewis-Paul about what gave her the push to start Saffron Records…
Stubbornness and determination really. When people tell me I can’t do something it makes me more determined to do it and prove them wrong! I am also hugely passionate about my work and am lead with a very positive and optimistic outlook on life. The graffiti piece under the Bearpit that said “Relentless Optimism” that is me! It is daunting, but a lot of my past jobs have been Project Management based, so it is a similar role I am in, just with a hell of a lot more responsibility!
Also I think I always worked super hard and wanted to prove myself, but it doesn’t always get recognised within large companies, so I knew if I wanted to make change in my work, job satisfaction and lifestyle I needed to take it into my own hands as I don’t really like working for other people. I have probably had an issue with authority since school.
In such a male dominated industry, are you mindful of how you market your artists & Saffron?
YES! Marketing is such an important part of our work and brand. We want for people to feel inspired and empowered by our artists and Saffron as a company. Marketing is such an important tool as it connects you globally, so it is essential to get it right.
Initially setting up Saffron I felt like there could be some negativity towards it, but (touch wood) there has been an insane amount of support from men and women.
What are your aspirations for the label and current artists?
Saffron Studios!! Would love to run a recording studio and training centre for artists to have an alternative offer than what they currently have when recording and working with producers. This is probably more like 5-10 year plan though!! Unless any wants to fund this?!!
Aspirations for our artists is that they:
1: Love their work and what they are doing
2: That they are have creative control over their work
3: They are able to feel a sense of achievement through their work, regularly!
What have you got coming up?
Our Mix Nights started with a few of us sitting down and discussing the fact that when we were at uni, our guy friends would go to each others houses and have “a mix”, it became a common theme that girls were often excluded from this and have therefore felt like DJing is for boys. Our mix nights are run in partnership with Bristol Women In Music, they are 6 week courses that teach women to beat match and result in a live performance at the Love Inn. It is really interesting to see how women learn in a single sex environment, it is very supportive, lively and creative space.
We’re also running our Saffron For Sound courses which are 6 week courses in music production and sound engineering, we run these at dBs music which is a music tech college. We are working really hard to create opportunities for young women in music tech. We are working with schools to implement our Saffron For Schools program as we feel it is very important to have these options from a young age as there is already a lot of perceptions and gender stereotyping that are apparent at this age, so we want to give them the confidence and voice to challenge these perceptions. Schools programs are a long game and we wanted to offer this out to reach a wider range whilst we implement the program in schools.
I have been taking the course myself so I can fully understand the process of being a music producer and some of the barriers you may come across. It has been a real challenge as I have not been in learning since uni and my technology abilities are pretty limited!! On a positive though it makes every sound (including everyday sounds) have so much meaning and potential for a track. This is the first time in a long time that I have done my own creative project as I am normally creating creative opps for others!! Loving it.