Like a lot of kids, Jessi Hector bonded with her father over music. Unlike a lot of kids, she grew up to start a record label with him.
Launched last spring, Father/Daughter Records is a labor of love for Ken and Jessi Hector, who is now in her thirties. The tandem’s passion for music overpowers the physical space between them: Ken lives in Miami, where he is president of a freight logistics company, and Jessi, who attended MAST Academy in Key Biscayne, multitasks as a band manager and public relations hand 3,000 miles away in San Francisco.
On the West Coast, Jessi handles Father/Daughter’s A&R duties, marketing, and production management among other responsibilities. In Miami, Ken is “more of the finance guy, sounding board (still love hearing new music), and conscience for the organization,” he wrote in an email. “With much respect, I can say that Jessi is really the brains and brawn of our outfit.”
The music on Father/Daughter’s roster is a testament to those brains. In just over a year, the label has issued a handful of 7” records by Levek (Gainesville, FL), tooth ache. (Burlington, VT), and Family Trees (Brooklyn), and a 12” split b/w Holy Spirits (NYC) and Mutual Benefit (Boston and Columbus, OH).
The small roster packs a vicious punch, ranging from Mutual Benefit and Holy Spirits’ sparse avant-pop to Levek’s ambient soul (similar to Jens Lekman’s backdrops). The single “Skin” by tooth ache. is a full-sounding collision between Young Marble Giants and El Perro del Mar and stands in direct contrast to the Family Trees, the closest thing to a traditional band on the label.
I recently interviewed Father/Daughter’s “brains and brawn” via email to ask her more about the label’s roots, its lineup, and what SoFla bands she’s listening to nowadays.
You and your Dad must share a special bond over music. Talk a little about your relationship and how you guys shared music over the years?
JH: Music has always been a huge part of my life and I have to thank both of my parents for that. They were young when they had me so they were still into listening to records and going to concerts when I was growing up in the late 70s, early 80s. A career in the music industry was all I ever wanted as soon as I was old enough to know what a career was. My parents had no qualms with dropping me off at concerts, helping me assemble my handmade zine, or buying me film to shoot live bands. They have always been super supportive!
What are your day jobs and who are you?
JH: I have a bunch of day jobs, all having to do with other aspects of the indie music scene, and my Dad owns a logistics company. I’m in my early 30s, Dad is in his 50s — we’re still spring chickens. We’re just two people who really love music and want to help under the radar artists get noticed!
Given that you’re in San Fran and Dad is in Miami, give us some insight into the Father/Daughter process from artist discovery to production.
JH: Well, I do a lot of the A&Ring. I normally find a band, fall in love, send music to my Dad and once we both agree on something, I reach out to the artist. In our humble beginnings, I was living in Brooklyn, NY, so meeting Family Trees and tooth ache. kind of just happened. After that, I oversee and coordinate all the production aspects of a release — mastering, getting the art together, making sure vendors finish the projects on time, and when it’s all said and done, the finished materials get delivered to my house where my fiancé and I hand assemble everything (including the free buttons that come with every order). It’s a lot of work, for which I don’t get paid, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. And I couldn’t do any of it without the help of Father!
“To The Shore” — Holy Spirits
The music on your roster is extremely different and worthy of repeated listens: Mutual Benefits, Holy Spirit, tooth ache., Levek. These are all very original artists with distinct sounds. How do you find these artists?
JH: I’ve learned about a few of the artists on our roster from music bloggers who I really respect — Connor and Nathaniel from I Guess I’m Floating, Tim from smokeDONTsmoke. The others were found after stumbling across a random Myspace/Bandcamp page. I’m also all about curating a tight knit roster of artists who all play together, on each other’s music and also introduce my dad and I to the music their friends make. Without knowing Jordan [Lee] and Michael [Barron], of Mutual Benefit and Holy Spirits, respectively, I would never have been introduced to the very talented Steffaloo from LA. (Look her up!)
Is there a specific sound that you guys are looking for or does it come down to what you like?
JH: No specific sound, it’s all what perks our ears. I love all kinds of music, which may explain why our roster is pretty varied. Still looking for the right punk rock band to put a 7″ out with.
Are the albums you put out one-offs or will you continue to work with these artists in the future?
JH: We will always support the F/D bands with all of their future ventures, whether on F/D or with another label. We’re a developing label but we hope to release some full length albums in the near future.
Having worked in the music industry prior to the start of the label, did you have a sense that young artists needed a label like yours to ease into the world?
JH: I don’t think we’re saving lives here — I think the label was more my dad and I wanted to share something together — we both love music and a label was something we were both interested in. With the internet and thousands of music blogs, I don’t think any artist needs a label to help ease into the music world anymore. It is nice having a team of people who genuinely care about you and your music and help it get offline and on record players/tape decks/CD players, whatever your preferred format is. I’ve also noticed that most artists don’t know the business side of things, so it helps having someone you trust to guide you through all that.
Are there any musicians/bands in South Florida you’re listening to these days?
JH: I think Sumsun are awesome, although they’re from West Palm. Jacuzzi Boys are rad. It’s sad to say but I’m not too familiar with that many South Florida bands. Miami/Ft. Lauderdale bands, hit us up!