Hot Seat: Angus Russell on his new label & mgmt company Gallery [exclusive]
Gallery is the latest project brought to you by Angus Russell.
The new record label, management & events company, born to specialise in electronic music and artists, was founded by Russell.
He’s got plenty of experience, having founded and headed up Universal Music Group label Of Leisure, signing and playing a key part in the development of artists like Young Franco, MUTO, Human Movement and Thandi Phoenix.
With digital distribution by Believe Digital and vinyl distribution by Lobster Theremin, Gallery already has the likes of James Pepper, Roy Blues, AK Sports on its books.
It also reveals MUTO, Lakyn and Hemm as early additions to its artist roster.
In a Hot Seat chat with TMN, Russell dives deeper into the motivations behind the new project:
What is the core ethos of Gallery and why should people in the industry sit up and take notice of this new venture?
Gallery is very much driven by community; celebrating all types of creatives and showcasing collaborations across the music and art space. We’re lucky that we already work with plenty of like-minded industry friends already in Australia and abroad (so hopefully they’ll be paying attention, ha). However, the core of the label is the fans. Gallery want to connect with the fans and crews that are passionate about electronic music, art and parties.
What gap in the current label or artist management landscape did you identify that Gallery will be filling?
I don’t know if a gap in the market is what drove this to come to life – there have always been stack of amazing underground labels (especially in Sydney and Melbourne) that do tremendous things in the club sphere. To me, where Gallery differs, is in its global service network. We’ve partnered with Believe for digital distribution so are already working with their global streaming teams closely, as well as London’s Lobster Theremin for vinyl distribution. They have amazing taste, so we’re pretty humbled to be working with.
Personally, I’m also lucky to have travelled a lot in recent years and have teams around the world I can call on for PR, Club Promo and Radio. For a new, independent, electronic label, it feels like it has a lot of potential in how far we can reach. Outside of that, due to a focus on the intersection of music and art, the branding across every release (art, merch, prints etc) feels pretty unique.
What motivated you to go out and do something on your own, as opposed to continuing to work within UMG’s Neon, where you’d already established Of Leisure?
I loved my time at Neon, UMG and especially once I had the licence to manage Of Leisure, so it was a tough decision to leave. Especially stepping away from the amazing roster I had developed! However, I’d been thinking about starting my own company for some time and I’m at a stage of my life where I can essentially risk it for the biscuit. There’s no limit to where Gallery can go long term, and hopefully my love and attitude towards the brand will see it prosper!
What was the thought process behind including visual artists in the business, why not just focus on music side?
I’ve always valued the visual representation of music. Visual artists have often been somewhat hidden in the background of the musical landscape; they’re occasionally heroed but most of the time, they’re doing their thing silently (with countless unpaid revisions under their belt).
I wanted to change it up a little bit – give the musical artist the ability to choose the visual collaborator, but then give creative control over to the visual artist. This would then give them the opportunity to express themselves how they see fit and thus, create something they want to talk about. With the power of visual and social platforms, I feel this is something that should be utilised more moving forward. Also, it ties in the whole Gallery thing pretty nicely.
Tell us a bit about the upcoming Ribbon Cutter debut party, and the sorts of events that will characterise Gallery moving forward?
The Ribbon Cutter is an embrace of dance music. We’re holding it at a secret community-run location (announced on the day) and it features a stack of fine Sydney and Melbourne selectors, backed by some doozy production. We want all our events to be the most inclusive and best space for everyone, so I’m hoping everyone feels that messaging from the get-go across Ribbon Cutter and every single one of our events.
Longer term, the events/touring side of things will accompany label and management releases, moving into touring internationals, whilst always showcasing the amazing talent we have locally. The dance scene is so vibrant across the country right now and we want to help grow that whilst bringing a positive attitude towards it all.