Leah is a first year JD student at Melbourne Law School and an ambassador with FAME LSA. Matt and Caiti from FAME LSA sat down with her, to discuss her small (but growing) business Bean Recordings, an independent Melbourne-based record label. From her passion for music and the arts, to pursuing a law degree, find out more about Leah below.
Tell us about yourself and your new business Bean Recordings!
I’m a Melbourne girl, born and raised, who has always been keen on music. My mum got me into playing music when I was young in an attempt to get me out of my shell. Music is a safe place for me to escape the world a little.
I wanted to take my passion and love for music and make it a more serious part of my life. My first ever job was as a street busker. If music got me out of my shell, busking made sure that I still had thick skin! I busked for two years on a wide range of instruments.
My passion for music took me to the VCA to study Interactive Composition. Whilst studying I was producing and creating music for film, TV, animation, EDM and many other projects.
As I worked my way through my course I had people ask me to work on music production for their projects; the vast majority of that work were ‘favours’. By the middle of my third year I had built up some skills and decided that I deserved to be paid for the work I was doing.
At the same time, a friend of mine, Daniel James Johnson, was recording for musicians and had become quite a successful popular music producer. We thought it would be awesome to start a recording/production business together, combining our skills and resources to provide an important next step for our colleagues who make money through gigging.
Daniel playing guitar
From there, and with the help of a random name generator, came Bean Recordings! We like to think of us as embracers of all kinds of beans; representative of all different music styles and people.
How do you describe Bean Recordings?
We are a niche Melbourne record label and production company focused on up-and-coming musicians looking to get their sounds out there and into the big, bad world of music.
Our purpose is to be flexible, mobile and affordable. Where it is best, we love to come to you to cater to each person’s specific needs. We want nothing more than to record your most natural and comfortable sound.
Lots of young musicians are concerned that they don’t have a lot of liberty when it comes to music production. Something that’s really important to us is bringing the tools you need so that we can record your sound the way you want it. We lay down tracks, edit and eventually distribute the tune onto multiple platforms for consumption.
In addition to recording and producing, we provide music industry advice. Many of the people that have come to us are people who are just starting their journey into the industry, so we like to provide as much support as we can.
Artist Fliss Dart’s EP launch
What were your biggest hurdles in setting up your business?
The legal and financial logistics of registering as a new business were the biggest hurdles for us. As we passed the first year mark, we have been doing our best to ensure we continue to grow and reach more people. Along with this hurdle is the management of a plethora of social media accounts. As of yet, we haven’t outsourced any of the work so it’s still a lot of work for both of us.
When you personally invest in something, those first few months are crucial to staying afloat and keeping momentum. I think we are already through the biggest hurdle in that sense, as we’ve made some really significant progress. Due to the effects of COVID, we can’t record with people, can’t have gigs or any other events. This means that a lot of our projects, especially fundraisers, have been put on pause or cancelled completely.
To compensate we’ve taken current tracks and slowly produced them, releasing them when we can. We’ve started Instagram live sessions because gigs aren’t really a thing anymore – the next one is Saturday 10th October! We have also released merchandise on RedBubble which has helped a little.
How has your law school experience shaped Bean Recordings?
It’s been a difficult ride. Law school can be tough. Even though we only had three subjects in the first semester, it was still hard to manage time. To keep on top of things, my business partner, Dan, and I have weekly meetings. Most importantly, we make sure that we have time to study, have mental rest, work, and play!
Law school has helped me think about the business from a professional and employment services perspective. It made me think more about how we create agreements with artists as well as how we present the consulting services we provide.
So far it’s has been nothing but an asset to the business, helping me add something of substance to our existing business that really helps people cultivate their passion.
What is the most important part of music for you?
That therapeutic feeling that music can deliver is probably the most important thing to me. As I said before, music got me out of my shell and taught me to be strong. If I am stressed or anxious in any way I sit and play, or listen to music.
Performing also gives you an opportunity to give back to the people around you.
Who is your biggest music inspiration?
My parents don’t play music but they both love listening and being around it. Dad and I share a love for live concerts. There is a big deep appreciation for music in my family, my siblings have taken lessons too, and it’s something we all share.
Do you have a favourite album?
The ‘Bean Recordings’ Compilation album!! – we have just released our top tracks from the first year of business. Definitely grab yourself a copy! On sale now!
What are you most looking forward to in the next 12 months at Bean Recordings?
We would love nothing more than to see live music flow back into Melbourne. We are looking forward to holding a fundraising concert and raising funds for charity in areas we are interested in.
We are currently recruiting volunteer writers to start a new segment of our business. We want to start publishing content to inform people more generally about the industry, what is happening and who is doing it! If you are at all interested please let us know!
What is your dream for the future of Bean Recordings?
Best case scenario is an enormous building, possibly in the shape of a bean, with dedicated sections to all aspects of music production. That’s a big dream though. In the end, I hope to keep a flow of artists in a way that’s manageable and growing our team to better serve the artist. We love what we’ve started but are so excited to see how it grows.
Find out more about Bean Recordings here.
Photos supplied by Leah Aly.