Friends of Friends (LA): Label Spotlight & Interview w/ Leeor Brown

Last week we rolled out a series of video recaps covering the Friends of Friends 2-Year anniversary party in Los Angeles. The series featured FoF artists Shlohmo, Groundislava, Baths, Jonwayne, and Anenon, wherein each artist chatted with us about their experiences with the FoF label, their studio setup, and their plans for the future. Now, in our final installment, we present the tie that binds all these artists together—label owner and PR wiz Leeor Brown. In this Dubspot-produced interview, Brown chats about the origins of the label, his business philosophy, and why he doesn’t like CDs.

Getting his start in the PR world with the Terrorbird agency, Brown’s unique taste and entrepreneurial spirit led him to start his own label, Friends of Friends. This combination of skills is precisely what defines the FoF label, both as an extension of Brown’s love of music, and his attention to the way that music reaches its audience. Just as PR is the work of developing strong, dependable relationships, Brown has brought that same model to the label (and name), creating a cohesive vision and product, all while keeping his ears open to new sounds.

Groundislava – “Creeper Shit”

These attributes, like that of any label with longevity, are the result of a curator who has carefully balanced their own vision with that of the artists they sign. Over the course of our FoF video recap series, this begins to emerge through a variety of themes, painting a colorful pastiche of sonic personalities the label has come to represent. At first, it seems that a boyish adolescence is at the heart of the Friends of Friends family, with beats that hardly ever sit still, and video games playing a sonic role in the music of Jonwayne and Groundislava. But even as these boys draw on a possibly awkward period of their past, their sound is ultimately a triumphant reclamation—self-effacing, and fun.

Salva – “Wake Ups”

Hip-hop is also central to Brown’s music community, with Shlohmo, Mexicans With Guns, Jonwayne, and Baths all nodding to the genre’s cadence while flipping it into other sonic realms with pop melodies, emotion, and an overall sense of playfulness. But between hip-hop and video games, there would seem to be no room left over for the nuances of emotional vulnerability, yet amongst each of these artist’s music is a depth that often shines through the FoF LPs. With LPs from Salva, Ernest Gonzales, and now Shlohmo, each record has explored a dynamic range of emotion, completing a label portrait built to last.

Shlohmo – “Places”

All of this is will be apparent in our interview, beginning when Leeor introduces his stuffed animal mascot Cosmos, continuing with his admiration for Ghostly International label head Sam Valenti, and ending when he holds up the brilliantly colorful pieces of FoF vinyl—all of it in the spirit of fun, community, and endurance.