“The more I watched it, the more I realized that I’m fucking Pied Piper.” Jessi Frick has a certain way with words.
Comparing herself and her position in the music industry to the fictional tech startup at the center of HBO sitcom “Silicon Valley,” she’s very candid about what it feels like to be in the belly of the beast. “The way that the tech world latches onto a service one day and then writes it off the next… It’s disgustingly similar.” Continuing her comparison to the series, she says, “There are the moments that really resonate with me. Like it’s so easy to let what everyone else tells you get to you, but then you say to yourself, ‘Fuck it, what do I have to lose?’ … And there we have the music industry.” She attaches an obligatory “lol” to the end of that sentiment. Jessi injects self-deprecation where others would put their heads in their hands.
Jessi has been around the music business long enough to know what she’s talking about. The San Francisco resident, who has been kicking around the scene for fifteen years in different capacities, admits that she doesn’t always have all the answers. For her it’s more about finding her own way in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. When she’s not going all in on her own record label Father/Daughter Records, Jessi can be found managing artists as part of Salty Management and doing PR for Riot Act Media. Her work is tireless.
Jessi is known for her brutal honesty about her experiences, both good and bad, you’d be hard pressed to find someone more dedicated to their craft. Jessi founded Father/Daughter back in 2010 with her father Ken Hector, armed with little more than a positive outlook and a desire to help out deserving artists. “We thought it would be a fun project to start together. Plus I was living in NYC and he in Miami so having this shared thing helped make us feel closer,” she adds. The pair split finances down the middle, agreed on what artists to pursue, and immediately set out to secure their first release.
“That first record was a really nerve-wracking experience because I was essentially selling myself to this band of strangers. There wasn’t much to say about the label just yet other than it was a new thing and I was handling all the day to day and we loved their music so much that we wanted to make a record with them.” That first band was Brooklyn pop folkers Family Trees and on the back of their debut 7”, Father/Daughter took their first steps towards becoming a legitimate record label.
That was six years ago. Since then the label has cranked out over forty releases with more scheduled on the horizon. The daily operations of Father/Daughter have more or less stayed the same; things have just gotten bigger, its functions tighter. “I do most of the day-to-day and the A&R if that’s what you want to call it” Jessi adds. “My dad helps with more of the business side of things, keeping our accounting in check, things like that. I’m the right brain, he’s the left brain.”
Jessi is the ideal Music Fan, devoting all of her time and money to something just to ensure its survival for one more day. “Really when it comes down to it, I put myself on the edge of financial ruin daily for the artists,” she says. “Someone needs to.” There are times when she means that literally, which is a scary thought for anyone involved in the scene, but that’s her reality and there really is no point in hiding from it. She might as well embrace it.
When asked why she continues to press on, Jessi replies, “There isn’t a rational reason, really. Part of it, for me at least, is a carnal desire to prove the world wrong. The music industry as the world knows it has been fucked for a long time, making it nearly impossible for people outside of the major label confines to succeed. But I don’t live my life the way everyone else does and I guess that parlays into how I run the label.”
She admits, “To be completely honest, I consider closing up shop at least a few times a year… It’s so easy to get burnt out on a lifestyle that doesn’t give back as much as you put in. I always talk myself out of it though because I can’t imagine doing anything else.” It makes you wonder: what if there were a hundred more people just like her? If the music industry is going to be saved, it’s not going to be by the “Next Big Thing,” it’s going to be on the backs of people like Jessi Frick who work tirelessly and honestly for others.
Listen to the Father/Daughter Records catalog here.