kim ann foxman’s firehouse records is holding it down for new york
One of the most sought after DJs and vocalists in the house scene on starting her own record label and why NYC will always have shit goin’ on.
Kim Ann Foxman, as usual, is killing it. In the past year, the former Hercules and Love Affair producer and vocalist moved into a converted firehouse, married her longtime girlfriend, illustrator Silvia Prada, in a Halloween themed ceremony in New York's Hudson Valley (yes, you read that correctly. Yes, there were a Tonya Harding and Nancy Kerrigan), and started her own record label. i-D took a trip out to Foxman's new digs (sadly, there wasn't a pole left for us to slide down), to talk all things Firehouse Records.
What motivated you to start your own record label?
I was getting a little frustrated with certain things. Since there are so many dance music labels out there, it can be hard to trust who's doing a good job behind the scenes. I also feel like there's an over-saturation with music in general. When you send material to someone and they like it, they might say, "Oh yeah, it'll come out in 6 months." Then it'll get pushed back and pushed back again, so that when it finally comes out, you're already on to something completely new. I've had a lot of good experiences as well, but it's hard to find labels that I can really trust. I figured it would be ideal if I could handle this side of things myself, but I definitely can't handle it all by myself, so I've partnered with The Vinyl Factory, a record label and pressing plant based in London.
What's working with them been like?
They are super professional, I know my record label is going to be handled really well. A lot of people can't even afford to produce vinyl, but since their pressing is done in house, my records are gong to be heavyweight and high quality. Releases will be both digital and vinyl, but some special stuff will be vinyl only. Also, it's hard to find really cool artwork or even artwork in general since not many labels have budgets for dance music. A few will let you choose a color for the sticker that goes on it, but that's about it. What's nice about working about The Vinyl Factory is that they really encourage the artwork. Of course it's about the music, but for me, it's about the whole package. I feel really lucky to have teamed up with them.
You've stated in the past that Firehouse will reflect life in New York. Could you speak more about that?
For a long time, the industry has been really hot in Europe; the whole industry is kind of there still. Being that I do live in New York and all my inspirations, my life is here, I felt like it was kind of time to get something started to reflect that. So many awesome labels have come out of New York and I think it's time to show that we've got a lot going on here! New York has so many great DJs and so many great artists, but I feel like those releases aren't really pushed out as much as they deserve to be. For a while I even considered moving to Europe because of this, but I didn't want to let go of New York. But then we found this awesome firehouse!
Yeah, this place is amazing!
Silvia and I found it advertised on Craigslist and came out to visit it while it was still under construction. It was love at first sight. Even though we couldn't move in for four or five months after, we knew instantly we wanted to live here. I even rent a little studio in the basement. Finding this space was super inspiring. I feel really lucky that my career has taken me to Europe so frequently, but I love living in New York: there are a lot of great artists here, people have such good style, they dance well! I'm glad that all my friends in dance music kept encouraging me, "Don't leave! New York's scene is turning around and you have to be a part of it!" So we're representing; I didn't want to give up on New York.
What type of artists are you hoping to work with for Firehouse releases? How do you plan to expand the label?
I'm pretty open. I want to make and release stuff that feels really dynamic, but also creative. It can be easy to bang out an electronic track; even some of the most skilled people play it safe and play it easy. I want this stuff to feel like it's been handled with care; I want it to feel special. It's not gonna be only New York people either; I don't want Firehouse to be like "WE ARE NEW YORK!" I just want to remind people that we've got shit going on here too! It'll be open to artists from everywhere.
What's the ultimate dream?
After time goes by and I have a few releases, it's going to start feeling really solid, so I'm excited to be at a place where it starts to feel really established. I just want to keep putting out music that I love and inspires me. Easy breezy!
Text Emily Manning
Photography Stef Mitchell