In the summer of 2005, a generation of young Melburnians had taken the new wave of house music from backyard parties into nightclubs, and for a time, everyone you met in that sea of fluoro on Sunday mornings at One Love, Third Class, Motel or Revolver, was trying to make a name for themselves as producers, DJs, promoters or managers.
At the time James Fava was an 18 year-old living in Werribee, set to release a podcast via Love That Music of his own house songs, when fate had a better idea. “We started running boat cruises,” says Fava, the co-founder of Fall Street Records. “Me and Rob Pix had some music to release, and we heard of this thing called podcasting, so we put on a boat cruise to launch it. In the end, no one gave a shit about the podcast. They were all like, ‘wicked party,’ so we just kept doing that.’”
A year or so later in 2007, Fava bought into Mynt Lounge, a small bar and nightclub in Werribee. Fava found his niche and ran with it, first at Mynt Lounge and now with his own promotion, booking, management and events company, Love That Music.
At the same time, Melinda Hall, the other co-founder of Fall Street Records, was falling in love with music from the other side of the decks. “I was at those same parties, pretty much, watching while James was playing,” she says, from the boardroom at the Villa, a beautiful old 1920s mansion just off Synnot Street in Werribee that houses a stable of like minds, including Hall’s PR and copywriting agency, The Library Bag, Fall Street Records, and the umbrella company Love That Group.
Hall is a DJ herself with Melbourne duo, Kolors, and explains that in the early days at Mynt Lounge, she took the opportunity to write copy on the venue’s billposters. Fava was her boss and they quickly struck up a friendship. “I remember the time when I said to Mell, ‘I don’t have any money, but if you write some reviews for me I promise you’ll get into Beat Magazine,’” says Fava, looking across the table at Hall. “I had no idea how the fuck I was going to do it,” he laughs.
After she’d completed the work, Hall enquired about the article. Out of ideas, Fava decided to take out an advertisement in the street press publication to showcase her work. “We ended up buying a full page advertisement and filling it with editorial,” he says. “The guys from Beat Magazine said, ‘are you sure you want your ad to be like this?’ We had the flyer, the write up and a little picture on the bottom with Mell’s name,” he says, turning to Hall. “I remember going to Mynt that night and James was waving it to me under the bar. I said, ‘how is this so big?’” she laughs.
Fall Street Records is an independent label, devoted to the betterment of music in the western suburbs of Melbourne. According to Fava, they never scouted for bands. In fact, as Fava describes it, starting a record label was a natural progression and a way to help friends get their music heard. On the roster, they’ve got four acts from the local area; I Know the Chief, Yasumo, London and Swisher. With each group, Hall and Fava devise a marketing and promotional strategy, hook up producers and recording spaces, and then put the records out through their own channels. “We’re in a position now where we’ve got the backing of the companies, and we’re not in that position where we have to set up a lemonade stand to try and get a release happening,” says Fava.
Geared for marketing, Hall and Fava have started with a simple strategy, one that leaves plenty of room for growth. “I think we’re still learning,” says Hall. “We’re just connecting the dots really, and giving people a nudge in the right direction.
For more information on Fall Street Records, visit fallstreetrecords.com.