Two Bright Lakes is an independent record label and artist collective that was born out of a group of friends wondering what to do with their own music. Today, the small team are demonstrating what can happen when artists take control of the practicalities surrounding their own creative output.
“We all had recordings and didn’t know what to do with them”, says Hazel Brown, who runs the label alongside Tig Huggins and Blake Byron-Smith.
“We were discussing whether we were going to send the recordings out to other labels, and we just thought it would be fun, basically, to try and do it on our own and to see if we could.”
Two Bright Lakes’ collective philosophy was evident from the start. The label was born out of pooling resources, learning new skills and maintain control of copyrights, all in the process of cultivating new art and music.
And quite fittingly, the first releases from Two Bright Lakes were from the founders of the label. From there, friends and friends of friends got involved to expand into the diverse line up that they have today.
Spanning eclectic folk and rock, progressive electronic and experimental dance music, the label’s roster includes acts like Collarbones and Oscar + Martin, who have both enjoyed album of the week at RRR, Declan Kelly’s Dream Kit project and Batrider, whose inaugural recording for the label is set for release soon. Musicians and visual artists alike sit under the label’s umbrella – a space in which the artist/label relationship seems to be one of collective mutual admiration.
Brown says that “the music doesn’t have to fit a certain sound, because we seem to change the style of music we are putting out constantly. We are putting out a lot of dance-based music this year, but then last year it was much more folk-based, so it doesn’t have to be a certain style at all. We just have to like it enough and have time for it”.
One such project they had the time for this year was Sugar Mountain Festival, for which Two Bright Lakes curated the music. The festival is run by To and Fro, and had its first run in April this year at The Forum Theatre. The event celebrated a range of international and local music, visual art and everything in between, showcasing underground creativity that may have slipped under the radar of other festivals.
The label is run out of an office in Abbotsford, situated in an old schoolhouse building which houses over 60 artists and small businesses who go about their way in classrooms converted to studios and the like. The huge light-filled building has an abundance of space and interesting occupants, and this choice of office space says something about how they do business – a collective attitude of working with likeminded creatives.
With their artist-run approach and their eclectic musical explorations, Two Bright Lakes are helping rewrite the way record labels operate in the contemporary music landscape.
Check out some of their video's below.