Since forming as a make-shift production company in 2011, Brister Street Productions has quickly become one of the largest local booking agencies in town. Originally only booking "backyard house parties," Brister Street Productions has moved on to book venues like the Levitt Shell, Newby's, and the Abbey Church in Midtown. We caught up with Brister Street Productions creator Jack Simon to learn more about his latest endeavor, Brister Street Records.
Flyer: How did Brister Street Productions get started?
Jack Simon: I took a film class at the University of Memphis in the spring of 2011 and [used] the name 'Brister Street Productions' to describe the videos. I lived on Brister Street and was walking home from school one day, and I saw the street sign and took a picture of it on my phone. When I got back home I added "Productions" underneath, and it was born.
What was the first event that you ever put on?
We hosted backyard house parties for years before we ever put on an event. We never intended on being an event company. One day my friend got word of an opportunity to do a show at the Shell and after some debate we decided that we had nothing to lose so we went for it. We hosted our first public event, dubbed "Bristerfest" (Brister Street Music Festival), at the Levitt Shell on May 10, 2011. After the festival people asked, "What's next?" so we decided to continue producing events for the public.
When did the idea to start a record label first come about?
The idea to start a label had been brewing for years. It was just a matter of how and when. When Julian [Dossett] approached me with the idea to release his album under Brister Street, it made sense.
Why start with Julian? What made you want him as your first artist?
It was a matter of fate. We met and became friends, and I was instantly attracted to his music the first time I heard him play. He's got a really distinct voice and his style is traditional and fresh at the same time. The record, Three Poisons is some of the most killer blues I've heard from any artist performing today. Julian is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and he is one of the easiest people to work with. This is a blues album, and I think it makes perfect sense to begin our label in Memphis with the blues.
Do you have any other artists in mind that you'll be approaching next?
We do but we are keeping it under wraps at the moment until everything is solidified. Julian Dossett is our main focus for now.
If you could pick any local band to work with, who would it be?
It would be an honor to work with some of the living legends like Al Green or B.B. King. These guys have lived most of their lives in and around the music industry, and I would love to learn from them.
Do you want to keep the Brister Street record label centered on blues or is having a theme for the label not important?
Brister Street is not a genre-specific label. We just want to produce and promote music that sounds good, has feeling, and commercial appeal.
Are you going to keep the releases tied to local artists or do you hope to branch out at some point?
Memphis is a wonderful place to start. At some point we will probably branch out, but we will let that happen naturally.
You've thrown festivals at various local venues and now have entered the record label game. What's next for Brister Street Productions?
Brister Street Clothing Company is another project that has been in the works for some time now. We already have a few designs for sale.