Jake Sebastien

Owner and Founder of Hold Tight Records

How would you describe what you do?

I do various things within the music industry. I run a record label called Hold Tight Records and then off that I run events as well, so I guess I could call myself a promoter or an organiser. Recently I’ve finished building my own sound system. That’s been kind of a long time coming, then as part of that I also run a music studio. Freelance, I kind of work within festival organisations and event organisations and like large production events basically.

What do you enjoy the most about your work?

The most pleasure I get out of what I do is seeing other people around me do well. The main reason I started it was also just so I could sink my teeth in to something and have something to show for my efforts in life. What motivates me the most is to see the people around me do well. There’s producers who have amazing talent and they’re incredible musicians, a great skill and they weren’t represented before and now they are. People who have put almost their lives work up until now, you know they might only be 20/21 years old, but they’ve been working on it since they were 12 and you see them do well. They deserve it you know, they really are talented.

What other people do you work with?

I work within festivals and stuff, I run two stages at two different festivals. One at Boomtown which is the roots, reggae stage there called Tangled Roots. Then I work with Love Saves The Day as well doing a stage there, they’re the people I work with in terms of within the industry, that’s pretty much it. I work with artists as well, like graphic designers and illustrators. I try to incorporate other artists from different industries, like illustrators for example. So we’re coming up with a t-shirt line where we’ve got in touch with other illustrators,  really talented people to come up with a design for us and then we can put them on to t-shirts. I actually, today sent off a mood board, so I gave them like an idea of what we’re about. So it’s not as if you have an exact image in your head that you’re trying to recreate, you’ve just got sort of an idea and you’re letting them interpret it how they want… Totally, for me it’s like if I’m going to trust an artist to take on a job, I like to give them a bit of freedom and the chance to do it, rather than just being like this is what I want.

Is there something you’ve done that your most proud of?

I’d say my sound system, that’s always been a dream. Ever since I moved to Bristol about 6 years ago, I became really inspired by the roots reggae industry, and the sound system culture is something that really captivated me. I never imagined reaching this point where I’ve got my own one, but it kind of just grew in to something for me, it was the next logical step in what I do, you know promoting music in that kind of industry or scene and I just thought why don’t I get my own one.

How did you get in to what you’re doing now?

In terms of how I got in to the festival world, was through getting an internship out of university. I saw it advertised on the internet and my girlfriend at the time was like you should apply for this job. So I did and I kind of hit it off the directors of that festival and they took me on as an intern. I worked with them for 8 months and then I was doing my own promotions on the side, in my spare time because I was only working 4 days a week so I had a weekend and another day to kind of do my own thing. I started promoting events really, that was the first thing. Before I did festivals, I was doing my own events. Obviously I was already going to these dances and stuff and I thought if these people can put these things together then why can’t I, and then obviously all my friends were musicians and so it made sense. At the time it didn’t start with the intention for it to be what it is now, as my main source of income or effort or time. It was just like let’s put on these parties so all our mates can have a knees up together and then it just kind of mutated and grew. It was a very natural progression, it wasn’t forced. Sometimes you think to yourself this is long, like the hours sometimes get you, because you’re working till 6/7 or with my sound system I’ll be working until around 8 am, you know I get home at 8:30 and I go to sleep. Which is fine because at the end of the day I remind myself that I’m actually doing what I fucking love, sorry excuse my language, but it’s good you know, I can’t complain.

What’s so special about Bristol?

For me and what I know about the music industry, I mean I’m not Ghandi of music or anything, I don’t know everything, but from my experience and my perception I don’t think I would be where I am now without Bristol, with what it provides in terms of this flourishing scene. To answer your question, there’s a sense of mutual co-operation and a lack of competition. Everyone has this understanding that in order for everyone to succeed and move forward is for everyone to work together and not against each other. There’s enough people here who appreciate music. Within the promoters and the musicians, within everyone that’s involved, there’s this kind of respect for each other’s wants and needs without stepping on each other’s toes, and no one wants enemies you know? Whereas other places are very different, from speaking to other people that are involved in those cities, it’s very competitive and it quite cut throat and kind of like cold and not a very friendly environment. And I see that in promoters that come here from other cities, and they kind of act in that hostile way initially and then they realise and they kind of check themselves. It’s a really small city and so the industry itself is really small, although it’s broad in terms of the impact that we have on the world, the music we put out here is massive, there’s so many crazy musicians that live here. But it’s actually really small and quite tight knit and it’s all about love. You know it’s all about looking after each other and moving forward is the best way working together rather.

Biography

Jake is the owner of Hold Tight Records, a Bristol based label that focuses upon roots inspired bass music. Alongside that he works as a promoter, putting on events within Bristol that have gained a loyal following. He runs stages at two different festivals, Love Saves The Day based in Bristol and Boomtown, a large festival based in Winchester. Recently he has just completed building his own sound system and production studio to work alongside his events and artists on his label.

https://soundcloud.com/hold-tight-records