Forest City Records is here to shake up the music scene with a non-traditional take on what a record label is.

Founders Richard Gracious and Jamie Faye Ryan want to create a path for aspiring musicians to become professionals without the need to become starving artists.

Ryan is an honorary Londoner who has found her place in the London Art’s scene. She spent two years as the president of the Forest City Gallery and currently works with Museum London.

Gracious is a London local, who grew up in the London music scene. He has been a part of many bands – most notably Mountain of Wolves.

Together they are a powerhouse with the talent and experience to open doors for musicians.

Do it yourself

DIY music is making a huge resurgence – it allows the musician to have total creative control, from producing the sound, making the records and promotions.

Ryan says there are many obstacles to putting out an album, but FCR is there to help.

“So many artists don’t know certain steps they need to take to professionalize their music,” she said. “We want to help with that process.”

FCR is looking to work in conjunction with community partners such as the London Music Office and London Arts Council to grow, develop, and strengthen local acts.

Custom touch

According to Gracious and Ryan, Forest City Records believes in catering to the musician and not pushing the FCR brand on them. Rather, they want to allow the artist to create a brand for themselves.

Jamie Faye Ryan and Richard Gracious
Jamie Faye Ryan and Richard Gracious want to give artists the freedom and guidance they need at Forest City Records. Photo by Matt Thomas

“We aren’t focused on developing the artist to who we want them to be,” Gracious says. “Instead we want to help them develop an understanding of the avenues they can pursue.”

Meanwhile, the debate continues as to whether the future of music lies with analog or digital.

Both Ryan and Gracious agree that analog is their preferred output of music. Gracious sees it as selling an experience. The listener can engage and emotionally connect with an artist.

Mountain of Wolves stamped, signed and numbered their own records with the help of Ryan
However, their preferences don’t interfere with their approach.

They are aware that their love for analog may not be shared or may not be the right fit for an artist’s sound. As Ryan puts it, they want to foster mutually beneficial relationships, growing alongside the artists they support.

Filling the void

While FCR is still in the developmental stages and focused on their launch, Ryan and Gracious want to support as many local acts as they can. The response to their opening has been overwhelming – cementing their belief that FCR is filling a void in the London music scene.

The ultimate goal of Forest City Records is to create a music scene in London that gives recognition to artists, both nationally and internationally.

Mountain of Wolves
Mountain of Wolves will be releasing their new EP at the grand opening of Forest City Records. Photo via Mountain of Wolves

However, they also want to collaborate and promote local partners and local businesses.
September 30th marks the official launch of Forest City Records alongside the release of Mountain of Wolves new album, Poison. Get your tickets on their official event page on Facebook. Show your love by liking their official page @forestcityrcrds and their website to get the rundown forestcityrecords.ca.

London is ready for the change and FCR is here to break the walls and put London on the map. A non-traditional record label seems like the way to do it.

Feature photo by Matt Thomas

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