LAURA REBEL ANGEL: Well, I think that the music business in general is more difficult now than it was in the past. However, since so many of the forms of distribution, recording and promoting have now been democratized to an extent that it’s in reach of people without major label backing it gives you a little more freedom and control and your own timeline. You just need to clearly define your goals, and the teensy steps that you take every day towards them.
As far as being a woman in business in general, there are always going to be challenges. When I first started making business contacts for Rebel Angel Productions during meetings everyone would automatically defer to my husband (boyfriend at the time) instead of me. He would laugh because it would annoy me so much, and then say she’s the boss, at which point everyone pretty much got over it. One of my business policies is that I don’t work with douche bags. When I start to get that vibe, I just remove myself from the situation. I give a lot of myself to creative endeavors, and I will not accept anything less from the people that I choose to work with.
Who do you look up to within your industry & why?
LRA: I am fortunate to be surrounded by a talented group of self-made women and friends in NYC who inspire me daily. They each have basically created their own force of industry and have excelled in their respective niches. One of my dear friends Bettina May, who is also my Dollsville, NYC cover girl, just has such an amount of social grace and positivity that I strive for. She has created an industry teaching women how to be empowered and beautiful starting on the inside and giving them the tools to radiate that beauty outwards. I also really respect my friend Gala Darling, who is a blogger and self-made woman who based her success on empowerment, visualization and radical self-love. She continues to strive to create a positive movement for young women. I also have had the pleasure of working often with Angie Pontani and her behind the scenes business partner Jen Gapay. They maintain the highest level of professionalism and attention to detail, while creating magical live shows. I could go on and on with this list, but to me, it’s reassuring to be able to look to any of these ladies and see how their self-determination has led to their success, and all with a dazzling smile!
What do you wish you had known when you first started out?
LRA: Be confident. Believe in yourself first and foremost and stay positive. Do not let anyone let you feel small. Do not waste your time on the nay-sayers, the negative or those who don’t want to see you succeed. As soon as someone says “I’m so jealous…” instead of “I’m so happy for you” accept that as a red flag reading that their intentions are not in your best interest. In the same token, also take the time to be supportive of others and build a great community together of people who you also want to see succeed. There is more power in a movement, than in a single person.
How is the experience of working behind the scenes putting on gigs to working in the spotlight performing at gigs different for you creatively?
LRA: Less Stress! I loved the time that I spent working behind the scenes, and it provided an immeasurable amount of insight into performing and organizing my band. However, when I was putting on so many large shows as a completely independent promoter, it took a large toll on me financially and stress wise, and it was simply unsustainable. Creatively my outlet is my music. When I am on stage I put every part of myself out there, and I like to say I vomit my soul on stage. At that moment there is nothing else happening in the world, and I feel that is my true self.
You organise the US East Coast’s largest Psychobilly Festival, Psychobilly Luau; what is your favourite part about putting on a show?
LRA: The Psychobilly Luau is my baby! It is so humbling that something that started out as such as small idea has drawn bands and fans from around the world together to celebrate Psychobilly lifestyle and culture. It is my favorite time of the year, and I have been blessed to be able to work with my favorite bands. It’s pretty cool to sit down and make a list of all the bands that I want to see that don’t hit NYC, and then to be able to make it happen. I can’t believe that I am starting to work on the 7th one already! Its nuts!
As Screamin’ Rebel Angels’ frontwoman; which of your songs are you most proud of? Does it have a special significance for you?
LRA: Oh, that is a hard one! We recorded our EP, Pounce Like a Tiger, during my birthday weekend. I remember listening to the rough mix of Right To Wrong for the first time on my actual birthday. We were half way through listening to it and I just started crying because it occurred to me that it was the actual moment when one of my dreams was being realized. The other song that means a lot to me is Pretty When You’re Quiet; I feel that songs captures our energy the best, and has all of these small little Little Richard nods, and dirty early rockabilly riffs and various musical nuances from all of my influences, but all completely our own sound.
You spent many years working in the fashion industry for large companies working 60 hour weeks designing for other people’s visions. Can you remember the moment you realised you wanted to work for yourself and realise your own visions?
LRA: Probably when I first started! Ha! Like I mentioned before, I am back to working for a company now, for the simple fact, that I need the good money to back up my creative projects quicker than what I was making on my own.
Your Dollsville NYC hair accessories are very cool; is designing and sewing meditative for you?
LRA: It is so meditative! I love the fact that it brings smiles to peoples’ faces, and that it brightens up a room! I vend at a lot of events, and from start to finish, slowly more and more of the ladies in the room will be wearing one of my pieces, and the whole event, I feel, becomes a little more magical.
What personal characteristics do you draw on most in relation to expressing your creativity?
LRA: I think that I am very enthusiastic, self-disciplined and goal-focused. When I have an idea that needs to be realized I sit down and figure out how to make that happen. Most of the time these things do not happen overnight, and are plans that take months to develop, and that’s where being determined and disciplined comes in handy. That’s also one of the things that Dollsville, NYC is very therapeutic for creatively. I can just sit down and make something and it’s done, and then I can smile. Instant creative gratification.
Your designs have been featured in Italian Vogue; how did it feel to see your creations in such an iconic magazine?
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