Sweet Buzz on VoodooHoney Records

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Milwaukee’s newest record label hosts unveiling party Saturday

By  Andrea Tritschler

The name VoodooHoney sounds like a sweet spell, a bit of magic. And perhaps, maybe it is. VoodooHoney is Milwaukee’s newest record label, that will be unveiling its music, ideas, and plans with the community on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Company Brewing in Riverwest.

Jay Anderson, VoodooHoney’s founder, started the label when he saw a vacuum and felt the need to fill it. He ended up creating a central entity that has the ability to reach into many different disciplines. 

“The whole point of VoodooHoney is that it is supposed to do a lot to pick up the art and music of Milwaukee,” Anderson said.  “I want the label to be like white blood cells in the body of Milwaukee, to find things and fix them, make them better and set an example of things that could be better.”

Anderson is a Milwaukee-based musician, who has been involved in the Milwaukee music scene for years. VoodooHoney began after Anderson realized all the things music studios and labels were doing for him in Milwaukee and Chicago, he could do for himself, and for others. The label came together quickly, in just a few months. 

“The infrastructure was kind of there already with people I’ve been working with over the years,” Anderson said.

VoodooHoney has every moving part a good label needs, according to Anderson, and they aim to do it all: music, fashion, art. VoodooHoney also has mobile studio engineers, tape recording engineers and graphic designers at the disposal of those working with the label.

“We have everything you need – from putting on a one night show, putting out the press release, getting ads printed – we can do all of it in house,” Anderson said. “It centralizes everything in one place, it makes everything infinitely easier.”

The label provides artists and musicians with immediate channels, Anderson said, in addition to a network of creative people. And with an arsenal of some of the city’s most talented and provocative artists, VoodooHoney could be part of a larger antidote to a culturally sleeping city, awakened in the last few years by a ‘renaissance.’

Through culture, Anderson said, we imprint our personal selves into the city, a common collection of community and diversity.

“Art is a form of culture, it is the vehicle of transmission to culture.”

Anderson sees VoodooHoney, a collection of 27 staff members, as more of a culture label than a music label, although music is the organization’s main focus. VoodooHoney extends beyond just beats and melodies to visual art and fashion, and eventually into publication.

“The whole thing depends on being able to inspire people and being inspired to work with,” Anderson said.

A smiling skull with honeycomb eyeballs and sticky tears of honey, the logo of VoodooHoney is representative of the cycles of life and creativity, a celebration of sweetness and finality of life, the balance of universal forces. The logo, created by Anderson, was central to the creation of the name, which was also inspired by Jimi Hendrix. It’s a logo you can expect to see around.

Not only do they have an event this weekend, but they already have more events planned for New Year’s Eve and Valentine’s Day. The label works with a diverse group of artists, like Foreign Goods, Nickel&Rose, Lorde Fredd33 and poet Kavon Cortez Jones, many of which will be performing Saturday in Riverwest.

The party starts at 10:30 p.m. and will continue into the night with music, libations and a few surprises along the way. According to Anderson, many of the performers, even the ones we’re comfortable with, will be in a different setting, doing things a little bit different.

“That’s always how it is with them, they want to do something new,” Anderson said.

And so does he. Anderson wants VoodooHoney records to be a part of the community, a cultural force to be reckoned with, and with a reach that extends beyond Milwaukee into other cities and, eventually, into a publication.

“We do so much more than just produce records,” Anderson said. “Because we do more, I want everyone to be comfortable and I want the label be a known entity in the community.”

 VoodooHoney Unveiling Party, Saturday, Dec. 10, 10:30 p.m. at Company Brewing.