COURTESY BUBBLE BATH RECORDS
New Orleans-based Bubble Bath Records founders (from left) Alex Peña, Elijah Carroll, Patricia Moscardó, Violeta Del Rio and John Maestas.
After hearing Snoop Dogg's "Lodi Dodi" on the radio, John Maestas found a name. "'I put some bubbles in the tub so I can take a bubble bath' — and it just clicked," Maestas says. "That’s gotta be it."
New Orleans-based Bubble Bath Records
was christened in 2015, bringing together musicians Maestas and Alex Peña with music industry veteran Elijah Carroll and Violeta Del Rio and designer Patricia Moscardó to build a record label and platform to champion a diverse, genre-elastic progressive music community in their adopted hometown and abroad.
"How can we get this community more unified, supporting each other, instead of having a bunch artists trying to push themselves up individually in this supersaturated music city," Maestas says. "There's power in numbers, and strength in numbers, and we're utilizing the strength of the community."
The label celebrates its "global" launch at One Eyed Jacks at 10 p.m. Saturday, March 3
, with projections from Lucas Wylie and performances from label artists Max Moran and Neospectric, Kristina Morales and the Inner Wild, THE GRID with rapper Nesby Phips, and Jasper Smitty. And yes, there's a bubble bath — it'll be the photobooth.
The label is "pretty strictly artist-focused," Peña says. "It’s grown out of the community of bands we know and play in and see all the time, and just the fact there is no home or tag to brand all this new music that’s happening here, to expand on 21st century music in New Orleans."
Asked what 21st century music in New Orleans is, without skipping a beat, Peña says "Bubble Bath Records."
Carroll hopes to build out what's missing from that New Orleans scene, an amalgamation of independent artists without a traditional label home or "industry" infrastructure to support and connect them to a network outside the city's insular framework. That includes new industry standards like digital distribution and older ones, like physical records, as well as publishing guidance and help steering through the "business" part of the music business.
"We’re not simply here to provide a label home or distribution to market platform. We’re here to really support, educate and manage," Carroll says. "There’s so much going on right now, and no one else is going to raise it up. We have to do this."
The label will release several albums this year, starting this spring. Among the label's first releases are Frenchmen Street regular Gregory Agid, followed by in-demand bassist Max Moran and his Neospectric's versatile funk. Though its roster of 21 (and counting) artists leans heavily on a progressive jazz, funk, R&B, hip-hop and electronic palette, Bubble Bath's overarching criteria is "creative original music."
"We just have to like it," Del Rio says.
"A lot of these guys have started to make waves on the international circuit, and some have been doing it for a long time locally," Maestas says. "What we’re trying to do is give them the tools and help them navigate the new industry."