Jeanette Wall, City Slang
💭 Thoughts on tangible media, independent streaming, and looking up to your colleagues.
Thought Enthusiast is an AdHoc Project where we chat with fascinating thought leaders across various facets of music, tech, and culture whose work we admire, simply asking “what’s on your mind?” and “why do you care?” 💭
Jeanette Wall is currently the US Label Manager of City Slang Records, holding down the fort for the US office of the Berlin-based label. She has previously held positions as an indie label product manager, artist manager, and publicist. Early on in her career, Jeanette ran a bedroom label called Miscreant Records that was born out of a zine she ran with her friends in college called The Miscreant. She’s recently made her first forays into screenwriting, having produced her first horror short film over this summer -- titled Ouchie. Next up: catch Jeanette working on a horror feature about the 2008 financial crisis.
I am writing my first feature film right now. It's something I've pictured for myself since I was a little kid. Realizing that the only person who can grant you permission to follow that light is you, and asking this of myself has opened me up to so much newness in my world. All these years of supporting artistic visions for artists, I realized one of the best ways I can continue my growth is to center my own creative ideas. It releases me from trying to shoehorn my own perspective into projects, which is something I've admittedly struggled with in the past. Allowing this energy in frees up space in all the other creative outlets in my life, and it encourages play, ergo joy!
🎶 Artists with intentional storytelling
I'm lucky in that a lot of the artists I work with are extremely intentional with the visual storytelling that goes alongside their music. Pom Pom Squad is an exceptional example of this, and Sen Morimoto too (watch the video for "Diagnosis," oh my God). Working with McKinley Dixon is exciting in particular, as he finds visual artists to connect with on his projects. McKinley is an animator as well, so he has a whole other network of illustrators and creators who he is collaborating with and learning from all the time. I'm really excited that he is always finding new and up-and-coming folks too, he's passionate about diversifying these elements while keeping everything cohesive. It's a beauty to behold!
A song that's been on repeat for me is "Guestlist" by Bulgarian Cartrader. He sings, "You have the right to dream and fail, and dream and fail, and dream again..." That lyric has really stuck with me. My favorite book right now is A Touch of Jen -- it just rips and I couldn't put it down. My favorite movie changes almost daily, but right now it's A History of Violence. I love how Cronenberg takes a story and perfectly fashions a metanarrative that emphasizes the characters instead of taking away from them. It's such a powerful statement on American masculinity -- it feels fresh and vital even after almost 20 years.
🕉️ Mantra of the moment
"Fundamentally, the practice of love begins with acceptance—the recognition that wherever we are is the appropriate place to practice, that the present moment is the appropriate time." - bell hooks
💌 Looking up to your colleagues
My colleagues at City Slang are very special people who I really admire. Bianca Bafitis, who is my co-pilot here at the City Slang US office, is profoundly proactive and thoughtful. She keeps our eyes forward and alway finds creative ways in inject fun into even the most mundane parts of our jobs (read: expenses). Krista Schmidt, who is a product manager at the label as well as an artist manager, is so exacting and diligent with the artists she works with. Then there is Severin Most, our General Label Manager, who has more passion and drive and charisma in his left pinkie than most people I've worked with combined. He's a total pistol and always approaching the music we work with such care and sensitivity. And of course, our fearless leader, Christof Ellinghaus immediately comes to mind. He's been carving a decidedly independent and honest corner of the music business since before I was born. He's unrelenting in his ethic and always learning from and growing alongside the team he surrounds himself with. To be in his orbit is one of the great gifts in my life -- I aim to move through this world with his level of generosity, confidence and humor.
(Written week of Sept 11, before show) I'm so excited for McKinley Dixon to play his headline NYC show this week. He's really had a banner year. His record 'Beloved! Paradise! Jazz!?' is one of my favorites I've ever worked on. McKinley embraces every aspect of storytelling that can go into a record and it feels properly cinematic. The world is not only built, but welcoming and lived in.
💿 Tangible Media
I can't say it's what I always do, of course, but I really do try to engage with physical media everyday. Could be reading a book -- like an actual book -- though I do listen to audiobooks a lot, or playing vinyl, or thumbing through liner notes on what's survived of my CD/DVD collection. Having a tangible experience helps me remember it better.
🍿 Independent streaming
I'm always watching what independent companies are doing in the arts, specifically streaming platforms like MUBI and Criterion. I think I'm drawn to how they highlight the relevancy of older films and shorts, how they show what we can learn from media and how it mirrors back to what is being produced today. Working in music, everything we do is so focused on "newness." I think sometimes it can be easy to forget what history can teach us through art.
I watch a lot of movies, and feel like I learn a lot from them. Ergo, my Letterboxd serves as a little diary and kind of ends up reflecting moments in my life, perhaps more so than other social media.
🌟 Tour Promo Videos
I really love tour promo videos, in general. A lot of bands have made great ones…. Here's a great one by Nick Lutsko.
Follow Jeanette Wall on Instagram.