Laura Lyons, XL Recordings + Young
💭 Thoughts on Chet Lo, her favorite Chinese New Year tradition, and the importance of creating community-driven creative spaces.
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?” 💭
Laura Lyons has spent the last decade at independent record labels, crafting creative release campaigns centered on artists' visions. She currently leads US campaign strategy for XL Recordings and Young, working with artists like Arca, The xx, Peggy Gou, Sampha, and Yaeji. She graduated from the University of Virginia, where she received an interdisciplinary degree in arts administration and a 1-3am radio show slot. She spends her free time making custom garments under the moniker Persimmon NYC, and is currently pursuing a goal of eating at a different Chinatown establishment every week.
🎯 Current focus
There's so much incredible music coming via XL + Young this year, but I can't talk about most of it yet! A highlight for me is Fabiana Palladino's debut album, which we've just announced - she's a brilliant songwriter/producer and performer; it's got back to back big, classic pop songs and I can't wait for everyone to hear it. I've also been having so much fun working with Romy on her solo debut, it's bright and joyful and euphoric, and her Club Mid Air night is coming back to NYC in March so you can catch me absolutely living my life there.
🤝 Importance of creating community-driven creative spaces
A friend hosted a "salon potluck" last year, and it was awesome to be in an informal, *non-commercial* space sharing all kinds of creative work. I've yet to share most of the clothing I make on socials or offer pieces for sale (and might never tbh), so it was the first opportunity I had to gather all my garments on one rack as a body of work and share it with other people! Getting to gab about our inspirations and processes across different mediums was really inspiring. I have so many friends with small-scale creative practices outside of their day jobs – filmmakers, painters, nail designers, knitters, illustrators, ceramicists – and geeking out over their work is one of my greatest joys. I'd love to find and create more spaces and occasions to come together in a celebratory, community-driven environment and gas each other up.
📺 An amazing & absurd pop-culture time capsule
Did you know all FORTY NINE seasons of SNL are on Peacock? I've recently watched episodes hosted by Lindsay Lohan, Jerry Seinfeld and Jackie Chan. You have to dig online for rips of the musical performances, but it's an amazing and absurd time capsule of a thousand pop cultural moments from the last half-century.
🥢 Favorite Chinese New Year tradition
Lunar New Year is coming up, which means I get to go home (I'm from Virginia, the DMV) and enjoy a home-cooked feast with my family. Yee Sang is a Malaysian Chinese New Year tradition I love, a giant shredded salad with crunchy wonton strips and lox – that everyone gathers around the table together to mix for good luck.
🛍️ Chet Lo
I’m obsessed with Chet Lo right now. Their spiky, vibrant garments make me nostalgic for the 90's crinkle baby tees and juicy Malaysian fruits I loved as a kid, but feels futuristic, punk and fun at the same time.
🍝 Sopranos’ deep influence on culture
We're less than a month into Sopranos 25 and we've got consultants at brunch dressing like Adriana La Cerva because "mob wife aesthetic"... HBO has to be behind this right? Absolute sustainability crisis of the TikTok consumerism trend cycle aside (don't get me started!), it's pretty impressive and speaks to how deeply influential the show is across culture.
🍊 Citrus tree envy
One thing I can’t live without is citrus, it's scientifically proven (I assume) to improve your quality of life. I crave it after every meal, and I think every citrus fruit is so cute! Owning a citrus tree is the one thing that truly makes me envious of people in LA.
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