Music Mogul in the Making
COM student launches indie record label and finds a new generation of Boston talent| From Commonwealth | By Chris Berdik
Talk about suffering for your art: to fund his start-up record label, Conor Loughman earned money last summer by dressing up in a giant cow costume, replete with pink dress, as part of a promo for Maggie Moo’s Ice Cream.
Embarrassing for sure, but it helped him raise the cash to start Base Trip Records. Fortunately for Loughman (CGS’08, COM’10), he had plenty of friends who offered to help out for free with Web design, promotional blogging, and access to recording spaces.
And the talent he signed to the label didn’t cost a thing. Base Trip has four acts so far, all BU students and friends of Loughman’s — among them singer-songwriters Katie Uva (CAS’10) and Stephanie Barrak (SMG’10) and hip-hop street poet Stephanie Domingo (CAS’10), known on stage as Rapper Steph. The plan is for these three to release EPs this summer and then start promoting them. The label signed the fourth artist, Allison Francis (COM’11), recently.
“We’re mainly going to be gigging like crazy, playing a lot of shows and just getting our name out there,” Loughman says. “Because it’s all word-of-mouth.”
It’s hard to pin down Base Trip’s sound. Uva’s music is toe-tapping and folky, while Barrak’s songs are a blend of driving acoustic rhythm and soulful lyrics. Domingo offers a mix of rapid-fire hip-hop storytelling and spare street-poetry rap. The variety suits the eclectic tastes of Loughman, who DJs a weekly show called Alternative Baby Making Music on BU’s student radio station, WTBU. He decided to go into the music business after first pursuing an interest in film and realizing that all he really cared about was putting together the film’s soundtrack.
Loughman is also a musician (drums, guitar, and ukelele), but he says his real interest, and talent, is music production and promotion. This summer, Base Trip ran a contest in which the label’s fans could create a beat to accompany an a cappella track of Rapper Steph. Loughman also wants to start a student club at BU focused on music entrepreneurship.
“Marketing is actually one of the most fun parts for me,” he says.
As long as no cow costumes are involved.
The label's musicians perform their work.
Click to hear “Yep Yep” and “The American Dream”
Click to hear “Drift With It” and “Yellow Roses”
Click to hear “Old Flannel Shirt” and “The Man at the Delicatessen”