We sat down with Jagger Loeber of Beat Boutique to talk about upcoming projects, the Vancouver music scene, and anime. Check out the the exclusive track at the bottom of the page.
Daniel: What is Beat Boutique and how did it start?
Jagger: Beat Boutique basically started as my personal Soundcloud, which a bunch of people began to follow and show interest in my music taste. About 3 years ago I decided to make something out of it. Just watching all these people like moving castle, team supreme and Soulection, grow from zero to what they are now inspired me to create Beat Boutique. I kind of brought it from my own sound cloud page and tried to create a brand out of it. Our original mission was to feature artists that didn’t get the recognition they deserved. From there we kind of started to build our roster of artists that I met through Soundcloud networking. We have artists from all over the world, the States, to Europe to Asia, all of which I met through Soundcloud. We kind of created a family, but at this point the family has started to drift apart, we haven’t been able to keep communication as tight as I wanted so currently I’m in the process of rebranding Beat Boutique, kind of turning it into a new platform. Instead of just being a music blog we are going to focus more on original content. We are also trying to focus more on local music, maybe throw some shows in the future. As of now Beat Boutique is in a transitional period from being a music blog to being more of an original creative platform.
Do you make any music yourself?
I personally don’t, but I work with a few people irl who do like Hugh, or HH. He makes a lot of really cool music and has been one of my best friends for a long time. Another guy, Patrick, aka ONY who worked on a lot of our graphic design during the beginning. He is also our good friend, he makes amazing music, although he just recently moved to London. I also work with another guy locally, So Sus, TP, shout out TP. Solid musician. Yea so personally I don’t make music, not yet at least.
So you are more of a curator then.
Exactly, I’m just the man putting everything together.
I saw the #fuckagenre thing being thrown around the Soundcloud page. Can you explain what that is about?
Yea that’s kind of our mission statement in a way, a lot of the music I listen to is very hard to categorize into genres. One of my least favorite questions but the question I get asked the most is `what type of music do you listen to?’ Such a hard question to answer because, how do you categorize the music coming out these days? You have R&B aspects on a trap song, you have an experimental electronic music track with hip hop and house elements. It’s become almost impossible to categorize music into these genres, so as beat boutique we want to focus more on quality of music instead of the labeling and sorting of music. As soon as you put a label on something, you suppress its potential. As beat boutique, we try to stay away from genres and labels and instead just focus on quality.
How has your relationship with the artists on your roster developed?
That’s a really good question. Originally I started creating relationships with a lot of other music curators online, for example this girl named Ariesia, she ran a music blog called The MOCD, the music obsessive compulsive disorder, and DEEPERKAY, who is involved with Play it Louder, another one of those online music collectives. People like that started introducing me to Soundcloud’s underground scene through their likes and shares. From there I just started reaching out to these artists. I began building relationships with the ones who seemed more positive and friendly and eventually I started approaching them with the proposition of joining our family. The ones who stuck around, like Jamvvis, Julia Lewis, Lyric Walls, Ryan Jones, these guys are now like my friends. I’ve never met them but I definitely consider them my friends. It’s been a really cool process, not only being a part of them growing, but watching their entire journey from having 500 followers to being featured on some of the biggest music blogs. It’s not just like we are working together, but I’ve actually made friends through this whole experience, which is really cool.
You mentioned your plans to shift Beat Boutiques focus more towards the local scene. What artists in the area do you have you been fucking with?
Man, in the local scene there is a lot going on right now. Joseph L’Etranger is the first one that comes to mind; he’s killing it right now. Also Tails, Juelz, pretty much anything Chapel Sound, although I haven’t really taken the steps towards networking with those guys yet. A little bit more low-key on the Vancouver scene is my homie Rylan Doyle, Lightyear, he and my homie Brenan, who is Moet, they are both making dope musical locally and not many people are in on it yet. Lightyear is actually starting his own collective called Tennis Club. Look forward to some Beat Boutique x Tennis Club collabs in the near future.
As you mentioned, your friend Ony recently moved, that seems to be a common trend with emerging Vancouver artist. What do you believe needs to change in order for us to retain our talent?
That is a good question because there is a lot of appeal in migrating to a better scene, like our east coast for example. Toronto is popping, Montreal is popping, then we have Vancouver isolated here on the west coast. It’s kind of simmering, almost ready to pop but the problem with that is that these artists are migrating. In terms of how to counteract that, I really don’t know. I think it comes down to artist preference. If they see a bigger and better opportunities elsewhere, why not right? Maybe we just need to wait longer to see those opportunities arising in Vancouver. I think it really depends on how things go in the next few years. A big part of it is the liquor licenses and restrictions in BC, Ottawa and Quebec have much more accommodating laws.
You mentioned that watching Team Supreme and Soulection grow from nothing really inspired you to build Beat Boutique. Are there any other collectives or artists you’ve been influenced by?
Chapel Sound is definitely one of them. They have a relatively small following but the quality of their work is just there. That kind of made me realize that even if you don’t have a huge online presence, you can still have influence. If you look at those guys, they are some the hottest artists and DJ’s in the city right now. Another one was Film Noir, started by KRS, Oshi and Bnjmn. I remember the day that Film Noir became a thing. It went from 0 to 5k followers in like 3 days. At that point I was like `this is doable, anyone can do it’. All you need is a goal and inspiration. I’ve watched so many of these labels and collectives go from nothing to huge entities. When you watch so many people making it doing the same thing you want to do, it becomes hard to not follow in their footsteps.
So your website is currently under construction. Can you tell us a little bit about what it was like before and what changes you have planned for it?
Originally the Beat Boutique website was divided in to four `genres’ you could say, but #fuckagenre, right? They were “Dance”, “Fuck”, “Drink”, and “Smoke”. Basically me and my homies would take anything we would find online that we though was really bumping and current then we would do a little write-up and then post it. We had a pretty decent following on that but between me working, and my friends having their own shit going on, it kind of died down a bit. We decided that instead of having a stagnant website it would be better to kind of try to rebrand and refocus our energy. Currently I’m playing with a couple of ideas of how to rebrand the website, give it a new face and a new identity. One of the concepts I’m playing with is an online market place called Street Boutique. It would feature specific handpicked items created by local and international designers. As Beat Boutique, in the future we will try to avoid the classic “blog” thing because within the last year of being a music blog we’ve discovered that we don’t really want to cover other people’s work, we’d rather focus on our own content. Everything is still in flux but definitely be on the lookout for a more content driven website and potentially an online marketplace.
What role does fashion play in both your music taste and your life?
Fashion definitely plays a huge role in my life, but maybe not so much in my music preference. A lot of the artists I listen to do influence the fashion choices I make but what people wear does not influence whether I listen to them or not. In terms of me personally, fashion is one of the most important factors of my life. I spend so much time online looking at clothing and I spend the majority of my money trying to buy certain pieces. I spent $35 on a pair of Y-3 socks today. I’ve never spent $35 on a pair of socks before. It’s definitely starting to become more of a necessity rather than a want for me. I’m 19, I’m broke and I’m spending all my money on clothes and booze. I don’t know; so far it’s working. So far it’s been good
So talk a little bit about Bao and this track you are premiering with us.
So I first featured Bao in our 3k followers thank you ep where he premiered his track 11/eleven. It got by far the best response on the ep and I’m very excited to be releasing another Bao track. Super talented producer, super underground, just the kind of artist we are looking to highlight. I first contacted him after I found his track “Where is Leticia?” which had a spirited away sample which made me fall in love with the song, after that I contacted him and he sent me that song. It is literally that easy. All these artists, especially the low-key ones, are just looking for somewhere to put their music. Whatever I can provide for those guys, I’m happy to do it. My 3500 followers aren’t going to any use unless I can put out music from artists like Bao.
So you are wearing a Totoro backpack, and you just mentioned spirited away. Are you a big anime fan?
Yea, it got me through high school pretty much, that and getting as baked as possible before class. I’d sit in the back of class and watch anime while pretending to take notes on my computer. I watch a lot of anime and it is definitely a huge influence in my life.
So what are some of your favorites?
My favorite is definitely Samurai Champloo. The hip-hop influences and the history lessons you learn just make it so good. Also the time in my life in which I watched it at, the end of grade 12, really helped me get through that shit. Other than Samurai Champloo another one of my favorites is Howl’s Moving Castle. That shit made me cry, it touched my soul. Everything by Miyazaki and studio Ghibli, all their stuff is epic. I recently watched Berserk. It wasn’t my favorite but it was pretty badass.
Well Jagger, it has been a pleasure chatting with you, thank you very much for your time. Are there any closing remarks you’d like to make?
Shout out to my homies Hugh, Adam and Riccardo for helping me pioneer this vision. Shout out Thank You Come Again of course, and that’s about it.
When can we expect the new website?
The website should be up in a couple of months, sometime in the summer depending on which re-branding strategy we decide to use. We have a track with BKLV coming out soon so keep your eyes peeled for that.