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Friendship feeds creativity in Detroit's Eastern Market
The idea of a creating record label wasn't part of Luis Resto's agenda when he began making music nine years ago at his Feeder Loft in Detroit's Eastern Market.
It wasn't even on the radar four years later, when he met creative partner, Salar Ansari.
But now the two musicians multi-instrumentalists, composers and producers have done just that. Feeder Loft Records launched this month with "Ambient Series Vol. 1," a collection of recordings by Resto, Ansari and Rafael Leafer, built from ideas Resto has recorded and archived over the years. It's the beginning of what they hope will be a prolific operation, drawing from the richly diverse music created in the musical incubator the Feeder Loft has become.
"Me and Salar had always talked about releasing music from the place," says Resto, 58, a Royal Oak native whose résumé includes membership in Was (Not Was) and regular collaborations with Eminem even accepting the Academy Award in 2002 for "Lose Yourself" from the "8 Mile" film soundtrack. "In all honesty, I would never have had interest in running a label, per se, but Salar kept driving it.
"In the middle of a pandemic, he finally just said, 'We got this stuff in the can let's put it out now, man!' And here it is."
Ansari who grew up in Iran and moved first to New York and then Detroit adds that the label "is in conjunction with the music created in this environment."
"We wanted to solidify the things we're doing, be a little more purposeful," he says. "The idea of running an independent record label that is home for your own music, without dealing with anyone else's policies, is something I always wanted to work with. We had this project that was finished, and we realized it's time to execute what we'd been talking about."
The Feeder Loft, situated in the west portion of the third floor of the DeVries & Co. general store, has been more than work space for Resto. Shortly after moving instruments and recording gear into the space, he opened its doors to the public on Saturdays, when shoppers could catch Resto and his mates "just messing around, jamming." But when Ansari, a DJ and trained audio engineer, wandered in one day during August 2015, there was an instant connection that would take the enterprise to another level.
"We started jamming and connected real strong," Resto remembers. "We became really good friends and compadres in music. He pretty much took on the role of engineer, upping my game with (the equipment) I had there and turning it into a better production space, really." Ansari also was instrumental in opening the Feeder Loft to more of the metro area music community, Resto notes.
"Salar was getting really in on the current scene," he says, "getting these great young artists in here and making them part of what we're doing. I loved hearing what they could do in a studio."
While Resto splits his time among Detroit, New York, where his two children live, and Boston, where his girlfriend teaches artistic studies, Ansari oversees day-to-day operations at the Feeder Loft. He began making music in Tehran, later moving to Dubai, where he focused on DJ work, before coming to New York to study music technology.
"It didn't really click there," says Ansari, who resides in Dearborn and hopes to turn his artist visa into a green card. "It just didn't happen. After Derrick May invited him to attend the 2015 Movement Music Festival, Ansari decided Detroit might be more fertile for him as well as his sister. "The city looked nice," he recalls. "There was an energy, a feeling. I wasn't necessarily feeling attached to New York, and my sister, who had been living in New York for five years, was ready to make a move. So we came here."
Ansari and Resto plan for "Ambient Series Vol. 1" to be the first of many projects for Feeder Loft Records. Two more releases are on the books, one by Pathe Jassi, a bassist and singer from Senegal, and another by DJ Dez Anddres, who's worked with Slum Village and Erykah Badu. More ideas are percolating, and the Feeder duo is confident that they won't be wanting for possibilities any time soon.
"It kind of parallels one another the record label takes care of the music, the music takes care of the record label," Ansari explains. "(The label) creates the independence for us without having to outsource or deal with anything, or anyone, else. In this day and age there are so many things you can do by yourself. We're just going to focus on making the music and making sure it's available."
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