Ellie and Insa of Red Van Records aren’t alone in their musical endeavors, they also have Milo by their side. He said of his “partners in crime,” “The first time I met Ellie and Insa, I could tell they had it,” adding, “hey have the love, fight and knowledge one needs to know about music and the industry. Most important of all, they have the drive, and with growing experience Ellie and Insa are true leaders and will one day be a huge inspiration to the next generation. I am very lucky.” With that, Ellie and Insa sat down for the latest installment of this chapter in the Women in Music series to talk about how they became a mighty trio, their mission and the women in business they grew up admiring.
Kendra: When did you first get your foot in the door, so to speak, when it comes to the music industry, and how did you two become involved with one another, and Milo?
Ellie & Insa: Having met at University, the three of us began working together immediately as we soon realized we all shared a similar passion for becoming entrepreneurs within the Music Industry. We have always worked as a team, with Insa being Milo’s manager and Ellie his publicist. From this we discovered the lack of artist promotion and opportunities for young people, especially within rural areas of the UK. After many discussions and ideas flying around we realized we had the potential to create something very unique and beneficial for those struggling artists. Initially created by Milo Gore, Red Van Records quickly became a partnership between the three of us and we couldn’t be happier that we are able to learn and grow together.
Kendra: Being partners at the label, did you know going in what each of your personal strengths were, or have you learned and taken on new responsibilities along the way?
Ellie & Insa: As we have been working together for a while now, I think it is safe to say we definitely thought we knew what each other’s strengths were before entering into the partnership, and initially that was incredibly helpful. However, as RVR has begun to grow, it became clear that no matter what your individual abilities, you have to work as a unit. We three now tackle tasks together, and although we still lead certain aspects of the company individually, RVR is a family so we will always make it a point to continuously educate and push one another.
Kendra: Looking things over, you don’t seem to run like a traditional label. Was that a conscious decision?
Ellie & Insa: Most definitely a conscious decision. RVR is about change, education to artists and opportunity to young people. We intentionally break down the walls created to keep artists in the dark and offer them opportunities to connect with the global market. We as a label feel these artists deserve to be heard, regardless of their income, their background or inability to reach out. We offer them a platform to showcase their talent and could not be prouder to stand out as a result of that.
Kendra: When you set out, what was your overall mission in music?
Ellie & Insa: To mix things up in the current industry. We saw the need for a company like RVR, to offer talented musicians the chance to engage with the real market. We currently are able to create a music video opportunity for each artist we work with, this is then promoted for them locally and internationally. Above all, all three of us would say this will be our number one achievement.
Kendra: You know, it was actually hard to find women in this realm. I got hit with a few labels saying they had no women on staff. With you guys – two! Not to get too political, but in a day and age where we could see our first woman president, do you feel empowered to be part of the growing number of women who continue to break those glass ceilings?
Insa: I’m definitely super proud to be a part of this growing community of women that are striving to be the best! I’m also incredibly lucky to get to work alongside some amazing ladies (and guys!) that help push me to develop and create an identity for myself within this industry!
Ellie: I totally agree with Insa, RVR has always been a platform in which we can safely create our identities based upon our talents. I think it is important to inspire those looking to gain a career within the industry and I hope people will see businesses such as ours that prove that can be done, regardless of gender.
Kendra: Did you look up to any women growing up that inspired you to be not only business savvy but also entrepreneurs?
Insa: When I was younger and still to this day I am constantly inspired by Angela Merkel, I always thought it was cool that a woman was leading a country and with that is also a compassionate, intelligent person with a huge job and doing it well. And although being a partner at a record label is definitely different from leading a country I’ve always admired her work ethic and continue to try and incorporate it in my own.
Ellie: My inspiration seems to stem from my experiences within the industry and meeting the women who are striving now, and creating that equality for our generation. I am lucky enough to work for Celina Rollon, who encourages my career every day. Working alongside a powerful, intelligent woman that challenges the norms of the industry, is the most motivational experience a young female entrepreneur could dream of.
Kendra: With that, do you guys have anything going on in the next couple of months you’re excited about and can talk about?
Ellie & Insa: SO much! We are thrilled to announce the release of our upcoming campaign, in which Ellie is hoping to expand her rural arts engagement research by reaching out to Universities, Arts organisations and politicians across the UK to enhance the importance of Red Van Record’s work for musicians. This is such a great opportunity for us, with growing global support and recognition RVR will soon be releasing their first cross-seas project with work experience open to all students across areas of music, management, design, marketing and journalism!
Kendra: Red Van made me think or touring and road trips. So if you had to make a mixtape for an epic cross country trip, what five songs would have to be on it?
King Krule – “Borderline”
Only Real – “Can’t Get Happy”
Mac Demarco – “Ode to Viceroy”
Talking Heads – “This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody)”
The White Stripes – “I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself”