PHOTO BY HUGH MACKEY
Liam Conway, 35
Daniel Grey, 38
Lauren Miller, 29
Galen Cassidy Peria, 38
Shane Sayers, 39
Co-founders, United Bakery Records
www.unitedbakeryrecords.com | Instagram: @unitedbakeryrecords
In a few short years, United Bakery Records has become a pillar of New Orleans’ DIY community. Founded in 2015, the label grew out of the United Bakery Gallery, a mixed-use space on St. Bernard Avenue in the 7th Ward that served as an intimate performance venue before it closed in September 2016.
Its spirit lives on in the record label, run by Liam Conway, Daniel Grey, Lauren Miller, Galen Cassidy Peria and Sean Sayers.
United Bakery Records was built by and for musicians. “[W]e the founders of United Bakery Records can imagine few things as gratifying as to be offered the resources, the trust and support, and the artistic freedom to realize our own creative visions,” the label’s mission statement reads. “[W]e hope to fulfill this wish for others and seek to enable the creative ones to create, the free spirits to be free, and the inspired ones to inspire.”
Since 2017, United Bakery has held an annual “revue” at Marigny Studios during the week between New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival weekends. Twelve artists perform and are recorded live, and one song picked from each set is included in a compilation album released by the label. A ceremonial gong, a tradition left over from the fondly remembered performances at the gallery, serves as a 13th track to round out the baker’s dozen on the album.
Running the label and holding the annual revue is a lot of work for five people, but through collaborative effort, United Bakery gets by. “We run things with a fairly egalitarian spirit,” Peria says. “Everything is pretty grass roots and with a DIY spirit, so any one of us will pick up the slack to do whatever task needs to be done, whether it's emailing venues or sponsors, or running across town to get booze for an event.”
Each team member has a niche that helps the label function smoothly. Conway, a photographer, does much of the label’s photo work. He also does most of the bookkeeping and maintains the website and social media. Miller, a painter and visual artist, helps artists book shows and co-hosts the label’s weekly radio program Friday nights on WHIV. Grey, a photographer and co-host of the radio show, also does photo work for the label and promotional work with venues. Peria, a musician, songwriter and filmmaker, released a debut album on United Bakery Records as Duke Aeroplane and currently is working on a feature film, “The Heartbeat, The Hammer.” Sayers, a singer-songwriter, is the label’s spiritual talent scout and also is working on a debut album.
Together they’ve created a thriving creative community. — RAPHAEL HELFAND