by Anna Kaplan
Off a quiet street in Georgetown sits Orphan’s vivacious new home, the underground record label/radio station hybrid founded by Seattle native Sage Redman and London transplant Joe Gillick.
Through the label and radio roles, Orphan aims to create a community in their Georgetown space uniting all corners of Seattle’s music scene. Redman and Gillick also hope to attract national and international artists who might not otherwise come through Seattle to play venues scattered throughout the city.
“We wanted Orphan to be… a place for anyone to come. A place that didn’t feel super attached to a specific scene or artists who didn’t feel like they had a home at another label. People who made idiosyncratic, genre-straddling music who didn’t find a home elsewhere,” Redman said. “We were trying to bring all those people together and build a home for them.”
Redman and Gillick met at Goldsmiths University in London while they were studying music. There they traversed the prolific underground network of radio stations and vibrant electronic music scene. Redman, Gillick, and fellow Goldsmiths student Billy Meddleton began throwing parties in a small club for the fun of it. Their venue provided an escape from London’s esteemed electronic scene, where gossip often preceded the music.
“So we kind of started off… for the fun of it, rather than the kind of seriousness and the bravado attached to DJing,” Redman explained. “In London that can get really intense with people talking about who’s the best at mixing tracks, rather than the tracks that they’re actually playing and the vibe that’s being created. We wanted to do something in a dingy south London club that was really light and high energy and fun for everyone.”
The two planned to carry on their concerts and eventually launch the label side of their venture in the U.K., but as Redman’s student visa began to run out, the duo decided to return to her hometown of Seattle. About a year after moving across the pond, they launched Orphan as the record label and radio station melding they envisioned in London.
“We wanted to continue our club nights, but do it in a different format,” Redman said. “Radio seemed like, it was something in London that London didn’t need another one of, but Seattle didn’t have one quite like what we were imagining — it felt like the right step.”
Orphan launched in Seattle in the summer of 2017, out of the Capitol Hill venue LoveCityLove. They threw shows nearly every week featuring local producers and DJs in the space, along with the radio’s regular weekend nighttime radio programming.
However, they rented the space, leaving the two to pack up all the equipment, vinyls, and other supplies every weekend through the summer. Eventually, they knew that they would need to move, and began looking for a permanent space.
“One of the first ones we came to look at was Equinox and then it was kind of meant to be,” Redman said. “It just felt like the right fit.”
Now nestled inside the former World War II-era factory building that houses Equinox Studios, Orphan is dedicated to igniting every corner of Seattle’s music scene across the city, beginning with illuminating the artistic culture in Georgetown.
“There’s a lot happening in Georgetown that we otherwise would have been oblivious to because Seattle can be very neighborhood proud,” Redman said. “I think you could get stuck in one neighborhood, and it’s been cool for us to get to know Georgetown a little bit better, so I’m hoping that that just helps us grow the family a little bit.”
Redman explained that in addition to throwing events in their own space, they’re expanding to promoting artists in other venues all over town, with two events planned at The Crocodile in Belltown, and Re-bar in Capitol Hill later in the spring.
Orphan is also revamping their hours, moving from their previous nighttime schedule to daytime programming, running from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.
Recognizing the daytime can be difficult for some on Fridays, the group is planning to accept pre-recorded mixes from artists in Seattle, as well as broadcasting Friday night shows in Europe, which correspond to midday on the West Coast.
On the record side, Orphan is on the hunt for local and international artists. Redman also hinted there might be a few from the South End.
“There is a really amazing scene in Georgetown, and it does get kind of sectioned off because it is a little more out of the way, [but] there’s a lot of musicians based here that we can tap into and a lot of local businesses that [are] really amazing. It’s nice to spread the net a little bit wider and activate more people from South Seattle.”